“What barrier is there that love cannot break?”
– Mahatma Gandhi
Dive into this vibrant country full of color, music, and deeply-rooted culture. A place of religious, cultural, and linguistic diversity, India is full of beautiful surprises around every corner. Among its ancient temples and palaces and its modern day metropolises is a heart that is sure to awe and enthrall its visitors.
While the official languages of the Indian government are Hindi and English, there are a myriad of languages spoken throughout the country. Each state designates its own official language, resulting in a grand total of 22 official languages! There are also a number of cultures that have influenced India. While India gained its independence from Britain in 1947, some British cultural influence in language, dress, and even sports remain. India’s cuisine, clothing, and overall culture has been heavily influenced by India’s many neighboring countries. Not only does India receive these influences and incorporate them into its own culture in its own way, but this large country also makes its own impact on the rest of the world, being one of the leading influences in cinema and music and fascinating the world with its unique culture and dance.
India is undergoing an epidemiological transition with both non-communicable and chronic diseases being leading causes of death. There is no national health insurance, so private companies are the only option for health insurance. Most families pay their healthcare expenses out of pocket, often leading to Catastrophic Health Expenditure, when medical payments destroy a family’s ability to maintain a basic standard of living. Join ISL in serving alongside the Sevak Project, and help make a difference for those in need of healthcare services.
Communities We Serve
Volunteers participating on this program will be working with the “Sevak Project.” This is a unique health care project implemented throughout the state of Gujarat.
The Sevak Project is a statewide, evidence-based effort to improve sanitation and health education in rural communities through improved awareness and knowledge of chronic disease prevention and management. It uses the US Navy’s Independent Duty Corpsman (IDC) model for training and work on a smaller scale.
Sevak workers, known as “Sevaks” were trained at Baroda Medical College, Vadodara, with emphasis on lifestyle intervention and providing health screening for diabetes, hypertension, obesity, immunization, and chronic diseases. Sevaks also receive training in sanitation, environment, water purification, infectious diseases, and how to build toilets and smokeless stoves.
This project started in July 2010 and has screened over 10,000 people. It is one of the most successful non-governmental projects in India.
Volunteers arrive in India via the Delhi Airport (DEL), then take a short flight from New Delhi to Vadodara/Baroda (BDQ). After going through customs and picking up their luggage, volunteers are met by their Team Leader and transported to team housing via mini bus. The daily commute from housing to work sites can range from 20 minutes to 2 hours when working in more remote communities.
Volunteers will book their own INTERNATIONAL flights arriving in New Delhi and departing from New Delhi at the beginning and end of the program. Specific arrival and departure timeframes will be provided to enrolled volunteers. Please DO NOT book your airfare until you are provided this information. ISL will be booking your internal flights (New Delhi to Baroda, Baroda to New Delhi) and these internal flights are included in your program price.
Our volunteers have opportunities to visit historical sites such as Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram, well-known temples, and historic palaces, shop at local markets, and enjoy delicious Indian cuisine. Experience this vibrant culture first-hand as you explore different cities and villages while serving with the Sevak Project. To top off the trip, volunteers visit the Taj Mahal!
ISL has strict housing standards for cleanliness, safety and comfort. Each volunteer shares a room and shower facilities, but has his/her own bed. Housing locations are selected according to proximity to program sites. ISL staff members stay with volunteers and are available 24/7.
- Internet is available at most housing locations. Volunteers are transported by their Team Leaders to an internet location periodically if internet is not available at their hotel.
- Laundry services are provided at least once a week for a small charge.
- If food or drug stores aren’t nearby, Team Leaders make sure volunteers are transported to shopping areas periodically or as needed.
- ISL provides breakfast each day, unless otherwise specified in the team itinerary.