When you add “Volun” before “travel” the word takes a whole new meaning. It opens up a plethora of exciting new opportunities for travelers to visit a country and come in close contact with its people. There are hundreds of search results on Google for “volunteer in India.” From opportunities such as an ice skating instructor (Ladakh) to caretaker of elephants in the Backwaters (Kerala); the variety of work on offer is indeed amazing. What makes this even more appealing to youngsters, especially those who are taking a gap year, is that a select few of these roles come with free accommodation and food.
Hence, they allow you to contribute to the local community, make friends and use the free time to explore the beauty of surrounding areas. The challenge is to find the program cut out for you. That’s where we come in. At Tripoto, we have listed down five such unique programs that are foolproof and pack a punch.
1: Ice Hockey Coach in Ladakh
Ice hockey and figure skating are hugely popular in Ladakh and the Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) provides an opportunity for young people from rural villages to skate and play hockey. SECMOL invites Indian and foreign nationals, with understanding of the sport, as volunteer coaches for short and long-duration. The sport season begins early December and goes on till late February. If ice hockey is not your thing, worry not. You can volunteer for various other teaching and youth camps. Volunteers pay Rs 500 per day for room and boarding.
2: Ride with Jumbos in Rajasthan
Raise an elephant may be? This volunteer program is right up the alley of animal lovers. It is held in a village near Amber Fort known as the Elephant Village. More than 100 jumbos get care by their mahouts every day. Your work will be feeding the elephants, bathing them, cleaning the area, bringing water, go for a ride with any elephant, make bundles of hay and chapati in a mud stove to eat. Before you begin to sweat, the work duration is three-fours a days and allows ample opportunity to explore the untampered Rajasthan countryside. Moreover, VolunteeringWithIndia, makes arrangements for room, food and transportation for the volunteers, from the first day of the volunteer’s arrival in Jaipur, India. The project fees ranges from $150 for 1 week and $250 for each week thereafter. .
3: Serve the Underprivileged in Udaipur
The advantage of working with Seva Mandir is that volunteers get to work on projects that match their experience and interests. The activities include assisting with day-to-day operations, conducting research, undertaking independent assignments, and developing training modules. Guest houses/dormitories fully furnished and with shared kitchens, are provided for volunteers. That the organisation is located in the scenic white city, Udaipur, doesn’t hurt the cause.
4: WWOOFing in India
WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunity on Organic Farm) brings together volunteers and farmers in locations across the world. You will work a defined number of hours in exchange for room and boarding. You know what the best part is? There is no prior work experience is required to take up this role. At our last count, there were 1,000 organic farms in India to choose from. They include tea estates, coffee estates, and vegan agricultural communities. It’s a great way to learn as well as experience life in the Indian countryside. There’s a membership fee of $25 for singles or $40 for couples, for 12 months.
5. Press the Online Help Button
HelpX is short for Help Exchange. It’s 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 volunteer opportunities on offer. You can do everything from running guest houses, teaching English, and working on farms. Accommodation is in most cases provided free of cost. The one catch is that users have to pay a membership fee to be able to contact the listed hosts.