One of the most frequent questions that volunteers ask is “Why should I pay for volunteering in India?”
For some of us the notion of paying to volunteer is a strange one. We may think that we are saving the organization wages by offering to work for free. In the west this may be true. Organizations might thank their volunteers with awards and special occasions. And yet in the developing world organizations ask volunteers to feed and accommodate themselves while they work and make donations to keep their programs going. The reasons for this are economic, ethical and cultural. We need to be realistic about the abilities of developing countries.
India ranks one hundred thirty-two on the UN Human Development Index. From an economic point of view, organizations in India simply do not have the funds to accommodate volunteers. Particularly in the standard of accommodation we are comfortable in and familiar with. We are incensed when executives earn big salaries and are given perks such as fancy meals. Imagine how the people of developing nations would feel seeing resources put into the pockets of volunteers who have chosen to be here.
The answer to that is that is, volunteers who travel to India need accommodation, transfers, meals, airport pickups, local coordination, orientation, pre departure information and assistance, safety while in India, continuous Support etc. We charge a program fee to cover the many expenses associated with providing the highest-quality international volunteer experience in India. This ensures that the local communities and organizations with which we work are not financially burdened by hosting our volunteers and enables us to provide volunteers with extensive preparation and support.
Apart from providing our volunteers with an organized placement we also arrange for cultural and spiritual lessons for volunteers to learn from the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of India. These are in the form of Yoga, Dance, Language, Meditation, Cooking, sightseeing, sewing etc. We have realized over the years that volunteers come to India not just to look for a placement with a school or an Orphanage but to rather experience India, that’s what our placements are all about.
Why is Volunteer in India expensive than others
- Program locations: Our program locations are some of the most interesting places in India. They are among the most visited place in India, tourist hotspots and hence offer a much better experience. We preferred to comprise on costs rather than the experience. Initially we too wanted to include a cheaper volunteering India programs in one of the Metropolitan’s but then we realized they were way too modern and could not offer the experience our volunteers were looking for. Volunteering in Leh would offer a better experience than volunteering in Delhi.
- Donations : We act as an online mechanism for many of the organizations which are in need of Personnel and Financial help. A portion of the program fee is donated to the organization/NGO the volunteers work with. We thereby ensure that ur partners receive necessary financial help as well apart from the volunteers.
- No Hidden costs: Our programs are all inclusive, we call them: “Airport to Airport”. Unlike other programs which want volunteers to manage either them reaching the project location on their own or managing the return transfers back to the International airport, arrange everything for our volunteers from arrival till departure.
- Cultural and Spiritual courses: Our program fee is inclusive of the Cultural and Spiritual lessons. Different programs have different lessons and these are included into the program costs.
- Local Coordinators: We do not burden the local Organizations to take care of our volunteers but rather have local coordinators at every of our locations who manage and offer continuous support to our volunteers.
Why is Volunteer in India cheaper than others
- Based in India: One of the main reasons why our programs are cheaper than most of the companies based overseas is the fact that we are based in India, we don’t have offices in the US or the UK which means that we don’t have the overheads of maintaining an Office in the US or the UK and paying for the staff.
- Direct Recruitment: We don’t work with any third party organizations to recruit volunteers but rather recruitment them directly. Also we directly work with NGO’s in India and manage everything from Airport pickup to Accommodation ourselves and do not outsource anything.
- Program development and evaluation: Since we are based in India its relatively cheaper for us to continuously monitor our volunteers, projects, source new placement, evaluate current program. The same task would cost an organization based overseas thousands of Dollars.
- Accommodation: All our programs use Home stay accommodation, which is not only cheap but also, gives volunteers a chance to experience the Indian way life. Many other program use Hotels, Guest House etc that indirectly increase the overall costs.