Sankalp Volunteer Society India

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8.6 / 10 after 184 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

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I completed the 1 month work & travel program with Sankalp Volunteer in Jaipur, India. Sankalp is a great company that offers a variety of volunteer placements and also offers additional travel and sightseeing. I felt safe and supported the whole time during my placement and met a lot of great people. I will remember this experience for the rest of my life and recommend Sankalp to anyone looking to volunteer in India.

Program:
Location:
Posted: December 26, 2015
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9
By: KP009
Age:

What a wonderful month I spent in Jaipur, the volunteer house is in a great location, very residential but not so isolated you can't get anywhere. The food provided by the organisation is honestly the best food I've tasted in the whole of India (and we travelled around on weekends!). Transport was provided to get safely to and from work, so all volunteers could plan their time off accordingly. I was initially a little nervous about teaching as I'm not a teacher at home, but as long as you listen in your orientation and have the motivation to make a difference, then there is nothing to worry about. Be prepared to spend your evenings coming up with lesson plans so you can maximise your full potential, as well as the kids! All volunteers are there for the same reasons, so it's very easy to make friends in the house, as everyone is pretty like-minded. Anyone who's looking to make a change - whether its internal or external - go for Sankalp.

Program:
Location:
Posted: December 21, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
24

Upon arrival in Jaipur Sankalp arranged my pick up from the airport properly. After arriving at the volunteer house the "house mom" Puni showed me around and introduced me to the other people in the house. I immediately felt safe and welcome here.
The next day there was a introduction given by Amita who, together with her husband Prunay, is the contact person of Sankalp that is always available for your questions. I personally liked the fact that Amita did not only spent time on explaining the project but also gave some background information about the country and the city. She also explained the rules in the house which seemed a bit strict at first (no meat, no alcohol and be home at 21:30) but later on it appeared that Amita and her husband are just worried about your safety and when you communicate well with them about the time of coming home they are flexible.
Furthermore Puni's cooking was so good that even as a meat lover i didnt miss the meat just once (btw on the weekend trips you are free to eat and drink whatever you want!).
Speaking about the weekend trips i was surprised about the quality of the hotels. Most of them had a swimmingpool and they all looked nice. Better than I expected. The organisation also arranged a driver (Adjit) who took care of us very well during the weekends. He made me feel safe everywhere.

About the volunteerhouse: the house is located in Murlipura which is a bit out of the centre (30 minutes by tuktuk, only cost you around 2 dollar to go there so no big deal). I liked the location since it is less chaotic in this neighbourhood. Besides people are not so used to tourist here which makes the shopping good and people, especially children, treat you like a celeb.
The best thing about the house is the amazing rooftop terrace for a relaxing afternoon or a night underneed the stars..
The rooms are shared with 4 people and are not extremely spacious. The shower always has really hot water.

About the food: as said before the cooking in the house is strictly vegetarian but Puni's cooking is great. She cooks you lunch and dinner every day. Some people say its a lot of carbs but i couldnt care less, its just delicious! Brealfast you need to arrange yourself.

About the projects: I was lucky to be able to do both the woman empowerment and the orphanage. Both projects i really enjoyed and since they are so different from each other i cant say that one is better than the other. But I must say that woman empowerment might be easier since the conditions in the orphanage can be quite shocking for those comming from a western society (the bathing rituals and the fact that they dont use nappy's when volunteers are not there). You will get dirty every day but that doesnt make it more fun. If you consider the orphanage i would strongly recommend you to think about lice prevention.. i got them (my worst nightmare) but if i would have thought about the possibility of getting them on beforehand i think i would have taken better protection (wearing a showercap with a scarf over it or something).

Overall i would definately recommend doing the work and travel program with Sankalp. The only downside of including the travel it that you have only 3,5 week of volunteering and since Indians have some holidays as well it can even be less.

Program:
Location:
Posted: December 16, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Romee
Age:
24

Didnt have a clue what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised.The programme was really good and the living accomodation was fine.The in house cook Puni was amazing and really took care of us.Amita and Pranay were always on hand to answer any questions about the programme.I didnt have a problem at all with the programme apart from other people using it as a holiday rather than a volunteer programme.Luckily this was only one person.But if you pay to Volunteer you are there to give your services however hard and distressing it maybe.You are made fully aware of what you are getting into beforehand.Overall it was an amazing experience and I would love to do it again.

Program:
Location:
Posted: December 11, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9
By: Jemmab
Age:
45

I arrived to begin my 12 weeks working on the Street Children project in Jaipur in early August 2015. I booked my volunteering experience through Love Volunteers but on arrival found that it was only with Sankalp, the partner organisation administered by an Indian husband and wife team, with whom I would be working.

I arrived to the volunteer house just after Sankalp had thrown three girls out onto the streets with no-where to go. One of these girls was just 17 years old.
Their reason for this was that these girls had written a letter to Love Volunteers voicing their discontent relating to how little of what they had paid to volunteer was going towards the projects. Their complaints had been brought to the attention of the administrators of Salkalp and they were asked to leave. Needless to say I didn't arrive in a very positive environment.

During our induction, the project co-ordinator (the wife, for the husband speaks very poor English) told us more regarding India as a whole rather than the projects they oversee and what we'd be doing day to day.
The main issue was that most people only discovered during this induction that they would NOT be working for an NGO. Love Volunteers claimed Sankalp was a non profit organisation as do several sites on Google. In fact the Sankalp website still states they work with NGO’s. I never worked with an NGO during my 3 months.

Also within our induction volunteers learnt that instead of 'helping' at a school you would in fact be put in front of 5-12 children who speak very little English with no idea of where they are at with studies to teach them English and Maths. She also told me false information regarding the level of my class. Which as it turns out she knows nothing about appearing for only a few minutes three times during my three months at the school and barely associating with the children. This is just one example of many that reveal the lack of regard for both the volunteers and the projects shown by the two administrators of Sankalp.

On arrival at the school I found that there were in excess of 50 children in 8 classes with only one teacher. Each time a new volunteer arrived they were given a group of children and there was little continuity with the teaching. If there was only one volunteer at the school they keep their one class whilst the main teacher is expected to teach the other 7 classes, all at different levels.
Although the school has been open for 7 years there are no desks, two classes to each room, 3 classes taught outdoors under a shelter and very few teaching facilities.

Each volunteer had a different method of teaching, being of different cultures and nationalities, most with zero teaching experience and with no instruction and very few books on what to teach. There was no record of what previous volunteers had taught before. This resulted in the children being taught the same things over and over. In fact, a system of keeping the tests that are completed every Friday in a folder to show where each class was up to was only implemented a week before I arrived after Love Volunteers began questioning the setup of Sankalp due to the amount of complaints they had been receiving from previous volunteers.

I could go on and on regarding how disappointed I was with Sankalp throughout my stay there:
- 80% of the volunteers left early due to them being so unhappy with the setup of Sankalp.
- The lack of structure within all the programmes for example: The Women Empowerment programme that has very little to do with women or empowerment seeing as the girls are all below the age of 16 and learn nothing to do with the rights of Indian women but are only taught such things as English nouns and body parts. Again, like on the Street Children programme there was no record of what had been taught to the girls by the previous volunteers.
-The state of the volunteer house: the paint and plaster in the living rooms are peeling away drastically, the beds are horrifically dirty and volunteers are expected to buy their own work clothes, cleaning products and toilet paper.
- The 9:30pm curfew in place for everyone till two 50 year old Indian men came back each night at around 11pm and nothing was said...

This is just a very short list of examples of what I saw that was wrong during my three months working with Sankalp.

Steps were being taken whilst I was there to improve what the girls complained about: storage shelves were placed downstairs to hold pens, paper, pencils and other school essentials. New folders were given to us to keep the tests the children did each Friday in order to keep a record of what they had studied previously. It’s just a shame that it takes people complaining and Love Volunteers to start asking questions before the administrators decide to take any action towards improvement.

I can see how far Sankalp have come since being launched in 2006. During my 9th week myself and several volunteers were called downstairs to ask what Sankalp could do to stop receiving so many complaints. This was the first time I got any real answer to where the money was going (into their pockets and then spent as they see fit: her words not mine) and saw the pictures showing how far they’d progressed. Yet with the amount people are spending to volunteer compared to how much it costs to live in India, plus the amount of volunteers they’ve had through the years I’m afraid in my opinion they have not progressed enough.

I think the fact that during my three months I didn’t see one volunteer out of 40 leave satisfied with their experience shows how successful Sankalp really is.

Program:
Location:
Posted: December 8, 2015
Overall:
2
Support:
1
Value:
2
Age:
26

Comments

Sankalp organization takes note of this fabricated review by an anonymous person who is posting incorrect information on various websites in various fictitious names. Please be known that earlier last month 3 volunteers were suspended from their respective programs due to misconduct and non compliance of the safety norms set by the organization in India. Sankalp takes safety issues for all international volunteers very seriously and it is the responsibly of the volunteer to comply to all the rules laid down by the organization for their own benefit. India is not as any other country in the west. It has completely different social dynamics which has to be understood and followed by all volunteers. We accept all creative criticism but not that is fictitious or specially written to damage the reputation of Sankalp Volunteer.

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