Volunteer in India - Delhi
At a glance…
- Available year-round
- 4 meaningful project options
- Projects based in the capital Delhi and the city of Faridabad
- Accommodation in local homestays or a volunteer dormitory
- Between 20 and 40 volunteers start in Delhi each month
- Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- Program fees from $250 for 1 week
- Optional Language and Cultural orientation week available
- Most affordable fees - as the world leader in affordable volunteer travel, we’re able to keep our fees low by partnering with a local organization in India to support meaningful community projects and local employment.
- Superior support - your experienced IVHQ Program Manager, teamed with our local team in India will ensure you feel supported every step of the way - from planning to volunteering.
- Responsible projects - we’re dedicated to ensuring that our projects are responsibly run and have sustainable positive impacts that are supporting local needs.
- Online training - as soon as you register on an IVHQ program, you will gain access to our interactive volunteer training to ensure you’re well prepared for your program.
- Safety-first - volunteer safety is a top priority for IVHQ and we have clear standards for risk management on each program. You can feel confident that you are placed with trustworthy institutions, organizations and families that have been screened by our local teams.
- New friendships - as an IVHQer, you’ll always be in the company of friendly locals and like-minded volunteer travelers who will quickly become your life-long friends.
- Epic weekend adventures - you’ll have your weekends free to explore India with your new-found friends.
The IVHQ India - Delhi program is located in Delhi (The National Capital Territory of India), although the majority of placements are located in the city of Faridabad. Volunteer programs begin on the first and third Mondays of every month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks.
If you are going to volunteer in India over the summer (April to July), it is important to consider the climate in Delhi. Past volunteers in India have found that in summer time, the heat and humidity were more extreme than they were planning for. The volunteer accommodation is equipped with fans, however power cuts are not uncommon. In recent years, Delhi has experienced some of the hottest summers on record, and placements where volunteers work during the day generally do not have air conditioning. The IVHQ India - Dharamsala volunteer program is located at a higher altitude, which means it is much cooler and more temperate. Both programs operate through the summer, however it is important you keep climate in mind when planning your trip.
The Health project provides volunteers with an insight into the healthcare system in one of the world’s fastest growing countries. Volunteers on this project work in local hospitals and clinics, shadowing well-respected physicians who are passionate about sharing their knowledge and expertise. While hospitals are under resourced and equipment is basic, these institutions are bound by government regulations and cannot allow international volunteers to perform tasks independently. In Delhi, the role of pre-medical students is primarily to observe and learn about prevalent diseases and how these diseases are treated by the healthcare system in India. Volunteers generally assist local doctors and nurses with routine jobs, such as taking the height, weight and blood pressure measurements of patients. During routine check-ups, volunteers can provide advice regarding nutrition, health and sanitation. Volunteers can also treat minor injuries and perform tasks such as, cleaning and bandaging wounds. Qualified volunteers may request to work in their area of expertise or training and it is important to note that volunteers are only able to perform tasks relevant to their skills and qualifications. Long-term volunteers (3 months or longer) will have more scope to assist with hands on tasks and fully qualified doctors can occasionally assist with surgical procedures, subject to their qualifications and experience. Volunteers participating on the Health project must present their practicing licence/certificate or proof of medical study to our local staff upon arrival in Delhi. This can be a letter from your professor, or a copy of your academic transcript.
Orphanages and childcare centers in India are often at full capacity due to the high incidences of poverty and illness. These centers are often over-crowded and under resourced with a high demand for volunteer assistance. Volunteers are placed at a number of different Childcare placements, the majority of which are located in the area of Faridabad. Volunteers who are placed in an orphanage assist with daily chores, ranging from cooking and cleaning, to assisting with feeding, caring for the children and babies, and teaching English. All placements, in orphanages or childcare centers, require volunteers to help the children with their education by taking English lessons, assisting with homework and teaching essential life skills, such as personal hygiene, while also arranging games and activities for the children. Volunteers on this project may also be in a placement which enables them to work with mentally and or physically disabled children. At several of the orphanage placements volunteers live onsite with the children, but sleep in separate volunteer dormitories. However, the majority of Childcare placements are located in close proximity to homestays, where volunteers are accommodated.
For many children in India, school is simply not an option, as they work in the streets with their parents selling goods, foraging and performing to make a living. There are estimated to be over 100 million street children living in India. The Slum Teaching project focuses on providing these children with a basic education and new opportunities that they would otherwise be deprived of. This project is very popular among the street children and their families, who are grateful for the new perspectives and lessons learned from volunteers. Volunteer work consists of taking basic lessons in make-shift classrooms within the slums, playing games with the children after class, providing one-on-one support, and introducing the children to activities, such as painting, that are not possible outside of school.
The Teaching English project provides volunteers with the opportunity to share their knowledge with local teachers and develop the English skills of students in India. This offers an enjoyable experience for volunteers with an interest in developing creative lesson plans and gaining new skills through working in a new cultural environment. Volunteers on this project teach for approximately 4 hours per day, working alongside local teachers and other international volunteers. Volunteers are encouraged to work with local teachers to develop new teaching practices and advance their conversational English, enabling them to teach English more effectively in the future. Volunteers are placed in a range of different schools in Delhi, the majority of which are located in Faridabad. Teaching English volunteers must be fluent in English. As volunteers work with the support of IVHQ’s local team and placement staff, they do not need to be qualified or experienced teachers to participate. However, we encourage volunteers to come prepared by completing some relevant training, like a teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) course. Visit our Online TEFL Course page to learn how to gain an internationally-recognized TEFL certification at a discounted rate.
The program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of each month, and volunteers need to arrive in Delhi on the Sunday before orientation.
After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the New Delhi International Airport (DEL). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee.
When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Faridabad, on the southern outskirts of Delhi. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.
If you are traveling in India prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Delhi on the day before your program orientation.
There are two options for orientation in India. The first option is a standard half-day orientation that starts on your selected start date and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Delhi – Introduction to India, Indian Customs, Language Training Details, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities in India, Introduction to your Project and Placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.
The second option is a 1-week language and cultural orientation in Delhi, which takes place during the first week of your program. This orientation week begins on your selected start date and your volunteer program will start the following week. If you wish to participate in the 1-week orientation, you must indicate this on your application form when you apply for the program. Your IVHQ Program Manager will then add this to your file after you register, as you need to book a place and pay for this prior to departing for India. Orientation week is very popular among IVHQ volunteers and we recommend all volunteers take advantage of this week, as it is a great way to help settle the culture shock you can face when arriving in India.
Day 1 (Monday): Volunteers are provided with an introduction to India and an introduction to the program staff and procedures. Topics discussed include History of India, Religion, Caste System, Marriage, Festivals, Dress/Clothing, Family Values, Safety Issues, Food, Transportation and Travel Opportunities. You will also be given your orientation week schedule and provided details about your volunteer project and accommodation, to follow after the orientation week. The afternoon will conclude with an introduction to the Hindi language. The morning session will be provided to those who choose the half-day orientation.
Day 2 (Tuesday): New Delhi Sightseeing (5 to 7 hours) – Lotus Baha’I Temple, Humayun’s Tomb and Qutub Minar. All entrance fees are covered in your orientation week fee.
Day 3 (Wednesday): Hindi Language Lesson (approximately 3 hours), learning basic letters, greetings and useful vocabulary and expressions, which will help assist you at your volunteer placement. In the afternoon, volunteers are taken to see a new Bollywood Hindi film. Movie tickets are included in your orientation week fee.
Day 4 (Thursday): Old Delhi Sightseeing – India Gate, Red Fort, Jama Mosque and Raj Ghat (Gandhi Samadhi’s Cremation). All entrance fees are covered in your orientation week fee.
Day 5 (Friday): Hindi Language Lesson (approximately 3 hours), covering additional words and vocabulary to assist you with your volunteer work. In the evening, volunteers explore the local markets, visit Internet cafes, practice Hindi, or visit restaurants together.
Day 6 (Saturday): Hindi Language Lesson in the morning. In the afternoon, volunteers have free time to hand wash clothing and prepare for departure to your homestay.
Day 7 (Sunday): Taj Mahal Tour (optional add-on), which includes an air conditioned car or van from Delhi to Agra and back, state insurance, driver, parking and toll taxes, breakfast, lunch and a guide. Entrance fees to the Taj Mahal are not included in your orientation week fee and must be paid separately. You can expect to pay 750 Rupees for the entry ticket at the gate when you arrive. For those not taking the Taj Mahal Tour, you will depart for your placement with the local staff who will introduce you to your placement and accommodation. Those taking the Taj Mahal tour will be introduced to their placement and accommodation on the following day.
The orientation week fee is US$220 (accommodation and three meals per day are covered during this time). The Taj Mahal Tour on the 7th day costs an extra US$100.
First Day: On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.
Weekdays: A typical volunteer day would be as follows:
8.00 AM Breakfast at the homestay.
9.00 AM Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements. Work and hours are dependent on the project and placement that the volunteer is working at.
12.00 PM – 2.00 PM Lunch break either at the placement or homestay.
2.00 PM – 4.00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel back to the homestay, go sight seeing, or do some shopping.
7.00 PM – 9.00 PM Dinner at the homestay.
Please note, this schedule may vary depending on the particular project the volunteer is participating on.
Volunteers are accommodated in home-stays and in some Childcare placements, volunteers may instead be accommodated in a volunteer dormitory within the orphanage. Volunteers can expect to share a room with two or five other volunteers, however in some home-stays volunteers may have their own rooms. While bedding is provided, it is recommended that volunteers bring their own sleeping bag for any weekend trips away and during the winter months (November through February). Living is comfortable and all home-stays have electricity, WiFi and running water. These home-stays are run by local families who have been approved by our local staff. We give your host family a fee for your support, food and board. It is exciting to stay with a host family, providing you with a unique opportunity to learn about the Indian way of life, meet local people, try local food, speak the local language and engage in local customs and traditions.
Volunteers in India are provided with three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), which are generally all served at your homestay. Toast, spreads and tea are served for breakfast. Typical Indian food served for lunch and dinner include chapatti (flat wheat bread), dahl (lentil soup), curry, vegetables, salads, milk and yogurt. Chicken and mutton are the main source of meat eaten in India (beef is forbidden as cattle are considered sacred in India), however meat is rarely eaten in India, except on festive occasions. India is home to a great variety of teas and you are sure to be served an authentic home brew of chai tea during your stay. Bottled water is readily available in India and volunteers should budget approximately US$5 per week for this (2 liters per day).
“I was very happy at my placement! The principal of the school is such a lovely person who was open for all our ideas and appreciated the effort we made. My project was genuinely worthwhile for the community, without this school, the majority of slum kids as well as the special needs children wouldn’t have a place to go to to receive an education. Spending time with the children, teaching and playing with them, has taught me so much about what is important in life. I enjoyed seeing the faces of the kids after they got a maths equation or English sentence right after having practiced them for so long, they got so excited!” - Anja Reil (Teaching English Volunteer in India - Delhi)
During the weekends, volunteers have spare time to relax or take the opportunity to explore Delhi or travel further afield to destinations, such as Agra or Jaipur. Volunteers can make travel arrangements after arriving in Delhi, however if you are planning a long weekend trip during your time in India, it is a good idea to look into train tickets in advance and visit a travel agent to discuss travel options.
See our India - Delhi Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in India!
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Weather and climate: India is subject to six different climates and can be loosely characterized by four seasons; winter, summer, monsoon, and a post-monsoon period. Delhi experiences intense heat during the summer months (April to June) and temperatures can reach 45°C (114°F) during heat waves from the south. Dust storms are common during summer months. Following the dry summer, there is a period of monsoon weather from late June until September bringing heavy rain and average temperatures of 29°C (85°F). As winds from the Himalayas descend from November, winter in Delhi begins and average temperatures will sit around 12°C to 13°C (54°F to 55°F) until February. Heavy fog is typical during the winter.
Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ’s local team on arrival in Delhi. Additional requirements apply for Teaching English and Health volunteers, please read the project descriptions below.
Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.