Volunteering Opportunities in India: From Local to Global

We're all aware of the concept of “think global, act local”. And when it comes to volunteering, there are a wealth of volunteer opportunities for Indian nationals of all backgrounds - whether you want to travel abroad or help out in your local community.

Author Anna Rees, 07.29.13

We’re all aware of the concept of “think global, act local”. And when it comes to volunteering, there are a wealth of volunteer opportunities for Indian nationals of all backgrounds – whether you want to travel abroad or help out in your local community.

Here’s our pick of some of the best places for Indian nationals to start looking for volunteer opportunities. Due to the complex nature of some paid volunteering placements, we have chosen only to list places that do not require a fee.

  • iVolunteer Overseas (IVO) offers volunteer opportunities specifically for qualified and experienced Indian professionals, both in India and abroad. There are assignments available in management, health, education, microfinance and IT training. Volunteers receive a basic living allowance and accommodation is paid for.
  • The United Nations Development Programme in India has national (and international) volunteer opportunities, although competition for these spots is strong.
  • The Indian Red Cross is always on the lookout for volunteers. Contact your local branch for more information.
  • Pollinate Energy is a social business that promotes the use of solar power in India’s slum communities. They offer free fellowships to Indian nationals who are passionate about social entrepreneurship and sustainability.
  • Help out on organic farms (or post your own ad seeking volunteers for your farm) via helpx.net. It costs approx 1500 rupees (20 EUR) to sign up for two years, but after that it is free to contact hosts and all work exchanges are free.
  • Sadhana Village provides education to rural women and children, with a particular focus on helping disable people living in rural areas. They welcome volunteers with skills in therapy, nursing, handicrafts, designing gardens – among other things. They are based in the Pune district.
  • Salaam Baalak Trust provides education, healthcare and counselling to street kids in Delhi and Gurgaon.
  • Human Wave India works with marginalized communities, providing education and healthcare as well as empowering women in Kolkata and West Bengal.
  • Kolkata-based organization Sanlaap works against gender injustices and violence against women and children.
  • Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation establishes community-based sustainable practices in the western Himalayan states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

Another option is to look directly for NGO’s that focus on your particular field of interest. Two good databases include:

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