Volunteer in India

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  • About

    Despite rapid economic growth, a large portion of India's population remains impoverished and in need of basic human necessities. 70% of the population still has limited access to housing and clean water. With an estimated 6 doctors for every 10,000 people, the people of India also continue to face severe public health challenges on a daily basis -- not to mention issues with women's rights, education, and small business development.

    Right now, you could volunteer in India to help underprivileged populations gain access to better education, healthcare, human rights, and infrastructure. Volunteer programs are located in metropolitan areas such as Mumbai and Bangalore, as well as rural villages in states including Tamil Nadu, and Rajasthan. These volunteer projects, when done responsibly and with the engagement of local communities, are important aspects of India's overall development.

  • Program Types

    Whatever area of volunteering you'd like to be a part of, chances are that India will offer it. Depending on which sectors can make use of your specific skill sets, you could be working in urbanized areas such as Mumbai or Bangalore, or the rural peace of somewhere like Tamil Nadu or Rajasthan. Here's a snapshot of the types of volunteer projects in India:


    Few countries have such a polarized healthcare system as India. The rich enjoy world-class treatment while poorer inhabitants often have no access to health basics. India is home to the highest amount of AIDS and HIV cases in the world too. As a volunteer you can work in an HIV clinic and help spread awareness. Medical and dental students can also gain first-hand experience in clinics and hospitals.

    Gender Equality

    Many women in India fall victim to emotional, physical or sexual abuse. Fortunately, there are a number of NGOs that have now been established to counteract such atrocities, and they're always on the lookout for volunteers.

    Youth Development and Education

    There are about 100 million street children in India and to counteract this, a large number of orphanages and shelter homes have been set up across the country. You could also help promote education by working in a primary or secondary school, teaching basic English.

    Community Development

    Only 75.3% of men and 53.7% of women in India are literate. Working as part of a community development program, you can help people discover their potential and make a better go of their lives.

    Environmental Conservation

    India's rapidly-increasing population means there has been much damage to natural surroundings by way of plastics, chemical pesticides and general high productivity. There are a number of projects in India where you can help promote sustainable farming and environmental conservation.

  • Planning Your Trip
    What kind of Volunteer support exists in India?

    Any good organization will look after its volunteers, and always be on hand to answer questions and provide help whenever required. Your embassies will be based in New Delhi, while dozens of consulates are located in towns and cities across India. About.com: India Travel also has tons of relevant resources for anyone traveling to India.

    What NGOs and non profits work in India?

    Unsurprisingly, India is a popular destination for NGOs and charities of all missions and sizes. NGOs India has a full list of NGOs in India.

    Will I need to learn the language to volunteer in India?

    The only country in the world with more English-speaking inhabitants that India is the U.S. Around 11% of all Indians speak English and you will find that especially amongst young people in urbanized areas, English is widely used.

    As with every new culture, you should still make a point of learning the basics of the native language, which in India could be Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati, Kannada, Punjabi, Tulu, Urdu, or any one of India's many official languages.

    Where are the best places to volunteer in India?

    Mumbai, Jaipur (Rajasthan), Delhi, and Bangalore are good starting points but India has no end of great volunteering locations. What's most important is that the program is right for you.

    Often, the type of project you want to work on will dictate where you go.

    What kind of visa will I need?

    Visitors from the U.S., UK, Canada and Australia require an Indian visa. A tourist visa lasts up to 6 months. Allow yourself plenty of time to apply for your visa and ensure that your passport has remaining validity on it (6 months is usually needed). Visit your own government's official travel site for more details on obtaining a visa or visit VISA HQ.

  • Health & Safety

    You'll need to be up to date with a number of vaccines for India. These include typhoid, hepatitis A and diphtheria. Depending on the areas you plan to visit, you may also require jabs for tuberculosis, hepatitis B, rabies, cholera, yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis. These latter vaccinations often apply to more rural areas.

    Tap water is generally unsafe for drinking, so stick to the bottled stuff. Also check to make sure that water bottles are properly sealed, as some scammers will refill water bottles with unclean water and resell them.

    As for safety, India is not without its problems and wherever you are in the country, you should keep your wits about you and be aware of dangers such as theft and reckless driving.

    There are certain areas of India which you are advised against traveling to altogether. These include the rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir (other than Ladakh) the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan (other than at Wagah) and all travel in Manipur.

    More in-depth advice can be found on the U.S. Department of State and Foreign and Commonwealth Office websites.

    Most visitors to India experience little or no trouble (other than a bit of traveler's tummy...), and your volunteer agency will also be looking out for you.

    Contributed by Will Noble

Showing 183 Programs

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  • Volunteering in India with IVHQ
    Reviewer Verified
    Volunteer abroad with IVHQ in India! Highly affordable programs are available anywhere from a week to 6 months. There are a...
    47 reviews
    Alumni Interviews
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    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days
    This program has been rated exceedingly supportive by 5+ reviewers.
  • A Volunteering Solutions volunteer with children in India
    Volunteering Solutions
    Reviewer Verified
    Take a trip to India and volunteer with Volunteering Solutions! Volunteering is a great way to immerse yourself in the...
    24 reviews
    Alumni Interviews
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  • UBELONG Volunteer Abroad India
    Reviewer Verified
    UBELONG offers 1-week to 6-month volunteering opportunities in Delhi. There are over 40 projects in different fields,...
    2 reviews
  • GoEco
    GoEco was created by experienced volunteers for people who are eager to travel and contribute to the community, wildlife and...
    3 reviews
    Alumni Interviews
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    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days
  • Global Vision International
    Reviewer Verified
    Women in India are born into a society where they don't have the same rights as men. They face the issue of gender...
  • India Golden Temple
    Carpe Diem Education
    Reviewer Verified
    Explore a multi-faceted culture and people as you spend three months traversing the diverse ecological and spiritual...
    2 reviews
  • Cultural immersion gap year program in India
    Africa and Asia Venture - AV
    Cultural immersion is more than just being a tourist and seeing the sights, it's a unique opportunity to engage meaningfully...
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  • Children in Madurai
    Travellers Worldwide
    If you have a passion for acting and a love of children, this is an excellent project for you! Our teaching Drama projects...
    1 reviews
  • Orphanage program
    A Broader View
    Reviewer Verified
    Overview Project length: From 2 weeks to 8 weeks Arrival Airport: Maharana Pratap (Code: UDR) Work Schedule: Monday to...
  • Volunteering in India iSPiiCE
    iSpiice (Integrated Social Programs in Indian Child Education) is a voluntary social organisation which offers affordable...
    34 reviews
    Alumni Interviews
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    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days
    This program has been rated exceedingly fun by 5+ reviewers.
    This program has been rated exceedingly supportive by 5+ reviewers.
  • Volunteer abroad in Guatemala
    WorldStamp is a gap year volunteer-abroad program with opportunities to engage meaningfully in three countries -- India,...
    12 reviews
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    This program has been rated exceedingly supportive by 5+ reviewers.
  • Cross-Cultural Volunteer Program in India
    Cross-Cultural Solutions
    Reviewer Verified
    India has a buzz about it, a pace and a national character all its own. The complexity that you'll find when you volunteer...
    20 reviews
    Alumni Interviews
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  • volunteer with children in India
    Love Volunteers
    Join Love Volunteers on a variety of programs in northern India. Programs are available in 2 locations, Jaipur, and...
    3 reviews
    Alumni Interviews
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  • GLA Service Volunteers in India
    Global Leadership Adventures
    India is at once an ancient civilization with deep historical and cultural roots and also an economic and political...
    6 reviews
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    This program has been rated exceedingly supportive by 5+ reviewers.
  • Teaching programs
    Kenosis Foundation
    Volunteers who want to work as teachers abroad can participate in a Projects Abroad Teaching project. You do not have to be...