8 Ways to Volunteer in India

by Ridhi Patel

India is a beautiful country with endless things to do and places to explore while volunteering abroad. There are hundreds of different ways to volunteer in India, whether you’re committed to helping underprivileged communities, want to work with animals, or hope to contribute to conservation projects. To give you some inspiration for your trip, here are the best ways to volunteer in India that truly won’t disappoint:

Volunteer tutoring a child in India
Volunteer helping with one-on-one classes for disabled children in Kerala

1. Teach Children in Kerala

If you are looking for something exotic for your volunteer program in India, then Kerala is your answer! Volunteer in local schools in Kerala teaching English, and you’ll have the opportunity to change student’s lives. Schools in India tend to be overcrowded, with not enough teachers and equipment to educate everyone properly. By volunteering to teach English in India, you’ll help fill a gap that will truly help local students. With the perfect combination of enthusiastic volunteers and eager people who are willing to learn, you’ll leave your volunteer work in India feeling inspired and glad you did something so special.

If you’re into your sports, volunteering in India to coach cricket may be a great idea. You can work with enthusiastic children to teach them the skills to play the game. You can be supported by skilled teachers and learn something yourself too! This type of volunteering is ideal if you want to do something good, learn a new skill, or keep fit over the course of your trip!

2. Contribute to Community Development in Kolkata 

Choose from volunteering in India in childcare, teaching, or women’s empowerment in beautiful Kolkata, located in East India. Kolkata is an off the beaten track destination for volunteering in India, and it is oozing with history and art. Not to mention, this is the place where Mother Theresa dedicated her life to working with the poor! Aside from continuing Mother Theresa's work in Kolkata, you’ll also have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture and meet lots of amazing, like-minded individuals. Upon seeing the extreme poverty in some areas, you’ll be able to see the difference volunteers can make to the community.

Women's Empowerment volunteers in India
Women's Empowerment volunteers in India

3. Empower Women Throughout India

Gender inequality is still a huge problem in India. If you’re the type of person who wants to get involved in real development work and help improve the lives of disadvantaged women, this is the perfect choice for you. As a women’s empowerment volunteer in India, you can help change women’s way of life by educating people, teaching women English to give them a better chance of obtaining jobs, and encouraging women to talk about their experiences so they can move forward with a more positive outlook.

4. Work with Children with Disabilities

One way to volunteer in India is to work with disabled children and children with learning difficulties to help assist their learning and improve their general learning environment. In poorer communities, there are often negative attitudes toward people with disabilities, so you can be part of teaching people how to enable each other and include these children so they can lead the happy, fulfilled life they deserve.

5. Provide Healthcare Services

Get hands-on medical experience in India, which will not only look amazing on your CV, but will also help local people get the healthcare they need. You can work under the supervision of experienced professionals who can teach you about what it’s like to be a working medic in India. Although this type of volunteer work in India will keep you busy, you will feel proud of yourself for getting stuck in and supporting local hospitals.

Foreigners dresses in traditional Indian clothes
Volunteers dressed up in traditional Indian clothes

6. Become a Dental Volunteer

Have you always dreamed of being a qualified dentist or dental nurse? One incredible way to prepare yourself for your dental career and get something different on your CV is through dental volunteering in India. You’ll learn a lot about working in dentistry in a country where resources are not so readily available, which will improve your skills while also making you appreciate the skills of those around you.

7. Combine Yoga & Volunteering

India is truly the yoga capital of the world and this where yoga was born. If you have a keen interest in yoga or wellness, or simply want to do something completely different, you should look into yoga programs that include volunteering in India. In the mornings you can take part in yoga classes where you will learn all about the art of it and breathing techniques to improve your practice.

8. Help on Construction Projects

Help local communities and the dedicated teachers by helping to build a local school. This is an amazing way to make a difference and ensure that children are given the educational opportunities that they deserve. Many children in underdeveloped countries are so eager to learn, but simply don’t have the means to do so. Building a school will create a safe, focused environment so they can thrive.

Girl enjoying the Puja Festival in India
Rachel enjoying the Puja Festival in Kolkata

Bonus Tip: Add Adventure to Your Trip!

If you have your heart set on a certain type of volunteering opportunity, the fun doesn’t have to stop there. You can add additional options on to your volunteer program in India if you save enough money. You could do a camel safari trip with camping through the night in the Pushkar desert, visit forts and palaces in the city of Jaipur, visit the Taj Mahal in Agra, or even do a tiger safari in Ranthambore National Park. These are just a few adventure ideas, but with a bit of research you can find endless places to visit and finish off your volunteer experience in India perfectly!

Hopefully this list of the best ways to volunteer in India has given you some inspiration to plan your own trip. Just remember: there are endless volunteer opportunities in India and it’s a truly beautiful place to make a difference. 

Start searching for the perfect volunteer program in India now!

This article was contributed by Volunteering Journeys, an organization that provides unique volunteer opportunities in Africa and Asia. With a goal of forging valuable relationships between volunteers and local communities, all Volunteering Journeys are sustainable experiences that leave a lasting impact on both volunteers and community members.