Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Why When and How to Do Volunteering in India

Referred to as "voluntourism", the concept of volunteering while on vacation is growing in popularity around the world. Many people now come to volunteer in India while traveling. Here’s what you need to know about doing volunteer work in India.

What are the Benefits of Volunteering in India

Volunteering is a rewarding way of giving something back to the community. It’s also a great alternative to donating money or giving money to beggars because it enables you to be personally involved in the cause and to see the results of your work firsthand. In addition to this, it’s likely that you’ll come away with a different outlook and appreciation for life after becoming aware of the hardships faced by less-fortunate people.

How to Volunteer in India

There are two main ways of volunteering in India. These are independently, or though Organizations that provide volunteer placements . Volunteering independently, at an organization such as the Heeals  , is a much cheaper option and it will also give you the support through out your placement stay in India. Heeals provide Volunteer , Gap year and Internship opportunities to everyone who keen to help the needy one in overall community development.
It’s recommended that anyone traveling to India for the first time, or volunteering in India for the first time, must join a organization . India can be a challenging country for first-timers and it’s reassuring to know that assistance is readily available if need be.

What to Consider When Planning to Volunteer in India

There are a few things you’ll need to decide on first before you can really get into planning your trip. These are the type of volunteer work that you want to do, the location that you want to do it in, and the people you want to work with. Once you’ve got the answers to these questions, then you’ll be able to narrow down the projects that are suitable for you and the organizations you may want to join.

What are the Options for Volunteer Work in India

The range of volunteer work that’s available in India is so diverse that there’s something for everyone. A popular option is working with underprivileged children, working in health programs  teaching English and helping with their schooling.
Other ideas include:
  • Working for Health and Water issues 
  • 'Working on empowerment programs for underprivileged women.
  • Teaching street and poor children
  • Working at an orphanage.
  • Working with the sick, dying, or disabled.
  • Working on environmental conservation programs.
  • Working on rural development programs.
  • Working on campaign , street plays , and many awareness activities 
  • Working on health programs.
  • Coaching sports for children.
  • Teaching tribal communities.
You'll find projects on offer everywhere in India, from the mountains to the cities.

How Long is Needed to Volunteer in India

The duration that you volunteer in India for is really up to you! Programs are available for as short as two weeks, and as long as six months. Most people volunteer for at least a month so it gives them a chance to settle in, get to know everyone, and start making a difference. If you only volunteer for a very short period, you’ll spend most of your time just learning the ropes and you won’t have the opportunity to contribute a great deal.

What is the Cost of Volunteering in India

In most cases, you’ll have to pay for all your expenses, including airfare, accommodation, and food. If you join a volunteer placement company, you’ll also have to pay a placement fee. The best option available in the market is with Heeals organization which not only provide the most competitive price in the market but also gives its volunteer options to work on different projects and also provide home stays and home accommodation facilities at much cheaper price then Hotels and Guest Houses 

What Can Be Expected When Volunteering in India

While the thought of volunteering can be inspiring, the actual experience can be quite confronting. Not only will you have to adjust to living in a different country and finding your way around, you’ll need to completely step out of your comfort zone. However, that’s where the greatest rewards are!
Depending on where you work, you may find that you're initially treated with caution by the people you’ve come to help. It can take them a while to accept volunteers, but after a couple of weeks you’ll be viewed as a long lost friend, and moved by their courage and determination.
It's very rare that anyone regrets their experience as a volunteer, and for some, it's totally life changing.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Why Volunteer in India?

Reasons to Volunteer Abroad in India

From Herman Antonov

If you're thinking of volunteering abroad, here are some compelling reasons why to do so and why you choose India as your destination.
The world is a huge place, but it is getting smaller each and every day. There is hardly a place that is not connected to the rest of the world. It is well past time to bring small and needy countries up to date with the rest of the world. Don’t they deserve adequate housing? Don’t their children deserve a good education? Are their native plant and animal species not as important as everyone else’s?
India has been a fascinating place for the Western world long before the British Raj was installed in this country. Britain exposed India to the Western world like it has never been exposed before. Trade and business relations integrated the two worlds and made it almost impossible for one to live without the other. English language became a secondary official language of India. As a result, schools began teaching English, and English is no longer a surprise to hear in the streets.
Various writers, historians, humanitarians and dramatists have written a lot on Indian culture, society, and art. Tom Stoppard’s "Indian Ink" (1995) is a great reflection of effect of Britain on Indian culture, history, and art. Stoppard shows that British left a significant imprint on India that is virtually impossible to fade away.
Since India is a developing country, a lot of resources are not available. Schools need desks and computers, teachers lack knowledge of English, and communities are in need for health workers. Volunteer abroad programs created a tremendous impact on rural communities all over India.
Volunteering abroad has a far greater and more positive impact than merely traveling to another country. Many countries around the globe rely on the tourism industry, but tourists do not leave any long-term impact on communities they visit. Volunteers come in direct contact with the locals and share knowledge and experience between each other which has a positive impact on both local community and volunteer. Volunteering is simply a responsible and meaningful way of travel which, just like tourism, involves tours and sightseeing. This is a great way to become a global citizen and give back to the world.
The fact of the matter is that countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America do not have the resources for people to help their own families, thus it makes it impossible to volunteer in their countries as they can’t even make the ends meet themselves. That is why they need you.
International voluntary service has been a great value added not only in sociological and humanitarian terms, but also in economic. You should consider volunteering abroad to make a difference. They need you to help build homes, to educate their children, to clean up after natural disasters, and to help bring life back in to those who have been dealt an incredibly difficult hand. We all know about class clashes, poverty rates, gender issues, and health problems that India faces today, so let’s be responsible global citizens and help those who happened to be less fortunate than us.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Volunteer in India and experience the life changing travelling

Volunteering Abroad is an incredible way to give back to your community. It is an easiest way to explore your diverse interests and passions and more over it is fun too. If you are doing volunteering work, it can prove to be an uncomplicated way for you to find a meaningful and stimulating life. Grabbing volunteering abroad can be very soothing and relaxing. It also provides you a bridge to escape from your day-to-day routine of work which could be studying at school, professional work life or some particular commitments in your personal life. Grabbing the volunteering abroad opportunities provides you the platform to develop your own skills and also proves handy to develop you as a better person.

In recent times many people choose to volunteer abroad just to polish themselves and take time out for their hobbies and for something which they love. Volunteering in India can be a deeply rewarding experience. India is a mixture of different faiths, beliefs and the world's largest democracy.

Volunteering can be defined as an activity that can be employed for the purpose of improving the quality of life. It is not constrained inside your nearby region. You can expand your options by opting for a volunteer program abroad. The programs of the volunteer work are designed by the organization for which you are going to volunteer. Most of the volunteer programs that are available overseas are adaptable. People often sign themselves up for brilliant volunteer programs because of the reason that they want to share and give something back to the world. In India there are many communities which are neglected from long period of time and they don't even have basic things to live their life.

India is a fascinating country filled with mystery, beauty, spirituality and adventure. From north to south and east to west, the people are different, the languages are different, the customs are different, and the country is different! The unique culture and natural wonders of the country mesmerize tourists who quickly realize that what you find in India, you will find nowhere else in the world. Heeals provide Volunteer Opportunity  in 4 different cities in India, namely:-

1. Delhi NCR & Uttar Pradesh ( Varanasi or Banaras) 
2. Leh- Ladakh
3. Himachal Pradesh
4. Rajasthan

Heeals  have volunteer work programs in India which include; working with street children , education to construction labour children , sanitation and safe drinking water awareness campaign , working with orphans and destitue , working on environment project , working with kids at day care centers, women empowerment programs,helping and supporting street children and teaching English at school and poor kids. We provide all these volunteer programs in conjunction with various government approved NGO's which are working towards various community programs. Our volunteer programs in India are carefully chosen so that both volunteers and the people gain equally through this effort.

The Children of India: A Volunteer Travel Experience

The idea of volunteering in another country has long been considered the province of students and recent graduates; images of intrepid twenty-year-old Peace Corps workers in a remote Sierra Leone village might spring to mind. Today, however, the idea has reached far beyond that to become accessible, and highly popular, among travelers of all types and ages.

Even the Peace Corps itself has changed dramatically – from an average age of 24 in its beginning in the 1960s, to 28 as of 2002. Many early retirees and those seeking mid-life career changes are joining up – the oldest Peace Corps Volunteer ever was 86 when he completed his service. Volunteer travel has grown so popular that a term has even been coined for it: Voluntourism.

Companies and websites specializing in voluntourism have sprung up by the hundreds, and volunteer vacations can be found in all parts of the world, doing all kinds of activities – from digging wells for clean water in South America, to working with children living in orphanages. It was this last type of volunteer vacation that hooked me. In 2004, I became involved with a nonprofit based in Austin called The Miracle Foundation, which manages orphanages in India and recruits sponsors and donors to support the children living there. By 2005, I was traveling to India myself, to volunteer in the orphanage.

The children are everywhere in India. They fill the railway stations, the cities, the shanty villages. Some scrounge through trash for newspapers, rags or anything they can sell at traffic intersections. Others, often as young as two or three years old, beg. Many are homeless, overflowing the orphanages and other institutional homes to live on the streets. I had no way of knowing just how much they would change my life.

India was everything I had imagined it would be – only more so. More colors and smells, more noises and people, more everything. It was an assault on all the senses at once. The cacophony that greeted me was jarring after the peaceful countryside I had gazed down on from the airplane. There seemed no still or quiet space. Instead there were throngs of people everywhere, living and working and sleeping; hundreds of street vendors lined every available inch of sidewalk, while mangy dogs and cows nosed at piles of trash around them.

Rickshaw drivers pedaled through traffic alongside schoolgirls with their braided hair and backpacks. The smell of curry and incense hung thick in the air along with soft chanting from nearby temples. The dusty roads peppered with potholes were filled with a constant stream of buses, bicycles, rickshaws, cars and cows and rising over it all was the constant, blaring beep-beep of the horns. It was the most alive place I had ever been. India is too big to describe adequately, too big perhaps to absorb in a single lifetime. The country simply wrapped itself around me and refused to let go.

There was also what everyone, including myself, expected of India – despair, filth, destitution. The trash that lined the roads and the beggars that tapped at car windows. The deteriorating buildings, the ragged street hawkers, the shanty village along the river banks. The frantic poverty that would not let me rest.

At home, these things are hidden neatly away as much as it is possible to do so. But in India, everything is in full view; nothing is hidden. Its rawness of life strips away the unnecessary - distractions, superficial attachments, trivial worries. Without this safety net life becomes fundamental, only the essentials of being, and causes you to be fully present in your own existence. You become lost, in order to find.

And even still, there was beauty in the midst of it. The vitality of life teeming all around, the jangling of bangles and ankle bracelets, the colorful saris, the carved temples with swaying trees surrounding it all. The tremendous scale of the monuments, palaces and art from one of the first great civilizations left me stunned, as did the strange way there was a deep-seated peace even in the midst of tumultuous movement and clamor. The wonderful and the abject co-exist side by side. Though the country struggles with the indigence of large numbers of its population, it is far from a poor place.

And in the children this beauty seemed to come alive, almost making me believe it was a living entity I could capture in my hands. I arrived at the orphanage expecting it to be a sad place, an emotionally wrenching experience. But those expectations were turned on their head. Yes, there were stories behind each of the children – many of them painful and tragic. Stories of death, abandonment, abuse, poverty. They all had a past.

Yet the couple who ran the home, the house mothers and teachers there, the other volunteers, all made these kids their own in a community of sharing and acceptance. They were poor in wealth but not in spirit; limited in resources but not in joy and laughter. An interior peace shown from inside them that was unknown – unsought even – by many people rich in resources. Their hope and resilience amazed me time and time again; the ability of their spirits to overcome crippling challenges inspired me.

Even in the most deprived circumstances they are still kids – they laugh and play, perhaps far less frequently than others; they develop strong bonds and relationships to create family where none exists; and most of all they have an enormous amount of love to give - for nothing more than showing up. The very existence of these children forever altered both the person I was and my view of the world. India shows us where our suffering lies, and in this way becomes more than anything else a teacher, if only we are open to learn from her.
Shelley Seale is a freelance writer based out of Austin Texas, but she vagabonds in any part of the world whenever possible. Her forthcoming book, The Weight of Silence, follows her journeys into the orphanages, streets and slums of India where millions of children live without families. Shelley's areas of writing specialty include travel, cultural issues, the arts, women & children, nonprofit and social activism, entrepreneurship, business, architecture and interior design. Shelley is the Sustainable Travel Columnist at The Examiner, and has written for National Geographic's GeoTourism guides, Washington Magazine, Transitions Abroad, Travel Roads and Andrew Harper Traveler Magazine among others. Her work has also been published in The Seattle Times, GoWorld Travel Magazine, Intrepid Travel, InfoChange India, The American Chronicle, The Austin Business Journal, Austin Monthly, San Antonio Express-News, Austin Woman and more. Her mantra is �travel with a purpose.�

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Exciting Ways to Have an Ideal Travel Experience in Leh Ladakh

Leh Ladakh, though the most secluded part of India yet captivates many attentions from all over the world and the reason behind it is the variety of activities it offers; mainly the adventurous one in the deep valleys of the great Himalayas. Right from spiritual tour for the adventurous one, Leh Ladakh brings every fascinated chill-axing moment for you for a tremendously lovely traveling experience. Let us explore some of them:

Wildlife exploration
Ladakh is a unique wildlife destination, with many rare and exotic animals and birds seen in this high Himalayan plateau. The alpine climate and rugged mountains are home to many different species of flora and fauna, which you can find during your tours to Ladakh. The Ladakh region is a very perfect habitat for many wild species including wide species of birds and animals including yaks, Nyan, Urial, Bharat, Ibex, Chiru and Snow Leopard the most attractive species in Ladakh. The variety of birds found in this zone is Tibetan snow cocks, griffon vultures, and lammergeyers or bearded vultures, which have a 3 m-long wingspan. Many migratory birds are seen in Ladakh including the graceful Black-necked Crane, which can be seen flying in distinctive V-shaped formation across the clear Himalayan sky.

Trekking in Leh Ladakh
Ladakh is set amidst the two glorious mountains the Great Himalayas and the Karakoram that brings great trekking opportunities in the ladakh region and the Zanskar region. Ladakh is really an ecstasy for the trekkers and the adventure lovers and by offering the moderate to tough trekking at various ranges of regions the trekking experience is just amazing. Some of the most popular trek routes in Ladakh are Spituk to Markha Valley, Lamayuru Gompa to Chilling and Likir to Temisgam, Stok Kangri trek, Nubra Valley Trek, Trans Zanskar trek, Rupshu Valley trek and much more. 

Mountain biking expeditions
Ladakh offers many unspoiled areas for a real exploration in the form of mountain biking. The journey from Manali to Leh, 475 km is one of the ultimate challenges for the mountain bikers. The route crosses four high passes with an accumulated altitude of 29,000 feet-the equivalent of cycling to the summit of Mt. Everest from sea level. From June to the first week of October is the ideal time for mountain biking. The most popular mountain biking routes are Leh, Thiksey, Hemis, Hyamnya, Chumathang, Karzok, Tsokar and Debring. 

Zanskar River Rafting 
Ladakh has three major rivers, where you can undertake river rafting sports. The Indus in Leh region, Shayok in Nubra and Zanskar River in Zanskar are the range of rafting options available on these rivers. Zanskar River Expeditions trip begins with a flight over the Himalayas into the Trans-Himalayan region of Ladakh. The most difficult but exciting option for river rafting is on the Zanskar along its spectacular course through the gorge in the Zanskar Mountains, between Padum and Nimo. This is suitable only for well organized white-water expedition, prepared for several days of river running and camping in absolute wilderness

All these aforementioned exciting activities will lead to the most stipulated Leh Ladakh tour in the midst of the serene valleys of the Himalayas and the Karakoram. 


Volunteer in India amazing opportunity with life changing experience

Most of the people like travelling, it could be abroad or within country. The idea of experiencing different cultures, seeing new places and learning new and different things always fascinates every one. But some people want more out of their travelling so they opt for volunteering abroad options which are available and they are many well-known organizations which are providing volunteering experience to many travelers. Volunteering for sure will add meaning to your travel trip. Volunteering abroad not only gives us a chance to see foreign land but also appreciate foreign culture as well as the people's way of life.

Volunteering is a way with which you can transform your travel trip from just tourism to meaningful volunteering work. That way volunteers gain merit and self-satisfaction while they discover different sights as well as sounds that a foreign company has to offer. If you decide to travel to another country with a purpose to volunteer, help the community in need and work for a good cause then your entire trip will turn into a lifetime experience. It doesn't matter if you are moved by the cause ofhelping the poor, feeding the needy or even saving the environment or wildlife creatures, every good deed can be combined seamlessly with a tourism plan.

If you are planning for a volunteer trip for the first time, why not choose a country with mystery, beauty, spirituality and adventure. I am talking about India. In India, there are several kind of languages, food, dressing style and even the thought process changes from state to state so India had loads to offer to first time travellers and I am sure no one want to miss on such an amazing opportunity with life changing experience and the best part is you won't be alone on such a trip. You can bring your family, friends     or other wise there would be many other volunteers from around the world who would work along side you and some time even at the same placements.

You can also explore different cities of India on weekends and there are many world heritage sites. Taj Mahal, the world's number one wonder is in India and easily accessible from Delhi the capital city. There are many organizations which provides volunteering opportunities in India so just signup today and get ready for a life changing experience which will surely change your perspective towards life and towards people.

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Volunteer in India explore the country while working

by volunteering solutions Friday, Aug. 03, 2012 at 3:10 AM 

Volunteering abroad not only gives us change to witness foreign land, appreciate foreign culture but experience life in a pretty local way which is never ever possible as just a tourist.
Volunteering abroad is getting popular day by day and numbers of people who opt for volunteering abroad are increasing day by day. People take some time off their hectic schedule to volunteer abroad and find some peace. Most of the people like to travel abroad. By travelling abroad we learn a lot about new culture, languages and meet new people to make friends with. So volunteering abroad is wonderful way to learn about new culture from very close which as a tourist you will never be able to experience. So why don't try volunteering while traveling and see the fun escalate higher and higher.

Volunteering abroad not only gives us change to witness foreign land, appreciate foreign culture but experience life in a pretty local way which is never ever possible as just a tourist. No matter what you want to earn out of volunteering but life changing experience will be a part of every outcome and every good deed you are going to do, you can add tourism to it as well which is the best part of volunteering. Why not choose a country which has loads to offer in terms of volunteering and travelling side by side after working hours or during weekends.

India is one such destination where you will be able to explore the country while working for a good cause. India is a country with a different experience from state to state; in terms of culture, food, language and dressing style but one thing is common everywhere that Indians are very welcoming and they treat foreigners very well and westerns are pretty safe in this country. Hence volunteers could also bring their families along with them and have a unique experience of culture and diversity. Most of the organizations provides minimum 1 weeks program placement and as long as 24 weeks placement so volunteers are free to choose the time span they want to spend while volunteering in India.

Volunteer can also choose to travel to other countries in Asia, such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Singapore which are some of the famous program locations in Asian continent and has loads to offer for first time visitors which will last with you for rest of your life. So plan your next holidays wisely and spend your time doing something which will affect your life in a positive way. Dual benefits are awaiting you, give volunteering tourism a shot!

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