Volunteer Abroad in India
88% Rating
(6 Reviews)

Volunteer Abroad in India

Volunteers For Peace (VFP) is a Vermont-based non-profit organization, founded in 1982, that offers placement in over 3,000 voluntary service projects in more than 100 countries. Each year we provide almost 1,000 volunteers with invaluable opportunities to strengthen their ability to communicate in diverse groups, explore grassroots leadership opportunities, and build cultural understanding and connections around the world.

VFP has partnered with two India based non-profit organizations, FSL (Field Services & Intercultural Learning) and RUCHI, in a cooperative effort to offer over 50 volunteer projects throughout the year.

Volunteer with local grassroots community organizations in India, focusing on raising environmental awareness, work with children, community development and more! Projects range from 2-3 weeks up to 2-3 months.

Click 'Get Started' and search the Project List for the most current information on availability.

Locations
Asia » India
Length
1-2 Weeks
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
3-6 Months
Language
English
Housing
Host Family
Hostel
Hostel
Starting Price
$0.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
VFP's placement fee is always $500 ($650 for teens) and must be paid at the time of registration. (If we can’t place you we refund the full fee!) Your registration covers placement, food, accommodation and work materials for your program. Volunteers arrange and pay for their own transportation to and from the project. Projects taking place in the developing world often require an additional fee in the range of $50-$500 payable to our partners upon arrival.
Other Locations
Rural Areas

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    73%
  • Support
    87%
  • Fun
    87%
  • Value
    87%
  • Safety
    93%

Program Reviews (6)

Mandi Schmitt
Mandi
Female
Berkeley
University of Maryland

Teaching in Hunsur

8/10

Although I volunteered through VFP three years ago, I distinctly remember being surprised at how helpful the staff was, how quickly they responded to my questions via email, and how much information they provided before I left. My interactions with the staff were beneficial and friendly and obviously left a great impression on me, seeing as how I remember it three years later.

Their partner in India, FSL, was also helpful during orientation week, and very welcoming to the country. I and the other six volunteers were in constant communication with staff about our living situation, projects, and other travel information. There were definitely some kinks that needed to be worked out, but things happen much slower in India, and I fully believe the staff was dedicated to making us as comfortable as possible. For example, we were told we'd have a volunteer house to live in upon arrival to our project site. It kept getting pushed back, leaving us volunteers in a shabby hotel for around 6 weeks. Ultimately, though, the staff pulled through and placed us in a wonderful house which hopefully is still in use today.

Though I have no doubt the staff did the best they could, unfortunately there was a breakdown between FSL and the Nisarga Foundation, the specific project I was placed in, for which I taught English to ethnic tribal children. There was not a structured method of conducting classes, and I was often left just playing with the kids. It was frustrating, because I felt I didn't really contribute due to lack of supplies, minimal communication with teachers, and no set goals to accomplish. I am not sure of FSL still sends volunteers to work with the Nisarga Foundation, and if so there has been ample time for improvement, but my experience with them was less than satisfactory.

That being said, I have plenty of friends who loved their placements which were provided by FSL. And I still highly valued my time in India - I learned a lot about the country and myself. I would absolutely recommend using VFP, and would use them myself in the future.

How can this program be improved?

It helps to be very aware of who you are indirectly partnering with. FSL is a trustworthy partner, but in 2011 Nisarga Foundation was not developed or structured enough to have volunteers.

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Lynn
Female
42 years old
Sparta, NJ
Columbia University

Volunteering in India for all ages...

9/10

I was 47 years old and decided to volunteer through Volunteers for Peace in Dharmasala, India in July, 2011 I was told the average age was of participants was 28. Without my age included, it was 22. Believing that we all needed to be there, I became a part of a 22 member team lead by two facilitators from FSL-India. We lived and worked together for three weeks. We came from all over the world, with half of us not speaking English, but that didn't prevent the creation of community both for one another and for the two rural Indian schools that we served. As a parent of three children in American schools and as a teacher, I was amazed at the lack of facilities and comfort that were afforded to Indian children in their schools. But, quickly, I realized that the lack that I perceived was the norm for them. I saw children in school's who couldn't even afford to have their own pencils and yet they thrived and loved learning and being with one another. There was also a lot of gratitude shown to the volunteers from the school officials, teachers and students for the time and effort spent beautifying their classrooms and play grounds and the games and songs we sang to strengthen their knowledge of English. As a nursery school teacher, long out of the classroom, my moment was playing the guitar and
having fifty Indian children sing the song Kumba. All in, was the perfect opportunity to give and to learn on many different levels. I look forward to volunteering this summer in a rural school in Kenya.

How can this program be improved?

well...I am a borderline diabetic, so it was challenging eating sometimes. The food was heavy on carbohydrates.

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Kalleneryan
Female
24 years old
Jackson hole, wy
American University

Very rewarding and effective work

10/10

I spent 4 months working for a very small organization called paramedical educational trust, located in Tamil Nadu, India. This experience was everything I was looking for. It was well organized, efficient, affordable and most important it was sustainable as the project was locally based. I loved my living situation, because I was able to spend a lot of time with the woman who runs the organization and her family. They made me feel a part of their family and I will have that connection with them for the rest of my life. I felt I had a wonderful support group in India. This organization understands the importance of providing support in country as well as at home. Working for an Indian organization, FSL India, as well as VFP prided me with a lot of support. I felt safe and happy throughout my time in India. There honestly is not much I would change about my experience, except for making it last a lot longer!

How can this program be improved?

The only thing I would alter is the amount of preparation for the work I had before arriving. I did not know what or where I would be going until orientation week In India. With that being said I adapted very well and made the most of it, I strongly recommend all volunteers work to be as flexible and adaptive as possible, and to remember that you are there to work for and with these people, not to teach them what to change. The organization I worked with had never received volunteers before me and they did not have much information or preparation so that is something I would work on. Making sure all participants are prepared and ready to work hard and have an amazing experience

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Itinerant
Female
42 years old
Japan
University of Hawaii- Manoa

Mixed bag

7/10

I had an excellent experience with the VFP office - they were helpful, responsive, and friendly. My service project in India ended up being with a for-profit organization instead of a community non-profit, as I had initially thought. The director of the organization was imperious (for example, expecting 10-12hr work days, 6-7 days a week) and was more interested in using my status as a foreigner for PR than for my actual ability to contribute ideas and assistance to his projects.

This was the first time this Indian organization offered volunteer positions through VFP, and from what I understand, my experience helped lead to improvements for interns who came after me.

How can this program be improved?

I would encourage new Indian organizations that sign up with VFP to bring in volunteers to establish reasonable expectations for volunteers before taking them on. There also needs to be more rigorous background checks on host organizations so that volunteers don't end up working for self-interested, for-profit entities.

Response from Volunteers For Peace (VFP)

VFP works with Field Services and Intercultural-learning India who coordinates the host organizations where volunteers serve. We are confident in their ability to host quality volunteer programs and they provide excellent support for our medium and long-term volunteers to make sure the experience is positive both for the volunteer and host organization. Thank you for your feedback!

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india
Female
24 years old
Boston
Brandeis University

Unforgettable Summer

10/10

India is truly an incredible country. And there is no better way to get to know the culture, people and environment than volunteering in such a project. I met unbelievable people and had time to both make an impact at a local school and explore the nearby towns. This was truly a life changing experience.

How can this program be improved?

More supplies for activities with children and renovation would have been helpful.

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Judy
Female
24 years old
Chicago, Illinois
University of Illinois- Chicago

Kerala Service Project

9/10

There were very few moments where there wasn't something to do during the day. The days began with getting up early in the morning to make and drink chai as a group. Some of us would rise earlier to practice some yoga on our own. This moment of solitude combined with a communal activity (making chai) was the perfect way to start the day with a sense of balance.
Then we began our trek to the restaurant to have some breakfast. Because I was there during monsoon season, the weather was a bit difficult to adjust to, particularly in the first week. After having an amazing meal, followed by another glass of chai, we walked over to the school. At the school, the teachers debriefed us on what classes needed to be taught what subjects and we made lesson plans according to the needs. We mostly focused on hygiene practices. We found some struggles when teaching because the younger children struggled with speaking English. There was great joy with interacting with the students, but I felt ambiguous as to whether we were accomplishing what needed to be done due to a lack of continuity with each class. We typically jumped from one class to another.
After school sessions, we went back to the restaurant to have lunch. We enjoyed a wonderful meal and another savory cup(s) of chai. I found the meal times to be the times that I bonded most with my fellow group members. Food broke through the language barriers and cultural differences between the group members. It was something that we all knew we were experiencing for the first time.
After a leisurely lunch, we walked back to the school to have a yoga session with the local university professor. These yoga sessions were incredibly humbling. I learned an incredible amount of valuable lifestyle changes that I still use to this day. It helped with an extreme amount of self-reflection and induced a sense of serenity through a rather chaotic and unfamiliar time in my life.
After yoga, we would embark on a cultural experience that differed from day to day. These experiences were rather exciting and ones that I will not forget.
We would then wind down the day by returning to the house and having food brought to us (women were not allowed out after sundown). I decided to go out with the project leader after dark to retrieve the food and this was an experience I will never forget as I truly felt like a complete outsider as I was starred down as the only woman and the only foreigner.
We would sit down as a group and have dinner. Afterwards, we would do a group activity that was always a time to laugh. Then we would take turns showering or doing laundry (with a bucket and a rock) and then go to sleep. Usually, I would call my family, listen to music, or write in my journal before turning in. It was helpful to have something familiar for a sliver of my day. Although as time continued, the things that were normally familiar felt more new with everyday.

How can this program be improved?

The program was great overall, but there are a few things I would change. I would try to maintain some continuity when interacting with the children to establish more of a relationship that would make an impact. I would also recommend giving more support and information before the trip. The phone calls I've received for advice on going on this trip have always consisted of the same worries on how little information is given before the trip. I felt the same way. A little more support would be very helpful and I think more encouraging for future volunteers.

About The Provider

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Volunteers For Peace (VFP) is a U.S. based non-profit organization that operates within the global networks of the Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS), Service Civil International (SCI) and the Alliance of European Voluntary Service to provide meaningful cross-cultural engagement opportunities to thousands of

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