Volunteer Abroad in India

Back to Programs

A Guide to Volunteering Abroad in India

For centuries, the Indian subcontinent has attracted travellers from around the world by the immense complexity and cultural depth which it promises. Long the home of great civilizations and mighty sultanates, today’s India is still a powerful nation, yet in a state of flux. Beset by both tremendous promise and nagging challenges of poverty and development, the country continues to find its footing in the 21st century global landscape. To volunteer abroad in India is to help impactful development efforts take shape, while in turn experiencing life in one of the world’s largest, deepest, and most diverse nations.


With over 1.2 billion citizens, India is more populous than any other single continent on earth, save Asia where it resides. The country is sheltered by the Himalayas to the north and the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, and Bay of Bengal to the west, south, and east respectively. India also shares land borders with Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Bangladesh.

With some 22 million people living in its metropolitan area, the capital city of Delhi is the first choice of many for where to volunteer abroad in India. Delhi is a landlocked city straddling the banks of the Yamuna river in the northwestern regions of the country. To the southwest on the coast of the Arabian Sea lays Mumbai, India’s largest city and commercial capital, and an equally promising destination where to find volunteer projects in India.

Harboring over 50 cities with a population of at least 1 million people (and a large demographic continuing to reside in the rural areas as well), you won’t suffer from lack of options while deciding where to volunteer abroad in India. Other locations beyond India’s two premier cities where your might look to volunteer in India include Chennai, Calcutta, Bangalore, and Hyderabad.

Projects & Placements

While India has taken important and effective strides to combatting poverty over the past few decades, it still remains an endemic problem across the country, as roughly a quarter of the population continues to reside below the international poverty line. Most volunteer programs in India will be oriented towards alleviating the harshest side-effects of poverty for India’s poorest citizens, while also providing valuable social services they otherwise may not have access to.

Some of the most popular fields within this spectrum by which to volunteer abroad in India include medicine, education, and childcare. You might be placed at a health clinic, local school, or orphanage, for example, helping provide care and relief for those who could not otherwise afford it. Within a more activist line of work, many international aspirants also choose to volunteer abroad in India within fields such as human rights, grassroots campaigns, and women’s empowerment.

The potential fields by which to volunteer abroad in India are vast, as are the locations and types of projects therein; what else would you expect from a diverse nation of 1.2 billion people? Some volunteer programs in India last as short as just a couple of weeks, while others can last up to or over a whole year.

Costs & Affordability

While you will typically not be paid for your services as a volunteer abroad in India, the country remains one of the most affordable destinations in the world for international travellers. Further, many volunteer abroad programs in India will help compensate you by other means such as providing housing, meals, and transportation. If the affordability of your program fees remains a concern, then be sure to check out our fundraising page to start a campaign today!

Accommodation & Visas

You might have the option to select from a variety of different accommodations while you volunteer abroad in India. Homestays are a particularly popular form of housing for international volunteers, which can provide you the unique opportunity to immerse yourself within Indian family life. Group housing or independent apartments are also popular setups while volunteering abroad in India. Keep in mind that living standards vary significantly between urban and rural India, as well.

You will usually need to obtain a visa in order to volunteer abroad in India, a process which your international program or local project will typically help guide you through. Whether you will need a tourist or employment visa depends on your home country, the intended length of your stay, and what line of work you will be volunteering in; you can check out our Indian Embassy Directory for more specific visa information as it applies to you.

Benefits & Challenges

Truth. Whatever you think you know about India prior to volunteering abroad, drop it. Throughout the entire duration of your program the country will never cease to surprise you in heartwarming, heartbreaking, and sometimes outright confusing ways.

Impact. With such a massive population to compete with, there are millions of citizens in India that continue to go overlooked or unprovided for; as a volunteer abroad, you can help aid the outreach.

Perspective. Travelling to volunteer abroad in India will instill in you a valuable global perspective, as you will often be working among the nation’s poorest citizens. Especially if you have not travelled outside of the developed world, it will be a powerfully eye-opening experience.

If you are considering embarking on a volunteer abroad program in India, then stop considering, and do it. It is an experience that will change your life, and the lives of those whom you work to help support.

Read More

A Guide To
Volunteering Abroad in India


 Find Volunteer Programs in India Now


This listing has been saved 2 times

Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in India from $250!

Discover a unique insight into India with International Volunteer HQ. India is as diverse as it is large, and IVHQ volunteers have the choice of three contrasting destinations: Delhi, Kerala and Dharamsala.Choose from volunteer projects including Slum Teaching, Childcare, Healthcare, Dentistry, Women’s Education and Special Needs Care.

A volunteer teaching Arts to a student in India

This listing has been saved 317 times

Make a REAL difference in India with Love Volunteers!

Love Volunteers has provided safe, meaningful and truly affordable volunteering abroad opportunities to thousands of volunteers from all over the world. Become a Love Volunteer in India and get the experience of a lifetime whilst helping those in real need on one of our community-based projects! Check out our programs and sign up now!

A volunteer in India and a little girl hanging out under the sun

This listing has been saved 6 times

Summer and Year-Round Volunteering in India

Join one of 18 community service projects in India with Volunteering Solutions. Individuals may choose from ten locations, and become part of the local culture, people, and customs. Volunteers can assist in care of children at an orphanage in Bangalore, aid in women empowerment projects in Delhi, or aid in providing dental care in Dharamsala.

Three people looking through drawings

This listing has been saved 77 times

Volunteer in India with PMGY from $330

PMGY offers 2-week to 6-month volunteering opportunities in India’s captivating capital city of Delhi. Volunteers get involved in a wide-range of project work including English teaching, orphanage care, medical electives, women empowerment initiatives and working with special needs children. Our Affordable Program fees include our world class support service, ATOL protection, airport transfers,...

Volunteer teaching children in India

This listing has been saved 2 times

Volunteer and Teach at Orphanages in India

Take part in community development projects in India with LEAPNOW: Transforming Education. Participants get to explore the country's rich cultural heritage while engaging in volunteer programs. Available options include working in an orphanage in Rishikesh, helping in women empowerment activities in Varanasi, and teaching in a school that offers free education in Bodh Gaya.

Volunteer India - Leapnow

This listing has been saved 1 time

Discover Amazing programs in India by Volunteering India

Twelve different programs await international volunteers interested in volunteering in India. Volunteering India focuses on placements which help better local communities and provide participants with a well-rounded, meaningful experience. Placements include dental assistance, work with street children, and various other volunteer placements in multiple Indian cities.

An orphan in India giving a kiss to a volunteer

This listing has been saved 2 times

Street Children Programme in India

Travel to Delhi - the bustling capital of India - and volunteer with street children on this thoroughly worthwhile programme. There many children in Delhi, who have very little and live in poor urban areas. Often these children have very little to do during the day and this leads to high risks of exploitation. You will be working at one of many centers in the city dedicated to providing a sa...


This listing has been saved 18 times

Spiritual Gap Year in India - Carpe Diem Education

Traverse the diverse ecological and spiritual landscape of the Himalayas. Witness the burning ghats of Varanasi up close and personal. Practice mindfulness in the “yoga capital of the world.” Get in touch with your spiritual side and dive deep into some of the world’s oldest religions and cultures—all in the Northern Plains and Himalayas of India. Note: This is a 3-month semester program. Exp...


This listing has been saved 1 time

Volunteer and Travel in India with Kaya

Volunteer in India with Kaya Responsible Travel. Programs are available to individuals and groups who want to work with children, teach social awareness to women, or help in building community projects. Locations include Jaipur, Rajasthan, and Goa, among others. Participants may also learn how to speak Hindi and cook authentic Indian food, while immersing themsevles in the local culture. Progra...