Thursday, 5 January 2012 10:29 AM
If you've always fancied heading overseas to volunteer abroad, India is a fantastic destination in which to lend your support to communities in need. The country requires assistance in a range of areas, so whether you can help renovate houses or teach English to deprived children, your services are sure to be appreciated.
Many people choose to make the most of a sabbatical from work or a year off between jobs by travelling to a new place and experiencing a different culture. By spending time volunteering on a gap break, you can give something back to your host nation.
India is full of iconic attractions and you're sure to want to visit these during your getaway. When you pick a career break in the country, you'll find you can split your time between lending a hand to the less fortunate and exploring the nation's best-known sites.
If you have four weeks or longer to spare, why not travel to Himachal Pradesh in the Himalayas, where you can help out with childcare or teaching?
Working at the former will see you placed in an aanganwari – a local day care centre for preschoolers run by the government. Aanganwari are safe places for youngsters to attend for meals, health checks and vaccinations, as well as to play.
During your time here, you'll be expected to play games with the little ones to enhance their motor skills, provide them with personal care and attention, increase social awareness of the centres to ensure maximum attendance and aid in the renovation and decoration of the buildings.
If you work in a school during an India volunteering break, you can help teach children English, produce low-cost learning materials with teachers and get creative with the youngsters through painting, dance and music.
As well as schools and childcare centres, other areas requiring help include orphanages and working with people who have special needs.
If you're planning a getaway for a shorter period, you can still offer your support to communities when visiting India. Make your base Himachal Pradesh or Rajasthan for a few weeks and you can help out with labour work projects or enhance the social development of the villages.
Getting involved with the latter will allow you to learn about social issues that need relaying to the area's inhabitants, including hygiene awareness, iodine deficiency disorders, the need for a balanced diet, the importance of breastfeeding and precautionary measures to reduce the risk of HIV infection.
Meanwhile, if you choose to help out through labour work, you'll be tasked with repairing the homes of families living below the poverty line, helping renovate and decorate childcare centres, motivating youngsters to clear rubbish and plant trees, and construct dustbins to improve their hygiene awareness.
During your getaway, not only can you assist communities in a variety of ways, you'll also have free time to spend seeing the sights. As part of your break, you might have a trip to the Taj Mahal organised for you, or perhaps spend a night in Agra. A workshop lesson will introduce you to Indian cooking and you'll also be able to practice yoga at special morning classes during your stay.
Excursions will be organised for you at the weekend but if you feel like taking it easy you could always simply relax on one of the nation's sandy beaches. Book your memorable volunteering break today.