India

Active Internationals

Two years back I volunteered in India with some other organization, and felt that my efforts were not used to the full.

A friend of mine introduced me to Active Internationals and I came to them this year. The most professional Indian organization I have seen.
All things were well planned and had a long term goal.

My stay was fun filled and made a lot of friends from all over the world. The projects looked great and the local support was overwhelming.

I will come back and bring my friends along too.

I love India just because of you guys.....

Program: Gap Year
Location: India
Posted: Jul 5, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Active Internationals

Hi,
I would thank Active Internationals for thinking different from others. They stressed more on the sustainability of the project than just bringing Volunteers in from different countries.

Great work by these people. They kept all of us engaged, active and comfortable. The best part of the service was - being cared yet not being pampered like little kids.

The fun activities were absolute fun, and I picked a lot of Hindi.
Food was just out of the world.

Thank you Active Internationals -- there is bright future for you.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Jun 30, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

When I decided to take a gap year I looked for a legitimate and trustworthy organization amidst a rally of overpriced volunteer businesses. I happily settled upon Sankalp because their programmes looked great and the price was reasonable.

I had no expectations when I began and was pleasently surprised with what I was met with. From the get go I had the support I needed. I asked for a pickup from Delhi ariport and I was met right on time; no misunderstandings or mistakes. I was then given an introduction to the organization and the work after arrivel. The conditions of the volunteer house was much better then I expected, however the rooms could need some more cleaning from time to time. However, the cleanliness of the room will also depend on yourself and your roomates. You are given lunch and dinner everyday, and the food is amazing. If you have any issues you can tell the cook and she will adjust.

I worked at the street children programme and it was great! There are not too many children making it easier to teach the children properly and devote more time for each one. Some children have a carriculum they follow, whilst others don't. In which case you just ask the teacher working there if she can help you out. The children are amazing you will fall in love. They have so much to give and teach you. You have weekends off, so plenty of time for travelling around Rajasthan and India.

The programme directors were very supportive and available most of the time if needed. However, there are some pesky rules placed by the organization that are there for your safety, but they are also a little exaggerated. Some of them such as curfew and limited communications with the local community were some that saddens me the most. For a short term volunteers this would not be of much issue, but for me who was there for 4 months it was not very pleasant and I soon grew restless. The other rules are mostly reasonsable. Anyhow, the staff are nice and very approachable.

I highly recommend this programme! I learnt so much about myself and how I am as a person. We got to see so much of India and the beautiful city of Jaipur. My gap year would not have been as amazing had it not been for Sankalp.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Jun 28, 2014
Overall:
8
Support:
6
Value:
8

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

Overall, I wouldn't recommend this program because I am not completely sure I believe in "Global Aid". It does a lot in the way of reinforcing paternalism with the third world v.s first world relationship emphasized. Who's to say our Western values-- education namely-- are transatlantic views to be upheld? Moreover, who's to to know if these impressed upon the "aided" people group isn't more isolating for them in their community at the end of it?
As with Sankalp, highlights included the cook and her 1) delicious meals 2) her girlish, sincere energy, as well as the group of girls we worked with in the Women's Empowerment program, as well as the woman who translated for us in that program.
As far as improvements, both the Street Kids and Women's Empowerment could use more structure in what material to teach. As volunteers, we are thrust into an environment where we don't know what level of education any of these children have, so lesson planning is crucial and often misguided and fallible. Also, when old volunteers leave and new ones come in, the children are left to deal with this gap i.e being re-taught, or taught at a level too high/too low for them, or just having to re-acclimate to a new teaching environment. Because of the inevitable flux and the lack of consistent lesson plans, the children suffer.
But, who really is to know how these things turn out because we come for 4-6 weeks spans, exploit the city and its people, and leave forever with no follow up of progress. It's a safe space to feel good about yourself and the mark you've left in the world as a global citizen, but without knowing the actual impact you have on these people in this community and if it was any good at all.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Jun 20, 2014
Overall:
4
Support:
3
Value:
5

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

I had a pleasant experience with Sankalp overall. I was in Jaipur and I thought the volunteer house was very nice- especially compared to Indian standards. There is a fridge with a freezer, running water, electricity, wifi, and aircon at night. The meals (lunch and dinner were made for us) were always tasty vegetarian curry. I was here for 4 weeks and I would say that I had a great experience mostly due to the other volunteers that I bonded with the house. I'm not sure I could recommend the volunteer program 100%, though I do find it a worthy cause(I was doing the women empowerment program). I felt at times that it was not very well organized because for any of the programs there were no teaching curriculums so as teachers we were in a tough place in the beginning trying to figure out a) where they were at in their education and b) what would be most helpful to teach them. The teacher that was present to help us and translate did do her best at giving us suggestions, though I think that in order for the program to be truly successful, they should come up with a curriculum at some point. Aside from that, the program ran fairly smoothly. We had plenty of free time each day and on the weekends to travel and explore the city of Jaipur. This was truly an eye-opening experience and while it was exhausting at times, I'm extremely thankful for the experience I've had.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Jun 20, 2014
Overall:
7
Support:
7
Value:
8

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

Overall, my personal experience withe Sankalp organization was fine. However, there were many problems other volunteers experienced when they first got here. I'm going to stick with my own personal experience though.

I worked in the Street Children program and Women's Empowerment for a total of six weeks. Both groups had wonderful children to work with, and I enjoyed my time working with both different programs. The first few days of volunteering with each program was a bit stressful and overwhelming. There was no provided curriculum, and I had no clue what the children did and did not know. It was really frustrating to just get thrown into the program with absolutely no direction. However, that did leave room for me to pick and choose whatever I wanted to teach the children. If I needed supplies for the school, the Sankalp organizers were very quick to get them to me. Even after long, sweaty days, the volunteering was very rewarding.

Many volunteers do not like all the house rules. The biggest complaint is the 9:00 pm curfew. This time made it hard for me to go out after I got off work at 6:30 from Women's Empowerment with the other volunteers. I didn't mind it too much, though. I know it is for safety reasons. This rule is not flexible which sometimes made weekend travel frustrating and rushed.

I met some great people in the house, and they were the ones who actually got me through the rough days. This was such a great learning experience!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Jun 20, 2014
Overall:
7
Support:
4
Value:
4

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

It was a great program with great program coordinators. Would definitely like to volunteer with them again.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Jun 18, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

I spent four months at Sankalp, from December 2013 to April 2014. Overall I would recommend the organisation, even though I had some minor concerns.

I attended the Street kids program and then later the government school program.

It's an overall well run organisation. There's two people in charge, whom you both will see much of, and they make sure that you feel welcomed and up to date.

The programs themself differ wildly in how demanding they are (one class of 4-8 students in the Street Kids school to 3 classes with 20 students each in the Government school). In the same vein, the women's empowerement program seems like a laxed environment, while the orphan's at the orphanage live in deplorable conditions and take significant psychological effort to care for. No matter where you go though, you'll end up absolutely loving the kids and I promise you wont regret your choice of program. Going from having 5 students a day to 60-70 was tough, but definitely worth it.

The programs also seem meaningful. You actually make a difference. However, I would strongly urge you to stay no less than a month, as the kids need time to bond and let themselves loose.

The accomodation is great (albeit a bit removed from the city centre), and the food is excellent. There is hot water, a decent internet connection and a water-boiler and toaster. You sleep in dorm rooms with 4 beds in each, but as a guy (there's very few of us) I had my room to myself for the majority of my stay. The work-day is also not very long, clocking about 4 hours, so you have plenty of time off.

Jaipur is an absolutely amazing city, and Rajasthan as a state likewise. You will fall in love with India.

I did, however, have some concerns. The minor ones are that you receive poor information prior to going, so you don't really know what you are signing up for. Also, volunteering at Sankalp is quite pricey, especially so if you stay for a short period (you get discounts the longer you stay). Sankalp doesn't prepare you all that well for the more demanding programs (orphanage and government school) either. You just get thrown into it.

What did grind my gears the most though is the draconian ruleset. There's a thousand rules and principles you have to follow, and if you slip, you get temporarily suspended from the program and threatened to be kicked out entirely.

While I do understand that it is in good faith, and only a means to protect their volunteers, it goes slightly overboard. For example, after staying for four months I still couldn't go to the local gym, because apparently "It was so close that someone could follow me home". Keep in mind that at this time we had travelled extensively through Rajasthan alone, and that about half of the people in the street knew me. One day we even took a rickshaw 15 minutes away, and a stranger walked up to us and asked if we were from Sankalp. Everybody knows about it, and it poses no danger, so it is incredibly frustrating to be prevented from parttaking in activites you want to do, based on rules that make little sense. (You can go to the gym if it's more than 5km away, but travelling minimum 10km every time you go is just too cumbersome in India).

Also, you are not really allowed to talk to strangers, or get to know locals. When we at one point went over to the neighbours house after being invited over for tea and cookies, we got into major trouble. These are just examples among a sea of rules.

If you're just going to stay for a month or so, upholding all these rules is not an issue at all, but for those who stay long term, you have to find a way to activise yourself, and the rules makes this difficult.

All in all though, Sankalp is fantastic. It would highly recommend it if you can afford the price. If you are in for the long haul (more than 1 1/2 months) I would inquire about all the different rules before you go, and see if you're comfortable with it, but everything else is definitely top notch.

So, what are you waiting for? Go volunteer in India, it's balls to the walls amazing!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Overall:
8
Support:
6
Value:
5

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

India is an amazing place which I strongly recommend everyone visits if they get the chance. However I do not recommend to volunteer with the organization Sankalp.
My overall experience was great but that was due to other volunteers, the location and the kids in the school. The actual organization left a very negative impact on me.

I found that Sankalp was unjust with actions inside the house, rules were bent for certain people and enforced for others. Women weren't seen as equal and confrontation was not encouraged in the house. Whenever I tried to confront the people running the NGO, I was asked to email them my concerns which revoked a response of ignorance.
Volunteers were terminated and sent home for voicing their opinion.

I found this charity very unorganized, nobody met me from the airport as they were supposed to so I was left standing there for over an hour without access to a phone. I worked in the orphanage and Street Kid School and found both very unorganized. In the school, we had to make up our own curriculum without guidance from the NGO and the orphanage was not at all how it was portrayed to be on the website. This orphanage is abusive, and we were discouraged from challenging the abuse or comforting the children.

There were very strict rules in the house which had no justification.
Overall, I found Sankalp very discouraging and offensive.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Jun 15, 2014
Overall:
3
Support:
1
Value:
5

Agency for Internship in India (AII)

Hey!!

I am Josefin Dominican. Hail from Atlanta USA. I dont want to take more space on the website ;) Just want to convey a message to you all about Aii & its Volunteer programs. My experience was Great!! Great!! Great!!

Projects are really needy as you will see their records with Aii. Their progress charts & all the data regarding the children was updated.

Yes!! in the first meeting in orientation part you are going to learn some Hindi. As I have learned 'Main Achchhi Hun' means 'I am good' lol.

Aii and staff is really caring & awesome. I support the org & recommend it to all of you!! Live some moments for others too!!!

Good bye!!
Namaste!!
for any information you can write to me on josefindominican@yahoo.com
I will love to help you out!! ^^

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Jun 15, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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