I'm coming to India from abroad; what do I need to do before arriving and what should I bring?
Vaccinations and Medicines: Contact your local travel clinic for information on vaccinations and medicines that should be brought to India.
Visas: According to recent government changes, foreign nationals entering India to volunteer with a registered NGO must obtain an employment visa for more six months. However, different visas are required for different nationalities and also depend on what kind of travel/research/volunteerism you intend to carry out during your time in India. Please see the Indian Consulate website for your home country for more details.
Money: Visa and MasterCard are accepted by most ATMs. You may also bring your home country’s currency to be exchanged once you arrive. Travelers’ checks are accepted by most banks but the conversion process may take some time. Check with your bank for more details.
Travel Insurance: All volunteers must purchase travel health insurance that covers their time at Manav Sadhna. You must submit a copy before your arrival.
Arrival Dates: Please send us a copy of your ticket with your arrival dates and any number we can reach you at through WhatsApp (if you have something) so that we know when to pick you up, prepare housing and plan your orientation. In the case of ticket changes or cancellation, please let us know immediately.
Post-Arrival Registration with Police: All foreign nationals who have a visa and plan to stay for more than 180 days must register at the local Foreigner’s Registration Office (FRO) within 14 days of their arrival in India. Manav Sadhna will arrange for the registration with the local FRO upon your arrival in Ahmedabad.
Will someone pick me up from the airport when I arrive ?
We provide airport pick-up. Someone from the Manav Sadhna family will pick you up from the airport and see you to the volunteer house. However, you need to send us your arrival ticket and WhatsApp number (if available) in advance so that we may coordinate the pick-up.
What will I do when I first arrive ?
Orientation: We officially initiate volunteers in a three day orientation process, in which we welcome volunteers and gets you situated and familiarized with Manav Sadhna, housing and volunteer guidelines. At the end of the three days, we finalize your volunteer project(s).
Can I extend my visa ?
Yes, you can extend your visa with the proper application and submission of fees at the FRO (Foreign Registration Office). Our coordinators can help you with the process
Do volunteers get accommodation ?
All volunteers serving for a minimum of one month will be placed in one of our volunteer houses. We have separate houses for women and men. If a couple wishes to stay together, they must organize their own accommodation. The volunteer residences have shared rooms with simple furniture, bathrooms and a functional kitchen. Bedding is provided. The volunteer houses are based in the Gandhi Ashram, walking distance from Manav Sadhna. There is a grocery store, general store, vegetable market, several pharmacies, several restaurants, a cyber café and a few hotels all within 10 minute walking distance of the homes.
How many people stay in the volunteer houses ?
We have two women’s volunteer houses with a capacity of 5 people each. The men’s volunteer house can accommodate up to 4 individuals.
Are meals provided?
We provide volunteers a vegetarian Gujarati meal for lunch from Monday-Saturday. Volunteers are responsible for breakfast, dinner and Sunday lunch. We encourage volunteers to cook as all of the volunteer accommodations are stocked with a functional kitchen and a fridge. In addition to the several restaurants and eateries in the vicinity, there is a small family-run restaurant called Parikalp that makes a simple Gujarati vegetarian thali for a nominal price.
Do I have to pay anything to volunteer?
Manav Sadhna does not charge volunteers for volunteering, housing, or lunch. Although we do not ask volunteers to pay for their experience, please pay it forward by contributing to our volunteer program so that others may also have the same experience. Your contribution helps cover the monthly electricity bill, maintenance costs, housing and food expenses.
What is the distance between Manav Sadhna and the project sites?
Most of Manav Sadhna’s work takes place in the field. Our centers include: Manav Jatan -Ramapir no Tekro (walking distance from the Gandhi Ashram); Manav Gulzar-Ram Rahim Tekra (a 30 minute bus ride from Manav Sadhna); Loving Community-Vastral (accessible by public transportation), Manav Seva-Shankar Bhuvan (reachable by rickshaw) and Manav Mitra-Sabarmati (accessible by shared rickshaws and BRTS). Our anganwadis are either walking distance or a short rickshaw ride away. Where possible, especially for long distances, we organize transportation. However, we may not always have available transportation and ask volunteers to be adaptable and resourceful when necessary.
Is local transportation available?
Manav Sadhna is a 10 minute walk from the BRTS (Bus Rapid Transportation System) station, which conveniently connects a lot of the city. A major bus station is located in Vadaj, also a 10 minute walk, from where volunteers can find buses connecting them to most major parts of the city. Private rickshaws are also easily accessible. Uber and Ola are also easily available as long as you download the app.
Can Manav Sadhna help me acquire a SIM Card for my cell phone?
Our volunteer coordinators will help you organize a SIM card. You have to bring the cell phone with you or purchase one from here. You will be issued a letter from Manav Sadhna to get the SIM card. The card is given on our name for a validity of 3 months. You need 2 passport size photos, copy of your passport and visas and the letter from Manav Sadhna.
Can you tell me more about healthcare and medical facilities? Do I need Travel Insurance?
Most visitors to India will deal with a bout of something or another as your immune system adapts to the new environment and new bacteria. It is important to be careful about the water you drink and to eat hygienic foods to avoid most sicknesses. The city is prone to mosquito-borne diseases during certain seasons, so please carry mosquito repellant and light, long-sleeve clothing. In the case you do fall sick, please let us know so that we can take you to visit a doctor. If you prefer a second opinion from another doctor or other facilities, we can guide you on where to go. Volunteers are responsible for covering their medical expenses. All volunteers must purchase Travel Health Insurance that covers the duration of your time at Manav Sadhna. We are familiar with hospitals that accept Travel Health Insurance.
Is Ahmedabad safe?
Generally, Ahmedabad is a safe and friendly city, even for single women. We do ask, however, that you practice the same mindfulness that you would in any city and don’t go out alone at night or wander into dark alleyways by yourself and avoid uncomfortable situations. Also, while in the field, it is important to observe the cultural norms in how you dress and act to avoid disrespecting anyone or instigating any unwanted attention. For women, stares and catcalls are normal; however, if you ignore them, they do not generally evolve into anything more significant. Despite the city’s reputation for communal disharmony, the city has not witnessed any major riots in the last decade. However, we do ask that you register with your Consulate in the case of any natural disaster or strife in the city.
Can children volunteer?
We accept volunteer applications forms from 15 years and older. If your children are younger than that, we request that they are accompanied by a parent of elder sibling. Please send us an email at email@example.com with the details and we can explore the possibility.
What are the volunteer opportunities at Manav Sadhna?
You can read more about volunteer opportunities here.
Can I volunteer part time?
We generally encourage volunteers to serve full time at Manav Sadhna; however you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your requirements and we can explore the possibility.
How can I apply to volunteer?
Fill out the application form and submit it. Our volunteer coordinators will look at the available spaces of the dates requested. Based on availability, we will send you a confirmation email or then ask you to apply for different dates.
Does Manav Sadhna have internet service?
Yes, it has wireless connection available between 10-6, though the service is not always dependable. There is no internet service available at the volunteer’s home. You can ask to the volunteer coordinators for the prepaid internet dongles or use hotspot from your phone.
Where do volunteers come from?
Manav Sadhna is proud to have an ever-growing global family. Volunteers come from all corners of the world, with most people coming from the US, UK, Europe and Australia and local volunteers and interns from across India.