On a CCS Gap Year in Dharamsala, India, you'll live out an amazing adventure in one of the world’s most awe-inspiring, historically significant settings. Perched among the clouds on the Himalayan mountainside, the rural locale of Dharamsala has a moving and mysterious quality. “Dharamsala” loosely translates to “spiritual dwelling,” a resting house for pilgrims. The area is home to a vibrant Indian community and several thousand Tibetan refugees—including His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Home to the Dalai Lama, a vibrant Indian community, and several thousand Tibetan refugees, the misty highlands of Dharamsala are a stark contrast to the buzzing cities found elsewhere in India. Dharamsala's mountainside perch among the clouds gives this rural locale a moving and mysterial quality.
On your gap year in Dharamsala with CCS, you will find two very distinct neighborhoods: Lower Dharamsala and Upper Dharamsala. As the seat of the Tibetan government in exile and the Tibetan community, Upper Dharamsala enjoys more access to resources and services than Lower Dharamsala. This is in part due to the community’s connection to international aid. In Lower Dharamsala, you’ll find an Indian community that gets little to no attention from international aid organizations, and because of this, lacks some of the most basic social services.
On your CCS gap year in Dharamsala, your volunteer work will focus on the lower section, alongside organizations whose efforts support children’s education and women’s rights.
Read more about the India volunteer experience on our blog.
Once enrolled, you will have the chance to select the volunteer opportunity that's most interesting to you. Volunteers will always receive their first preference. The only exception to this will be when there are national or school holidays, or there are exceptional circumstances.
When you support The CCS Education & Literacy Project in Dharamsala, you'll work with children and adults to provide the basic building blocks of education, as well as provide necessary skills training and education to advance economic opportunities for women. By inspiring a love for education through fun and engaging techniques, your time and energy provides this community more opportunities to learn new skills for future employment and gain a solid understanding in the English language, which is desired for many career paths throughout India.
To support parents in providing for their families, the Indian government ensures that young children can receive basic education, nutrition, health, and social development services through ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services). A helpful service for many single parents working long hours, ICDS centers are often single-room rented accommodations or sheds run by local women on a meager stipend. When you work with The CCS Child Development Project, you’ll spark the children's imaginations and bolster their self-esteem. Through individualized attention, educational activities, and creative play, you’ll provide the essential building blocks for the development of children across the community.
When you work with The CCS Support for People with Disabilities Project in Dharamsala, you’ll have an opportunity to volunteer with a local nonprofit created to address the lack of special education offered in India. Before this organization's inception, many children with disabilities were unable to attend public schools and were not receiving any formal education. This resulted in these children growing up marginalized and almost entirely dependent on their families. The love and attention of our volunteers serves to improve their lives.
When you support the The CCS Global Health Project in Dharamsala, you’ll address healthcare and health education needs across the community. By working in partnership with a variety of organizations, including special education schools, women's groups, and anganwadis (day care centers), your help will provide basic medical screening and health and hygiene education to the most vulnerable members of the community.
A lack of economic power, educational opportunities, and understanding of human and reproductive rights create disproportionate gaps in the opportunities available to women and girls in many communities. In India, volunteer alongside midwives to improve women’s education and access to resources surrounding reproductive health, bringing clarity to the rights and misconceptions of sexual health and wellness. Support women who are improving their economic circumstances through small business development and other income-generating activities, who are the role models for future generations of young girls in the community. Your work with The CCS Girls' & Women’s Empowerment Project will create the foundation to build strong, successful communities.
Reserve your spot today with a deposit of $350! Fees and start dates vary by destination and duration. Make selections below to get started. Did you know your out-of-pocket trip costs might be just a fraction of the below? Click here to find out how.