5 Volunteer Projects for Your Gap Year in India

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Young people who choose to embark on a gap year before college are increasingly dedicating that year to lend hands to community development and charitable projects around the world. A popular destination for these trips is beautiful India – an incredible, vast, vibrant country that is still awash with poverty and inequality.

If, like thousands of others, you’re considering joining a community project on your gap year, India is a definitely a place you should think about giving your services to. There are hundreds of humanitarian projects across the country that are desperate for volunteers and workers to help achieve their goals. Many of these trips have included accommodation, food and all the support you need to live in India for extended periods; some require a small fee to cover the living expenses of workers that is mostly fundraised by the volunteer themselves.

To help you decide on a cause to contribute to, we’ve put together a list of the top projects in India run by reputable charitable organizations. View our round-up of schemes currently in need of volunteers below: you may find your perfect gap year opportunity.

1. Women’s Empowerment

Based in Kerala, community development organization GVI are running women͛s empowerment projects that need volunteers to carry out their good work. They aim to fight discrimination, harassment, unequal pay and gender inequality suffered by women and girls in India. The project focuses on providing women with education, healthcare, and income opportunities to help them become financially independent. Find out more on GVI’s website.

2. Nature Conservation

Also run by GVI, their nature conservation project centers around protecting a tiger reserve that has suffered trouble throughout the years due to depletion of natural resources and conflict. As a volunteer, you͛ll be staying on the reserve͛s border, surrounded by wildlife and quaint villages. Your work will include educating people about environmental issues, developing tours, devising tourism schemes and installing water facilities in the area. Visit the GVI website to find full details of the project.

3. Ladli

This small organization provides education for orphaned, abused children. Based in diverse and bustling Jaipur, volunteers conduct childcare work, lead activities and teach English. Volunteers don͛t have to pay to join the project but are expected to pay for their own accommodation and living expenses. To do this, setting up an Indian bank account is essential. This can be done quickly and easily at any one of India͛s hundreds of banks. What͛s more is that it͛s never been easier to send and receive instant money transfers anywhere around the world: thanks to Pangea, a money transfer app, this is quick and simple; so you can be sent money from home to sustain you through your volunteer trip. Click the link to find out more about Pangea, and visit Ladli’s website for details on how to join the scheme.

4. Project Trust

This project is for school-leavers aged 17-19 who want to contribute to providing education throughout India. Volunteers can choose to teach in primary schools, secondary schools or work as social care volunteers in children͛s homes and hospitals. These projects are a year long, so are a big commitment that should be carefully considered. However, participants who have completed their gap years with Project Trust report a life-affirming, fulfilling and unforgettable experience in their testimonials, and many say the experience has led them to decide on their future career path.

5. Rural Organization for Social Elevation (ROSE)

ROSE operate community development schemes in Kanda, a village in Uttarakhand in northern India near the Himalayas. It’s great for those who want to experience life in the rural regions of India, and contribute to teaching local children, building facilities and farm-work. Quite like an exchange program, volunteers stay with a local family and immerse themselves in the culture while enjoying all the area has to offer. ROSE pride themselves on never eroding the traditional local values of the towns they operate in; but provide immersive experiences for travelers and help for the local community.

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