India Community Development

Trip code: INCD

  • Adventure 2 out of 5
  • Relaxation 2 out of 5
  • Culture 4 out of 5
India Community DevelopmentIndia Community DevelopmentIndia Community Development

Trip Highlights

  • Visit India’s most famous gem; the Taj Mahal!
  • Immerse yourself in local life and experience what it is to be in one of Asia's fastest growing economies.
  • Make a real difference to the lives of local people.
  • Go on a camel safari in Rajasthan or experience Tibetan culture in Dharamshala on the Himachal programme.

Trip Summary

See full itinerary

With community development in India you will get a chance to bring a new lease of life to the local community by helping out with a whole host of labour and social development projects.

 

You can get involved with anything from much-needed restoration work to increasing awareness of HIV/AIDS. As well as taking in the sights of the stunning Himachal Pradesh region you’ll gain a unique insight into local life and even get the chance to try your hand at Indian cooking!


When do I want to go?

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Dates of Departures Duration Price (Land Only) Trip Status

What will I be doing?

  • Your role as a volunteer (2-3 weeks)

  • Excursions included (2-3 weeks)

  • Itinerary first 2 weeks (2 weeks)

  • Third week (3 week option only) (1 week)

Your role as a volunteer: 2-3 weeks

Next Leg

Destination info

This project is based in the desert lands of Rajasthan and the hill state of Himachal. Both regions are home to some of India’s most stunning treasures including the Thar Desert and the city of Jaipur in Rajasthan and McLeod Ganj, home to the Dalai Lama and the Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal. There’s more than enough natural beauty to keep you busy in your spare time and plenty of markets, forts and temples to feast your eyes on!

  • Location: Himachal or Rajasthan

Your help is needed to improve public facilities and increase awareness of important social and healthcare issues in some of India’s poorest areas. Your day to day itinerary will depend on the needs of the village you are working in. The programme is generally split into two main areas; social development and labour work, your daily tasks may include:


Labour work projects

  • Restoration and decoration of Anganwadis/Balwadis (day-care centres)
  • Restoration and decoration of the village primary school
  • Painting and decoration of school interiors
  • Preparing sports facilities for basketball, badminton, court and football.
  • Plantation of flowers, ornamental plants and trees at school campus
  • Repairing houses of Below Poverty Line families
  • Restoration and decoration of village community facilities with participation of the villagers.
  • Motivating teams of children from the village to clear garbage, plant trees etc.
  • Construction of dustbins (follow up action is intended to create hygiene awareness amongst children)

Social development work

  • Importance of nutrition and balanced diet
  • Awareness about hygiene and health care issues
  • IDD (Iodine Deficiency Disorders) awareness campaign
  • Importance of breast feeding
  • Precautionary measures against HIV infection

Excursions included: 2-3 weeks

Next Leg

Destination info

This project is based in the desert lands of Rajasthan and the hill state of Himachal. Both regions are home to some of India’s most stunning treasures including the Thar Desert and the city of Jaipur in Rajasthan and McLeod Ganj, home to the Dalai Lama and the Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal. There’s more than enough natural beauty to keep you busy in your spare time and plenty of markets, forts and temples to feast your eyes on!

  • Location: Himachal or Rajasthan

Volunteers staying for 2 weeks will also be able to set off on the following inclusive excursions:

 

Rajasthan and Himachal volunteers: You will be taken on a two-day/one-night trip to Agra to visit the beautiful Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is one of the 7 Wonders of the World and the experience of seeing this marvel is truly mesmerising. 

 

Volunteers staying for 3 weeks will be able to take part in the inclusive excursions below:

 

Rajasthan volunteers: You will set off on two- day/one-night trip to the Hindu religious town of Pushkar, where you can enjoy a camel ride in the spectacular desert surroundings.

 

Himachal volunteers: You will be taken on a two-day/one-night excursion to visit the seat of Tibetan government in exile at Dharamshala. You'll get to experience Tibetan culture and see some great scenery.

Itinerary first 2 weeks: 2 weeks

Next Leg

Destination info

This project is based in the desert lands of Rajasthan and the hill state of Himachal. Both regions are home to some of India’s most stunning treasures including the Thar Desert and the city of Jaipur in Rajasthan and McLeod Ganj, home to the Dalai Lama and the Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal. There’s more than enough natural beauty to keep you busy in your spare time and plenty of markets, forts and temples to feast your eyes on!

  • Location: Himachal or Rajasthan

Day 1 Arrival in Delhi
On arrival in Delhi you will be met at the airport and taken to your accommodation.

 

Days 2 to 4 Orientation
The first few days are all about getting settled in to life in India and are orientation based, giving you an insight into the culture, having a chance to see some of the sights and finding out what you will be doing over the next few weeks. The orientation days include a range of fun activities such as; morning yoga sessions, a Bollywood dance class and a henna workshop. You will also be taken to see a Bollywood movie! 

 

Day 5 Agra
Today you will be transfered to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal which will definitely be a highlight of your trip. As well as the Taj Mahal, you'll get to see the Red Fort and local markets.

 

Day 6 Transfer to the project
Leaving the Taj Mahal behind, you'll travel to either Rajasthan or Himachal which will be the location of your volunteer work.

 

Day 7 Free day

You'll have a free day to settle into your new surroundings before you begin volunteering.

 

Days 8 to 14 Volunteering

For your first day at the project you'll be shown the ropes before getting stuck in. You'll also meet the people around the village who you'll be working with for the following days.   

 

Days 15 to 16 

For people on the two-week programme there will be a village meeting and farewell before returning to Delhi.

 

On Day 16, the group will arrive in Delhi to fly home or continue on their trip.

People on a three-week programme will continue on the programme. 

 

 

Third week (3 week option only): 1 week

Destination info

This project is based in the desert lands of Rajasthan and the hill state of Himachal. Both regions are home to some of India’s most stunning treasures including the Thar Desert and the city of Jaipur in Rajasthan and McLeod Ganj, home to the Dalai Lama and the Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal. There’s more than enough natural beauty to keep you busy in your spare time and plenty of markets, forts and temples to feast your eyes on!

  • Location: Himachal or Rajasthan

Days 17–18
Rajasthan volunteers: The group will go on a two- day/one-night trip to the Hindu religious town of Pushkar, where you can enjoy a camel ride in the spectacular desert surroundings (for three-week participants only).

 

Himachal volunteers: You will be taken on a two-day/one-night excursion to Dharamshala to experience Tibetan culture merged into Indian context with great scenery and weather.

 

Days 19–21
Working at the village.

 

Days 22–23
For your final day at the village you will attend a village meeting to say goodbye before returning to Delhi and flying home (or continue with independent travelling).

 

Please Note: Accommodation is included on the 23rd night if you are not departing Dehli until the following day. 

 

Itineraries and activities are subject to change.

Trip Notes Download

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To get a detailed PDF of information for this trip including full itinerary, country guides and travel advice on visas, money, insurance and the local weather, download our trip notes. By doing so you’ll also be kept updated on all the latest news, offers and stories on this particular trip. Happy reading!

What's included?

  • Arrival airport transfer
  • Accommodation
  • Local transport at project locations
  • Orientation on arrival
  • All Meals - 3 meals a day
  • On site assistance

What's not included?

  • Flights
  • Tourist Visa
  • Personal insurance cover
  • Any Excursions

Additional Information & FAQs

Minimum age

18 years old

 

Accommodation

You will be staying at a local facility in your allocated area, sharing with no more than one other volunteer. As you will be working in impoverished areas there will be no shower, however, you will have access to bucket baths of hot water.

 

Meals

Most meals are included and will consist mainly of vegetable and sometimes fish curries, Indian breads, rice and fruit.

 

Travelling at Altitude

If you choose to volunteer in Himachal, parts of your trip will go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse effects on your health due to the altitude. Please see further information on Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE).

 

Please note: for this trip the deposit payable at the time of booking is £199 plus 10% of the total trip cost.

 

Advice & Safety

Throughout your programmes you will have the support and guidance of the programme co-ordinator and team. You will be provided with competent assistance and help with any questions or advice you may need during your stay.

 

In addition, you will have access to a 24 hour emergency contact number so you can contact one of our UK staff at any time should you need to.

 

FAQ

1. How much spending money will I need?

We recommend that you take around £70 per week

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2. What type of clothing do you recommend I take with me?

Whilst volunteering you will need clothes that cover your shoulders, mid-rif and length should be to at least your knees.

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3. How will I wash my clothes while I'm away?

All washing will have to be done by hand, so either bring some washing powder or buy some from a shop near to your project.

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4. Can I do both options year round?

You can do the Himchal option year round, however, the Rajasthan option does not run over the summer months as it is far too hot in the desert.

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5. Do I need a visa to visit India?

You will need to obtain an Indian Tourist visa before you leave the UK

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6. How high is the trekking in Himachal?

The trek will take you through the foothills of the Himalaya and normally reaches a height of 3200 metres.

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7. Do I need to take a sleeping bag?

No, you don’t need to take a sleeping bag as the quilts & mattresses are provided at all the accommodation & during excursions.

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8. Do I need to take a mosquito net?

All the rooms at the Camps are equipped with mosquito nets.

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9. Will there be a safety deposit box/safe available?

There is locker facility at all the Camps where you can keep your valuables & the keys will remain with you.

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DBS

This trip requires a Police Check to be carried out - please contact us for further information on how to do this. 

What will I see in India?

16 photos

What other travelers thought

I've done this trip

Write review

Hannah Elsy - September 2012

How would you rate your overall experience?
(10/10)
Give us up to 10 words that sum up your experience: for example - "Great experience, made new friends, totally unforgettable!"

An intense two weeks, learnt lots about India and myself.

Please rate the service received from our team before departure
(3/10)
Please rate the accuracy of your pre-departure information
(4/10)
Please rate the service provided by the team in country
(10/10)
Please rate the accommodation during your stay
(10/10)
Please rate the worthwhileness of any volunteering in your trip if applicable.
(10/10)
Please rate your airport pickup (where applicable)
(9/10)
Please rate your in-country orientation
(10/10)
What were the highlights of your trip?

Highlights Getting to know the children themselves was the best thing about this trip. Generally, they are all enthusiastic about drama and keen to learn, a refreshing change from some of the apathy which is seen in ‘good’ UK schools. It was great to watch the extremely bright children from the Aaravli School grow in confidence through interactive drama games. By the end of the two weeks, they had developed some extremely mature material. I was extremely proud of the slum school children and their perseverance in rehearsing our ‘Romeo and Juliet’ ad infinitum. Although they spoke little English, it was surprisingly easy to communicate with them using physicality, also helping me to learn about how to express myself effectively. The teachers at all three of the schools we worked at were extremely welcoming. They are driven yet easygoing, and invited us to a ‘Teachers’ Day’ picnic as honoured guests, held in a health resort in the mountains, where we had a refreshing break from the dust and heat of Jaipur by going for a swim! I would recommend the camel safari into the desert to anyone. Getting the night ‘sleeper’ train away from Jaipur was an extremely exciting experience alone! It was very relaxing sleeping out in the desert on comfortable raised beds, studying the constellations. The Sharma family (Sharda, Harshita and Mahveer) were so welcoming. We became part of their family for two weeks- it was delightful to have Sharda cook for us every day, and charming to help Harshita with her homework and watch her practise her dance. In this respect, every moment integrating myself with the Rajasthani way of life was a highlight, because I was constantly learning about a different culture from my own. India itself was one of the highlights: busy, friendly and colourful. A Although I occasionally felt vulnerable as a white western girl, I generally felt safe and secure. Pourin, the excellent Automan (who also acted like a personal bodyguard) ensured that! I cannot choose one specific highlight, because my entire experience was exceptionally fun! Recommended to anyone who loves drama, theatre and sparking ideas off with young creative minds.

Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?

1) Don’t underestimate the amount of water you will need to drink. Always have an empty bottle to hand because you’ll need access to free clean water so that it can be topped up. 2) Although it may seem harsh, ignore the beggars and street children who will press you for food and money. If you give to one child then his friends will not leave you alone. The same is to be said of street vendors selling souvenirs which you don’t really want. 3) Buy clothes out there. Western dress (particualy on girls) is generally frowned upon. It is not worth spending the money in the West on lots of light white tees and trousers, because these clothes will not help you assimilate yourself at all. Indian clothes are extremely cheap, suitably light and cover all the right parts of the body. We felt so much better after we brought them, as we could now walk down the street and not be stared at.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

As it is so relevant to the content of what we were teaching, it would have been informative to go and watch a professional theatre production. I really wanted to learn more about the ‘Bollywood’ culture, so perhaps an organised trip to the cinema would have been appropriate. We did few activities in the evenings after dinner, so perhaps a few nights out to theatres/ cinemas/ arts houses would not have come amiss.

Any other comments?

The Realgap Team Based In The UK Prior To My Departure Were Quite Unhelpful. The Website Layout (and My Personal Profile On Myrealexperiance.com) Is Confusing And Laborious. There Was No Contact Email From The Team Wishing Me Well Before I Flew To India Just Confirming My Details, Which Made Me Feel Uneasy. When I Called The 'emergency' Helpline Because My Flight Arrived Early And There Was No One There To Pick Me Up, I Had To Hold The Line For Around 10 Minutes Before I Got Through To An Operator- Hardly Effective If Someone Was In An Immediate, Genuine Emergency Where Their Wellbeing Was At Risk. There Was Not Enough Information On The Website About The Itinerary Of My Trip Prior To My Departure. Although I Enjoy Surprises, I Would Have Liked To Have Prepared Some Games And Material For The Children To Work With. This Would Have Been Possible If The Communication Between Volunteers And The RealGap Central Offices Was Clearer And More Frequent.

Would you travel with our company again?

yes

Would you recommend us?

Yes

Matthew O'shea - July 2011

How would you rate your overall experience?
(8/10)
Give us up to 10 words that sum up your experience: for example - "Great experience, made new friends, totally unforgettable!"

Rewarding, Fulfilling, hugely enjoyable,

Please rate the service received from our team before departure
(6/10)
Please rate the service provided by the team in country
(9/10)
Please rate the accommodation during your stay
(9/10)
Please rate the worthwhileness of any volunteering in your trip if applicable.
(8/10)
What were the highlights of your trip?

Meeting new people, seeing the childrens' reaction to the Beautification work, visiting homes in Community visits which would be difficult to do travelling on your own.

Would you travel with our company again?

Yes

Would you recommend us?

Yes

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