Since I have been in India, I have been searching for volunteer opportunities. What I found is that there are few free volunteer opportunities. To me, volunteering is a powerful movement. It says, "I have nothing to give to you, but I can offer you my services." I didn’t come to India on vacation, I came here to live my dream. So needless to say, I do not have much to give except for my services. Regardless, I went on searching.
When asking locals about volunteer opportunities, they seemed as confused as I was. I received responses like: "Well what kind of volunteering? What do you want to do?"
"Anything," I replied.
I did a bit of online research and found many free or affordable opportunities (to my surprise) to volunteer in Delhi. Whether helping teach poor children English and other life skills, helping out on a farm, or volunteering in a community development project, there are plenty of opportunities to help as a budget traveller. (Please note that accommodation is not always available. Sometimes you will be provided food and a place to stay, but more likely than not, you will need to make your own arrangements or pay a small accommodation fee.)
I’m currently considering two opportunities:
1) Volunteering Solutions has a wide variety of projects in Delhi for 2014. This includes a program dedicated to women empowerment and education, spending time with and helping street children, volunteering at orphanages, a medical healthcare program and so much more.
2) Salaam Baalak Trust is focused on educating the poor and disadvantaged children of India. Options include opportunities in teaching life skills and non-formal education, creative expression & talent, multimedia, communication, healthcare, formal education (such as teaching English or Mathematics) and more.
I am still deciding which opportunity works best with my work schedule and budget, but I truly can't wait to get started! Since I am currently staying in a guesthouse, I won’t need to look for a volunteer opportunity that provides accommodation. With less than two months left until I depart for home, time is running short!