Chirag (Central Himalayan Rural Action Group) is a rural development organization based in the Kumaun region of Uttarakhand in India. Chirag is a not-for-profit organization registered in 1986 under the Societies Act of 1860. The registered office of Chirag is located in Delhi while the main operations office is based in Simayal, District Nainital. Since its inception it has worked closely with communities to improve their quality of life. Chirag’s mission is to improve the quality of life of the families residing in the Central Himalayan region with special emphasis on women, children and the disadvantaged. Chirag believes that there is no “stand alone” or single intervention that can improve the lives of the people in this region. Therefore, it recognizes the need for an integrated approach to development. This is done through interventions in health, education, natural resource management (forestry, spring recharge), and by providing access to diversified livelihood options. Chirag promotes the sustainable ownership and management of common resources by the community.  Chirag also provides technical support to other organizations in the region and to the government, which allows expanding its impact beyond the villages it directly work in. Chirag constantly seek to learn from the people it work with and focus on developing strong community based institutions to ensure the sustainable management and use of natural resources in the region.


Possible volunteering opportunities

Please note: Chirag is only able to accept volunteers who are graduating in the summer, and can go to India for a period of at least eight weeks

Students can get involved with understanding the development issues in the Himalayas and assist the organisation in documentation of its activities like forestry, spring recharge program, education and heath outreach, livelihood and local community institution building.

Specific projects:

1. Visual and written documentation of the work of Chirag.

The area of operation as well as of interventions led by Chirag is vast. We need to do photo and/or video documentation of the work. A person who feels capable of conveying the story through articles, pictures, with skills in digital photography/video would be ideal. we are particularly keen on photo-documentation of soil and water conservation efforts that can be used for community level training.

2. Creation of case-studies for the Chirag website.

3. Creation of educational material on health and hygiene for community awareness programmes.

4. Support to Kumaon Grameen Udyog (KGU).

Kumaon Grameen Udyog (KGU) is a not-for-profit company that markets the produce of local artisans. Volunteers with skills in product and textile design, marketing and communication, or photography, are encouraged to volunteer.

Preferred Skills

Open to undergraduates or graduate students who are completing their degrees in 2018, with both social sciences and physical sciences backgrounds. Students with research and documentation skills are particularly encouraged to apply.

Approximate cost

You should expect to spend about £900 for eight weeks - this covers costs for food and accommodation, as well as local travel. There are no programme fees payable to Camvol.

In addition to these local costs, volunteers will need to book return flights to India (typically about £550 if booked early), and apply for an Indian visa, as required by the Indian government (for visa procedures and exact fees, please check the Indian visa facilitation service website.

Vaccination and other medical costs have NOT been included in estimated costs, and applicants should take this into account while planning their budgets. If you intend to travel for recreation and tourism, these costs will be additional, so please budget accordingly.

Financial support is available, including Camvol-CMEDT Commonwealth Travelling Scholarships; support from Colleges; and from the University. If selected, the Camvol Director can advise about funding opportunities.