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Eco Volunteer Travel in India – Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh

Eco Volunteer and Travel in India – Dharamsala

eco-volunteer-travel-abroad-in-india-ngo-non-profit-dharamsalaNicole is pictured experiencing the essence of nature in the misty forest trail to Mcleodganj in monsoon August 
At a glance
  • Available year-round
  • 5 meaningful project options
  • Projects based in Naddi and Bal village, next to Mcleodganj, the official residence of Dalai Lama
  • Accommodation in volunteer house / local homestays
  • upto 12 volunteers may participate in various projects at the same time
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
  • Program fees from $240 for 1 week
  • Optional Language and Cultural orientation week in Delhi available
I had an amazing experience teaching. My students were adolescent girls from the village and we connected with each other very well. I also participated in yoga classes. This volunteering work allowed me to experience a reality that was unknown to me. It was wonderful to interact with the lifestyle of young nuns and monks in a monastery too.
Maria Nicole
USA, 22

Why Volunteer with Eco Volunteer Travel India?

  • Comfort along with safety and wellbeing – we have been engaged with local communities in Dharamsala area for several years and have understanding of typical rsks and issues each volunteer-traveller may face. We have clear standards for risk management and local support for the same. You can feel confident that you are working with a trustworthy institution and family that is part of Eco Volunteer Travel partner and supported local womens’ organization.
  • Economic and affordable – one of our founding principles, as a non-profit NGO social enterprise, has been to develop and manage affordable volunteer travel. Keeping true to that principle, we’re able to keep our fees / participant expenses low while providng the best quality services in comparison to many old organisations.
  • Integrated international and local support – experienced Program Manager, teamed with our international volunteers and local resource support in India will ensure you feel supported every step of the way – from planning to volunteering.
  • Eco Responsible projects – we’re dedicated to ensuring that our projects are environment conscious, enthno-cultural oriented and economical; and are responsibly run to have sustainable positive impacts that are supporting local needs and global concerns.
  • Continuous orientation and training support – as soon as you register on our program, you will be connected to individual facility manager for continuous interactive orientation and learning support  to ensure you’re well prepared for your program.
  • global connections andfriendships – as an ecovolunteerian, you’ll interact with other like minded voluteers from aroud the world, and in the company of friendly locals and like-minded volunteer travelers you will forge some new global connections and friendships.
  • Epic weekend adventures – you’ll have your 3-day long weekends to explore India with your friends and colleagues with our special support for economical packages with partner organisations.

Location and duration

The Dharamsala volunteer program has volunteer placements located in Naddi and Bal village, near Dharamsala, home to Dalai Lama, and a number of Buddhist monasteries.

The oarticipants may joi our volunteer programs on ongoing basis subject to vailability of positions in Dharamsala. Volunteer travllers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 2 week to 12 weeks.

Projects

Teaching English, Computers, Social Media and other communication skills

Volunteers in this project work in at / after school program in the local school and/or at the community education and career resource centre, or in the community settings catering to the local village communities as well as to surrounding community of Tibetan refugees.

Volunteers work together to create their own lessons using existing resources, and are also encouraged to take conversation classes with the older girls and nuns/monks in the evenings. As volunteers work with the support of local staff-member, they do not need to be qualified or experienced teachers to participate. However, some relevant training can be a bonus.

Childcare support

These centers provide a place for some of the poor rural families to leave their children in the government childcare centre that is not properly funded or supported, while the parents and other family members go to work. Volunteers on this project assist the local staff with organizing daily activities and games, and providing one-on-one attention to the children. Volunteers can also assist with preparing and serving meals, giving lessons on personal hygiene, and ensuring children attend the center.

Plant Nursery, Forestry and organic farming in kitchen gardens

Orientation

There are two options for orientation in India. The first option is a standard half-day orientation in Dharamasala that starts on your selected start date and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Dharamsala – Introduction to India, Indian Customs, Language Training Details, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities in India, Introduction to your Project and Placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers.

The second option is a 1-week language and cultural orientation in Delhi, which takes place during the first week of your program. This orientation week begins on your selected start date (first and third Monday of the month) and your volunteer program will start the following week. If you wish to participate in the 1-week orientation, you must indicate this on your application form when you apply for the program. Your Program Manager will then add this to your file after you register, as you need to book a place and pay for this prior to departing for India. Orientation week is very popular among volunteers and we recommend all volunteers take advantage of this week, as it is a great way to help settle the culture shock you can face when arriving in India. The schedule for the week long language and cultural orientation in Delhi is as follows:

Day 1 (Monday): Volunteers are provided with an introduction to India and an introduction to the program staff and procedures. Topics discussed include History of India, Religion, Caste System, Marriage, Festivals, Dress/Clothing, Family Values, Safety Issues, Food, Transportation and Travel Opportunities. You will also be given your orientation week schedule and provided details about your volunteer project and accommodation, to follow after the orientation week. The afternoon will conclude with an introduction to the Hindi language. The morning session will be provided to those who choose the half-day orientation.

Day 2 (Tuesday): New Delhi Sightseeing (5 to 7 hours) – Lotus Baha’I Temple, Humayun’s Tomb and Qutub Minar. All entrance fees are covered in your orientation week fee.

Day 3 (Wednesday): Hindi Language Lesson (approximately 3 hours), learning basic letters, greetings and useful vocabulary and expressions, which will help assist you at your volunteer placement. In the afternoon, volunteers are taken to see a new Bollywood Hindi film. Movie tickets are included in your orientation week fee.

Day 4 (Thursday): Old Delhi Sightseeing – India Gate, Red Fort, Jama Mosque and Raj Ghat (Gandhi Samadhi’s Cremation). All entrance fees are covered in your orientation week fee.

Day 5 (Friday): Hindi Language Lesson (approximately 3 hours), covering additional words and vocabulary to assist you with your volunteer work. In the evening, volunteers explore the local markets, visit Internet cafes, practice Hindi, or visit restaurants together.

Day 6 (Saturday): Hindi Language Lesson in the morning. In the afternoon, volunteers have free time to hand wash clothing and prepare for departure to your homestay.

Day 7 (Sunday): Taj Mahal Tour (optional add-on), which includes an air conditioned car or van from Delhi to Agra and back, state insurance, driver, parking and toll taxes, breakfast, lunch and guide. Entrance fees to the Taj Mahal are not included in your orientation week fee and must be paid separately. You can expect to pay 750 Rupees for the entry ticket at the gate when you arrive. For those not taking the Taj Mahal Tour, you will depart for your placement with the local staff who will introduce you to your placement and accommodation. Those taking the Taj Mahal tour will be introduced to their placement and accommodation on the following day.

The orientation week fee is US$220 (accommodation and three meals per day are covered during this time). The Taj Mahal Tour on the 7th day costs an extra US$100.

Volunteer schedule

First Day: On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.

Weekdays: A typical volunteer day would be as follows:

8.00 AM Breakfast at the homestay.

9.00 AM Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements. Work and hours are dependent on the project and placement that the volunteer is working at.

12.00 PM – 1.00 PM Lunch break either at the placement or homestay.

2.00 PM – 4.00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel back to the homestay, go sight seeing, or do some shopping.

7.00 PM – 9.00 PM Dinner at the homestay.

Please note, this schedule may vary depending on the particular project the volunteer is participating on.

Accommodation

Volunteers in Naddi are accommodated together in a home-stay run by a local host family. We give the local family money from your fee for support, food and board. It is exciting to stay with a family; that way you will learn the Indian way of life, meet local people, eat local food, speak the local language (predominantly Tibetan) and engage in local customs and traditions. Living is comfortable and you will have access to electricity, WiFi and running water. All bedding is provided, however during the winter months (November to February) volunteer-travellers are advised to bring their inner thermal wears and sleeping bags too. The home-stay is safe and secure and volunteers can expect to share a room with two to four other volunteers.

Meals

Three meals are provided per day. Indian and Tibetan food is tasty and diverse, volunteers can expect to experience a myriad of flavors and meals during their home stay experience. If you have any dietary requirements, please let us know ahead of time so that we can make arrangements for you. However, we need to stress the point that you should not expect to eat as you normally do at home, we will do our best to see that you are well taken care of, but as a volunteer there is also a need to be flexible.

Reviews

“By volunteering and living with a host family I feel like I have truly experienced the local culture. The mountainous surrounding Naddi made just walking around and looking at the scenery enjoyable. Food was always plentiful and delicious! The host family and local staff were very welcoming and there whenever I had questions. I preferred the quiet, peaceful atmosphere of Naddi to the hectic, smoggy air of Delhi. Plus, being in Naddi I got to experience both Indian and Tibetan culture and cuisine! Overall an incredible time and amazing experience.” – Nicole (Childcare Volunteer in India – Dharamsala)

Read more reviews from volunteers in India here

Program fees

INDIA – DHARAMSALA

Length of program Program Fee $USD Total with Regn Fee
2 weeks $340 520
3 weeks $540 610
4 weeks $660 700
5 weeks $780 790
6 weeks $900 880
8 weeks $1,140 970
10 weeks $1,380 1060
12 weeks $1,620 1150
  • To convert these prices to your local currency you may check with x-convertor online. All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$180 on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply

What extra costs will I have?

  • Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours.
  • Transport from Delhi to Dharamsala (flights are approximately $200 / taxi is $150 and a deluxe semi sleeper bus is $30)
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program
  • Spending money – Volunteers in India – Dharamsala generally find US$30 to be sufficient for weekly expenses
Registration Fee
WHAT IT COVERS
  • Discounted program fees
  • Dedicated support from a volunteer expert
  • Complete personal member account access
  • Volunteer training
  • Comprehensive program guide
  • Deals on flights and travel insurance
  • Alumni membership
Program Fee
WHAT IT COVERS
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Program orientation
  • Volunteer placement
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Discounts on tours and activities

Weekends and travel

During the weekends, volunteers have free time to relax and stay local or take the opportunity to travel away from Dharamsala to explore other areas in the region or India, such as Amritsar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Rajasthan, Kullu-Manali, Leh etc. Volunteers can work on weekends and accumlate a longer ravel holidays to visit the farther regions like Leh-Ladakh that needs atleast around good 7 to 10 days of time.

If you are planning an extended trip within 4 weeks of your arrival, it is a good idea to book buses and train tickets in advance and consult us / or a private travel agent from your home town to discuss travel options.

See our India – Dharamsala Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in India!

 

Photo gallery

Women of Naddi

Bhagsunath Temple, Bhagsu

Regional map and geogaphic / demographic information

Google map API key

Capital New Delhi
Population 1.237 billion
Languages Hindi and English
Currency Indian Rupee (INR)
Time zone UTC+05:30

Weather and climate: India is subject to six different climates and can be loosely characterized by four seasons; winter, summer, monsoon, and a post-monsoon period. While not as hot as Delhi, Dharamsala is still very hot during the summer months (April to July) and temperatures can reach 35°C. From July to September, in the monsoon season, up to 2000 mm (79 inches) of rain can fall, making Dharamsala one of the wettest places in the state, but also one of the most pleasant. The monsoon ends in late September and is followed by autumn. Autumn lasts till late November, with average temperatures of around 14- 15°C. Winter starts in late November and goes on till late February. Snow and sleet is common during the winter so bring lots of warm clothing and thermals! Winter is followed by a short, pleasant spring until April when the temperatures start increase again for the summer.

 

Volunteer requirements

Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a reference letter of good character and conduct from a family member / related study or work organisation.

 

Free Interactive Volunteer Training

All volunteer travellers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure orientation training, which is available exclusively to volunteer travellers to India by our facility managers and program coordnator. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on a volunteer traveljourney to India in our volunteer travel program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer.

 

Weekend Destinations

Amritsar – Golden Temple              Chandigarh

Kullu-Manali-Parvati Valley             Shimla / Dalhousie

Rishikesh – Haridwar                       Delhi-Agra-Jaipur