Mumbai is one of India’s most eclectic and diverse cities. This commercial capital features a multicultural community, sandy beaches, and the epicenter of fashion, film, and finance in India. Despite the cosmopolitan vibe, however, poverty affects many throughout this big city. There is no middle ground in Mumbai: the rich are rich, and the poor belong to some of the biggest slums in Asia. This divide creates challenges in development, and every bit of help makes a difference. Volunteer abroad in Mumbai to lend your helping hand while experiencing one of the most complex nations in the world. Volunteer in Mumbai and change the world!
Popular Ways to Volunteer in Mumbai
Despite the major efforts made to combat poverty, it is an epidemic that rules Mumbai. The city needs you! From volunteering abroad in local schools or providing care to the sick, to taking a stand in promoting human rights, there are many areas that could benefit from international volunteer support.
Popular causes. Because of its prevalence throughout the city, most volunteer placements in Mumbai focus on combatting poverty. Volunteer in a local school teaching English as a foreign language, or in an orphanage where you can provide care and love to children who need it. Volunteer in a hospital where you will work with people suffering from dengue fever, leprosy, or malaria. Others can find placements in activism where you will combat poverty by promoting human rights or women’s empowerment.
Summer and short-term programs. Every volunteer will have a different time line. While it is encouraged to stay as long as possible to maximize your impact, every little bit helps. Some programs in Mumbai can last as short as two weeks. With a short-term or summer placement, you will have the chance to perform meaningful work in the community while interacting with like-minded people from across the globe.
Long-term volunteer stints. Volunteers who choose to work long-term for up to a year or two will experience a tangible improvement of the living conditions of Mumbai. You will see the improvement of students’ English skills, or watch patients recover from illness over months, and you will also experience a more drastic change in yourself as your eyes open to the rawness of Mumbai. As with any volunteer abroad program: the longer the stay, the higher the reward.
Life in Mumbai for Volunteers
Located on India’s southwest coast next to the Arabian Sea, Mumbai is a land full of contrasts. Volunteers can explore beach and city, grand colonial architecture and colorful markets, Hindu temples and hipster hangouts. You will walk down one street to experience the rich and glamorous, and another to have your heartstrings pulled by the poor and impoverished.
While your main goal as a volunteer in Mumbai is to make a difference, you will experience all sides of the city during your time as a volunteer. When you aren’t making the world a better place by providing love and care to those in need, give your mind a break by wandering through colorful vendors in Mumbai’s famous bazaars. Indulge in delicious street food, unwind at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, or cool off at Eros Cinema with authentic Bollywood films.
Typically, volunteers will not be paid, but Mumbai is one of the most affordable destinations in the world for travelers. Most programs will compensate you with accommodation in homestays or volunteer housing, meals, and transportation, so don’t be afraid to break the bank!
GoAbroad Insider Tips
Without an income, it is important to live as the locals live. Some volunteers see their money vanish before their eyes as they spend it on first-world luxuries. Luckily, you don’t need to spend much to eat well. Every volunteer must check out the street food of Mumbai. Visit the food stalls throughout the city’s markets to taste zesty seafood, fish curries, Indian rotis, freshly-squeezed juices, and Indian-style pizzas. Not only will your belly be happy, but so will your wallet!
As with any international travel, volunteers must be aware of safety while traveling in Mumbai. Although your heart may be in the right place, locals tend to take advantage of foreigners. Take caution with your money and valuables, be aware that scams and theft are common, and try to blend in when possible. Do your research on the local customs, wear conservative, modest clothing, and explore with locals who can teach you how to navigate the city.
Volunteering abroad in Mumbai will be both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Your perspective will change and eyes will open as you fall in love with a community that appreciates your hard work. You will make a significant impact on a country that is stricken by poverty, and through the challenges, you will make a difference in the lives of every individual you support.
Read our comprehensive guide on volunteering abroad in India and get more inspo!