Volunteering At These 15+ Exotic Destinations Will Leave You With A Life Time Of Rich Memories And Experiences
By: Apsara Vydyula on Nov 24th, 2015

There are many who have an insatiable need to travel, and if you do too, then consider ‘voluntourism’, or volunteer traveling. The act of traveling coupled with your willingness to contribute and help is the perfect way to gain a wealth of meaningful humane experiences and closeness with the environment. India is an ideal destination for ‘voluntouring’, and while there’s no cap on the number of volunteer opportunities, most organisations expect a high fee that covers administration, food, and accommodation. However, many organisations are inexpensive and provide these services for free or minimal cost. 

This list discusses such Indian volunteer organisations in beautiful locations that offer something for everyone: 

WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms)
Image credit: Wwoof

Where: All over India

What it does: The organisation brings together people to educate them on organic food, farming and ways of life. This way, people unite on common human values and beliefs. As an exchange program, WWOOF does a great job in providing volunteers with food, board, and learning, in return for their help. 

Why WWOOF: This is the organisation for you, if you’re interested in gaining a deeper understanding on organic techniques, gardening, and sustainability.

Whom to contact: Apply here.

Spiti Ecosphere
Image credit: Travel Another India

Where: Spiti, Himachal Pradesh

What it is all about: Ecosphere’s goal is to create sustainable livelihoods that not only focus on nature preservation and protection, but also culture conservation. The projects at Spiti are building of greenhouses, community building in villages, teaching environment education in schools, and harnessing renewable energy on a large scale, to name a few.

Why Spiti Ecosphere: If you’re a mountain lover, active trekker, and an environment enthusiast, Ecosphere is for you.

Whom to contact: Join here.

Sadhana Village
Image credit: Asbcsr

Where: Kolan Valley, 30 km from Pune, Maharashtra

What it is all about: The organisation’s primary aim is to educate the disabled and under-privileged, based on mutual understanding, trust, freedom, and dignity of the individual. The ever-evolving community is aware and understanding of the need to educate those in  rural areas, and works towards achieving progress through social development.

Why Sadhana Village: The organisation is a great place for you to volunteer if you want to work with Self Help Groups and enhance your skills as a teacher.

Whom to contact: Register here.

Image credit: IindiaOnline

Where: Jaipur, Rajasthan

What it is all about: A non profit organisation that helps over 3000 children on a daily basis by providing food, support, education, and a crisis help line. In addition to this, Ladli trains street children to create handicrafts and sell them, thereby providing a much better alternative to begging.

Why Ladli: If you like spending time with children, volunteering at Ladli is a great idea as you can teach the kids English, arts and crafts, games, or just play with them.

Whom to contact: Volunteer here.

Human Trafficking Organisations in Kolkata

Where: Kolkata

What it is all about: In light of Kolkata being infamous for red light areas and trafficking concerns, many NGO’s have emerged to help and rescue girls (mostly children) held in captivity. These organisations also do their best to spread awareness on AIDS and other STDs.

Why these organisations: This list of Kolkata’s human trafficking organisations offer many opportunities, so take a look to see what appeals to you. If you’re up for dance therapy, teaching, health care, and vocational training activities, then volunteering in any of these organisations will work for you.

Rural Organisation for Social Elevation (ROSE)
Image credit: Rosekanda

Where: Kanda, Uttarakhand

What it is all about: ROSE works at the grass root level to maintain cultural balance and ecological diversity. The organisation embraces community development in creating a better life for rural individuals. By paying a small fee for accommodation, you can volunteer at ROSE by building earthquake resistant homes, teaching in educational programs, creating awareness on health, generating employment opportunities, and even planting trees.

Why ROSE: If you’re someone who loves nature and breathing fresh mountain air, look no further than ROSE.

Whom to contact: Send them an email here.

Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology
Image credit: Mcbteducation

Where: Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu

What it is all about: One of the largest amphibian and reptile zoos in the world and one of the oldest NGO’s in Asia, Madras Crocodile Bank is determined to conserve animals and does so with sound scientific research. The organisation actively conducts education workshops, where people of all ages are taught about the importance of protecting reptiles and natural ecosystems.

Why Madras Crocodile Bank: If you’re an animal lover and want to learn more about the handling of snakes and other reptiles, this is a great place to start.

Whom to contact: Apply here.

Andaman and Nicobar Island’s Environmental Team (ANET)
Image credit: AnetIndia

Where: Andaman and Nicobar Islands

What it is all about: ANET, inspired by the emerald beauty of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, ceaselessly works towards conservation through educating the public on the importance of biodiversity, research and development of sustainable practices, and safeguarding the environment.

Why ANET: If you want to get a taste of volunteering, this is a recommended place to begin as you can actively take part in day-to-day activities such as tree planting, base site maintenance, and research assistance.

Whom to contact: Register here.

Student’s Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL)
Image credit: Summit County Voice

Where : Leh, Ladakh

What it is all about: SECMOL was born to redefine and reform the educational system in Ladakh. Examples of the organisation's work are school and college campuses for students in Ladakh, exposure activities for Ladakhi youth, solar power projects, and ecotourism.

Why SECMOL: If you love going on mountain treks and exploring the Himalayas, or if you love telling stories and having English conversation classes with young dropouts to help them gain exposure, SECMOL is a good place for you.

Whom to contact: Details are here.

Sadhana Forest
Image credit: Demotix

Where: Auroville, Tamil Nadu

What it is all about: Sadhana Forest seeks to transform 70 acres of eroded, arid land, as well as introduce people to sustainable lifestyles, veganism, and food security through ecological protection. The organisation also stresses on creating awareness on the importance of ecological biodiversity, education, and wasteland reclamation by planting more trees.

Why Sadhana Forest: If you’re interested in community-driven work and a cruelty-free way of life, this organisation will be to your satisfaction.

Whom to Contact: Volunteer information is here.

World Wide Fund (WWF) - Green Hiker
Image credit: Green Hiker Campaign

Where: Himalayas

What it is all about: WWF India is a challenging, scientific, and constructive organisation that works hard to protect the environment and wildlife. With over 40 years of experience in this field, WWF-India has come a long way in holistically understanding and conserving India’s biodiversity. The WWF-Green Hiker campaign encourages tourists and tour guides to opt for responsible and sustainable ecotourism.

Why WWF-India: If you want to explore the Himalayas and take part in initiatives that help clean India’s mountains, volunteer at WWF-Green Hiker.

Whom to contact: More details here.

Root Institute
Image credit: fpmt

Where: Bodhgaya, Bihar

What it is all about: Root Institute for Wisdom Culture offers an ideal atmosphere for one to learn Buddhist teachings and philosophies, which is open to people of all religions. Besides being a study centre, the organisation runs health programs on-site and in rural areas of Bihar, as well as looks after orphaned and destitute children.

Why Root Institute: If you want to live in a spiritual, harmonious community, and gain a deeper knowledge of Buddhism, volunteer here.

Whom to contact: Apply here.

Grass Routes
Image credit: Grass Routes Journeys

Where: Orissa

What it is all about: This travel organisation is founded on respect and love for the environment, and provides opportunities for travellers to experience local communities. Based on the belief that enriching experiences stems from a deeper understanding of the place and nature, Grass Routes arranges responsible and eco-conscious tours into the historical and cultural Orissa.

Why Grass Routes: This is a great organisation for you to volunteer in, if you want to learn about different communities and cultures, and explore India further, great for those interested in history.

Whom to contact: Mail them here.

Image credit: Aaranyak

Where: Guwahati, Assam

What it is all about: The organisation firmly believes that the welfare of the locals who depend on the pristine condition of nature, and hence, works to protect animal and plant species, habitats, water bodies, and the mountains of North-East India. Their projects range from community based participation and environmental education to wildlife genetics and legal and advocacy programs.

Why Aaranyak: Volunteer here if you’re a mountain lover who wants to learn about conserving nature.

Whom to contact: Mail them here.

Agumbe Rainforest Research Centre (ARRC)
Image credit: The Gerry Martin Project

Where: Shimoga, Karnataka

What it is all about: The research centre at Agumbe is mindful of the importance of biodiversity, and practices nature conservation and preaches wildlife studies. The organisation also has a well-developed research and intern centre.

Why ARRC: If you’re interested in wildlife photography, canopy studies, tree planting, and creating educational material, this rain forest research centre is just the place for you.

Whom to contact: arrs.india@gmail.com

Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS)
Image credit: CWS India

Where: Bangalore, Karnataka

What it is all about: Through science, conservation, and education, CWS is involved with saving and protecting species of wildlife, worldwide. The CWS-India program combines cutting edge research techniques and conservation methods with local communities to resolve conflicts and tackle challenges.

Why CWS: If you’re keen to research, and take part in conservation projects, capacity building, and education workshops, volunteer at CWS.

Whom to contact: volunteers@wcsindia.org

Have you volunteered at some place interesting?  Do you know of more such organisations? Do let us know in the comments below.

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Apsara Vydyula
A writer by passion and profession | A traveler and explorer of the road less taken | An all-time animal activist | And a sucker for music and meditation.   Read more
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