Referred to as "voluntourism", the concept of volunteering while on vacation is growing in popularity around the world. Many people now come to volunteer in India while traveling. Here’s what you need to know about doing volunteer work in India.
What are the Benefits of Volunteering in India
Volunteering is a rewarding way of giving something back to the community. It’s also a great alternative to donating money or giving money to beggars because it enables you to be personally involved in the cause and to see the results of your work firsthand. In addition to this, it’s likely that you’ll come away with a different outlook and appreciation for life after becoming aware of the hardships faced by less-fortunate people.
How to Volunteer in India
There are two main ways of volunteering in India. These are independently, or though companies that provide volunteer placements . Volunteering independently, at an organization such as the Mother Teresa of Calcutta Centre, is a much cheaper option but it won’t give you the support that’s offered by volunteer placement companies. In addition to organizing your placement on a project, these companies also provide training, orientation, accommodation, food and help with getting settled in your new environment.
It’s recommended that anyone traveling to India for the first time, or volunteering in India for the first time, join a placement company. India can be a challenging country for first-timers and it’s reassuring to know that assistance is readily available if need be.
What to Consider When Planning to Volunteer in India
There are a few things you’ll need to decide on first before you can really get into planning your trip. These are the type of volunteer work that you want to do, the location that you want to do it in, and the people you want to work with. Once you’ve got the answers to these questions, then you’ll be able to narrow down the projects that are suitable for you and the organizations you may want to join.
What are the Options for Volunteer Work in India
The range of volunteer work that’s available in India is so diverse that there’s something for everyone. A popular option is working with underprivileged children, such as teaching English and helping with their schooling.Other ideas include:
- Working on empowerment programs for underprivileged women.
- Working at an orphanage.
- Working with the sick, dying, or disabled.
- Working on environmental conservation programs.
- Working on rural development programs.
- Working on health programs.
- Coaching sports for children.
- Teaching tribal communities.
You'll find projects on offer everywhere in India, from the mountains to the cities.
How Long is Needed to Volunteer in India
The duration that you volunteer in India for is really up to you! Programs are available for as short as two weeks, and as long as six months. Most people volunteer for at least a month so it gives them a chance to settle in, get to know everyone, and start making a difference. If you only volunteer for a very short period, you’ll spend most of your time just learning the ropes and you won’t have the opportunity to contribute a great deal.
What is the Cost of Volunteering in India
In most cases, you’ll have to pay for all your expenses, including airfare, accommodation, and food. If you join a volunteer placement company, you’ll also have to pay a placement fee. The cheapest options with volunteer placement companies start from around $250 for two weeks, and include food and accommodation. Most companies charge around $500 for two weeks.
What Can Be Expected When Volunteering in India
While the thought of volunteering can be inspiring, the actual experience can be quite confronting. Not only will you have to adjust to living in a different country and finding your way around, you’ll need to completely step out of your comfort zone. However, that’s where the greatest rewards are!
Depending on where you work, you may find that you're initially treated with caution by the people you’ve come to help. It can take them a while to accept volunteers, but after a couple of weeks you’ll be viewed as a long lost friend, and moved by their courage and determination.
It's very rare that anyone regrets their experience as a volunteer, and for some, it's totally life changing.