Sankalp Volunteer Society India

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8.6 / 10 after 189 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

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I am a Social Worker in Canada and I chose a program in India as I speak both English and Hindi, hoping I could be useful to the organizations and to the people of India

Price: Shake Hands/Sankalp is a quite affordable volunteer program. I spent 5 weeks in the program, in which I travelled for 1 week (included in 3 week Summer program) and extended my volunteering time by 2 weeks to provide a more effective and useful service. In the past 7-8 years I had looked at various organizations offering volunteer programs abroad and they are about 2-3 times more expensive for the time frame that I volunteered for. All necessary expenses are included in your fees. As I have not volunteered with the other organizations, I cannot compare Shake hands with others and only articulate my experience here.

Accommodations: Living arrangements and food are great. The living space is comfortable and in a quite and peaceful area. This is important as the city of Jaipur is quite busy. However, for those looking for a full experience it can be disappointing as you are not living in the same environment/space as the population you are working with. It is unfortunate that you reside in a comfortable, air conditioned, well built home while the children and families continue to live in tent like accommodations.

Programs: There is a slight variation between what is mentioned on the website and what actually occurs within the programs. The description of programs on the website provide the idea to the prospective volunteer that they could have much more involvement with the vulnerable populations (children/families) they will be working with. However, there are limitations placed on the volunteer's involvement in practice. For example, within the street children program (handbook), it is indicated that volunteers can have regular contact with the children's families and motivate the families to send their children to school. No such thing was allowed in the program due to the language barriers of some volunteers and potential risk to safety. The street kids program is also mainly focused on teaching english & math. It would be beneficial for the volunteers to know the level of involvement in order to make an informed decision and to avoid disappointment. Women empowerment group is also limited to teaching English (expected by the women/girls as well). There is room for growth within this program if topics of discussion expanded into cultural expectations of women and the options and resources the women have within India to be independent. Learning English is beneficial to the women's confidence level however, without engaging the women into discussions about gender inequality and cultural expectations we cannot fully empower the women participating in the programs.

Support: Staff of Sankalp responded very quickly to all inquiries when I was choosing a program/ prior to arrival and it was extremely helpful. During the program support is available if volunteers seek out the staff and take an active role. Unfortunately there were occasions when responses were unclear or vague. Rules are well set however, however there was little follow thru and check ins to make sure everyone was consistent and comfortable . Safety of volunteers is a clear priority of the staff at Sankalp and it is made very clear to all attending the program. Follow-thru is consistent in this matter. Staff are also helpful in arranging transportation for personal travel if volunteers seek help.

Overall it was a positive first time experience, although I would have preferred much more involvement with the families and a little flexibility. For those with limited work/volunteer experience in social services it is a meaningful program and would lead to a positive experience. Just be an active participant!

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 16, 2011
Overall:
7
Support:
6
Value:
8
By: ahrabia
Age:
New User

I am a teacher from Canada, and I have travelled fairly extensively before I signed up for the Shake Hands program. I thought that the whole program was excellent. The organizers of the program were very helpful right from the time that I signed up. They were very knowledgable on India culture and customs and made my transition and travel in India very easy. The food was excellent, and the accommodations were very clean and welcoming. I was definitely made to feel at home.

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 11, 2011
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: TCanuck
Age:
New User

The program was overall very good. We got the chance to combine volunteer work in Jaipur and sightseing of the North of India in only 3 weeks !!!
The employees were really nice and caring, and always provide us with support/information needed.
The accomodation was lovely and the food served delicious.

Program:
Location:
Posted: July 26, 2011
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
10
By: lavinia
Age:
New User

Before coming to India I was very nervous & cautious however the administrators made everything very easy & answered all my questions as soon as possible and were very helpful

On arrival I was made to feel at home straight away, I settled in quickly & felt very comfortable.

The street children program was amazing at the beginning it was very demanding however once i settled it was unbelievable. The kids are great and were willing to learn & taught me many things & the job gained me much self-satisfaction.

The Organisation provided a brillant accomadation which gave me a very family feeling which is so much better than a hotel.

They provide you with transportation to and from the project.

The food was absolutely amazing better than any hotel food i tried in my stay in india.

Sankalp is by far the best NGO that India has as it gives you the most value for your money unlike others whilst also providing the best service for the children
So I would definately reccomend them.

Shai

Program:
Location:
Posted: July 6, 2011
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: shai
Age:
New User

We found Sankalp to be a friendly, well-organised Indian NGO. Prior to the trip we recieved very prompt email correspondance from the organisation who were happy to answer any questions we had! the information on the website is accurate and provided us with a good idea of what the project would entail.

On arrival in India and through out our stay we receved a high level of support. The organisers of Sankalp visited the volunteers daily so any problems/queries we had were promplty sorted. The accommodation for the volunteers is clean, nice and became very much home. We looked forward to every meal time when we were served the most wonderful, flavoured, traditional Indian foods by the cook! Another added bonus was the availablitly of filtered water.

The project itself was challenging (as expected) yet highly rewarding. The girls we taught kept us on our toes, but we quickly got into the swing of things. We taught lessons in English, Geography, crafts and Maths. If we needed help with any lesson plans/ideas the organisers of Sankalp were always on hand to help out! Safe and reliable transport to the project daily was provided by the organisation, who have their own driver. we thorougly enjoyed our time teaching and felt Sankalp offered us the opportunity to make a hands on difference in the lives of the girls we were teaching.

Sankalp very much has a family feel to it, with personal care taken over each volunteer. The money is directly filtered back into the projects which the organisation runs; a real find compared with many companies which charge large administration fees. Sankalp has offered us everything we were looking for in our search for a volunteer project; well organised, excellent value and a taste of the real india which we will long remember. We shall be sad to leave.

Program:
Location:
Posted: July 1, 2011
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
9
By: Katherine
Age:
New User

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