Volunteer with Tibetan refugees in Dharamshala
Lha Social Work is a Tibetan grassroots nonprofit that offers you the opportunity to share your knowledge and skills with the Tibetan refugee, local Indian, and Himalayan communities whilst gaining hands-on experience working with a non-profit, community social work organisation.
As a volunteer with Lha you will be immersed in the fascinating culture of the people you are serving, develop friendships, learn about issues currently facing the Tibetan refugee community and create positive change in someone else’s life.
At Lha we aim to connect volunteers with opportunities for valuable experiences. We offer relevant services and comprehensive courses and programs, working within the wider network of other non-profit and government organisations in the local area.
Lha’s office is located in central McLeod Ganj, Upper Dharamsala – a town nestled in the ridges and foothills of the Himalayas in Northern India. Mcleod Ganj has become a hub of Tibetan life due to an influx of refugees settling here after fleeing the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959. Dharamsala also became the new home to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile. There are over 8,000 resident Tibetans in Dharamsala, which is the home of numerous Tibetan organisations, monasteries, nunneries and schools. Lha has been established for over ten years and in that time has worked within a wider network of local member organisations, providing a vital and welcoming resource centre to the community. If necessary, we are happy to redirect your enquiry to other local organisations where your skills will be of most benefit.
Lha is staffed by 9 full time Tibetan employees and assisted by the valuable contribution of volunteers from around the world. Wider social services, courses and vocational training on offer at Lha are designed with the understanding and insight required to acknowledge and respond to the challenges faced by the Tibetan refugee community, and to also provide long term assistance in rehabilitation and transition into the Indian community. With the assistance of volunteers, there is an ever-increasing variety of services on offer to the Tibetan refugee and local communities including daily English language conversation classes, graded language classes (English, Chinese, Tibetan and French) and computer training. (See more volunteering Opportunities) Lha also maintains partnerships with many international volunteer organisations. At Lha we have been fortunate to have increasing numbers of volunteers each year! Between 2003– 2011 we have had a total of 4,327 volunteers from 41 different countries. During winter, each day we have an average of 15-25 volunteers and in summer an average of 25-50 volunteers per day.
At Lha we welcome drop-in volunteers and also those wanting to plan ahead and receive supported services before arrival in India, upon arrival and during their stay in Dharamsala (See Pre-arranged Volunteers).
What length of time do you want to volunteer with Lha?
If you have one month or less available in which to volunteer and you are not in need of any of our supportive services on offer, we encourage you to drop in to our centre and see where your skills can be of most benefit Note: There are no fees associated with this option.
One month +
If you are able to contribute your skills for one to three months we encourage you to fill out an application and register your interest and background. This will ensure we can match your skills to a suitable position. (See Apply Now)
If you would like to do some preliminary planning, receive assistance with travel arrangements and take advantage of our cultural orientation program, please see ‘Pre-Arranged Volunteers.’ (See Reception and Orientation)
Whether you are skilled or unskilled or have only one day or six months available rest assured there is always a way that you can participate. Please contact us if you are interested in volunteering and if your particular skill area is not listed here we will always try to provide avenues in which you can use your expertise to benefit others.
Familiarise yourself with the website by taking a look at the courses and programs on offer. We also invite you to read the Volunteer Responsibilities to ensure you have realistic expectations and understand how to get the most out of your volunteering experience.