Volunteering In India
With a population close to 1 billion and a land mass of more than 3,000,000 square kilometers, India can be one of the most overwhelming countries to find yourself in. Between the magnificence of the Himalayas and the drama of monsoon season, India is a land of great variations. There are 23 official languages, along with widespread use of English, and just as many customs, religious and cuisines.
India was hard hit by the 2004 tsunami, with more than 15,000 people killed and kilometers of coastline destroyed.
Many volunteer opportunities in the region focus on the rebuilding of the area and providing housing to those displaced by the tragedy.
Climate of India
The climate of India is drastically different in the northern and southern parts of the country. Throughout the country, India has three main seasons: the hot season (February through June, with temperatures reaching 45°C/110°F) the monsoon season (June through October) and the cool season (October through January). In the north, the cool season brings almost freezing temperatures, while temperatures in the south are still warm. The monsoon season is also drastically different between north and south, with different levels of monsoon coming from south to north, and from north to east.
Population & Culture
Of the one billion people living in India, more than 80% identify themselves as Hindu and 74% Indo-Aryan.
Other religions represented include Muslim, Christian, Sikh and Buddhist. Indian society is governed by a very strictly adhered to caste system, which divides people into groups (decided at birth) in order to maintain order among so many people. Many criticize this custom, saying it favors racial discrimination, specifically among those in the lower castes (and the “untouchables”, who exist outside of the system) who have no way of improving their socio-economic status. However, many defend the system saying without it the nation would fall to chaos.
India is known for its colorful and vibrant festivals, which throughout the year and brings individuals of different caste and creed together. These festivals mark the very public nature of religion in India.