Dharamsala , India


Dates: Dec 28th– Jan 20

Group Size: 2 student leaders, 1 staff advisor, 9 participants

Cost: $3200

Travel Clinic: Level 2 visit +immunizations


Quick Facts:

  • Learn about the Indian people and their struggle with poverty, health care and waste management.
  • Work with schools, helping to plan and conduct classes throughout your stay.
  • Explore the beauty of the Himalayas and rich history of the Taj Mahal.


Host Community

The VISION group will be working with iSPiiCE (Integrated Social Programs in Indian Child Education) volunteer program, an intermediary organization that introduces international volunteers to work on sustainable community projects which offer much needed development assistance to rural Indian communities. The projects are twofold in the benefits they deliver and are designed to meet the local communities’ immediate basic needs and also to increase their future prospects and prosperity.


Justice Issues Overview

  • Health Care— lack of sanitation, hygiene, safe drinking water and nutrition especially affect women and children living in rural areas of India.
  • Waste Management— In India the last three years have seen hazardous waste import increased by 48%.In 2009 6.4 million tons of hazardous waste came from the west to India and 5.9 million tons were produced domestically. Much of this waste was metal, electronics and plastics.
  • Right to Education Act— From April 1, 2010 the Right to Education has come into force ensuring free education to more than 92% of school children in India.
  • Poverty— Even after more than 50 years of independence, India still has the world's largest number of poor people in a single country.


Cultural Opportunities

In response to the communities wide ranging needs, iSPiiCE volunteers assist in the areas of education, childcare, healthcare and women’s empowerment. The group will not only enjoy a rewarding travel experience in India (with sightseeing included) but also benefit from their work with iSPiiCE in their teaching roles; developing skills in leadership, planning, management and communication. You will have the opportunity to do a trek in the Himalayas and get into the foothills of the beautiful landscape.  There will also be an opportunity to visit the Taj Mahal. At the same time you will gain greater insights into world diversity and develop a better understanding of the issues affecting developing nations. 


Sample Week

Volunteers will work Monday to Friday, waking at around 8am for breakfast each day and going to their morning work activity. They will arrive back to camp for lunch and then head to their afternoon work area. Most work finishes at around 5pm and evenings and weekends are free for exploration and relaxation. Many volunteers choose to stay close to camp getting to know the locals and their students better. Once a week we will try to go out for a group dinner and weekends are mostly taken up by excursions.  The specific work project and partners has not been identified yet, but iSPiiCE has a specific focus on education.  This trip will not involve physical labor, but rather an experience of being with kids and working in the school setting.  The work for the group will probably include some of the following: Teaching English to adults and children; caring for infants and children; assisting local teachers and staff; providing love, care and affection to neglected children; assisting with the up keep of local institutions and creating clean, bright learning spaces.  The group will also participate in Hindi class, Indian cooking, and decorative Henna painting.


Food, Lodging, and Travel

The group will fly from Minneapolis to Delhi where they will be met by staff from the iSPiiCE program. After spending a night in Delhi, the group will take a train to base camp near the town of Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh  **Passport and Visa Required**



The trip fee of $3200 includes round-trip airfare, India Tourist Visa, van rental, site transportation, work materials for site, meals, and programmed group activities. Students should be prepared for additional expenses not included in the program fee, which include:  spending money (as determined by the group agreement), food en route to site ($50), updated immunizations, passport fees, and optional travel medications.


Student Reflections

“Sipping a cup of hot chai tea, mesmerized by the sunrise over the Himalayan Mountains, is a beautiful way to wake up for a day of service in India.  Returning from India, I have been inspired to embrace learning in every opportunity I have and continue to dedicate my life to the VISION components.”

                  Annie Hejny, Student Leader 2010


“The time I spent in India was beyond anything I could have imagined and by far one of the best experiences of my life.  Volunteering with them taught me so much about the country  of India, the people and myself.  iSPiiCE truly changed my life forever.”

                                   Jen Matecki, 2010 Participant



For more information, go to http://www.volunteeringinindia.com