If you’ve been thinking of a different vacation from long, ixigo has nailed it. Yes, it’s the word doing the rounds of travel circuit – volunteering. While you travel across India, there are plenty of options to go for volunteering too. Take your pick from organic farming, baby care, conservation of Olive Ridley Turtles and more.
Just to add, these are huge cost savers too. Travel in budget, travel for a cause.
1) LHA. Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh
With LHA Dharamsala, you can experience a very different way of exploring Dharamsala and its twin town, McLeodganj. LHA calls for volunteers for a range of opportunities including teaching of English, Chinese, French, Spanish, German, Photography, Computers, Web Development/Design, Volunteer Coordination, Fundraising, Project Coordination, Environmental Research, Copy Editing/Editorial Assistance, Social Media and more. You need to put in 4 hrs of teaching/work a day, and after that the Dhualadhars are all yours. Staying and food can be arranged for as low as INR 200/day and has to be paid for by the volunteers.
2) Mother’s Hope, Dimapur, Nagaland
Explore a different side of the traveller in you by lending a hand to a very noble cause at Mother’s Hope, Dimapur. It’s a baby care cum adoption home and also facilitates in counselling and health care assistance to victims of sexual abuse, crisis pregnancy, skill training to women and more. They need volunteers for counselling, baby care, women rights’ advocates and more.
3) Fertile Ground, Assam
Try yourself at Organic Farming practices or go for a teaching experience at Assam with Fertile Ground. This organisations assists and promotes farmers and other stakeholders interested in following organic farming practices. You can also teach kids at one of the educational workshops that are held here or assist the other school teachers for the same. A minimum of one week is the ideal stay duration here.
4) Spiti Ecosphere, Spiti, Himachal Pradesh
If you are fit and raring to go and do some good along the way, Spiti Ecosphere is just the place. A must for every mountain lover, Spiti Ecosphere is a delightful experience. They work for nature and culture conservation and create employment opportunities from the same. You can stay for a min of 4 days day to a week and help with building greenhouse and solar powered buildings and structures, office work or working for the village activities. Cost of travel and stay is to be borne by the volunteers.
5) Students’ Sea Turtle Conservation Network, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
If you can take out some time from your itinerary at Chennai, an interesting volunteering experience awaits you. Here, you can join a group of environmentalists at 11 pm on Neelangarai beach. The group gathers every Friday and Saturday and walks for around seven km till Besant Nagar Beach and scours for turtle nests and protect those. Talks are held on turtle conservation as well as other environmental issues.
6) Jamyang Foundation, Zanskar, Kinnaur and Spiti, Himachal Pradesh
Jamyang Foundation gives you the opportunity to teach Buddhist nuns at any of its monasteries at Zanskar, Kinnaur and Spiti. While the cost of travelling and living are to be borne by the volunteers, it’s minimal for an experience like this. You need to volunteer for a minimum of one week (min 4 hrs a day). Choose from English, Arts (basic), Geography, Calculation, Health and Hygiene, Biology. More than anything, the nuns look forward to improving their communication skills, especially in Hindi. The food provided is basic, organic, and vegetarian. And the skyline is the same, the great great Himalayas.
7) WWF India – Green Hiker, Himalayan Region
This one takes you another step up in the run to eco travel. WWF India has this special programmer for the lovers of the Himlayas with this initiative. You can aid WWF India by advocating the cause of a cleaner and responsible way in the Himalayas via online media. Or else, you can go on mountain clearing expedition with WWF India.
8) Sikkim Himalayan Academy. Soreng, Sikkim
This non profit school invites volunteers for teaching English. Run by some local teachers and Dutch supporters, it’s located in the beautiful terrains of Sikkim, cut off from the contemporary. Other than education, the organisation also works for conserving and promoting the culture and languages of Sikkim. You’re free to explore the surroundings after giving classes. SHA usually takes volunteers for a month or more.
9) Sadhana Village. Pune, Maharashtra
Sadhana Village is an initiative to support and help disabled children, self help groups and rural women. While you explore the many facets of Pune, you can also work as a volunteer with Sadhana by teaching, assisting in operations, or working on any of the verticals that it supports.
10) Agumbe Rainforest Research Station, Shimoga, Karnataka
Agumbe offers a perfect opportunity for travel lovers who are equally in love with nature. Agumbe, primarily, works for the conservation of rainforests and needs volunteers in the fields of wildlife studies and nature conservation. If staying, exploring and working in the wilderness is your call, you can volunteer and help with creating/maintaining photographic inventories of flora and fauna, studying and research the ecology of Draco Dussumieri (Flying lizards), Amphibian Population Dynamics, Canopy Studies, Tree Planting and Surveys, Organic Farming, General Maintenance, Creation of Educational Material and Socio-economic Studies.
While the costs for travel, stay and food for most of these volunteering opportunities is to be borne by the volunteers, the expenses are minimal. More so when compared to huge travel expenditures. It’s approximately INR 200 for a day, as staying and food is usually arranged by the organisations.
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