In 2006, Bangalore became known as Bengaluru (this article will henceforth use Bangalore). Bangalore has several nicknames: the Silicon Valley of India, Pensioner’s Paradise, and the “it” capital of India. Bangalore does not have the romantic allure of Delhi or Mumbai but the city is not without its own sights, including India’s most popular shopping districts (…even if shopping goes against everything volunteering stands for…).
Community Development: Working in small schools to help disabled, deaf, or handicapped children is a worthwhile and needed volunteer experience when Bangalore’s population is over 8 million. Counseling and befriending the elderly are other forms of helping each community directly.
Health Care: Malnutrition and poor sanitation are but two of Bangalore’s biggest health hurdles. Although fiscal spending on the health care system is growing, more people need greater care due to age and disease prevalence. An extra pair of hands at hospitals and clinics will have a huge impact.
Youth Support/Development/Education/Teaching English: Being a source of constant positivity for Bangalore’s youth whether it’s through teaching English or performing small skits can have huge returns. There are a handful of good state schools in Bangalore but many of them are ill-equipped and under-staffed. Private schools cater to the growing middle class but there are still young and lower-class Bangalore students who are suffering from a lack of educational support.
- Questions to Ask: Where are the areas to avoid? What is the best way to interact with community members if I don’t speak Hindi? What mode of transportation will I rely on?
- How Volunteering will Help Your Future: Bangalore is paving the way into the 21st century in a way from which other Indian cities can learn. To volunteer and experience this change firsthand while seeing widespread poverty is a rare sight, one that could impact your perspective indefinitely.
Health and Safety of Volunteers in Bangalore:
Dehydration, pick-pocketing, and getting lost are your greatest adversaries in Bangalore. Always have numbers of police stations, local hospitals, or taxi services ready in case anything happens that requires quick help. Crime is not high but in as crowded a place as Bangalore, always be on the look-out for suspicious activity or potential ruffians.
Bangalore’s dense population also lends to higher likelihood of disease spreading. Be sure to take the following vaccinations:
- Hepatitis A & B
- Japanese encephalitis
Visas for Volunteering in Bangalore:
To volunteer in Bangalore, you will need the following:
- Official application form
- Proof of residential address
- Specifically-sized photos
- Official Global Service Order Form
Look through your embassy or consulate’s website for the specifics of obtaining a visa.
Where can I volunteer in India?
India is a large country with many heavily populous cities. You can find volunteer opportunities in most of them, including: Jaipur, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Delhi, and many others. You can also find opportunities that serve a rural population, and these will generally be outside of the large urban centers. Some of these options might take you to the Himalayan region or the forests in the south.
How can I volunteer for free in India?
There are a number of global work exchange programs that allow you to volunteer and in return receive room and board. Organizations like WWOOF and Workaway offer opportunities like this in India. But there are also a number of affordable alternatives listed on Go Overseas that, while not free, provide structure and security for a small fee.