Bodhgaya Rural School Community Support

Walk on the land where Buddha walked over many years. Volunteer in the sacred land of Bodhgaya! This fascinating location is also considered one of the poorest regions in India. Volunteers seeking a real humanitarian and authentic Indian experience are encouraged to apply.

Rural Community Volunteer Support, Teaching and School Development, Bodhgaya India



Help Us Feed Impoverished Children in Rural India

Program Fees

Whats Included

  • Arrival & departure airport transfers from Gaya
  • Special orientation & welcome ceremony
  • All ground transportation
  • Accommodation – Volunteer Guest House (single or shared rooms)
  • 3 quality meals per day (mostly vegetarian)
  • 24/7 in-country support & emergency assistance
  • Donation to School Charity Fund
  • English speaking coordination & guidance from local staff
  • Certificate of Completion

Whats Not Included

  • Travel insurance (mandatory)
  • Airfares & visa fees
  • Additional tours, souvenirs, spending money
  • Some daily local transport (depending on program eg. $2 p/day)


Apply Now!

Background Information

Bodhgaya is a fascinating and sacred Buddhist pilgrimage location and the site where Gautama attained supreme knowledge to become Buddha, the Enlightened One in approx 525 BC. Bodhgaya, is famous for Mahabodhi temple which stands above the Bodhi Tree. Its architectural effect is mesmerizing.Inside the temple, there is a colossal image of the Buddha in sitting posture touching the earth by his righthand.  Within the temple grounds you will be witness to thousands of devout Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world in colourful burgundy and saffron robes, congregated to worship at the feet of Buddha.

Outside the temple, you will see a crazy, buzzing mish mash of diversity, colours, culture, food stalls, rick-shaws, wild dogs and of course, severe poverty.   Venture further out from the city centre, into the local villages, and this is where you will experience the true heart of India.  This is where the IVI placement operates.


This placement is centered around a rural school just outside of Bodghaya.   The school is an educational institution that truly caters to the most vulnerable communities many of which live in extreme poverty.     

The students come from the surrounding villages (approx 600 population) which lack basic infrastructure and without this school, would have virtually no access to education.  For these agricultural driven communities, the reality of unjust social hierarchy simply does not allow children of poor families to receive an education.

The school is the first of it’s kind in this area as such it has faced incredible resistance from the village elites with a lack of understanding of the community benefits associated with ‘new’ knowledge systems and formal education opportunities.

Slowly but surely, the pupil base has grown exponentially over the years harnessing a powerful spirit of pride, acceptance and opportunity.

As a volunteer guest you will receive truly incredible Indian hospitality, as you are welcomed by hundreds of intrigued and appreciative smiling faces.   There are a myriad of inspiring activities you can get involved with that will make a lasting difference to the school and community.

School Projects
-Special Needs School
-Teaching English & Other Subjects
-Essential Children’s Nutrition
-Maternal & Health Education
-Safe Birthing Kits
-Community Gardening
-Basic Vocational Training
-Develop Fundraising strategies
-Draft grant applications
-Resume Development
Tribal Community Projects
-Primary skills development
-Inter-cultural Dialogue program
-Basic nutritional care
-Ground water provisioning
-Vocational training such as computer training, carpentry, plumbing, sewing and clothing, diesel engine repair, organic gardening etc

Who Can Participate

Anyone seeking to experience first hand the richness of Indian community spirit while offering services to those in need.  Knowledge of the Hindi language is a major advantage.  Many do speak some English, however it is very scarce in the rural areas.

What to Expect in India

What you will experience is the most incredible welcome, warmth, friendliness, acceptance, and Indian hospitality.  Be prepared for a celebration where children shower you with flower petals and then performed a series of native hindu and Indian songs and greetings.

We immensely appreciate yoga as one of our intrinsic approaches to inculcate internal faculties of volunteers.   Yoga is provided for volunteers by a trained yoga instructors where possible.

Volunteer Accommodation

The volunteer center is safe, clean and comfortable.  We have eight rooms with living hall and separate kitchen. Each room has double beds and attached western toilets.  It is very close to world heritage Mahabodhi Temple.

Volunteers can choose from basic single, double or dorm style rooms depending on availability.  All standard amenities are included such as beds, mattresses, sheets, pillows, towels, water purifier, fans & coolers, mosquito netting, western toilet, cleaning supplies, chairs and  tables.


Three vegetarian meals a day.  We provide fruits, bread and butter with tea or coffee for breakfast.  For lunch, we offer non spicy or spicy Vegetarian meals (Rice pulses and green vegetables, Soup and Salad) for dinner, we again provide non spicy or spicy authentic Indian vegetarian food

Visa Requirements

It is the responsibility of all participants to obtain any necessary visas.

Getting There

Air: The nearest airport is at Gaya 7 Kms and Patna 135 kms. Indian Airlines and Sahara Airlines connect Patna to Calcutta, Bombay, Delhi, Ranchi, Lucknow and various other cities.Rail: The nearest railway station is Gaya (17km).Road: Bodhgaya is well connected by road to Gaya (17km), Nalanda (101 km), Rajgir (78 km), Patna (135km), Varanasi (252 km), Calcutta (495km)Local Transport: Taxis, Tongas, Auto Rickshaws, Cycle Rickshaws are available.

Bus: Regular direct bus services are available from Gaya, Patna, Nalanda, Rajgir, Varanasi. Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation run buses from Patna- Bodhgaya route twice a day.


Recent Testimonials


11 Ways YOU Can Help in India

The Bodhi Tree School in Bodhgaya, India is a unique, fascinating and rewarding project. This is volunteering at the deepest level and the welcome you will receive from this community will be completely inspiring. Just watch the project video and you will see why! This is one of the poorest villages in the area and any little bit of help …

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10 Reasons Why Volunteering in India Will Change You

Situated in rural Bodhgaya, this is one of our very special projects.The people who come here, leave with true gratitude and love in their hearts. This important project receives volunteers from all over the world. Here are some experiences from such volunteers, and how this project can change your entire outlook on life (credits listed at the end). You will …

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Experiencing Bodhgaya, India

✨Each of us are on this hard journey called life✨. Let’s not beat around the bush, our journey’s can be extremely challenging in every way, but it can be so much harder for others ? #begrateful. On my own journey I am searching for something, I’m searching for hope in suffering, searching for the goodness in humanity, searching for the reason behind …

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Rural Teaching in India Review

Below is some feedback from my recent stay with the Bodhi Tree Educational Project Highlights of the trip: – Learning about the project and seeing first hand the good work it’s doing for its local community – Getting to know some of the truely devoted teachers, volunteers and of course the inspirational and dedecated Director, Dherendra – Singing, dancing with …

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Nutrition & Healthcare Volunteering Abroad – Bodhgaya India – 2017

Nutrition Volunteering in India My time volunteering as a nutritionist in Bodhgaya, Bihar, a north-eastern state in India, was really rewarding, but it certainly wasn’t without its challenges. On my first day I was given such a warm welcome as I walked through the front gates to the School, with hundreds of students greeting me with great big smiles. Everyone …

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Bodhgaya India Volunteering – 2017

Highlights of the trip: There were many highlights of the trip. Overall, of course just being at the School each day was incredible and interacting with the students there was definitely the most special part of the experience. Hiking up a mountain with the scouts on our first day was definitely a highlight, as was witnessing the ceremony for Chinese …

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Nutritional Research Study – Rural India – Sarah Wainewright Nutritionist

Research Summary Rural India Nutritional Assessment  2017 By: Sarah Wainewright, Nutritionist Introduction To determine the food patterns, health knowledge and food security of the families of the students attending School in rural Boghgaya. This information is intended to assist nutrition education programs run by volunteers at the school, which aim to improve the nutrition status and health of the communities …

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Volunteering Bodhgaya India Review – 2016

  I’m truly thankful for the past two months I’ve spent in this special country. I’ve met so many beautiful and inspiring people and have been exposed to a completely different way of living and have seen a completely different appreciation for life. I will cherish the memories, the friends and all the unconditional love and smiles I received ? …

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Volunteering Bodhgaya India Review – 2016

So sad it’s my last week in India ? This week I am concluding staff training and have held a creative teaching workshop for all 7 teachers of the 4 schools. Although my delivery was similar to a  female Mr Bean, it seemed to go well! Shiny new cupboards are being sent (1 by 1 via me and Ramesh on …

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Rural Community Support Review Bodhgaya – 2016

Hi Lauren and Brian, Tomorrow is my last day here before I head to Sri Lanka and begin my travels. I just wanted to let you know that I have had an amazing, challenging and inspiring time. LINK TO RURAL INDIA VOLUNTEERING PLACEMENT I cannot put into words my experience here, the children, the villages, the people, the staff are …

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Teaching English in Rural School Review – 2015

Link to Project My volunteer placement in Bodhgaya was a profoundly rich experience, which I’m quite sure has altered my path in life to align more closely with my soul’s purpose. I spent a lot of time…….. with the kids at the school, and I am indebted to them for opening my heart. It is incredibly humbling, rewarding and inspiring …

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Rural Community Support India – 2015

I can honestly say that volunteering with IVI has been the best experience! That’s why I decided to do a second IVI program this year, I have absolutely no regrets and wouldn’t change a thing. It was amazing living with the friendly locals in their simplistic (very hot) lifestyle. The opportunities that the lovely, crazy, one of a kind Dhirendra …

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Rural Community School Review – 2015

The project was seriously amazing, the amount of diversity with the activities was totally unexpected and made the experience ten times better than I would have ever imagined!…….. seriously know that I’ll be heading back to the Bodhgaya project at some point in my life.   As for Dhirendra, he’s without doubt one of a kind. Haha, I love the bloke! …

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Bodhgaya Placement review IVI – 2015

I blinked and now my time in India is finished! Just an overnight train ride and a flight away from being in the beautiful Maldives. I’m so grateful for my experiences here and in Nepal. Everything from a 10 day silent meditation retreat, meeting and holding the Dalai Lama’s hand, trekking the Himalayas, attending Indians school awards ceremonies and school openings, …

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Rural Community Support Placement Review – 2015

Yesterday I continued to help this family. As they have next to nothing in their home, I brought them new beds, mattresses, mosquito nets, clothes and 1 months worth of fresh milk. They were beyond grateful. Thank you to those who donated, this is where part of your money has helped! Sophie (2014) Sydney Australia Link to Project     …

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Medical Internship Bodhgaya Review – 2015

Namaste guys, I apologize for taking so much time to write to you all as a follow up to my volunteering experience in India…… I had a difficult time trying to recover from the trip and journey and had caught Dhirendra’s cold the day I left. It was an honor and privilege to meet Dhirendra who is a very special …

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Bodhgaya India FAQ for female volunteers

  My questions were all the things a girl needs to know when she is about to set off to a third world country…… Were you able to shower daily? Did you have to walk to another building for a shared shower or what is the situation? Was there ever the luxury of hot water? Was there time restrictions for …

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Rural Community Volunteering India – 2014

We experienced the most incredible welcome, warmth, acceptance, and hospitality unlike anything we could have imagined or hoped for. On our first visit to the school the entire school greeted us at the gates.  The children placed flower wreathes around our necks and performed a Hindu blessing.  As we walked through the entrance the school children showered us with flower petals …

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