Volunteerism in India: Best ways to volunteer in India in 2021

Volunteer in India

 Volunteerism in India is a trend in India today because India is a beautiful country with countless things to do and places to explore while volunteering abroad. 

There are hundreds of different ways to volunteer in India, whether you are committed to helping underserved communities, want to work with animals, or hope to contribute to conservation projects. 

To give you some inspiration for your trip, here are the best ways to volunteer in India in 2021

  Instead of just handing over money to people you might see begging, which is rarely a good idea (and never a good idea when it comes to kids), there are ways that travelers can contribute positively. 

If you are willing and able to donate your time, there are nearly countless ways you can volunteer for a worthy cause in India. 

Whatever your skills and interests, you will likely be able to find a volunteer program that will enable you to provide tangible help as well as spend meaningful and memorable time.

However, it is important to identify a program that truly benefits more than harm, and does not actually take advantage of well-meaning volunteers as well as local children, wildlife, or other at-risk people in an effort to make money. 

That’s why we’ve put together this list of top volunteer experiences in India, which Go Overseas has checked out and received excellent reviews about.  It encompasses all kinds of experiences and programs, from planting trees and saving animals to empowering women and children’s projects.

 Why volunteer in India?

  The idea of ​​engaging youth to face development challenges in India through youth volunteering is not new.  India has a rich history of volunteering through religious commitments, philanthropy, mutual aid and value systems embedded in Indian society. 

But, as the new report – The State of Youth Volunteering in India 2017 – found by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs, Government of India, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and United Nations Volunteers (UNV), a supportive environment and opportunities are essential to properly utilize the potential of volunteers.  Young.

  India has made great progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, but much remains to be done. 

By actively engaging existing volunteers and mobilizing new volunteers in the concerted action of engaging with the often hard-to-reach communities, India can bridge some of the gaps between policy and implementation.

  The Government of India has demonstrated its commitment to ensuring that young volunteers are a part of the conversation and work towards achieving India’s development goals. 

It formulated the first National Youth Policy during the Seventh Five-Year Plan and launched the National Service Scheme (NSS) and Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), both of which are volunteer programs that now have a base of nearly 3.6 million volunteers and 125,000 young people.  Clubs across the country, respectively. 

However, despite the interest in understanding and encouraging volunteer work in India, there are many factors that must be addressed so that volunteering benefits the volunteers themselves – and of course the larger community – in sustainable and equitable ways.

Things to know before volunteering in India

  When you travel to a different country, it is important to familiarize yourself with its unique culture and social characteristics.  This helps you settle in quickly and avoid misunderstanding.  The local Indian culture is varied and ancient.  It is affected by foreign influences, different religions in the country, different languages ​​and tribes. 

Exploring India’s cultural heritage is a must when traveling to India and a great way to spend your free time as a volunteer in India.

  1. Safety precautions

  Keep in mind that there are different laws in every region that you need to know before going to India.  India has a complex social structure.  You should be aware of this and do the necessary research beforehand.  When in doubt, you can follow these simple tips:

  • You must be able to identify yourself at all times!
    • Carry your personal belongings and documents with you at all times.
    • Bring certified copies if necessary.

  Check the legal drinking age for the state you volunteer in: Legal ages range from 18 to 25 depending on the state.  In some states (the so-called “dry countries”) alcohol is strictly prohibited.

  Since the largest cities in India often have a population of several million inhabitants and are thus a major problem of poverty, crime rates are to be expected to rise.  If you travel alone as a woman, please see some of our advice on female solo travel in India.

  • Culture and religion

  Indian cuisine is – not surprisingly – as diverse as the different regions of the country.  Did you know that India has the largest number of vegetarians in the world?  About 20-40% of Indians are vegetarians.  Indian cuisine is famous for its rich use of herbs, spices, and various cooking techniques.

  The majority of people in India (80%) practice Hinduism, but there is also a reasonable community that believes in Islam (14%).  It is important to respect all religious customs and places:

  • Cover your head before entering a religious place.
  • Ask permission before taking photos of women and religious sites.
  • Sometimes taking pictures is prohibited and sometimes places charge for it.

  When moving to a different country, it is important for you to become familiar with its unique culture and social characteristics.  This helps you settle in quickly and avoid misunderstanding.  Regarding Indian culture, please keep the following in mind:

  • It is not appreciated to show affection to the public.
  • The same applies to nudity, which is severely punished.  So, if you are visiting any beaches please refrain from going topless.  You might be severely reprimanded for this!
  • Smoking is prohibited in public places.
  • It is impolite to eat with the left hand.

  • Health advice

  It can be annoying to get sick when traveling, and although it is a common concern for travelers that they will develop a stomach disease when traveling to India, there are some basic precautions you can take to avoid this:

  • Eat and drink safely: Do not eat undercooked food, avoid street food, and do not drink water from the tap!
  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
  • Plan how you will receive health care during your stay.  Get travel insurance and bring your medication with you, especially if you need special medication.
  • Preventing insect bites: You may want to cover exposed skin, use insect repellent, and use bed net.
  • Make sure you are familiar with the routine vaccinations before each trip.  These vaccines include MMR, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, varicella (chickenpox), polio, and the annual flu vaccine.  Moreover, the US-based Disease Control and Prevention Agency (CDC) recommends vaccination against hepatitis A and typhoid as you can catch these diseases through contaminated food or water in India.

Ways to volunteer in India in 2021

Conservation of animals and wildlife

  Did you know that India is the only present-day country where lions and tigers are found in their natural habitat?  However, the Bengal tiger is threatened with habitat loss, conflict with humans, and the illegal trade in wildlife and is therefore considered one of the most endangered big cats in the world.

  As a volunteer in India, you can participate in tiger conservation efforts and aid these endangered animals in their incredibly picturesque natural habitat.  In addition to hiking and vehicle-based safaris, you will participate in all kinds of tiger protection activities, wildlife management and community-focused initiatives during your time as a volunteer in India on a wildlife conservation project.

  The wealth and diversity of local wildlife groups provide ideal opportunities to volunteer in India.  There you can participate in all kinds of animal preservation.  You can, for example, take care of wild animals that have been hurt or abused.  Your contribution as a volunteer in India will help biologists to conduct the observation and search for local wildlife.

  If you want to explore India’s fauna further afield, the national parks are a popular travel destination.  However, parks won’t be the only place you’ll come close to wildlife.  However, parks won’t be the only place you’ll come close to wildlife.  Don’t be surprised to see elephants roaming the streets and monkeys trying to steal from you.  Seriously, don’t get close to these monkeys!

Biodiversity and its conservation

  India is one of 17 extremely diverse countries, which means that it is home to at least 5,000 endemic plant species and is bordered by a marine ecosystem.  Moreover, India contains three biodiversity hotspots, one of which accounts for 21.2% of the forests covering the land area of ​​the country. 

Unfortunately, human encroachment in the past decades has seriously threatened India’s unique biodiversity. 

And although the country has made great progress in the past in terms of environmental protection and awareness, there are still many environmental issues that India has to face.

  Do you think that protecting the environment is one of the most important challenges of our time?  Your motivations to do volunteer work in India can make a difference where it is truly needed!  The 5 most important environmental challenges facing India are:

  • Depletion of groundwater
  • Land / soil degradation
  • Air and water pollution
  • Loss of biodiversity
  • Greenhouse gas emissions

Many social volunteer programs in India that deal with these issues are in dire need of a helping hand and support as a volunteer in India.  Another volunteer work in India you can take part in deals, for example, with organic and sustainable farming or environmental education.

Community services support

Since widespread poverty and inequality are still a major social concern in India, you may want to consider becoming a community volunteer in India. 

Among the many social issues that the country has to face, there are 5 most urgent:

  • Overpopulation
  • Corruption
  • Inefficient public health infrastructure
  • The lack of adequate sanitation in rural and urban areas
  • The significant increase in poverty and inequality rates

There are many social volunteer projects in India that aim to address these issues. 

Volunteering with one of them gives you the opportunity to make a big difference in local communities and improve various aspects of the lives of locals. 

Volunteer work in India in the field of community development are:

  • Child and friend care programs
  • Work in local orphanages
  • Taking care of street children
  • Building programs
  • Women’s Empowerment

India is a mainly male-dominated society, with many women having limited education and work opportunities. 

The predetermined gender roles that shape the lives of many women often push them towards domesticated and dependent lifestyles.  As a result, only two-thirds of women in India are literate.

Rural women in India are among the most disadvantaged in terms of decision-making power and access to development opportunities. 

But did you know that rural women are agents of economic and social change? 

Studies show that it is a pioneer in environmental protection and that, in many ways and to different degrees; it thrives in its roles as farmers, producers, investors, caregivers as well as consumers.

That is why volunteer programs in India also include women’s empowerment because these need international volunteers to help, educate and provide vocational training especially for women who live in:

  • Rural areas
  • Slums
  • Villages
  • Families below the poverty line

Education is the most effective tool in raising the status of women in developing countries. 

Once a woman sees herself as belonging to a group – of students or workers (outside the family), she begins to see herself as a worthy and valuable contribution to society. 

This increases self-esteem and paves the way for eliminating gender inequality.  Hence, volunteer work in India must include the topic of women’s empowerment as well.

Work in an orphanage

Before deciding on a volunteer program in India that participates in orphanages, make sure that you are prepared for your mission and understand what to expect. 

While working with orphans may seem noble at first, it is important to realize that more than 80% of children living in orphanages are not orphans. 

They are separated from their families because they are poor, disabled, or from an ethnic minority, or because they suffer from other exclusion factors.

Many of these children have experienced violence or abuse and psychological trauma. 

For this reason, it is imperative that the volunteers have the appropriate skills.  If not, you may put yourself and your children at risk. 

Therefore, if you wish to do volunteer work in India at an orphanage, you must fulfill at least one of the following requirements:

  • Experience working with traumatized children
  • Childcare training
  • Training as a psychiatrist
  • Training as a social worker
  • Teaching in India

Although India can score a high level of education, there is still a lot of potential and need for international volunteers to support local schools, especially in rural areas. 

Although there are many initiatives to work on the issue of poor education, it remains a source of concern in India. 

Projects that focus on helping educational initiatives focus on providing local children the opportunity for a better education.  This is a great opportunity for children who otherwise cannot go to school.

Volunteering as a mentor and mentor for these children is not only very rewarding but will also help you grow as a person.  To work on educational projects in India, you must be:

  • Open-minded
  • Creative
  • Flexible
  • Willing to take on challenges

In some volunteer programs in India, you can find yourself studying in an outdoor classroom, and the need for creativity and improvisation is paramount. 

As an Education volunteer in India you will work in a team and if you have the necessary skills then you might get an opportunity to plan lessons independently. 

If you decide to work as an English teacher, it will help improve vocabulary as well as students’ spoken English skills. 

We recommend that you make use of your creativity to organize educational games to play with children.


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