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Volunteer in India

The term refers to all forms of voluntary activity, whether formal or informal, full-time or part-time, at home or abroad. It is undertaken of a person's own free-will, choice and motivation, and is without concern for financial gain. It benefits the individual volunteer, communities and society as a whole. It is also a vehicle for individuals and associations to address human, social or environmental needs and concerns. Formal voluntary activities add value, but do not replace professional, paid employees.


Based on a survey of over 300 volunteer tourism organisations worldwide, it has been estimated that overall the market has grown to a total of 1.6 million volunteer tourists a year, with a value of between $1.7bn and $2.6bn. The most substantial growth in the sector has taken place since 1990.

The main destinations for volunteers are Latin America, Asia and Africa. Together these regions account for almost 90% of the locations offered by volunteer service organisations. This underlines the close link between levels of development and volunteering, with most flows of volunteers being from relatively rich to relatively poor regions.

There are also emerging ethical concerns about the benefits of volunteer travel, with some groups suggesting that it can do more harm than good. This especially concerns the way in which the volunteer work can be misdirected and organised more for the benefit of the untrained traveller than the recipients of their efforts.


One of the proposed solutions to this problem is to recruit more experienced and highly skilled volunteers who will have more to offer their hosts. This trend matches the growth in career gaps and sabbaticals among older volunteers, which is slowly giving the volunteer tourism market a more senior age profile.


The growth in volunteer tourism has also produced a plethora of analyses, websites and industry events, which are slowly adding to our body of knowledge about this important social phenomenon.

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