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Empowerment and Education in Gurgaon

Internship and Volunteering Possible
Run by the prominent pilot and women's rights advocate, Indraani Singh, the NGO "Literacy India" conducts education, empowerment and employment programs for socially disadvantaged women. Internships and volunteering are possible in the writing of case studies, marketing and sales of products manufactured by the supported women, as well as teaching at the school.

What is your placement organisation doing?

Indraani Singh is a pilot of large Airbus and Boeing aircrafts and flies for Air India across the whole world. She is one of few female pilots for such large machines. In India, Indraani is a role model for many women who want to achieve something. She even appears regularly on Indian TV and other media talking about the topic how Indian women can succeed in the male-dominated Indian society.
Indraani started the NGO "Literacy India" in 1996. Now, the NGO has 15 centres in New Delhi, Gurgaon, Rajasthan and West Bengal.
The headquarters are located in Gurgaon, near the international airport of New Delhi, where Literacy India also runs a school with 35 classes, 35 teachers and 700 students aged 3-16 years, and where around 300 women produce paper products, decoration objects, clothes and boxes.
Most of the women are casteless and come from very conservative villages. Traditionally, it is not allowed for them to participate in any kind of income-generating activities, which would allow them to improve the income situation of the family. Many are not allowed to speak within their own house and domestic violence is a common reality for these women. As the men of this class of society also lack basic education, it is unlikely that the casteless will ever be able to improve their lives, characterised by poverty, unemployment and lack of opportunity, under their own power.
The aims of Literacy India are summarized in the 3 E's - Education, Empowerment and Employment.
Women, and also male children and youth (the next generation) get education in the Literacy India school and in learning groups. Empowerment includes aspects such as awareness about their situation and creation of confidence - Literacy India often uses role models to inspire the women. For income-generation, Literacy India runs vocational training programs and offers employment to the women in its own production sites for above mentioned products.
There are many cases that show how the lives of such women and families have improved through the efforts of Literacy India. One woman for example, who previously wasn't allowed to speak even within her own family, is now member of the Panchayat, the local government body on a village level.
The success of the production and sales of clothes, boxes, decoration objects, etc., is strongly connected to the creativity and hard work of Indraani Singh. She has a sense for products which are in demand in the Indian and international market. Instead of, for example, just replicating the purely traditional styles of handbags of a certain region, the focus of Literacy India's design of handbags lies in the fusion of styles from various Indian states. Women from West Bengal, for instance, come to Gurgaon to teach the Gurgaon members of Literacy India about their local handcraft skills. Designs from Kerala masks are combined with the typical patterns and materials found in masks from Maharashtra.
Such products are much more popular in India than the purely traditional handcraft products of a certain region, and can be sold at higher prices than traditional handcrafts that don't include new creative ideas. As Indraani also travels a lot to Asia and to the Arabic countries, she also brings influences even from these countries to the designs of the Literacy India products.
At the headquarters in Gurgaon, the Literacy India products are packaged and shipped. Literacy India's ebay shop generates orders from everywhere in the world; DHL grants special shipment tariffs to the charitable NGO for worldwide shipments.

Video about Literacy India


How can you get involved?

Volunteers/interns usually work in the following subject areas, from which you would typically choose one:
• Compiling case studies. This is more suitable for female participants. You will spend time with a woman and you will write a report (text and pictures) about her life situation prior to the intervention of Literacy India and afterwards. You will also observe other processes of society which have been affected by the work of Literacy India and you present them in the form of reports. This work is particularly suitable for students of sociology, Asia sciences etc.
• Assisting with sales,(online) marketing, e-shop, shipment of products. You should have previous experiences in these aspects.
• Teaching at the school. There is particular demand for interns/volunteers who can do projects/workshops with children and youth, related to science, technology, and arts. Examples are the design and construction of a solar lamp, presenting your home country ("About Norway"), photography, video production.
With every participant for Literacy India we finance one year of school education for a child chosen by Literay India, including tuition fees, uniforms, text books and extracurricular activities.
Info Box
Location: Gurgaon (near Delhi Airport), India
Availability: All year, Start date flexible
Minimum Duration: 32 days
Maximum Duration: 12 Months
Language Requirements: English
Further Languages Of Advantage: Hindi
Shared Accommodation, Host Family, Hotel
Supervision Possible: Yes
Qualification Of Supervisor: Social Worker, Teacher
Minimum Qualification Of Intern:
No formal qualification required
Further contribution To Project: None
Volunteering Possible: Yes
Required Qualification For Volunteer: Relevant knowledge
Further Contribution To Project: None
Professional Conduct, Do you have the "right" attitude?

Accommodation in Gurgaon



Guest House in Gurgaon:

Accommodation is in a single room in a guest house. There, two meals - breakfast and dinner - are provided (Indian vegetarian and Western food). There is wifi internet. You can choose between rooms with and without air conditioning.

I. World Unite! Service Package

Mobile/Cell Phone Users: If you don't see the rates for your desired duration of stay, hide other (shorter) durations of stay.
  up to 31 Days
32-60 Days
61-90 Days
91-120 Days
5 Months or longer
 wu servicepackage
1 Person
350 EUR 500 EUR 600 EUR 700 EUR 800 EUR
2-4 Persons
(Rate per Person)
300 EUR 400 EUR 500 EUR 600 EUR 650 EUR
Convert rates to USD, GBP, CAD, AUD and other currencies

The World Unite! Service Package includes:

  • Individual Consultation and Preparation prior to your arrival
  • Access to the World Unite! Online Resource Centre which has Preparation Materials including Intercultural Preparation, compiled particularly for your destination (PDFs, Videos)
  • Preparation Session via Skype, together with further participants
  • Arrangements of the Documents you need for your Visa Application and assistance with local registration (if required) but not the official government fees for the visa (See costs below)
  • Pick-up and Transfers from/to New Delhi International Airport (DEL) on arrival and departure
  • Personal support staff at your location and at our international office
  • Orientation and Introduction in Gurgaon
  • Accompanying you to your placement on your first day
  • 24 Hours emergency support by local support team
  • Local SIM Card with 600 Rs. airtime credit
  • Issuance of Confirmations/Certificates for your university, scholarship, insurance, etc. and filling out/signing Internship Contracts for your university
  • Sponsorship of the annual school fees for one child that is supported by Literacy India
  • Costs for 10 seedlings of indigenous trees that we plant on the slopes of Kilimanjaro

The Rates do NOT include:

  • Accommodation and Meals (see below)
  • Travel to/from India (you book it on your own; we can assist you)
  • Official fees for Visa (see below)
  • Insurance (Travel Health Insurance, Liability Insurance, Travel Cancellation insurance; you book it on your own, we can assist you)
  • Personal Expenses
  • Vaccinations
  • Local Transport (Estimated amounts see below)
  • Please note that for supervised/mentored internships, some organizations charge further contributions. You find this information in the "Info Box" below the respective internship description.

II. Accommodation Costs

You can choose between the following options:
Mobile/Cell Phone Users: If you don't see the rates for your desired duration of stay, hide other (shorter) durations of stay.
Rates in Indian Rupees!
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 Short-time stay
(1-31 Days)
Long-time stay
(32-365 Days)
(You pay proportionally per day)
In Jodhpur
Guest House on Full Board (Indian and Western meals)
1 Person
(Single Room)
700 Rs/Night non-AC
1000 Rs/Night AC
18,000 Rs/Month non-AC
28,000 Rs/Month AC
2 Persons p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
Incomplete months are paid proportionally per day. In case of 3-4 person: Same rate as in case of 2 Persons. 5 or more persons: Contact us for group rates.

Overview of other costs:

  • Visa around 60-130 EUR (75-160 USD) depending on activity and duration; to apply prior to your travel
  • Small local expenses (Internet, Local Transport): ca. 20-40 EUR (30-50 USD)/Month (Estimate)
  • Insurances around 20-40 EUR (30-50 USD)/Month

How do I pay?

Once all your questions have been answered and you confirm that you want to participate, we will email you an invoice. You can pay it via bank transfer, credit card or via Paypal. You will pay a deposit of 200 EUR / 250 USD when the invoice is issued. One months prior to your arrival you will pay the remainder for your Service Package.
The payment modalities for rent and possible further costs (e.g. internship supervision fees, as stated in info box of the respective project description) depend on your host country and placement. We will inform you beforehand. In many cases these costs are paid on site, but for some countries and placements they need to be paid partially or fully in advance.

Other Projects That Might Interest You:

These projects are suggestions for alternatives that may interest you or those that could be chosen as COMBINATIONS. The combination of projects in different organizations is often possible and usually cheaper than two individual bookings. Please contact us to know more! Check out our other listings in the areas of "World Learner" and "Active Travel" at your travel destination to make your stay even more interesting.

Travel Health Insurance

We recommend the following travel insurance that is meant specifically for participants of internships, volunteering, language study, working holiday, and courses abroad. It is available for travelers of all nationalities and usable for all countries, except your home country. You can also add a journey liability insurance.
Just click on the link, fill in the form and you will get a confirmation email.

Picture Gallery Gurgaon




Gurgaon is a city in the catchment area southeast of the center of Delhi, close to the international airport of New Delhi, the largest in India.
For lack of space in New Delhi, Gurgaon has grown (like Navi Mumbai) enormously in recent years and has many new residential areas, business offices and shopping malls in which the richer youth and families from New Delhi and Gurgaon spend their leisure time.
With the modern Metro (Yellow Line), which was built for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Gurgaon is half an hour (about 30 km) away from New Delhi.
The city of Gurgaon projects more and more into the rural areas, without the rules or the traditional familial structures of the rural kind.

Our Coordinator in Gurgaon


Our coordinator in Gurgaon, is Kaushik from Literacy India.


Activities in Gurgaon

By metro, within a short time, you reach the city of Delhi with all its attractions and deals. However, Gurgaon itself, is the city in which the richer population of New Delhi spends their free time in modern shopping malls.

Getting to Gurgaon/New Delhi

india map
You book your flight to New Delhi (DEL). There you will be picked up and taken to your accommodation in New Delhi and Gurgaon.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are there fixed start dates for the project, which I must adhere to?
No, you can arrive any date depending on availability and prices of flights. Please avoid arriving during the multi-day Indian holiday Holi and Diwali. We can pick you up from Delhi airport, even at night.
Can I stay longer at my accommodation after my volunteering/internship or arrive earlier?
Yes, this is possible and we will give you our best rates. Just let us know when you arrive and leave and we will let you know the costs.
During my stay, can I travel around the country?
Of course, you can do this - most of our participants do so. However, when the travel destination is too far away, it may not be possible over a weekend; these, we would recommend you keep for before the projects begins or after the completion, or during holidays. It is possible to travel around India with an internship visa.
When is the rainy season and can I travel to India during this time?
The monsoon begins in early June in Kerala, Mumbai, in mid-June and the Himalayan region, early to mid-July and ends in September. The Thar Desert in Rajasthan (location Setrawa), barely gets rain during the monsoon and Jodhpur is rather dry.
During the monsoon, it usually rains heavily for several hours every day. As a result, there are often floods in the streets of the cities, because the drains cannot absorb the amounts of water. An internship or volunteering is possible during the monsoon, and the only nuisance will probably be wet clothes and shoes, which are often difficult to dry because of the high humidity. You might want to carry a few extra shoes and a change of clothes with you (or buy them locally). You can even buy an umbrella or a raincoat locally. An advantage to traveling during the monsoon, is that the fares are cheaper and accommodation during the off season is cheaper.
Can I travel to India as a young woman alone? The media constantly reports of rape - how high is the risk?
For decades, India has been a safe country for women and now the impression, given by the media, is that the number of rapes has skyrocketed and India is unsafe for women. More cases are coming into light now, as women previously would not speak about rape, but are now empowered to do so. Compared to the number of cases in relation to the huge population of India (almost twice as many as the whole of Europe), even if projections of unreported cases are included, there is much less rape than in many other countries. There are 2 cases that happen per 100,000 inhabitants in India (in comparison: Central Europe: 8.1 cases; 14.7 cases in Latin America; 28.6 cases per 100,000 population in the US).
Of course you have to be careful as a woman, as far as the style of dressing and dealing with local men are concerned. In schools, boys and girls are often strictly separated and many young men have no experience in dealing with women who are not their own mother or sisters; your behavior, based on dealing with Western men, might be misinterpreted as “easy” or “loose” behaviour.
Will I be the only volunteer/intern in the project or in Gurgaon?
In Gurgaon, we only work with Literacy India, so it may be that no other participants are in Gurgaon simultaneously. All of our previous participants at Literacy India, however, had no trouble connecting with their staff. The NGO also regularly receives volunteers through other intermediaries.
What vaccinations do I need?
Our Info - PDF that you get as a participant, gives detailed information on health care. Also refer to Recommended Vaccinations
Where will I live?
You find housing options in the tab "Accommodation".
Does my accommodation have internet facilities?
Yes, there is wifi in the Guest House.
Where can I do my laundry?
There are several laundromats in Gurgaon, where they wash and iron clothes at a price. They offer you a price for different garments - pants, shirts, underclothes, towels, sheets, etc. It is best that you ask around for a good laundromat and negotiate prices with them, especially when you have a large pile of clothes to get done.
Can I cook in the accommodation?
No, there are no cooking facilities at the Guest House, but it is possible to order food in for very cheap.
I am a vegetarian. Can I get vegetarian food?
Yes, India is a paradise for vegetarians. Almost all restaurants are clearly marked, whether they are vegetarian ("Veg") or not ("Non-Veg"), and there are separate menus. About 40% of Indians are vegetarians.
What language skills do I need?
You should be able to understand and make yourself understood in English.

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