Namaste! Get involved in Grassroots Teaching and Community Projects in Dharamsala

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Volunteer in India and get involved in Teaching Projects, IT Teaching, Childcare Projects, After school programmes/Summer camps, Renovation of local institutions, Community Health and Women's Empowerment Programmes.

You can join for 2 weeks up to 12 weeks all year round and we have places all throughout 2014 available.

Individuals, groups and students all welcome.

Cost for food, lodging in shared volunteer house, cultural activities, airport pickup, programme materials and training; from £545.

A schoolgirl in Dharamsala Volunteer with a child Indian Padi Fields Volunteer teaching in a local School Volunteers visiting the Taj Mahal Volunteers can visit the Golden Temple at Amritsar View of Dharamsala town Volunteer at a Day care centre The Womens empowerment project furthers education in Dharamsala Volunteer helping to prepare food with the locals Day care centre in Dharamsala Volunteer teaching children in Dharamsala Locals working on their computer skills Children at the daycare centre sitting down for breakfast Volunteer with a child at the Daycare centre After school camp which volunteers can work with Health education project Volunteer teaching IT in Dharamsala

The Project

School children and volunteer in DharamsalaVolunteer in India and work on one or more of a range of community service projects in Dharamsala, including

  • Teaching Projects - Teaching English to women and children
  • IT Teaching - Teaching basic IT skills
  • Childcare Projects - Caring for infants and children, including street children
  • After school programmes/Summer camps - Assisting local teachers and staff with after school programmes and summer camps
  • Renovation of local institutions - Assisting with the renovation of local institutions and creating clean, bright learning spaces
  • Community Health - Making community health visits/community health awareness training
  • Women's Empowerment - Working towards improving women's rights in society (including job skills training)


For more detailed descriptions of each volunteer project, please click here

Volunteers visit the Taj MahalVolunteers work for around 6 hours per day Monday-Friday. You will therefore have plenty of time to explore the local area, with many sights to visit, and free or low cost activities to take part in for example; Indian cooking lessons, Henna painting, Hindi language lessons, country walks, visiting tea gardens, temples, and more.

In addition, there are several other activities and travel tours which volunteers can join at an extra cost, including; a 2 day tour of the Taj Mahal, a 2 day guided Himalayan Trekking Tour, a 2 day Adventure Tour in Manali, and a 2 day tour of Punjab state, visiting The Golden Temple in Amritsar, the Wagah border ceremony and the Jallianwala Bagh gardens.

 

About the Volunteer Projects in Dharamsala


Teaching Volunteering projects

Teaching volunteers play an important role in raising awareness about the need for regular schooling, and offer much needed support to local teachers. Working in local schools gives volunteers a chance to meet regularly with local children and their families, and for those volunteers with a professional interest in education, volunteer teaching provides a chance to hone you skills in a very different environment. The most commonly requested subject is teaching English as a foreign language, however volunteers are also welcome to teach math, science, geography or other subjects covered by the curriculum. Volunteers are encouraged to create their own lesson plans, and teaching materials are available for this purpose. You may also bring your own teaching materials such as reading and picture books and flash cards. For volunteering to teach English as a foreign language it is not necessary for volunteers to have past experience or an in-depth knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. Simply interacting with fluent English speakers is invaluable on its own for local women and children.

IT Teaching

In rural India, computers are fast replacing paper systems and traditional methods for information storage and communication. Learning IT skills is becoming increasingly important to enable students' to obtain further education and employment opportunities. Volunteers can teach computer skills to a range of students from primary age through to adults. Work with students who have little or no knowledge of computers, teaching basic skills such as keyboard and mouse, managing different windows or word processing. Or, work with students with previous knowledge and teach intermediate skills such as internet use, email, spreadsheets, presentations, printing documents and so on. Regardless of how you use your IT skills, IT teaching volunteers will benefit the Dharamsala community and help to improve their opportunities.

Childcare Volunteering Projects

Childcare volunteers work alongside the ICDS (Integrated Child Development Service) scheme, which is a government initiative addressing early childhood development, health and malnutrition in India. The services provided by the scheme are made available through local child care centres (anganwari) and offer nutritional food and health education to both mother and child as well as informal preschool education. Although these centres provide a valuable service in the community, they suffer from a lack of funding and poor management, affecting their ability to meet specified objectives, especially in the area of preschool education. This is where childcare volunteer assistance can make such a difference and along with local staff you will be responsible for providing a safe, hygienic environment for children to play and learn, play games and develop arts activities designed to enhance motor skills and encourage creativity. Childcare volunteers will also teach children their ABC's and nursery rhymes creating a positive learning environment.

Street child in DharamsalaVolunteer With Street Children

India is home to the world’s largest population of street children: estimated at around 11 million, according to conservative estimates by UNICEF. Relying on basic survival strategies and with no opportunities for play or school, these are a particularly vulnerable group at risk of exploitation and extreme poverty. This project emphasises education and basic care to help integrate street children into mainstream society, with the understanding that the key to their development and academic achievement is improved health and a secure environment. Volunteers work at various shelter homes and contact points providing care, affection, meals, basic literacy, and a safe environment for the children to learn and develop, away from the reality of life on the streets.

After School Programmes and Summer Camps

Work on after-school groups and summer camps (for ages 4-16) - a great way to work with the children of Dharamsala in a less formal setting. Assist with children's growth and development, allowing them to learn and express themselves in relaxed environments. Whether it's teaching English, life skills, art, drama or sports, you will be very hands on and get to know the local community.

School classroom in DharamsalaRenovation of local institutions

Tap into your creative side and assist in creating bright and cheerful learning spaces in village day care centres and schools. These institutions provide valuable services to the local community but have to run on minimal resources. There is often little money left to maintain the buildings themselves and monsoon rains make regular maintenance and renovation work an ever more pressing need. Construction volunteers will conduct renovations such as painting, design, clearing debris and basic DIY to ensure these institutions are available to the local community.

Community Health Visits and Healthcare Volunteering Projects

Become a healthcare volunteer and work with women and children, delivering health awareness education on basic first aid, sanitation and nutrition - at different stages of development including pregnancy. Make community health visits, and with the assistance of local child care centres, ensure that children are up to date with vaccinations. Deliver health awareness training through small independent projects and give short talks to partner institutions. Empower rural communities and help them acquire the knowledge required to make important health decisions. Healthcare volunteers should ideally have some relevant experience for this project.

Women's Empowerment Volunteering

With the introduction of the National Policy for the Empowerment of Women in 2001 the Indian Government has said ‘Our vision in the new century of a nation where women are equal partners with men’ but in reality Indian women struggle to gain empowerment through society. Education is the most influential tool to raise the status of women and this project aims to run a variety of educational and confidence building activities to benefit women and adolescent girls in the local community. English teaching and computer classes impart much needed skills to women, increase their self-worth and offer a platform for social interaction, ultimately increasing their social status and employability prospects. One good technique for building rapport and empowering the local women is to ask them to teach you basic Hindi at the same time as you are teaching them. You’ll come back with fond memories of an unforgettable experience.


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Dates & Costs

Volunteer teaching children in Dharamsala

You can join for 2 up to 12 week durations on the following dates, year round, starting on a Sunday. We are however flexible with dates and can accommodate as well. Please email volunteer@workingabroad.com if you have specific questions about dates.


2014 Dates

23rd February to 9th March
9th March to 23rd March 
23rd March to 6th April
School children playing6th April to 20th April 
20th April to 4th May
4th May to 18th May 
18th May to 1st June
1st June to 15th June 
15th June to 29th June
29th June to 13th July 
13th July to 27th July
27th July to 10th August 
10th August to 24th August
24th August to 7th September 
7th September to 21st September
21st September to 5th October 
5th October to 19th October
Volunteer at a daycare centre in Dharamsala19th October to 2nd November 
2nd November to 16th November
16th November to 30th November 
30th November to 14th December
14th December to 28th December 
 

Costs
The costs for the project are as follows: 2 weeks is £545, 4 weeks is £743, 6 weeks is £940, 8 weeks is £1037, 10 weeks is £1335 and 12 weeks is £1532. There is also the option to add on various travel tours in India, at an additional cost.

The Golden Temple at AmritsarThe above costs include; pick up at Delhi airport, one night stay at a hotel in Delhi and transfer to Dharamsala, on site transportation (to and from work areas), all meals at the volunteer house (breakfast, lunch & dinner- cooked by a staff chef), all accommodation, materials required for volunteer work, e.g. teaching supplies, evening yoga classes and local sightseeing. What is not included is your flights and travel to and from India, visa costs, personal expenses, and your own health and travel insurance.
 

Food, Lodging, Travel

View of the volunteer house in DharamsalaAccommodation & Food: Garden of the volunteer house
All volunteers live in shared volunteer housing with two to three per room, shared bathroom and a large living space to relax together. The house also has internet access and 3 meals a day will be provided by a staff chef. From the volunteer house you can see views of the Himalayan peaks, enjoy outside space on the verandas, or take country walks through the Himalayan countryside.

 

Volunteers taking a walk in DharamsalaVolunteer Requirements:
Volunteers should be aged 18 years upwards and speak English. All nationalities are welcome. Volunteers joining the health education project should ideally have some previous experience, but for other projects volunteers do not need any specific skills or qualifications. Any skills you do have will of course be useful for the projects.


Volunteers with children in a daycare centreFlights/Travel
The quickest and simplest route is to fly to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. You will then be collected at the airport by project staff and taken to a local hotel, before transferring to the volunteer house in Dharamsala. Volunteers will need to apply for a visa online in advance of their arrival to India. The cost is around £45, and WorkingAbroad can offer volunteers advice on obtaining a visa.

Interactive Map & Background

Below is an interactive map showing the location of the programme:



Background

India is a country of beauty and diversity, with rich culture and old traditions. By joining this project you will have to chance to experience the sights and tastes of India, all whilst carrying out community development work.
View of Dharamsala town where volunteers will workThe Dalai Lama in Dharamsala
Dharamsala is a small town nestled in the Himalayan Mountains. Currently in exile from his homeland Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama calls Dharamsala home and the peaceful region has a beauty which is unparalleled in India. Dharamsala is in the far north of India and is in stark contrast to many of India's bustling cities.

This programme aims to offer developmental assistance to the Dharamsala community, by forming partnerships with and providing volunteer support to local institutions including schools, orphanages, childcare centres (known as Aanganwari), women's learning centres, health centres and more.


You can read more about India at:

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/india or http://wikitravel.org/en/india

Volunteer Testimonials

Childcare volunteer Julie, from France"I had many wonderful and unforgettable moments during my stay in Dharamsala. The atmosphere at the camp was very good, everyone was very friendly and got along with each other. I will always remember the trek, the cricket, the visits to the wonderful temples and the parties at the camp especially the unforgettable Times'up!

During the week I was going to a day care centre to look after young children and the afternoon to teach English to girls. I loved each day I spent with the children, time was always flying, and the lessons were always too short. I was always looking forward to go back to the lessons the following day. The day I had to say goodbye to them was very hard."

ex-Volunteer Julie Michard from France

Teaching volunteer Max, from Austria"From the first day until the last trip to Taj Mahal, my experience was perfect. Not knowing what it was going to be like, I could not have expected it to be that good. The staff welcomed me with open hands and hearts. Being surrounded by fascinating people, I felt at home from the first moment. Every day was a new and exciting experience, meeting new and interesting people and seeing rural india. The project managed to find the perfect balance between teaching and helping the Indian community as well as showing you the real and incredible India. I really have to say thank you to all the other volunteers and especially the staff which made my trip so special. I can honestly recommend the project for anyone who wants to volunteer in India."

ex-Volunteer Max Poettinger from Austria

Teaching volunteer Kristyn, from the USA"My three weeks Volunteering in India were more than anything I could have imagined. From the bustling streets of Delhi to the more tranquil setting of Dharamsala, the Indian landscape is breath-taking, and the people welcoming.

The students I taught were eager to learn and very respectful to me as a teacher. Their enthusiasm and energy made each class exciting. The language barrier was easier to overcome than I expected with the help of older students and a basic vocabulary of Hindi words, provided by the staff. The resources at the camp were very helpful in lesson planning, and discussing lesson plans with the other volunteers was always beneficial.

The staff are outstanding! They are extremely hospitable, making each volunteer feel right at home and comfortable. Their passion for their work is contagious and inspirational. They will do everything in their power to help you have a positive experience. By the time I left, I thought of all of the staff members as friends.

The project model is an ideal way to travel. Not only was I immersed in the Indian culture, I had the incredible opportunity to make my small mark on people in another part of the world, one not often seen by tourists. I returned from India a changed person. I am more aware of global issues, have a greater appreciation for my extremely blessed life, and face each day with a more positive attitude. I miss the sights, sounds, and smells of India, but I will never forget the smiles of the people I met, and more importantly, their incredibly large hearts. This project will challenge you, inspire you, and change you. I will never forget my great  experience volunteering in India."

ex-Volunteer Kristyn Brisnehan from the USA

How to Join

To volunteer in India and secure a placement on our Dharamsala Community volunteering project, please complete and submit the form including two references and your deposit of £150.  If for some reason, your application is declined, we will reimburse this deposit fully. However for those who are accepted, the final amount needs to be paid one month before departure. Once you are confirmed on the project, you will receive pre-departure information with all details on your project, when to arrive, contact details, suggested items to bring, programme information and lots more.

 

Apply Now

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