Bitten by Wanderlust? Travel Across India to Make an Impact

By: Divya Kilikar

Published On: April 27, 2018

Plenty of studies have been done to prove that volunteering is not just good for the NGO, but has many perks in store for you as well. People who volunteer regularly have been known to live longer and happier, establish healthy relationships and feel more fulfilled. But that’s not all. Volunteering turns out to be one of the cheapest ways to travel, as most NGOs provide room and meals for modest prices during the program. This also paves the way for a rich, cultural experience where you can interact with the locals and learn their way of life. 

Moreover, volunteering is known to be great for your career as it provides insight to help make career choices and also find some valuable contacts along the way!

Here are five rewarding volunteer programs you can try out in some of India’s most picturesque regions.

NGO: Ecosphere

Where: Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh

Most travellers hope to strike things off their bucket list and flood their Instagram with pictures of famous landmarks. What if you could discover a town’s hidden gems while also ensuring you’re boosting the local economy? Ecosphere lets you do this in the breathtaking Spiti Valley, smack dab in the Himalayas. Here, locals and professionals from around the world come together to work towards responsible travel and sustainable livelihoods.

NGO: Ladli

Where: Jaipur, Rajasthan

This organization provides young girls an alternative to their lives of begging, prostitution and child labour by teaching them the local handicrafts, jewellery-making, English, Hindi, and so on. The staff here have observed that not only does education provide these girls with employability and independence, but it also provides them the escape they need from the trauma and stresses of poverty. A second centre was opened for boys and both are seriously understaffed. They often have foreign volunteers come through AIESEC as well.

NGO: Rural Organization for Social Elevation

Where: Kanda, Uttarakhand

Over 50% of the residents of Kanda, a small village tucked away in Uttarakhand, live under the poverty line, with no access to healthcare or sanitation facilities. And for every single villager, life comes to a halt after sunset as electricity is a luxury for them. Rural Organization for Social Elevation or ROSE, invites volunteers from around the world to get involved in steps to boost the lifestyle by teaching young children or helping build infrastructure.

NGO: Profugo

Where: Wayanad, Kerala

With various programs like in sustainable farming, natural resource management, health and wellness, English language training and sanitation, Profugo aims to pull the community out of poverty and boost the local economy. With their Field Fellow program, they rope in professionals from all around the world to build a global neighborhood. Though their Field Fellow applications have closed for this year, Profugo does offer other volunteering and internship positions, so take a look!

NGO: Students’ Sea Turtles Conservation Network

Where: Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Did you know that all seven species of the sea turtle are currently endangered? Chennai’s SSTCN actively works to help conserve this beautiful animal. Between January and April every year, the Olive Ridley turtle lays its eggs on the beach. When the eggs hatch, often the baby turtles don’t make it to the ocean due to the strewn garbage in their path. SSTCN workers look for eggs, take them in and release the turtles into the ocean when they hatch. They also regularly conduct turtle walks and educate people about conservation!

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