AMAIDI Volunteering in India

Portal for international volunteers, interns & professionals


Social EntrepreneurVolunpreneur: business from the heart

If you think that volunteers do only voluntary work, you’ve got it all wrong. A growing trend: volunteers who invest – sometimes heavily – in the project they have been working in, in India. What started with a contribution of ten or twenty dollars, has mounted to investing in buildings for several thousands of Euro’s. Initially the volunteers – working via AMAIDI in India – brought their own savings, the result of a few months hard work in a restaurant, bar or grocery shop. Now volunteers start fundraising while still in their native country, take more and – while working in their project – keep touch with the home front where family-members or friends are fund raising on their behalf (so that the end amount will be much higher than what they came with). And then there are the volunpreneurs that – once home – start their own foundation, gaining support from more than only the inner circle to sustain their ex-host organization for years to come on a sustainable basis.

Why do volunteers do this? Why do they grow to be volunpreneurs?

Because they feel committed beyond their personal experience as a volunteer. They feel committed to the cause as such, fortified by the warm personal relationships they developed with the staff of the organization they worked in. It shows, especially when the time to say ‘goodbye’ comes near, how strong the attachment is of many who put in so much energy and emotional involvement.

It’s beautiful to see how many come in insecure of what is waiting for them and how to react, and how self-confident and ‘mature’ they leave, with connections between their hearts and the ones they ‘leave behind’, sometimes equal to family ties that – they feel – they have to severe to go back to their ‘old’ life.


Filed under: charitable business, choice, confidence, international volunteers, preparation, solidarity, volun-tourism

Lien, Touring and Baby Sarah’s Home

Lien who won the second prize in a Belgian tour contest

Lien Nullens from Belgium has won the second prize in a contest written out by Touring, a Belgian organization. Lien and myself have drafted a mini-project letting the inmates of BSH make photographs of each other and their environment. The photos will be bundled in a photo-album (for sale) and the best ones will be printed as postcards to be sold in Belgium with the help of Oxfam and UNICEF.

Lien has come along with her parents (mother a social worker, father a photographer) and has already visited BSH yesterday. Today – New Year’s Day – the family is enjoying Pondicherry and Aurobeach. Tomorrow, Saturday, they’ll be on their way again (by bus) to the orphanage to see how their project has to be shaped to make sense to both the orphans and the mentally challenged children over there.

We wish Lien a successful project and eagerly await the outcome!


Note: the opening of an open air exhibition of the results:

Filed under: international volunteers, travel blog, volunteering in India, , , , , , ,

Unaterra Project

AMAIDI is entering in a new partnership with an Italian organization called Unaterra Project, based in Ginestra in the province of Potenza in the south, with Fabrizio Caputo as CEO.

In a nutshell: the aim of Unaterra Project is the implementation of sustainable development projects in the developing world. To achieve this aim Unaterra supports local communities with integrated projects in the energy conservation- and development sectors. Their methodology is designed to cover all phases of a project from identifying potential investors to working with the local beneficiaries.

Unaterra Project is located in Ginestra

Potenza, home province of Unaterra Project

Unaterra  focuses on three main themes: sustainable development projects, climate change and international volunteering. One month ago Unaterra approached AMAIDI with a request to join their global network. Their aim is to provide a human resource platform for local NGO’s through sending out expert volunteers and to create a network of people eager to work for local sustainable development.

AMAIDI hopes to tap into the Italian volunteering market through its alliance with Unaterra. Contacts with Unaterra through Fabrizio are warm and promising.

Filed under: international volunteers, needs, new partner, professionals, projects, sending organization, voluntary work, worldvolunteer, ,

Goodbye CC4U

Thanks to the hard work of JoHo in the Netherlands, their excellent preparation program and their guidance, a group of 16 motivated young people from Holland have been in India for three weeks, working, learning and exchanging. We hope that AMAIDI Volunteering in India, at the Indian side of the organization, has reached its aim to make the Dutch participants realize that India is a country where people are sometimes unable to make the best of their lives, but that our personal involvement – as a supplement of the work of development NGOs – can make a (small) difference in the lives of those who have not.

AMAIDI is confident that all the DVA-activities will go well in Holland. We wish all the candidates good luck!

 CC4U & JoHo: thank you very much for making this possible.


Filed under: Bless, CC4U, culture, exchange program, international volunteers, music


February 28, 4 o’clock in the morning. The bus with driver Anbu is driving up the lane of IITPD in Chettikuppam, to catch the 16 participants of ‘What I See’, a project of AMAIDI Volunteering in India, CC4U & JoHo. It’s Auroville 40’th birthday and the whole group is going to watch the bonfire at the amphi-theatre, where on Feb 28, 1968 youth representatives of 124 countries put a handfull of their native soil into a lotus-bud shaped urn to symbolize the strive for human unity, the key-concept in Auroville. In New Creation and Last School Campus, for 10 days all were involved in music & other arts; they visited an Arts’ College in Ariankuppam, Anandi’s organic cooking class in Kottakarai, gave a Tai Bo and Boxing workshop in New Creation School and cooked a Dutch dinner for the village elders and youth of Kuilapayam Village. in Last School, a concert was given of Dutch danc’ styles and Tamil youth gave a dance show of their own, by way of exchange. It has been a full program, at times tiring but always surprising and with amply opportunity to meet local youth and artists in a series of cultural events.

Filed under: CC4U, culture, exchange program, international volunteers, music, Village life

“We learned a lot”

Saturday-morning, 10 am. The final session. Presentations of the volunteers with reflections on their work, experience and feelings during the past week of voluntary action in Reddichavadi and surrounding villages. A cow-shed has been ‘floored’, cows washed, lunch cooked, children taught (songs and body parts) and knowledge gained about ‘livelihood support’ by an NGO called ‘Bless’. Everyone was impressed, to say the least, of the impact of these (and other) projects on the lives of the beneficiaries in the villages. Some have determined to come back and do more voluntary work. Fact is that the group of 16 Dutch nationals is heading for a two weeks’ exchange program with local youth, in the field of music, art and culture. Culture Clash For You!

Filed under: Bless, CC4U, culture, exchange program, international volunteers, music, projects, Village life

Dairy project in Sathankullam


My name is Durk Haringsma, I am an Agricultural student, studying dairy farming at Hogeschool Van Hall Larenstein ( in the Netherlands. I have been working as a trainee on a dairy farm project for AMAIDI’s partner organization AID India. I made a report for establishing a dairy farm in Sathankulam. AID India hasn’t got a source of income at the moment which makes the organization dependent on funds, foundations and donations. That’s why AID India wants to start a dairy farm on their land to gain some profit. I have assessed the needs, costs and I have also made a management plan for running the dairy farm. When we have engaged the needed funds, AID India can start the project. Working for an NGO in India is a great experience and I have learned a lot during my stay in Sathankulam. I have not only learned about a totally different way of dairy farming, but I also got involved in Human Rights and Micro Credit Programmes and I have experienced much of the Indian culture. I think my internship was a 2 way process, in which both AID India and me gained profit. The hospitality of the AID India team is great and it was a great pleasure to work with them. The 19 weeks I worked there passed on in no time, and I feel sad that I have to leave them after this great time. I want to thank AMAIDI for bringing me in contact with this organization, the great guidance and the pleasant stay in their guesthouse and home stay. 

For more info: 

Filed under: Agriculture projects, AID India, international volunteers, projects, volunteering in India

Donating to projects

More and more volunteers, once here or already planned before departure, want to donate money to support the projects they’re working in. Or guests at AMAIDI Guesthouse decide to make an ‘on the spot’ donation.

If one makes a ‘one time donation’ (school-uniforms, books, cycle, a goat), that’s that and on returning home a photograph of the happy receiver sits quietly in ‘Thousand Splendid Suns’, awaiting praise and joy on arrival.

But what to do if a motivated and kind-hearted volunteer wants to contribute to the construction of a community kitchen? This calls for ‘process engagement’ with all the hurdles to success that come with it, especially in the area of communication and monitoring from afar.

I personally advise volunteers to either:

a) make a one-time donation and taste the pleasure of seeing the result of it while still here; and/or:
b) engage in contact with a reliable NGO that operates in the area where the receiver lives.

The problem with option b) is that reliable NGOs tend to be too busy with their ‘own’ projects, whereas NGOs that do have time, might not be reliable enough. A prisoner’s dilemma?

I do believe that donating money to support a project can do good, but one has to think carefully before giving and – once decided – one has to make sure that agreed arrangements are kept after one has gone home. AMAIDI, at present, has a rol as advisor and is in no way involved in the implementation process.

Filed under: charity, donating, finance, international volunteers, reliability

Volunteers, Projects & Tamil music

From Feb 15 till March 4, in the surroundings of Auroville, Puducherry and Cuddalore, 15 Dutch students in the age-group between 17 and 30, all members of CC4U, will participate in various projects, hosted by the Indian NGO ‘Bless’ and join/give workshops & events centered around ‘music’ in South-India.

Through The JoHo Company in the Netherlands, CC4U – aspiring to integrate the different cultures that exist within Dutch society – wants to have a ‘live’ experience of youth-culture and grass-roots development in India.

CC4U’s members – and all who sympathise with their undertaking – are warmly invited to comment!


Filed under: Bless, CC4U, culture, exchange program, international volunteers, JoHo, music, projects, sending organization, understanding, , , , , ,

Volunteers & Tsunami

Here you can find stories of volunteers who helped in the aftermath of the December 2004 Tsunami that his South-East Asia:

Filed under: international volunteers, needs, tsunami

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AMAIDI Volunteer in an evening school

AMAIDI helps out evening schools in teaching the children English

AMAIDI Foundation

The AMAIDI Foundation is AMAIDI's latest offshoot. AF is meant to support (ex)volunteers in their funding and implementing projects they support during or after their stay/work in India. For partners in India it is also an instrument that enables them to find (new) sponsors and donors to invest in their projects. And for donors to find the implementing agencies they need to realize their social targets/harvest their profit/social ROI

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