Head to the hills to volunteer for a cause this vacation! We give you 11 volunteering options in the beautiful, serene hilly parts of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Assam, and Jammu & Kashmir.
‘Voluntourism’ is an upcoming concept in India, where the idea is to travel to certain places – like hill stations, mountains, farms, fishing villages near beaches, rural areas, and so on – and take up volunteering for a cause. As temperatures soar in most parts of the country, we take a look at 11 volunteering options in picturesque hilly regions of North and Northeast India: Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Sikkim, and Assam. Many NGOs here offer exciting and fulfilling volunteering positions that are sure to give you reason to take a break from city life.
Spiti: Spiti Ecosphere
Spiti Ecosphere is a collective effort of the local community of Spiti, along with other professionals, to create sustainable livelihoods that go hand in hand with nature and culture conservation. The NGO also promotes indigenous handicrafts, from paintings to clay structures and silks.
What you can do: Help in building greenhouses and solar passive structures, volunteer with daily village activities, or help with the routine office work of Ecosphere.
Apply today: Write to firstname.lastname@example.org with your interests.
Dharamsala: LHA Charitable Trust
The LHA Charitable Trust is a grassroots non-profit organisation, and is one of the largest Tibetan social work institutes in India. It aims aim to provide necessary resources for Tibetan refugees, the local Indian population, and people from the Himalayan regions.
What you can do: LHA has a large number of volunteering options, including social media and marketing positions, tutoring in English and other languages, fundraising, yoga, writing articles about Tibet and human rights, and project coordination.
Apply today: Fill up the volunteer form here.
Shimla: Wahoe Community Volunteer Programmes
The Wahoe community was started with the aim of providing education, nutrition and spiritual teaching to children and women, irrespective of caste and creed.
What you can do: The group has recently started a school in Galot village, 17 kilometres from Shimla. Volunteers can help in tutoring the children, office activities in Shimla, or at the community farm.
Apply today: Fill up the volunteer form here.
Kanda: ROSE (Rural Organisation for Social Elevation)
ROSE is a small community-based self-help group that is dedicated to improving the livelihoods, health, education and quality of life of the rural poor in the region, without disturbing the cultural or ecological balance.
What you can do: Help in constructing the community centre, building latrines, eco projects such as tree plantations.
Apply today: Write to email@example.com.
Aarohi is a non-profit organisation that works at the grassroots level for integrated development of the rural community, through quality healthcare and education, use of sustainable resources and revival of traditional culture.
What you can do: You can volunteer as a specialist, as a doctor, physician, community health manager or simply as a person who wishes to offer their skills.
Apply today: Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ankuri is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to empower women to become independent and self-sufficient, thus enabling their children to receive better education and healthcare.
What you can do: Volunteers can opt for short term or long term programmes in the literary or knitting centres. What’s more, you can stay at a beautiful homestay during what they call your ‘voluntourism.’
Apply today: Write to email@example.com.
JAMMU AND KASHMIR
Breswana: Haji Public School
The Haji Public School was started on May 4, 2009, by the Haji family in Breswana, to provide quality education to children of the village who, prior to the opening of the school, had no source of formal education.
What you can do: Take part as short term or long term primary school volunteers to teach kids and assist teachers. If you’re a medical or media professional, you can do activities related to increasing medical awareness.
Apply today: Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Association of Social Workers
JKASW with the support of CRY, has been working on child rights issues in general as well as in the intervention areas in particular. It serves the dual purpose of solving the problems of its own members as well as intervening in places it feels the need to. According to its Facebook page, the NGO has been able to bring 704 children back to school.
What you can do: The organisation encourages people to join its various campaigns, which involve bringing school drop outs back to school and eliminating child labour through child activity centres. It also organises workshops and children’s festivals.
Apply today: Write to them on their Facebook page here.
Ecotourism and Conservation Society of Sikkim (ECOSS)
ECOSS is an NGO working for sustainable conservation in the state of Sikkim. It has built the Sikkim Himalayan Homestay along with UNESCO for encouraging sustainable eco-tourism in the state.
What you can do: Volunteers can stay at the homestay to teach and develop the skills of the people of the local community.
Apply today: Write to email@example.com.
Fertile Ground is an organisation that provides support, training and resources to farmers, including small-scale tea growers, teachers, students and other families living in the state of Assam. It encourages growing of healthy food by bringing together cost effective and traditional methods to farmers. Its projects are located in various places.
What you can do: Organic farming activities, education workshops for teachers and kids.
Apply today: Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aaranyak is a registered society working for environmental conservation in Assam since 1989, and aims to use scientific means, law, community engagement, education, etc., in an effort to control the impact of changing climate and weather in Northeast India.
What you can do: Volunteer in conservation or related fields.
Apply today: Write to email@example.com.
(With inputs from Varun Jadia.)