Emelie Lindskold, Sweden:
Look no further – this is the organisation that you want to go with. This is the organisation that will lead the way to help you create one of the best experiences in your life, and they will be with you step by step on that way. You don’t realise that it’s actually a quite big organisation, because they treat you like you are the one and only client. It feels really personal and safe, and just like when you were a baby and started to walk that’s what you want – someone to hold you in the hand.
When you arrive to India though, and have had time to do so both mentally and physically, it is not like you are getting led by the hand. You definitely try your wings and get in to both your rewarding volunteering and the whole Indian lifestyle. That’s what it was like for me in Patiala, after a week or two i found myself surrounded by my new family, in my traditional clothing, eating the food (I had helped to make) with my hands. And loving every minute of it!
The volunteerwork was like I said extremely rewarding, VII have some really interesting projects going on, and from what I have seen they are great to stay in contact with local engios that actually NEEDS volunteers to come.
I only have a positive experience from my time as a volunteer and my decision to go with Volunteer In India. To meet different cultures is in my opinion by far the best way of getting experience, moving your perspectives a bit and learn more about both yourself and the world you live in. Volunteering doesn’t only allow you to meet a different culture – it makes you a part of it. Volunteering is something that I wish everyone could try, and to have VII lead the way for you is an excellent first step.
Michelle Walford, South Africa:
When I googled “volunteer in India” and found a website called Volunteer in India, I thought it was a joke. When I saw the outline of the programme that was offered, I was convinced it was a joke. It seemed too good to be true.
It was not a joke. Volunteering in Dharamshala with volunteer in India for a month was the most fulfilling and affirming experience I could have hoped for.
From meeting the team in Delhi, the amazing time in Dharamshala and all that followed, I loved every second in India. The culture shock is no joke, but after some time I felt at home and coming home was just as bizarre! Between the Dalai Lama teachings, helping out at to teach English to Tibetan Refugees, the yoga, hikes, art projects, outings and of course the meaningful friendships and relationships formed, I will always look back at my time in India with happiness.
Leon and his team are welcoming, accommodating and generous. They will remain friends in the future and I will be sure to be in contact with VII upon my return to India.
Rob Fournier, USA:
Volunteer in India is outstanding from beginning to finish!! From the moment I first contacted them, everyone was so genuine and loving. The trip came together with such ease and blessings. Leon put me in contact with Pratima, who genuinely collaborated with putting together an experience that was tailored to me. She and Vikas were able to create a new site utilizing my talents in working with special needs children; in which I am deeply appreciative.
From the moment I landed in India, throughout my travels, and volunteer experience, Volunteer with India was always by my side with their loving support. I am still in amazement on how effortlessly this trip came about. I know behind the scenes they do a
lot of coordinating, but I can not sing their praise enough. Someone was always there to greet me when I got off the plane, train, or out of the car with a friendly hello and smile.
Each city that I was so grateful to visit had its own special unique quality. The people welcomed me with open arms and cup of chai tea! I was able to spend some time in New Delhi, Rishikeish/ Hardiwar, and Agra before setting up home in Bhagsu/ Dharamshala. The travel guides, drivers, and accommodations were phenomenal. I feel blessed to have met so many wonderful people and gain many new friends.
I had the fortunate opportunity to live with Vikas and his dear family for 5 weeks in Bhagsu/ Dharamshala. As I write this, I look forward to the day of returning to visit each one of them. They immediately embraced me as part of the family and shared their lives with me. This is an experience I will never forget and truly life changing.
While living here, I was able to participate in the family rituals/ceremonies, take part in the opening of the meditation hall, perform daily meditation, attend yoga classes, hiking, site seeing, and attend His Holiness Dahli Lama teachings. Upon return home, I continue to keep close contact with Vikas and the Volunteer in India team. As we continue to share friendship, stories, knowledge, and experience. What a beautiful way to continue our efforts as a team in assisting others.
Overall, Volunteer in India will always hold a special place in my heart!!! I give much love and gratitude to all the spectacular people that make it all come together. You are making a HUGE difference in the world. Thank you Thank you Thank you!
Nicole Damiba (USA):
My experience in Kerala was very nice, peaceful, and enriching. From the start of the application process to the end of the program things went smoothly, everything was communicated to me thoroughly, all my needs were considered and met, and the Vii team made the whole process a pleasure. With constant communication back and forth with Leon and I planning before my trip, I felt well prepared and not alone in the process. Leon was very helpful, attentive, and made me feel good and secure about my trip to India! When I arrived in Bangalore, though nervous, I was reassured by how smoothly the most important things for a new traveler went, like being picked up on time at the airport, friendly coordinators, and smooth transition into daily life.
I loved my host family/coordinators in Kerala! They were beautiful and amazing people who truly made the experience deeply meaningful for me. I was able to experience and learn about all kinds of Indian and local culture just from conversations as well as outings and activities. For my volunteer experience I taught English to kindergarten kids in Kannur. Though the language barrier was there it was a fun and positively challenging experience. I loved interacting with the kids and teachers and finding new ways to express myself. I also loved my yoga classes and teacher, interacting with locals even with the minimal english spoken, and just absorbing the place. The many activities outside of volunteering, like temple visits, workshops, and being in a homestay, made the trip an enriching and all encompassing experience and not just a volunteer project. I loved that aspect of it because I was able to gain more than an amazing volunteer experience….it was an amazing trip that fed many aspects of myself.
I think the best part of the Vii program was that I could really create the experience I wanted. Nothing was set in stone and I could choose and decide to do whatever my heart desired, and every step of the way Vii made sure I was comfortable with the way things were going! By the end of the month I really started to feel apart of the place and am already looking for excuses to go back!
Tricia Ali (West Indies):
To all the ladies out there thinking about volunteering in India, I would say sign up with Volunteer in India! I chose this company because of the personalised responses I received to all my queries. Pratima, from the very beginning, made me feel comfortable and gave me the courage needed to make that big step of buying my ticket. I had never travelled to a non-english speaking country by myself – I was apprehensive to even tell my family I was going to India – they would think I was crazy.
So I finally made it to New Delhi, I was met at the airport and taken to wonderful homestay to overnight – beautiful house (with an art gallery- so be warned!). I was picked up the next morning to be taken on my 3 day Golden triangle tour – my tour guide was polite and respectful – I think Pratima worried more than I did. I then did a three day OSHO meditation camp – a must-do for everyone. All this organised for me by Pratima at Volunteer in India. I was then taken to the train station to head to Chandigarh.
This entire trip turned out to be just what I needed and introduced me to a new way of life and a new way of thinking. I was picked up at the trainstation by Pratima – I think she was glad I was finally under her wing so she wouldn’t have to worry as much! My homestay family was absolutely lovely. Very strange that the make-up was so much like my own family at home! I could not stop smiling that first night – I was in love with my family.
The next day I went to my volunteer office – Greenpeace! We were going to be involved in a protest! How great is that! Everyone at that office was great – made me feel at home – I can really write lots of great stuff about Bobo and his team…
Anyways, long story, short – you are well taken care off – I never got sick (I walked with a pharmacy), never had to use any medication. Pratima – amazing, Homestay family – amazing, greenpeace – amazing, tuk-tuk drivers – annoying. If you have any questions or need to find out anything before ask Pratima for my contact – I’ll be glad to chat with anyone thinking of signing up with Volunteer in India.
Kyle Smith ( USA ):
The people with Volunteer in India were with me every step of the way, ensuring that I was comfortable and enjoying myself. If there’s ever a problem, they will do everything in their power to find a solution. They are very flexible, and open to suggestions. I felt like an integral member of the team the day I started with the environmental society. Volunteers are treated with great respect in India, and you never have to worry about fitting in: from day one, I was welcomed and accepted like a family member. And that’s what I felt like the entire time- a family member, whose well-being was of the utmost importance. India can be an intimidating place, but the people with volunteer in India made everything smooth and I never had to worry about a thing. My recommendation is to just go for it! You won’t regret the experience.
Sonja Spodek( Denmark):
I wasn’t sure what to expect out of volunteering as I had not volunteered before. Also I was going to India and I really haven’t been out of Denmark all my life. I was very much impressed by Buddhist philosophy and therefore wanted to volunteer with a monastery. Thanks to volunteerinindia.com for arranging a wonderful volunteering experience for me. I loved leh, the silence of the place. I would not hesitate to recommend this experience to anyone who wants to volunteer in India. I will be coming back again for sure next year … thanks a lot….!
Sasha Michaleht( Germany):
I would recommend volunteer experience to anyone who wants to see India. I love the smiles and Ladakh. My stay was comfortable and worthwhile. I feel I contributed something. Thank you. I highly recommend this experience through VolunteerinIndia to anyone who wants to volunteer in Himalayas. Thanks guys..Keep on the good work.
Yvonne Marshal (UK):
I loved the whole feel and the pace of life in India. The traffic rules are a bit crazy for me but I loved it. Food was great. I was a bit scared at first, wasn’t sure how I am going to cope , but me and Julie and had a great time there. Those 5 weeks were really a rejuvenating experience for me and I think Jules thinks the same. Thank you so much Volunteerinindiaforcreating such a wonderful experience for me.
Colleen Carfs (Australia):
Leon, thank you so much for organizing such a beautiful experience for me. I am already missing the kids at the school and specially Nishan, he was was a lovely boy. . The mediation camp camp at Dharasmala which you suggested was a the icing on the cake. I always wanted to start my spiritual quest from India and you helped me achieve that. I would be happy to recommend to you to all my friend and colleges who want to volunteer with difference. Many many thanks to all the team of VII.
Barbara Harnet (USA):
I am writing this letter to you to show my gratitude to all the members of Volunteer in india.com who helped me while I was in Chandigarh. My placement was excellent, I always wanted to work with slum kids and that’s what I got. ASK is a wonderful NGO and I am glad I was a part of such an organization and could offer my help. I was always told by my friends how tough Indian can be but I never felt that, you guys were awesome in telling me the do’s and don’ts. Thanks for taking such great care of me. My mom finally is relived that I am back home safely ;o).
Melisssa Bulton (Canada):
Thank you so much Vii, it was the best time of my life. My host family was more like my own family, they cared for me more than they would for their children. I always wanted to experience the Indian culture and at the same time give back to society. this program was the perfect match. The Yoga lessons were just Terrific, Amrita is great teacher and I would love to come back to learn more from here. The program was far more than what I could expected.
Gary Evans ( New Zealand):
A quick email to tell you that I am having a awesome time here in Rishikesh. I am loving work at the orphanage and sitting in the evening Aarti every evening. The heat is still taking some getting used to and I seem to be getting used to it. I have met some of other Vii volunteers here Marika and Helen. They are fun to be with. I have also made some Indian friends here at the ashram and they are teaching me how to wear a Dhoti (lol). We all are planning a trip to Gangotri next week as a part of the ashram pilgrimage. Vivek, my coordinator is great he has been meeting me everyday to look into my comfort and helping me understand the rituals here (there are so many of them). Thanks a ton to letting me participate in your program and giving me this opportunity. I am sure I’ll never forget it.