India

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

Agency for Internship in India (AII)

Hello , My Name is Kristina i am from Ukraine . I came to India for Volunteering in Orphanage program. I enjoyed my whole journey in India , in this program i did lots of work with kids like teaching with them , playing , cocking etc.. it was a great time for me , and really i felt a homely atmosphere here . During this period i also travelled India's most popular places like Taj Mahal , Hawa mahal , Tiger Safari , and many places . Its a good organization and i am very satisfy with Aii . I hope i will come again here . Thanks :) and thank you ...

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: May 20, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

I just completed the 6 week Gap Year program with Sankalp. The basic idea of the program is to combine volunteering with travel which is what initially attracted me to the program and I have been very happy with my overall experience.

I volunteered for 4 weeks in the street kids program teaching a class of 11 students between the ages of 5-11. I had never taught children before so I was first pretty nervous about going in but the kids are used to being taught by volunteers and are all very eager to learn. There are some days where they run wild, but usually there will be 1-2 other volunteers teaching the class which is good as you can work together to brainstorm different ideas to engage the children. My one complaint was that it was mainly up to us to come up with a curriculum and it would have been helpful to have some idea of what the kids had previously learned and their individual skill levels. Other than that I had a great time and am really sad to be leaving the kids!

With the travel was as advertised with very nice accommodations and everything included in the itinary was included.

There are a lot of rules in the house which some people have a problem with, but for me this was my first volunteer experience and I think it was better to have more rules than less just to ensure safety and security for everyone.

Overall I had a fantastic time and would recommend Sankalp for people wanting to travel and make a difference with a very structured and safe organization

Program: Gap Year
Location: India
Posted: May 8, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
9

Active Internationals

These people are thorough professionals.
Never expected much from India, but I got such an extra mile service from Active Internationals.
Their projects are just at the place where there is maximum need, they are run by credible bodies, and the support we provided was sustainable and spot on.

I am writing this as was searching for Active Internationals over the internet and found this link. Could not resist myself from appreciating them.

The support staff and the extra activities were the best. I liked the way interesting lectures and interactions took place. I also enjoyed Indian food a lot. Made great friends from 6 different countries.

This was just the best experience of my life.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: May 6, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Agency for Internship in India (AII)

Namaste India ;) Hello i am gelina i am from russia ... My experience was so best and i enjoyed my every moments in india and of course with Aii ... I was there in volunteering in Orphanage program it was so wonderful moment in my life and there i saw real feeling of love and care it was so heart touching moment of my life and without Aii's support it was little bit hard but Aii gave me full support ... And really INDIA is so incredible country and i love it I want to come here every year in Aii programs and want to do different different program and want to taste delicious indian food ... Thanks Aii ... Thanks to All ... See you soon again :)

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: May 6, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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