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 went with this program to Jaipur, India the summer of 2014 where I volunteered in an orphanage 5 days a week for two weeks and traveled around to see the Taj Mahal, Dharamshala, the Pakistani border and other sites we really couldn't miss. At the time, I was fifteen, a few years younger than their standard age limit, but I was able to assured them of my maturity and get in to the program with a 17 year-old friend of mine. Both our parents were nervous to send their teenage daughters half-way around the world to India, but we found Sankalp to be really safe and enlightening. The volunteering was very rewarding and authentic, it was unlike anything else I'd ever experienced. The children are in such need of simple care and love, it was incredible to feel like I was making a difference in someone's life every day. Sankalp provided transportation to and from volunteer locations every day for each of the programs in Jaipur. In the afternoons and weekends, we were free to discover Jaipur and its surroundings for ourselves as long as we were back at the house by curfew (9 pm on weekdays). This allowed for exploration of the Bazaars, nearby temples, and forts. The other volunteers were all very friendly and I made several long lasting friendships. The volunteer housing was comfortable, we slept in bunk beds and shared bathrooms with 3 other volunteers. There was air conditioning at night, a kitchen and a living room/lounge area. We had two authentic Indian meals a day cooked for us and were told where to go for groceries to make ourselves breakfast. The travel week at the end of my stay was also very comfortable, we were always well accommodated and stayed in safe, clean locations. One of the program directors, Pranay, goes with volunteers for this portion of the trip. We spent a few days hiking in the Himalayas which was beautiful and refreshing while not too challenging. My family is very active so I had no problem with the hike and volunteers less prepared than I all made it to the camp at the end of our hike. That said, it wasn't easy, but it's nothing to worry about. My friend and I had unusual flights home and had to travel separately from the other volunteers to the airport but Sankalp took initiative to arrange safe transport and help us get to our flight home on time. Overall it was a priceless experience. I never felt unsafe, abandoned or babied. My only regret was that I didn't stay longer.
If you're thinking about volunteering in India, I encourage you to choose Sankalp and if you do send my love to the kids at the orphanage, Puni, Pranay and Anita.
Feel free to email me with any questions,
Clio

Program:
Location:
Posted: April 7, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10
By: Cliowohlg
Age:
16

Comments

Hey, I'm looking to volunteer with Sankalp this October and was hoping to chat about your experience. If you dont mind, contact me at elizabeth.chand@gmail.com Thanks!

I did the summer program of Sankalp last year in July and it was without a doubt the best experience of my life so far! I did two weeks of volunteering and one week of travelling and the two weeks of volunteering were definitely the best two weeks in India! I did the street children program and it was so rewarding and inspiring! The children really appreciate you and I've never felt happier than in those two weeks with those amazing kids! The taught me some life lessons that are up until this day are still some of the best lessons I've ever learned! I remember the one time one of the street kids shared his cookies with me even though he didn't have much at all. That moment filled me with hope, joy and also sadness, it really makes you think about life. I would definitely recommend Sankalp because of the support they provide 24/7. The founders Amita and Pranay are during daytime present in the volunteer home and when they aren't there you can always call them (even in the middle of night). In the volunteer home there is also a Indian girl called Puni who makes the best meals ever and who is always there to talk. She is genuinely one of the sweetest persons I've ever met and she definitely made my time in India even more amazing! I truly feel that Sankalp is a organisation that puts the children in the first place and not their own profit. If you want to enrich your heart than you should definitely try volunteering with Sankalp. Before you volunteer make sure you know what the consequences are because to be honest, a piece of my heart never left India and especially Jaipur! I hope that one day I can return to this inspiring place! If you have any questions at all feel free to ask them!

Program:
Location:
Posted: March 25, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
19

Comments

Hello! I am considering going with Sankalp to Jaipur this Summer. What was the heat like when you were there? It is meant to be very uncomfortable right now. Also, I am planning on travelling alone. Was there many on the trip who did this?

I did 4 weeks of volunteering with Sankalp in January 2014. I did the street children program.

It was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. The children are so beautiful and I feel like you really are helping their education and social skills.

The house was good, I did struggle with sharing a room/bathroom with 3 other people as I usually live alone however that is a personal thing. I really loved the fact that you are free to explore Jaipur after work as long as you are back by curfew at 9pm. You are also free to travel away on the weekends which was a great way to see Rajasthan.

Lunch and dinner are cooked each day by Puni, and the food is AMAZING!

The price of this program was surprisingly cheap in comparison to other companies. I think the fee is approx. $150USD a week.

I would definitely reccomend Sankalp to anyone considering volunteering in India.

Program:
Location:
Posted: March 24, 2015
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: teisha7
Age:
24

I don't really know where to start with my review; every second of it was incredible.

I stayed for 4 weeks from July - August 2014, aged 17, during my summer holidays. Initially I signed up for 4 weeks at Women Empowerment, but I didn't find the course as emotionally stimulating as I had hoped for. It consisted of sitting down, teaching two groups of Indian girls for 3 hours in the afternoon. I wouldn't have minded it so much, however considering all of these girls already went to school in the morning, I felt my time would be better spent elsewhere. Another factor edging me to make a switch was the fact that all of my new-found friends had their work in the morning, so they all did their travelling together in the afternoon, which admittedly made me feel a bit left out.
At the start of my second week in Jaipur, I switched programmes to the Orphanage. This was much better suited to me. I should point out that if you are rather emotionally fragile, do NOT choose this programme. You witness some truly ghastly things whilst working there, e.g. the full-time workers hitting the children, disabled children being left laid on the floor for 23 hours a day, the children only being allowed one diaper per day leading to them pooping/peeing on the floor regularly (never let the children take your shoes off to play with them - i have learnt from experience that this ALWAYS ends dirtily). Do not try to change the way the workers treat the babies. When you get to the end of your time in India, you will come to realise that this is merely just their way of life. Trying to enforce a change will only insult the women and make them angry. Just brace yourself. You are there to give the babies the one thing they lack; love and attention. Be that cool 'didi' (translates to 'big sister' which is what they will ALL refer to you as) who plays and sings and smiles. They will love you back with all of their heart.
Buy them a few toys/presents to take in when you're working, but always take them home when you leave too. Unfortunately the workers aren't paid very much and have a tendency to steal from the orphans to provide for their own children. And ALWAYS wear a headscarf when in the orphanage. Don't remove it under any circumstances. My friend and I did, in order to take photos with the children. We returned from Jaipur with headlice infestations.

OK, now onto the social side of things. The house rules are no where near as strict as they appear to be in the handbook. You are allowed to go out to restaurants to drink (which we did regularly), but we also managed to sneak a lot of beer in, and had parties on the roof. Admittedly, we did get caught out a few times, so Amita and Pranay might be a bit stricter nowadays. Also one night we got all of the housemates together for a bowling trip, which was great fun! We crammed everyone (17 of us) into 3 rickshaws to Hypercity, where on the top floor there's a great bar/bowling area. A few Cobra's down, we had the time of our lives!

Travel as much as you can. Although it can be hard when you're feeling a bit lazy after work and just want to lounge around, but ALWAYS make the effort to go out and do something. Otherwise I can assure you, you'll regret it. List of places I went to: City Palace, Amber Fort, Nahargarh Fort & Jaigar Fort (do both in the same day, as they're far away from the volunteer house, but very close together), Monkey Temple, Jantar Mantar (if you're looking to go to the markets, say this to a rickshaw driver anyway, as he will then take you directly there) and just EVERYWHERE you can think of! Try and plan a weekend trip away per week. We went to Jodhpur, Agra and Delhi. Do your research and find good hotels (you will very much appreciate having a hot shower, pool, and meat!).
Just embrace every second of it, because it truly does fly past.
That was easily the best month of my life, and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Program:
Location:
Posted: March 10, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
18

I did the Program for Street Kids in Jaipur for three weeks and I have to say that it has been a truly amazing experience! Going into it I was quite nervous, as this was my first time traveling by myself, but I have no regrets in taking the leap. I found out about Sankalp here on Abroad Reviews and it fit my volunteering interests, budget, and location better than other programs I was considering at the time. Pranay and Amita took great care of us, and we felt safe at all times. They were available for most of the day if we needed to talk to them for any reason, and they helped us find good transportation to and from the airport, bazaars, restaurants, etc. We lived in a comfortable house, equipped for all our basic needs, and we were provided delicious meals cooked by Puni. There is a security guard so that only volunteers enter the home, a sign in/ out book for our little outings, as well as a curfew to ensure our safety.
The program itself is wonderful, as you get to interact and really make a difference in these children's lives. We worked for about four hours each day, and spent the time at school teaching the kids math and English, as well as playing with them during their break. They are so sweet and no amount of time with them will ever be enough! With no prior teaching experience, it was pretty cool being able to make up my own lesson plans and to find ways to make learning fun for the kids. If I had more time, I would have loved to try out the other programs, like the orphanage and women's empowerment. Since we're done working around noon, the rest of the day is free time to explore and see all the culture that Rajasthan has to offer. Many people choose to take weekend trips to nearby cities/ states as well.
Jaipur itself has a lot of places to visit, from the bazaars where you can buy exquisite handicraft goods, to the beautiful palaces with so much history. Coming from a western country, all the little things are so enjoyable, such as cows and goats roaming around in the streets, the colorful trucks, and the bumpy rides back home in an auto rickshaw.
Thank you Sankalp for providing me with such a rewarding and fun experience! I really hope to do this again :)

Program:
Location:
Posted: September 5, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: delia
Age:
20

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