Your success in volunteering will be determined by the gap year programs you choose to enroll in. It therefore goes without saying that you should choose the program you join in carefully and wisely. From the outside looking in, it seems as though volunteer organizations are equal. But aside from determining your volunteer destination and the type of volunteer work you will be doing, the organization you choose will be responsible for the success (or failure) of the program.
As one of the most under developed countries in the world, there are several efforts for volunteering in India. It is therefore important to choose an organization that facilitates effort to volunteer India has to offer.
Here are the 3 red flags that you need to look out for (and beware) when choosing a volunteering India project and organization to work with:
When comparing gap year programs from various organizations, you might notice that the fees vary for each. The money you pay the program organizers will be used for covering the logistics of your volunteer programs abroad – from accommodation, transportation, food, and other essential supplies needed for the duration of your stay. As expected, the more logistics coordination is set up, the more expensive the program will be.
It therefore pays to know the breakdown of the fees you have to pay before joining the program so you know what is covered for them. In addition, this will give you an idea of what the program organizers will cover for you once you reach your volunteer destination. Good organizers will have a systematic plan in case when handling these logistics matter. If they are unable to provide you with a detailed guide, then you need to be worried. Volunteer organizations that have been doing their work for several years usually follow a system that they had used before. Without proper logistics in place, you need to be cautious about joining that program. You want your needs to be well coordinated once you reach your volunteer destination and you expect the organizers to help make the transition as smooth as possible. Check out http://www.volunteering.org.au/gap-year.html
Lack of Training
Even though you have your own skill set to offer to the volunteer project, the best organizations to offer gap year programs will provide training to all volunteers. The aim of the training is to standardize the skill set for each volunteer, or make them more flexible by introducing them with a new skill set. Part of the training also focuses on introducing you to the culture of your volunteer destination. In addition, a foreign language course should be included if you are traveling to a country that does not speak English as their first language, which includes India.
Lack of Accountability
The volunteer organization must look into your skill set and interest when choosing you for a particular program. Organizers should not be accepting anyone who is willing; they need to evaluate if you are a good fit for the program too. When they decline your offer to join the program, do not be frustrated. Instead, look at other programs that would be a good fit for your skills and who could benefit most from what you can offer. It is part of the organization’s own effort at higher accountability to ensure everyone gets the best experience out of the program – you and those who you volunteer for.