Volunteering in Delhi


I am planning a trip to India around August and I would like to go volunteering in Delhi, I've currently only got about a month when I can be out there, but I have a lot of organisation time leading up to that.

I want to build night shelters in Delhi for kids who trawl the landfill sites. one if the main problems however, is the awareness of existing shelters, so this is a good place to start. I have looked on a few websites, and I have contacted action aid, but they sell you this corny take on the whole affair. After a lengthy in depth email to them, they wrote back asking for my address so that they could send me an 'experiences pack'- wtf? I want to have more involvement in the organisation, site selection, design and strategy of the project. I also want to learn about the reuse, recycling and the socio-economic culture of the country.

In order to pay for this this I am aiming to get the government to pay for it through charitable tax relief - i.e writing off to charities/companies to pay for a percentage of the total costs. in return I, (or part of my group) will present/submit a document the extents of what we have done.

I am currently collating information on the whole subject, and was hoping someone here might be able to help? Any ideas/pointers?


Ben Gough

And the Answer...

Hi Ben

It sounds like an absolutely awesome idea and if I was in another situation I would love to come with you! But without trying to scare or worry you in anyway - there are a couple of things that you need to be wary of when volunteering in Delhi. The first thing that I can say is that your time of year is not the best - Delhi pretty much turns into an oven in the summer with August being the hottest month. I travelled up from the south to fly home from Delhi on 1st May and it was starting to get fairly uncomfortable then. Of course it's possible - I mean hundreds of millions of people endure it every year - but it is certainly something to be aware of.

Another thing that came to my mind immediately was the fact that India is a notoriously difficult place to get anything achieved. - especially for a foreigner. Again it is by no means impossible to go volunteering in Delhi but the challenges you face are large to say the least. One absolutely huge help to you would be the help of a local - And I mean someone who has respect and knows the area.

Another thing to be careful of, especially when you first arrive and that is don't trust anybody - Now I'm not just paranoid - but seriously don't trust anybody. After a while you begin to just 'feel' who is right and who is wrong.

It's a terrifying, disgusting, filthy retched place but it's awesome and I have no doubt you will love it just as much as I do (just maybe not right away ;-)

It sounds like an amazing adventure and I wish you all the best.

Another place to turn are Forums. IndiaMike.com and Indiatree.com have massive forums and people will be fighting each other to give you pointers and advice about such a excellent idea.

Good Luck!

Tony Milson

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