Working Holiday

Working Holiday with Nalamdana

Some people bask in the tropical sun, enjoy Tamil Nadu's lovely beaches, take in the towering temple architecture and shop for the silks, handlooms and handicrafts - famous all over India...

You can do all that on the vacation of a lifetime - but you can make a difference, too!

Volunteer on Nalamdana's two week working holiday teams. Click here to read a previous volunteer's travel journal >

Dates for 2012

Team one: From Saturday 18th August - Friday 31st August (14 night’s accommodation).
Team two: From Saturday 8th September - Friday 21st of September (14 night’s accommodation).

You may arrive or leave one day early or later if your flights are so timed. BUT we need to know ahead of time so that we can ensure that you don't miss out on any interesting events.

Total cost for a two-week working holiday will be @100 USD a day, a total of 1400 USD for the entire two weeks.  Your contribution covers:
1. 40% towards shared accommodation, food and local travel during the working holiday.
2. 60% for Nalamdana's innovative programs in the field which are tax deductible.

To register and for more details of payment options, please contact Ingrid by email: or Nithya by email:

Team Size
Minimum number of volunteers per team - four
Maximum number of volunteers per team - six
Ages 18 - 60 years

What to Expect

This is a communication project...
You won't be given physical tasks such as building walls, houses or digging wells! If you enjoy talking to people, creating entertainment programs, using hand puppets and working with children and adolescent girls through any form of art or music, you will be an asset to the project. If you have never done any of these before but are willing to give it a try, you are our kind of a volunteer! You will be paired with Nalamdana staff for all tasks, and they are able to speak moderate English. Some of us speak it well.

E-mail the contact people listed on this page to get more details and check out the projects page of the website to see what kinds of programs are happening this year.

Volunteer Tasks

A firm itinerary and work schedule will be shared closer to the time. Last date for booking your place is one month before the team date.

Just send us your detailed CV and list of skills which may help us to make your experience more fulfilling. Previous volunteers have helped with photography and videography, using their own cameras, covering events through video and photos and later sending us the edited films. Many have returned and have chosen to stay in touch. The organization, Friends of Nalamdana was born out of such a group and they now help us fund raise for our work.

Travel Planning

August and September team dates are just after our summer, but it is still warm. An average of 34 Celsius (93 degrees F) with no rain. Dress conservatively in comfortable cottons (no tank tops, see- through blouses or tight clothes). The staff will provide an explicit safety briefing, guide for dressing and cultural dos and don'ts in the first several days. Chennai is a large town and everything is available. Major credit cards are accepted.

While in Chennai, shared rooms with attached toilets will be booked for the team in a safe house. During the working days, freshly cooked vegetarian meals will be delivered or catered from an identified safe restaurant. If traveling in rural areas, a local hotel with similar arrangements will be booked. This may or may not have Western toilets, so be prepared for Indian style ones, but with running water.

Medical Tips
Take all recommended shots and malaria tablets. Check with a public health nurse or your doctor for their recommendations as to the best malaria tablets, least side effects, for you. Former volunteers may have some suggestions. Bring any medications you are used to, in small doses. We have a good GP lined up in case of emergencies and Chennai has excellent hospitals ... should the unlikely need arise. 

Health Safety tips: Some pre-existing conditions including cardiovascular conditions, strong sensitivity to heat and dust, seizure disorders, serious asthma and very high blood pressure might preclude volunteers from participating (please consult your Doctor).
Volunteers should have a tolerance for Indian food to make participation on this project enjoyable. The only emergency that has struck a volunteer during the six years we have been running this program, was someone getting heat stroke. So please take the safety/health briefing given on day one seriously. Swimming and sea bathing are not possible in Chennai but you may use a week end resort on your free days.

Your contribution will cover
1. Your shared accommodation, food and local travel during
the working holiday- 40% of the total amount
2. Support for Nalamdana's innovative programs in the field- 60% of the total amount. This amount should be paid in advance in order to secure your place on the team.

Please book your own airline tickets, obtain a visa and travel insurance.
You should make sure that you have up-to-date immunizations as advised by your travel agent or doctor. Your visa should cover your full stay in India with some cushion for flight delays and connections.

How much money should I bring
Since your contribution to Nalamdana covers accommodations, food and local travel on work days, you will only need extra money for shopping/gifts and any travel outside work. Should you wish to purchase fine leather goods, jewelry, silks, art, etc, you may need your credit cards!

To reserve a place
For more information or to reserve your place please contact Ingrid Duffin via email: or Nithya via email:

Once you have finalized your team dates, and paid your contribution, please email us your itinerary giving clear arrival details: flight number, scheduled arrival time, etc. and you will be met at the airport.

We look forward to meeting you in Chennai...

Nithya Balaji, Volunteer Co-ordinator and Chairperson of Nalamdana Trust
R.Jeevanandham, Project Director and Trustee 

* Nalamdana is a non political, non religious registered charitable trust in India - with tax exemption and permission to receive foreign donations. All local regulatory laws have been observed and audited balance sheets and reports are annually filed.