Going on vacation during some time off is all well and good, but the same old song and dance can get a little repetitive after a while. If you’re looking for something adventurous, fulfilling and productive, it’d be a good idea to go down the ‘voluntourism’ route, wherein you travel to a hill or a forest, and volunteer for a cause. It’s a good way to get to see your country from a completely different point of view, meet some interesting people, and help out the needy.

Here’s a few you can check out!

1. Sadhana Forest, Auroville

Working here involves planting trees, tending to the organic garden and working on water conservation.

As you’re probably aware by now, Auroville functions along a system of sustainable living and ecological welfare. Sadhana forest aims to transform 70 acres of severely eroded, arid land on the outskirts of Auroville by planting trees, working on water conservation in the forest, maintaining the community area and tending to the vegan-organic garden.

Get in touch with: sadhanaforest@auroville.org


2. Lha Charitable Trust, Dharamshala

Work here mainly consists of teaching languages and providing vocational training.

Lha Charitable Trust is an award-winning, grassroots non-profit organization that provides vital resources for Tibetan refugees, the local Indian population, and people from the Himalayan regions. Volunteering here would involve teaching different languages, providing vocational training and assisting in community related activities.

Contact: office@lhasocialwork.org

3. Slum Soccer, Maharashtra

Volunteering here involves teaching football, raising funds and doing promotional work.

Slum Soccer uses football to reach out to slum kids and provide them with a means to social empowerment. They believe the game, that transcends barriers, is a good way to bring about change in street dwellers. They need football coaches, promoters, administrators and fund raisers, so if you think you fit the bill, hit them up!

Contact: reachus@slumsoccer.org

4. Ladli, Jaipur

Work here consists of teaching street kids to make jewellery and handicrafts.

Ladli is a vocational training program for street children in Jaipur who would otherwise have to resort to begging and child labour. At Ladli, they’re taught to make jewellery and handicrafts – valuable skills in Jaipur – along with learning different languages and games. This is what they’re taught, and this is what volunteering there entails.

Contact: ladligirls@yahoo.co.in

5. Reef Watch, Andaman Islands

Volunteering here involves beach clean ups, fish surveys and teaching.

This NGO focuses on marine conservation and aims towards sustainable ocean management. Volunteering here involves beach clean ups, fish surveys and teaching work. It’s got a three week minimum stay policy, and you should probably get in touch with them regarding lodging and the like.

Contact: www.reefwatchindia.org

6. Ecosphere, Spiti Valley

Volunteering here involves building greenhouses and solar structures.

Ecosphere is a social enterprise that focuses on creating sustainable livelihoods that are linked to nature and culture conservation. The work involves building greenhouses & solar passive structures and helping out with daily village activities. This isn’t a free program however, so get in touch with them for more details.

Contact: info@spitiecosphere.com

7. Kabani, Kerala

Work here would involve community tourism initiatives and research.

Kabani’s prime objectives are sustainable socio–economic development of local communities and conservation of natural resources that provide the basis of community livelihood. Volunteering with them would entail helping out in research, campaigns and community tourism initiatives.

Contact: contact@kabani.org

8. Rural Organisation for Social Elevation (ROSE), Uttarakhand

Work here would entail planting trees and building latrines.

Located in Kanda, ROSE is a small self-help group that works at grassroots level to improve the livelihood , health, education and quality of life of the rural poor in this region while maintaining cultural integrity and ecological balance. Volunteer work involves building latrines, planting trees and helping to build community centres.

Contact: jeevanverma@rosekanda.org

9. Ecotourism and Conservation Society of Sikkim (ECOSS), Sikkim

Work here would involve teaching the local community.

ECOSS believes in eco-tourism and conservation, and thereby seeks to combine the strengths of rural communities with the experiences of national and international groups. Volunteering would entail staying at the homestay there and teaching and developing the skills of the local community.

Contact: ecoss@sikkiminfo.net

10. Seva Mandir, Rajasthan

Volunteering here would involve working towards village development and sustainability.

A grassroots NGO based in Udaipur, Seva Mandir works mainly in natural resource development and sustainability, village development, women empowerment, early childhood education and health care, and children’s welfare. Volunteers here have to partake in the above activities, undertake independent assignments and develop training modules.

Contact: info@sevamandir.org

There’s nothing as rewarding as feeling like you’ve done some good in the world, and by opting for some of these programs, you can satisfy your travel needs as well!