India is home to one-sixth of the world’s population and has a diversity of sight, smell and sound that includes the Taj Mahal, the Himalayas and Bollywood. One-quarter of its population lives below the poverty line and Lattitude volunteers have been working within schools, Buddhist monasteries and community centres for many years, providing support, teaching English and empowering people.
Placements are located in the hill stations within Buddhist communities, and in a number of towns in the north of India, click here to view a map.
Is it for me?
By volunteering in India you can offer direct assistance to those in need. Your work may involve teaching English to Buddhist monks or helping disabled young people live a more independent life. India is not for the faint hearted and you must be mature, self-sufficient, open-minded and willing to forgo some of your creature comforts.
Teaching placements enable volunteers to teach students in schools or Buddhist monasteries. While conversational English forms a major part of the duties, volunteers also assist with a range of other subjects. The schools range from relatively well resourced international schools to very poorly resourced community schools. Within the Buddhist monasteries, classes often take second place to prayer and ritual so using initiative can be important. However kindness is the most important quality in Buddhism and both adults and children are delightful to work with and teach.
Community placements also involve an element of teaching. There are placements at orphanages and day centres for children with mental and physical disabilities, as well as centres for adults with disabilities. Volunteers help with caring duties, as well as teaching subjects such as art, music, drama, sewing, cooking and sport.
The average working week for placements in India is between 10 and 20 hours.
Accommodation & food
Accommodation is provided on site at schools or with a host family. Accommodation can be quite basic with erratic electricity and water supplies at times. Food is supplied in conjunction with accommodation.
Before you go:
- We find out more about each volunteer through an interview which helps us select the right people and after a second interview, we match them to a placement that’s right for them.
- Once selected, each volunteer is allocated a Coordinator in the Melbourne office who assists them with all preparations. They provide briefing materials, support with logistics such as flights and visas and are there to answer any questions.
- Everyone attends a briefing camp to meet other volunteers and Lattitude staff, identify their learning needs and hear from returned volunteers.
- All volunteers sign our Code of Conduct to ensure that our expectations of each volunteer are agreed and clear from the outset.
When you're overseas:
- We have paid staff based in each country. Our Country Managers oversee the program and work with a team of Local Representatives who provide support in the local areas and develop close relationships with placement hosts.
- Volunteers attend a group orientation on arrival in India and, if needed for their placement, undertake a short teaching skills course.
- Each volunteer is visited at their placement soon after arrival by an in-country staff member to check how things are and provide additional support if needed.
- We work with Embassies and High Commissions to ensure we can respond to any situation and provide 24/7 emergency support from Melbourne.
When you're back:
- We recognise that coming home can be difficult and provide one-to-one support, with onward referrals for further professional support if needed. Volunteers are invited to debriefing events and become part of our network of alumni.
- We undertake reviews against the learning needs identified before going overseas which may form part of a reference provided at the end. A letter can also be provided to use towards an application for Youth Allowance.
These costs are for Lattitude placements in India in 2014
Lattitude fees (exact costs)
|Lattitude Application Fee||$125|
|Lattitude Placement Fee||$3600|
|Lattitude In-country Orientation||$340|
You will also need to budget for the following (approx costs)
|Travel Insurance (5 months)||$332|
|Return Airfare (ex Melbourne/Sydney)||$1850|
|Total cost (approximate)
Other costs associated with your time away may include obtaining a passport, purchasing any additional clothing required and arranging travel vaccinations.
A range of funding options are available, find out more here.
The main opportunity for travel will be at the end of your placement and an array of experiences awaits - it is for good reason that India is often referred to as the “world’s most multidimensional country” and that the Ministry of Tourism dubs it “Incredible India”. Tranquil temples, bustling cities, balmy beaches, snow-capped mountains, picturesque hill stations, Bollywood, wonderful food, colourful festivals and over a billion people…. the sights, sounds and smells of this mind-boggling country are the reason it is, indeed, “incredible”. Wherever you go will be unforgettable – go everywhere!
|Departs in 2014:||February|
|Duration:||4 - 5 months|
> Community Worker
Population: 1 billion
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) minus 4.5 hours
Climate: India is a warm country with seasonal variations from north to south. The hottest months are generally from March to June, wetter months from around June to October in certain areas and cooler period from December to February.
Currency: Indian Rupee
“India isn’t a country that is easy to describe, even though there are so many things that stand out; the disorganisation, the smells, the colours, the rubbish, the beggars, the heat, the dirt. In truth one can’t gain a true picture of India without going. Would I advise people to go there? Yes, no question about it.”
Sofka Morris, Lattitude Teacher