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Volunteering in India

“Whatever you do will be insignificant. But it is very important that you do it.”
– Mahatma Gandhi


19 projects

3+ weeks

From €1.119

Volunteering/Internships in India

EXIS organises volunteer work in Delhi, Dharamsala, Palampur and Southern India.

Volunteering is a unique way to discover a country, its culture and the local population up close and personal. You must be at least 18 years old, independent, outgoing, and have the desire and courage to do volunteer work. Most work places also accept interns.


The Country
India is about the same size as Europe but has over 1 billion inhabitants, making it one of the most densely populated countries in the world. India borders Pakistan, China, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma and Bangladesh. India is the meeting place for new and old Asia.

Energy and entrepreneurship vibrate in the large cities, but the ancient culture remains part of the street scene. Here unimaginable wealth exists alongside extreme poverty in the slums of the biggest cities in India.


There are hundreds of ethnic groups, languages, religions and gods. A constant chaos that both charms and repels and where the only thing to expect is the unexpected.


The Indian population is a mixture of numerous cultures and ethnic groups. There are more than a thousand languages and dialects, but only 18 are officially recognised, the most widespread being Hindi. English is widely used in administration. 80% of the population is Hindu, but there are also large groups of Sikhs, Buddhists and Muslims. Most people still live in villages.


Most of India is in the tropical zone, but to the north, the country borders the subtropical. Because of its size and geography, the climate is very diverse.

New Delhi (Northern India)
With more than 13 million inhabitants, India’s capital is a mix of old and new and spreads over a huge area. The city is divided in two parts: Old Delhi with its pulsating life through the crowded bazaars – and New Delhi, India’s modern capital, with green boulevards, large office blocks, the parliament etc.

Palampur (Northern India)
Palampur is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh and is surrounded by tea gardens and pine forests. It is named after the local word ”pulum”, meaning ”a lot of water”. Abundance of water and proximity to the mountains has endowed it with mild climate. It is close to Dharamsala, the home of the Dalai Lama and the exiled Tibetan government. There are about 20.000 inhabitants in Palampur.

Bangalore (Southern India)

If you prefer to discover the South of India you can volunteer in the states of Karnataka (southwest) Tamil Nadu (south) or Andhra Pradesh (southeast).

Your stay begins in Bangalore, in the south of India, also called “Garden City”, due to the many green areas, parks, lakes and wide boulevards. Bangalore is India’s most progressive city, and is known for its important industries and scientific research facilities. Here you can find fast-food restaurants, yuppie bars and trendy nightclubs. The houses in Bangalore are a clash of beautiful new buildings, and decay and dilapidation. The city has more than six million inhabitants.

Below you will find a description of the programmes.

Volunteer and Internship Projects in India

In India you can choose between the following working places:

Volunteer work in Northern India

The program in Northern India begins with a 1-week orientation period. Arrival is on Sunday, where you will be picked up from the airport and taken to your accommodation. On Monday you will be informed about the week’s program and activities. The rest of the week you will follow the introduction program with lessons in Hindi, history, culture, religion and traditions alternating with excursions to places of interest, for example Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India, Rajghat, where Mahatma Ghandi was cremated in 1948, and the city’s colourful marketplace.

The intro week is as follows (subject to change):

Day 1:
Welcome to India, introduction to the program, safety, culture and history. You will also be introduced to your volunteer working place.
Day 2:
Tour of Akshardham Temple – The Largest Hindu Temple in the world, Birla Temple, India Gate and Presidential House (outside view only). Lunch will be provided at an Indian restaurant.
Day 3:
Hindi language class covering useful words, sentences and expressions. Learn basic letters and words of welcoming, greeting, short expressions, as well as words that will help you at your working place. In the evening: explore the local markets.
Day 4:
Language class continues. Participants can either watch a Bollywood movie, or attend an Indian cooking course.
Day 5:
Final leg of Delhi tour continues. Visit World heritage monuments Qutab Minar and Humayun’s Tomb as well as Lotus Temple.
Day 6:
Opportunity to go on a weekend trip to Agra or explore Delhi on your own.
The local coordinators can organise all kind of excursions. Just ask!

After the orientation program, your volunteer work begins. You will be picked up at Gaggal Airport in Dharamsala if you have chosen to work in Palampur/Dharamsala.


Arrival dates Delhi 2019
January 6th, 20th. February 3rd, 17th. March 3rd, 17th, 31st. April 14th. May 5th, 19th. June 2nd, 16th, 30th. July 14th. August 4th, 18th. September 1st, 15th. October 6th, 20th. November 3rd,17th. December 1st, 15th.


Arrival dates Palampur 2019
January 20th. February 3rd, 17th. March 3rd, 17th, 31st. April 14th. May 5th, 19th. June 2nd, 16th, 30th. July 14th. August 4th, 18th. September 1st, 15th. October 6th. November 3rd. December 1st.


Board and accommodation in Delhi
During orientation-week participants will be accommodated in at one of the three volunteer houses in Delhi. The houses are in close vicinity to each other and in one of the best and safest neighbourhoods in south Delhi.
The housing is near some of the best markets of the capital city. Air conditioning is offered during the night. The houses have shared rooms for volunteers and only participants of same gender share rooms.
We also have some rooms for couples joining the program.
Breakfast and dinner is included, Monday to Saturday. Volunteers in Delhi will stay in the accommodation during their entire stay, while those who will be volunteering in Palampur, move on after the first week.


Board and accommodation in Palampur
Volunteers working in Palampur will be accommodated in a house for volunteers with a kitchen, living room, wireless internet connection and bathrooms in Arla, which is about 6 km outside of Palampur. There is a terrace where volunteers can practice Yoga. The area near and around Palampur is very safe and many volunteers prefer to walk to their working place. In your spare time you can visit teagardens, temples, the Tashi Jong Monastery in Palampur or participate in excursions. The local coordinator can organize excursions such as Manali, trekking (Himalaya), Bir (paragliding) etc.
Three vegetarian meals a day is included, Monday to Friday, prepared by a cook.


Combination Delhi/Palampur
If you wish to work in Delhi as well as in Palampur your volunteer work will start in Delhi. Travel cost from Delhi to Palampur is not included in the program fee. You can go/travel by bus or plane. The coordinator can help with booking. Pick-up in Palampur will be arranged and is included in the fee.

Volunteer and Internship Projects in Northern India

Street children in Delhi

Volunteers work at different shelter homes for street children in and around New Delhi. They can assist in providing love, care, basic literacy, recreation and most importantly spending time with the children and show affection. It can make a world of difference to their lives. You will be taking informal education classes with the children, playing games with the children and introduce them to different new activities. This is by far one of our most popular program options for the participants as it gives them a great amount of flexibility to improvise and work with children.

You will work for 5-6 hrs per day, Monday to Friday. You will need to be open minded and flexible when working at this project, as the roles and duties can vary.

Assisting in informal education classes with children. Teaching them basic English as well as other subjects as Math, Geography etc.
Teaching them good manners and hygiene habits
Assisting the staff in any odd tasks
You will need to use public transportation such as buses, auto rickshaws or Delhi Metro to get to the projects. Delhi has a good public transport system.


Women Empowerment Project in Delhi

There are different centres set up by NGO’s working for teaching and training women different skills. The NGO’s work for the cause of women empowerment and upliftment.

One of the major responsibilities of the volunteers is to help improving their English language skills. English is the second most spoken language in India and knowledge of it is a must for getting good jobs. You can help teaching women both written and verbal skills. This is a key activity to boost their skills and confidence. In certain centers, women are also given training as beautician, embroidery and computer skills. If you have skills in these fields, you can also impart training in any of these areas.

You will be working 4-5 hours per day, 5 days a week (Monday to Friday)

You will need to use public transportation such as buses, auto rickshaws or Delhi Metro to get to the projects.

Teaching in Delhi

In Delhi volunteers mainly work in community schools set up by the government as well as by NGOs, for teaching basic education to children from slum areas and poor families.  The need for improvisation and creativity in teaching methods is paramount and can challenge the most experienced teacher, but the rewards are amazing.

It is not necessary to have experience and in-depth knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. The children having experience working with fluent English speakers is invaluable on its own. You will work about 5 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Your tasks will be:

  • Teaching English as well as other subject to children
  • Engage them in different activities such as art and craft
  • Teaching them good manners and hygiene habits

Whatever extra-curricular activity you may do with the children, be it playing games, storytelling, singing or giving knowledge about your own culture, it involves talking in English and provides practice for the students. Most of the children are at a very basic level and require learning more about things in their daily life like body parts, names of birds and animals, opposites etc. and some conversation used in their daily life.

You will need to use public transportation such as buses, auto rickshaws or Delhi Metro to go to the projects.

Medical Internships in Delhi

Taking part in a medical internship program in India is a highly valuable experience for students studying medicine and nursing as they get to gain valuable international experience. On our specialized medical internships participants will gain insight into new techniques and be able to clearly distinguish themselves from their peers. The Medical Internship assignment takes place in a large hospital in Southern Delhi, near some of the best areas and markets in the city. Interns are paired along with a doctor/nurse during their time at the hospital. The internship is mostly observation based and each intern shall shadow, observe and do basic assistance work in the hospital during the period of the internship.

The List of departments where the interns can work are:

  • Emergency
  • IPD Wards
  • Laboratory
  • Blood Bank
  • Pharmacy
  • Radiology/Imaging
  • Operation Theatres
  • Dialysis Unit
  • Critical Care
  • General Wards
  • Orthopedic
  • Nursing
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Physiotherapy

Participants must select 3 or 4 departments in which they would like to work. Depending on their period of internship, the interns shall be able to work on a rotation basis. Working hours are usually from 9.00 to 17.00, 5 days a week (Monday – Friday), but depends on the working schedule of the paired doctor, so the times and days of work may fluctuate. Your patience and flexibility with these schedule and time shifts is greatly appreciated. The hospital cannot ethically allow individuals without the proper experience, education and certifications to actively participate in medical procedures they are not able to conduct. Most interns only observe or help with very minor tasks.

Childcare work in Palampur/Dharamsala

The work will take place in local daycare centers in and around the area of Palampur and Dharamsala. These centers are short of well-trained care takers for children and volunteers are very much needed. Volunteers take care of the children and help the staff in their daily work such as cleaning, feeding the children and engaging the children in different playful activities.

The children are aged 2 to 4 year.

Your tasks can be:

  • Playing with kids and spending time with them
  • Teaching basic English alphabets and elemen -tary Math
  • Decorating the day care centers to make them more attractive
  • Making educational toys
  • Helping the care taker with different tasks

Most of the childcare projects in Palampur are located within walking distance of the accommodation.

Teaching in Palampur

In Palampur you can work in both primary and secondary level schools and teach English as well as other subjects such as Math, computers, sport, arts, music etc. The students are 5 to 15 years old. You will work Monday – Friday during around 5 hrs per day. Beware of school holidays (few days from end of July – middle of August, a few days in October and from middle of December to middle of Jan). Most of the teaching projects in Palampur are located within walking distance to the accommodation. In some cases, volunteers need to take local transport (bus) to go to the project. In that case, it takes around 15-20 minutes to reach the project.

Your tasks will be:

  • Assisting the teachers in the classrooms
  • Carrying out any administrative responsibility given by the management or teachers
  • Volunteers with any skills in sports, arts and music can encourage students to take part in these activities and coach them.

Most of the teaching projects in Palampur are located within walking distance to the accommodation. In some cases, volunteers need to take local transport (bus) to go to the project. In that case, it takes around 15-20 minutes to reach the project.

Children with special needs in Palampur

Volunteers working at this special school for mentally challenged play a significant role by providing the children and students with much needed attention, love and care.

The school for special children’s is run by an N.G.O and the total strength of the school is around 35 mentally challenged children. The children are aged 4-18 years.

Volunteers spending time with the mentally challenged kids at the schools also motivates the local community more and encourages them to send the children to the schools. Thus, your work has long-lasting effect.

This working place is well suited for internships in the fields of occupational- and physiotherapy.

Your tasks can be:

  • Teaching basic education to the children and important life skills.
  • Assisting the staff and caretakers in different tasks

You will be working around 4 to 5 hours a day for 5 days in a week.

The project is closed from middle of July – August and from last week of December to middle of January.

You will need to use public transportation (buses) to get to the project. It takes around 20-25 minutes from the accommodation.

Internships at a hospital in Palampur

Interning in a medical project in India is a very good way to observe the medical system in India. We offer internships to students from all health related educations.

You will observe and assist in day to day tasks and treating patients. Hands on work and allocation of tasks depend on level of experience and skills.

Interns work alongside experienced medical staff while they carry out their daily routine. Students will be given tasks according to their level of knowledge, skills and confidence level. Working hours are 5 hours day, 5 days a week. Some clinics/hospitals are within walking distance of the accommodation, while some interns need to use public transport to get to work.

Physiotherapy Internships in Palampur

This internship is suitable for physiotherapy students looking to gain some valuable experience and skills as a part of their course. Interns can work as interns at physiotherapy clinics as well as with physically disabled children. In clinical placements, interns get to mostly work with patients with problems like backache, lumbar spondylitis, cervical spondylitis, knee pains and various degenerative diseases. Interns get to experience treatment of patients in different ways some of which are exercised therapy and electrotherapy. Occasional home visits are also organized.

Volunteers and Interns work for around 5 hours a day for 5 days in a week.

The distance from the project to accommodation is about 20 minutes by public transportation.


Most of these projects mentioned here accept internships. Send an e-mail to [email protected] explaining your wishes and the requirements of your school counselor and we will find out, where you fit in best.

Volunteer work in Southern India

Our projects in Southern India are located near or around Bangalore, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Participants will be picked up at the airport in Bangalore and taken to a hostel where they will be staying during intro-period. The intro-period is between 1 and 3 days, depending on your length of stay. During the volunteering period, the accommodation depends on which working place you’ve chosen. Full board is included, unless otherwise stated.

Every Sunday.

Orphanage in Southern India

Thousands of children live in orphanages in India and the local aid organizations lack resources and staff. Your main job will be to teach English as Other tasks depend on the orphanage and the volunteers’ skills and interests.

You might teach hygiene, sports, art, music, dance and other activities. You may also help with homework, feeding and helping the children with their personal hygiene, cleaning the home and helping with other odd tasks that need doing at an orphanage.


In Southern India volunteers can choose between private schools for underprivileged children, special schools for orphans and street children, residential schools and rehabilitation centres. Most of the projects here are a live and work situation – mainly helping the younger age groups and toddlers, teaching, training, playing and living together. You will have one day off per week.

The children in these schools are socially or economically underprivileged. They are from 6 to 16 years old. As a volunteer you will begin by assisting the English teacher, help with creative subjects or occupy the children in their free time. As soon as you feel you are ready, you can take over the class.

In Southern India the schools are closed in March and April (exam months), May (Summer vacation) and one week in December (Christmas).


The level of HIV/AIDS is extremely high in India. Many people do not know what causes AIDS and have no idea about contagion. People who have the virus are often excluded from their families and society.

Half-way houses and living communities, run by NGOs. There are kitchen gardens and workshops where the residents do leather work and sell their products at the local market. This is a live and work situation. Being part of the group is essential, help where necessary. There are no regular work hours. Volunteers should have a medical background with some experience with HIV/AIDS, be willing to work 8 or 10 hours a day and be available for 3 months.

Work with Handicapped

Work at homes for physically or mentally handicapped, where the residents are 5 years and older. Volunteers might help residents dress and eat, help with physical training or

Basic English skills. If you have creative talents you are more than welcome to arrange activities. These homes strive to build a normal life for their residents through care and a structured daily routine, with room for work, play, free time and family. Volunteer tasks can also include maintenance of the buildings and gardens, food preparation, serving, cleaning, keeping the residents company and assisting the teachers.

Home for HIV-positive children and victims of child prostitution

This home accepts only female volunteers. The children are extremely vulnerable and the home gives them counselling, teaching and psychiatric care. A medical or nursing background is a great advantage.

You work and live at the home, become part of the team and help wherever you are needed. Tasks vary, but most important is daily life together. You will help the children live a life that strives to be as normal as possible.

Nursing home

Volunteers can work in one of the two nursing homes in Bangalore or in the one in Tirunelvel. Nursing homes are not as common in India as in Europe. Usually elder people stay with relatives. The elder people staying in these nursing homes cannot live with their families due to unfortunate circumstances. Volunteers are expected to help with all daily activities such as taking care of the elderly people, providing them basic care, nursing, keeping the elderly occupied, gardening, cooking, physical exercises, morning and evening walks, etc. This project is suitable for internships.

Work with blind or visually impaired children

A home for blind and visually impaired children and teenagers that also functions as a day centre offering lessons, work, free time activity, support and care.

Accommodation is on site, and working hours vary. You will read aloud, teach and help with homework and generally give moral support. The staff will give you guidelines and support throughout your stay.

Environmental Projects

Volunteers will be involved in experimental work and research in sustainable development through organic farming. There is also a training program in alternative traditional medicines. Work involves various agricultural activities like planting, watering, weeding, pruning, harvesting and dairy and informal education programs for adults, field visits, research and documentation work. Volunteers are expected to participate actively in training programs.

Working here will be challenging and rewarding and volunteers will have plenty of opportunities to meet grassroots workers and heads of NGOs from many parts of India.

Børnehjem i MysoreOrphanage in Mysore

In Mysore, the second-largest city in the state of Karnataka, located at the base of the Chamundi Hills about 146 km southwest of Bangalore, there is an orphanage that provides schooling and education for about 50 children. It is a poor area and has no modern facilities and no schooling possibilities for the children. Their living conditions are very basic. The orphanage also organizes rural development programs in order to improve the local community and provide modern facilities and training.

Volunteers are accommodated and get 3 meals a day at the project. You must be willing to take responsibility of taking care of the children, help them with their home work after school, teach English, help in the kitchen and develop a new kitchen garden. If you have creative talents, you are more than welcome to arrange activities for the children.
Minimum stay is 4 weeks.


Most of these projects mentioned here accept internships. Send an e-mail to [email protected] explaining your wishes and the requirements of your school counselor and we will find out, where you fit in best.

Fees in Northern India (Delhi, Palampur/Dharamsala)

Weeks, including intro-week Fees
2 €1 171
3 €1 246
4 €1 321
5 €1 396
6 €1 471
7 €1 546
8 €1 621

Fees Medical internships

Weeks, including intro-week Fees
2 €1 235
3 €1 347
4 €1 460
5 €1 572
6 €1 685
7 €1 798
8 €1 910

Fees Volunteering Southern India (Bangalore)

Weeks Fees
3 €1 138
4 €1 235
5 €1 333
6 €1 430
7 €1 527
8 €1 624
9 €1 721
10 €1 818
11 €1 916
12 €2 013
13 €2 110
24 €3 178
48 €5 510

Fees Internships Southern India (Bangalore)

Weeks Fees
3 €1 272
4 €1 410
5 €1 549
6 €1 687
7 €1 825
8 €1 963
9 €2 101
10 €2 239
11 €2 378
12 €2 516
13 €2 654
24 €4 174
48 €7 491

Included in the fee

Volunteering in India

Board and accommodation as described)

Help and guidance from the local coordinator during the entire program

Pre-departure handbook


Transport to accommodation

Donation to your working place

The following is not included in the fee:

  • Visa fees
  • Insurance
  • Travel to/from India
  • Spending money
  • Any entrance fee during sightseeing and trips
  • Transport to and from host family or hostel during work if necessary (cost $3-$4/day)
  • If you arrive earlier, each extra night costs $20
  • Transport from Delhi to Palampur ($50) or Dharamsala (return trip by plane 95 USD) if your volunteer workplace is there

Before you go

Volunteering demands maturity, flexibility, independence and a real desire to do social work. It is emotionally very demanding to work with poor people, but it also gives you the opportunity to do meaningful work, try something unique and, not least, an unforgettable experience.

Living and working in India is a huge challenge and you will need to adapt. It may seem overwhelming at first to adapt to a completely different way of life, a new language etc. Things do not function the way they do where you come from and people do not react as you expect. Everything is different. During work, you will confront a harsh social reality and experience things that most tourists cannot even imagine. Do not expect to find a finished program, all ready when you start working. If you have decided to work with children it helps if you already know how to occupy children – with handicrafts, sports, games etc. Use your imagination and be creative.

Please note

Alcohol and smoking are not allowed on project premises, and smoking is not allowed during teaching hours.
We cannot guarantee that you can change your voluntary work placement after arrival.

General information

A visa is needed. You must apply online at the Indian embassy in your home country before you leave. You will receive detailed information about the Visa procedure upon enrolment.

It is generally advised to get vaccines for typhus, diphtheria, hepatitis A, Japanese encephalitis, and meningitis as well as malaria pills.

Travel expenses are not included in the program fees.

Ready to go?

Reserve a spot for one of our projects in India