Want to change the world in 2014? Begin by volunteering at an NGO or social enterprise near you

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A new year is great for a new start. How about changing the world by volunteering your time and skills for a cause? You can choose from volunteering a few hours every week or several months. Whether you are a student, young professional, mid-career manager going through a midlife crisis, a bored housewife, a foreigner looking for that unforgettable Indian experience or a retired person, volunteering can help you find new meaning in your life. We sifted through many organizations that help you volunteer and came up with this list of 10.

Image courtesy: http://brightone.org.uk

Image courtesy: http://brightone.org.uk

Go ahead, changing the world is just a click away.

1) Volunteering India:

About:
Founded in 2004, Volunteering India is a Delhi-based organization, which works with local Indian NGO’s. They provide volunteering opportunities, internships and voluntourism projects for international volunteers and interns in Delhi, Palampur in Himachal Pradesh and in different locations in South India. To date they have hosted more than 3300 foreign volunteers. They are accredited by World Youth Student & Educational Travel Confederation(WYSETC) and WYSE Work Abroad from India.

They are currently accepting applications for 2014-2015.

Areas of work:
Volunteering India provides opportunities to work with orphans, women empowerment, health/HIV programs, teaching English, summer volunteer programs, street children programs and more.

2) Volunteer for a Better India (VFABI):

About:
VFABI intention is to help make a difference to the Delhi-NCR area. Their pitch to everybody is to devote one hour to the India and the various social causes that it grapples with.

Areas of work:
Individuals can choose initiatives like the environment, education, de-addiction, the girl child and women’s safety, senior citizens and good governance/ anti-corruption.

3) iVolunteer:
About:
They are a social enterprise matching volunteers and companies, so that they can share their time and skills for various social causes.

iVolunteer has an pan-India presence and works with over 300 organizations. Working in over 40 countries globally they claim to have reached out to more than a one lakh individuals. At any given point in time they are engage with 1000 active volunteers.

Areas of work:
Volunteers are free to choose from the 12 areas that they are involved in, they include: education, poverty alleviation, environment, health, HIV-AIDS, gender equality, human rights, disability, youth welfare, elderly people welfare, child welfare and active citizenship.

They also have an international volunteer program called called iVolunteer Overseas. Volunteers from overseas who want to work in India can apply for the International Volunteer Programme (IVP).

4) Serve Happiness:
About:
Serve Happiness was founded by a bunch of individuals from IIT BHU, IIIT Bangalore and University of Connecticut USA. Their aim is to build a network that is a combination of face-to-face and digital.Serve Happiness wants to use the power of technology and help different individuals use their skills and time by pointing them to an area of their interest. This matching of individual with an area of their passion, they believe, will prove to be a win-win.

Areas of work:
Serve Happiness collaborates with various colleges to organize workshops on social entrepreneurship to encourage local entrepreneurs and students to design sustainable community development projects. Through their project Disha, they organize career-counseling sessions for school students, and help them identify careers that are best suited to their personality. They also have a project to create health awareness and provide the underprivileged with free health check ups, medicine and treatment in the rural areas of Bharuch district.

5) Project Heena:
About:
The founders of Project Heena have taken an interesting approach to volunteering. They have an online presence and have also created an app, which can be used to create a user profile that includes location, skills and time available to contribute. Companies that need help create a list of tasks with a start and end date.

Areas of work:
The causes that they support change from task to task and are dependent on the 46 non-profits that have registered on their site.

6) Dream a dream:
About:
Dream a dream believes in building a sensitive, inclusive society by helping young people from vulnerable backgrounds to develop life skills. Volunteering plays a key role in achieving this objective as it provide individuals with an opportunity to do their bit for society, and at the same time, also sensitizes them to various problems faced by society.

Areas of work:
Their focus is in the areas of education, life skills, children and youth.

7)  Volunteermatch.in
About:
It is a social enterprise that connects international volunteers with potential NGOs so that they can share their time, skills and passion. A personalized volunteer manager helps to ensure that volunteers have a satisfactory experience. Their biggest strength is in providing all kinds of assistance that’s required before, during and after the volunteering experiences.

Do remember that this is a paid for volunteering opportunity.

Areas of work:
The activities and areas differ from organization to organization.

8) Gudville:
About:
Started by Subhash Dhar, previously a top executive at Infosys, Gudville is a social network for social causes. At Gudville, you can create, follow and support all causes. It also helps in discovering causes that your friends have initiated and supporting.

Areas of work:
The areas vary from cause to cause. Anybody who registers on Gudville can promote their own cause, charity or project.

9) Volunteer in India:
About:
Volunteer in India is a paid for volunteering opportunity for international travelers and volunteers. Volunteers get to help the communities in need by leveraging their time, skills and experience and get a real Indian cultural experience. Volunteers in India place its volunteers with various non-profits.

Areas of work:
Volunteers can get involved in various areas and activities like education, orphanage, women support, traditional medicine, Tibetan refugees and teachings of the Dalai Lama .

10) Pledgeback Advisory Services:
About:
Pledgeback is a Bangalore-based organization that offers three types of services: responsible tourism and adventures, advisory services and volunteering opportunities. They help interested individuals in finding volunteering opportunities that fit their skills and interests. Volunteers can also intern at various start-ups, social enterprises and non profit organizations.

Areas of work:
Pledgeback works with a select few non-profits and social enterprises promoting various causes.

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Nelson Vinod Moses

Nelson Vinod Moses

Journalist with a keen interest in all things social entrepreneurship.