First time volunteering advice

#1 Aug 26th, 2013, 13:13
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  • Sunshine2 is offline
#1
Hi, I was hoping that someone could give me some advice about how long I should volunteer for in India. I have read many articles like 'Before you pay to volunteer abroad, think of the harm you might do' and understand the problems that arise from short-term volunteer projects. Having said that, I am also aware that this will be my first trip to India and the first time I have travelled alone.

So my question is should I volunteer for 6 weeks at the end of this year or for 2-3 months at the end of next year?

To give you some more information, I am a 22-year-old student and due to my university commitments will only have these specific time periods available for travel. I have found an organisation where I could teach/ assist in teaching English and they ask volunteers to commit to at least one consecutive month of time.

Thanks in advance!

Cheers,

Elizabeth
#2 Aug 26th, 2013, 14:57
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  • DrRudi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunshine2 View Post Hi, I was hoping that someone could give me some advice about how long I should volunteer for in India. ...

So my question is should I volunteer for 6 weeks at the end of this year or for 2-3 months at the end of next year?

I have found an organisation where I could teach/ assist in teaching English and they ask volunteers to commit to at least one consecutive month of time.
Hello Elizabeth - welcome to IndiaMike,

On balance, 2-3 months is better than 6 weeks. That aside, if you have found somewhere that would have you for one month, then that might be a good way of putting your toe in the water.

Can I complicate things for you?

Legally, to volunteer in India, you need to travel on an Employment Visa (not a Tourist Visa), and volunteer with an Indian-registered NGO.

Under those circumstances, you need to have everything arranged before you go, including a letter of offer from the volunteer organisation.

http://www.vfs-in-au.net/index.html

If you want to teach English, I encourage you to complete a Certificate IV in TESOL first.

Do you have a sense of where (north, south, east, west, particular cities or towns) you would like to spend your volunteer placement?

In cases where you pay to volunteer - these can be quite expensive (as you probably have already figured out). It would be great then, if you were able to make arrangements directly with an organisation.

Here are some links to explore.

ProjectsAbroad have teaching opportunities in southern India, and you'll note they consider two week placements. (This is pay to volunteer)
http://www.projects-abroad.com.au/de...ndia/teaching/

Ladli has some opportunities in Jaipur (in Rajasthan).
http://ladli.org/HELP%20VOLUNTEER.htm

Help Exchange is an online bulletin board where hosts all around the world put up notices for help required. The great thing about HelpX is the diversity of India volunteer opportunities on offer. You'll need to sign up to the website, and pay a membership fee, to be able to contact the listed hosts though. Depends if you see something that really takes your fancy.
http://www.helpx.net/hostlist.asp?ho...=981&network=9

You can also trawl through Charity Vault, to see some of the other opportunities available.
http://www.charity-charities.org/Ind...ies/India.html


Good luck - come back with other questions - and thanks.
#3 Sep 5th, 2013, 03:00
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  • Michael Chew is offline
#3

go for it!

Hi Elizabeth,

I'd recommend both if you can! I think there's a lot to be said for considering deeply all the ethical implications of volunteering, white/foreigner privelege etc etc - its all very real and unfortunately a lot of people dont. but given you're clearly considering this I'm sure you wouldnt be one of these type of people who create big messes...

One guideline that I live by having done lots of international volunteering is to consider the volunteering not in isolation ("I helped teach these kids for 4 weeks"), but rather as connected to your life back in oz... "I raised x$ for (insert genuine need) before I left, did the volunteering, and now I'm back home I'm organising a little photo exhibition at my uni to share whats life like back in India and raise some $ for them..." that kind of thing, it really serves to multiple the effect of the volunteering and helps to maintain the relationships that you'll build up.

Anyway I could crap on a lot about this as it's close to my heart but its 1:54am in udaipur so bed time for me ... best of luck with it and let us know how you go!

cheerios,
Michael.

PS: thanks Dr Rudi those are great sites I didnt know existed. I would add the following for NGO/volunteering searches:
www.idealist.org
www.wiser.org

PPS: if you're going to teach english, why not throw in something else creative like making a quilt or community map with the kids? that gives an output that can help communicate the stories back home... I did these little projects in medan it might give you some ideas: http://entropygravity.blogspot.in/20...oundation.html
#4 Sep 19th, 2013, 15:31
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  • addymartin is offline
#4
Hi Elizabeth

Great Idea for Volunteering in India in teaching project. There are so many organization offering volunteering placement. But you need to take care before selecting any organization.
#5 Oct 7th, 2013, 15:18
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  • Vegan007 is offline
#5

Stay long, don't pay

Hi Elizabeth! I hope that your plans for India are going well.

To start, I would recommend that you don't pay to volunteer! There are PLENTY of places which don't ask you to as a requirement, though they probably won't feed you.
If you want something with accommodation and food included, try to find one that isn't making you give a mandatory donation on top of those fees. If you are in to reforestation, Sadhana Forest is great because you pay very little to be there and they give you a place to sleep and food. It is rustic though!
If you like animals I would recommend places like Integrated Animal Care Center. You can talk to Lorraine and be allowed to stay on the premises for free as long as you put in a few hours a day.

Basically, its best to do a little research, find an org without a set up volunteer program where they ask you to pay, and then ask them if they have accommodation. If they don't then it generally isn't too hard to find cheap places nearby (especially in Auroville, because there are always people looking for house-sitters, they may even pay you!).

As for the length of time, I would say the longer time allows you to really delve into your work, but if you are worried about burn out then the shorter time might prevent that. Its tough working in India sometimes!

I hope this helps, and good luck!

Joellen
www.worldlywags.com
#6 Oct 8th, 2013, 10:06
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  • atala is offline
#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegan007 View Post If they don't then it generally isn't too hard to find cheap places nearby (especially in Auroville, because there are always people looking for house-sitters, they may even pay you!).


Joellen
While it is correct that Auroville offers a lot of volunteering options, and that at a decisive advantage that you don't need a volunteer visa (tourist visa is good enough), the info above about house-sitting options is too optimistic, I'd say, since many or on waiting-list for that. But accomodation can be inexpensive at Auroville.

This is the main thread on Auroville: http://www.indiamike.com/india/off-t...oville-t44997/ If you don't have much time, read this and this post for an over-view of the situation there. (A price correction: Today a sumptuous meal at Solar Kitchen costs Rs 150, up from 100).

If you would like to volunteer some time outside Auroville, in the nice city of Pondicherry, I recommend this site from personal experience. They would like to have people who could do some kind of creative work with the young ladies (they call them children, because it is like a large family with Mrs. Banumathi Appaji as the mother).
http://www.jwalahome.org/
#7 Oct 9th, 2013, 22:48
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  • Zebsterr is offline
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Hi guys,

I wanted to introduce myself as another first-time volunteerer, although I'm still trying to find out what place would be best for me. Soliciting all your help on this! I'm a journalist and very interested in planning and development-related projects that put my skills to some good use. I'm from Mumbai and currently living in Bangalore. Would love to go to the north, east or north-west of India.

Please suggest some good places!

Thanks.
#8 Oct 10th, 2013, 05:52
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  • DrRudi is offline
#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zebsterr View Post Hi guys,

I wanted to introduce myself as another first-time volunteerer, although I'm still trying to find out what place would be best for me. Soliciting all your help on this! I'm a journalist and very interested in planning and development-related projects that put my skills to some good use. I'm from Mumbai and currently living in Bangalore. Would love to go to the north, east or north-west of India.

Please suggest some good places!

Thanks.
Review these websites:

http://www.charity-charities.org/Ind...ies/India.html


http://ngosindia.com/
Quote:
FOR INDIAN VOLUNTEERS

NGOs India is registering full time and part time Indian volunteers for NGOs.

Suitable volunteer's CVs may be forwarded to our verified associated NGOs time to time, whenever they have opportunities or openings in their projects.
Please send your C.V. alongwith the latest passport size photograph.

Please also mention your specific area of interest and expertise. We can inform you by mail or SMS about the current openings.

The Volunteer Service is presently free and support is available.
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