Unlike other volunteer organisations based in India, we’re run by Indian people that understand the needs of the community and how to effectively implement change.
The size, simplicity and clear focus of our organisation means our program fees are much lower than others. We keep costs to a minimum and still allow a portion of your Placements Fees to be donated straight to the community.
Varun Verma our Founding Director has had more than 15 years experience working with Indian NGO’s and International volunteers. Varun spent more than a decade working with volunteers to assist in the slums of Mumbai, Goa and Delhi prior to starting iSpiice.
His experience and understanding of the Western culture ensures all Volunteer Placements are as beneficial for the volunteers as they are for the communities our volunteers are supporting.
iSpiice offers a diverse range of Volunteer Programs for international volunteers to choose from. Every volunteer gets to participate in three Programs throughout their stay and loves diversity of the work and people. Our Programs include Teaching English, Child Care, Women’s Empowerment, Street Children, Computer Skills, Health Education, Private Tuition and Summer Camp.
Our structured weekly Programs allow volunteers to enjoy their weekends, giving them time to see India’s sites. We take volunteers on cultural, spiritual and adventurous journeys every weekend.
Our location is not only breathtaking but safe and welcoming. Our community gratefully respects our volunteers and our volunteers feel warmly welcomed. The Dalai Lama holds residency in Dharamsala, reinforcing the peaceful and spiritual natural of our location.
The iSpiice Volunteer House is large, clean, comfortable and communal. It’s a true rural experience with cows, wheat fields and gardens but we have western comforts to go with it (electricity, hot water, western toilets and internet). Volunteers enjoy the shared environment of the Volunteer House – large bedrooms (separate male and female), bathrooms, two large living areas for enjoying meals, relaxing and preparing lessons and our large backyard for soaking up the sun during the day or sitting by the bonfire at night.
Click here to know more about accommodation.
From the moment your Application is accepted, you are in our mind an iSpiice Volunteer. And so we offer 24 hour support to you – to assist with flights, visas, onward travel or anything else you may have questions about. The same goes when you are at the iSpiice Volunteer House or working at your Programs.
For many of our volunteers it is their first time in India and landing in Delhi can be overwhelming for some. For this reason our Original Placement and Summer Placement include pick up at Delhi International Airport when you land in India.
Flights are not included in your Placement Fees and it’s advised to book as early as possible to secure cheaper tickets.
Your flights which should be arranged to arrive to Delhi Airport (on iSpiice fixed Sunday start dates) between 12am midnight and 3pm Sunday afternoon. You will be met at the airport at your time of arrival by an iSpiice staff member holding an iSpiice placard.
Programs of all duration’s finish on the final Saturday and departure flights should be booked to depart the following day (Sunday).
As an example, a four week program starting in Delhi on Sunday 1st August would finish on Saturday 28th August and return flights should be booked for Sunday 29th August. Ideally your flight should depart anytime before 3pm.
When you have made your flight booking please submit the following flight details:
- Airline and Flight Number
- Flight Arrival Date
- Flight Arrival Time
- Travel Insurance Policy Number
- Departure Flight Date
- Departure Flight Time
Some of our volunteers choose to book a connecting flight from Delhi to Dharamsala – where iSpiice is based. This allows volunteers to spend more time in Delhi if they choose to and often saves them time and energy, as they do not need to take an overnight bus or train with an iSpiice staff member after their long haul flight.
We offer a $50 discount to all volunteers that fly to Dharamsala.
Volunteers who fly to Dharamsala can start their program any day of the week; however their program finish day will remain as Saturday. For this reason most volunteers choose to arrive on a Sunday or Monday.
An iSpiice staff member will greet you at Dharamsala airport with an iSpiice placard. We will also be monitoring your flight arrival time, so do not worry if your flight is delayed.
Airport code – DHM
Airport name – Gaggal Airport (alternatively known as Kangra Airport or Dharamsala-Kangra Airport)
Airlines available – Air India & Spice Jet
If you are participating in the Taj Mahal Add On Tour, do not book a return flight from Dharamsala to Delhi. The Taj Mahal Tour includes drop off to Delhi Airport and will be taken at the end of your volunteer program.
If you are not participating in the Taj Mahal Add On Tour, you may choose to fly from Dharamsala to Delhi on the last Saturday of your program to meet your flight home from Delhi.
It is necessary for you to purchase travel insurance to cover you for the entire time you are away. An emergency abroad can be very expensive if you do not have sufficient coverage.
You should purchase comprehensive travel insurance for your trip and we recommended you shop around online before you buy. Cheaper policies provide less coverage and as a minimum ensure your policy provides for your outdoor trekking, emergency medical and health coverage and lost or stolen possessions coverage.
Obtaining your Indian visa is relatively straightforward. You must apply from your home country before departure to the Indian consulate/high commission. If you are applying for your visa by postal application, please apply at least one month (before departing) to ensure that it is issued in time. We recommend that you visit the issuing centre in person for visas required within a month of departure. Visas are generally issued for a six month period from the date of issue and not the date of travel.
You must apply for a Tourist Visa and state tourism as your purpose of travel, not volunteering/employment as this will complicate your application. We will provide accommodation and reference details for your Application as soon as you have been Accepted.
All travellers should visit their personal physician or travel health clinic at least 6 – 8 weeks prior to departure to discuss the different travel vaccines available.
Malaria medication may be taken and it can be worthwhile for time spent outside of Dharamsala, (where there is little risk of malaria). Apart from this, the best way to prevent malaria is to avoid mosquito bites, so consider bringing bug spray.
A water filter is provided at the volunteer house and bottled water can be bought nearby. To help prevent any stomach upset some people take stomach strengthening acidophilus pills (containing good bacteria needed for digestion) which can be bought over the counter before departure.
There is no master packing list that you should follow meticulously and depending on the individual and time of the year you will have different things you want to bring along.
As a general guide the list below will help. In addition it is best to pack light and after arriving in India you will probably find yourself acquiring a whole new wardrobe with so much choice in beautiful authentic Indian dress, at a low cost.
Long comfortable trousers and t-shirts covering the shoulders, mid-riff and chest. (Shorts and tank tops are not considered appropriate for men or women). All tops should cover the waistband of your trousers and if your trousers have draw strings these must be tucked inside.
- A pair of sandals which are easy to slide on and off.
- A pair of walking shoes with good grip.
- Sunscreen and bug spray.
- Hand sanitiser for when you’re unable to wash your hands.
- Flashlight is useful during power cuts and for your trek.
- Plug adaptor (which is the same as Europe: 2 circular prongs).
- Day pack – for excursions.
- Facial or baby wipes are perfect to refresh on long journeys.
- Towel for showering (please not bed linen is provided).
- Combination lock for locking your luggage when traveling.
- Journal for keeping track of names, addresses, sites and experiences.
- Passport – double check your passport and visa and make sure they are both valid through the duration of your stay.
You may wish to pack other items, pending the season you are arriving.
Cold season (late October- early February) – bring a warm sweater, warm jacket, leggings to wear under trousers, warm socks and closed toe shoes. Do still bring sunscreen for sunny daytime weather.
Wet season (July-August) – take a light raincoat.