→ What does it mean to volunteer through Omprakash?
Omprakash was founded in 2004 as an alternative option for individuals wanting to volunteer abroad but uninterested in the expensive, highly-structured trips offered by most “middleman” organizations. Our free database of volunteer opportunities enables volunteers from around the world to connect directly with our Partners, and to determine collaboratively when, how, and where they can serve. If you want to volunteer, start by browsing our database and exploring the volunteer opportunities offered by our diverse Partners. To broaden your understanding of our Partners, you can read the “stories” written by that Partner and by the volunteers who have served it. When you find an opportunity that meets your interests and abilities, you can contact that Partner directly and begin working out the logistics of your volunteering experience. You can also contact past and present volunteers in our network to seek advice and other forms of support.
→ What if I can’t afford to volunteer?
Even without any administrative fees, volunteering abroad can be expensive once you buy airline tickets and pay basic food and lodging costs. Many of our partners do not charge for food and lodging, but for some it is necessary to charge a small fee. We offer Volunteer Grants to defray travel and living expenses for volunteers who are highly qualified and demonstrate a long-term commitment to our network. Everyone is eligible for these grants, regardless of age or nationality, but they are highly competitive.
→ How long can I volunteer for?
Volunteers work with our Partners to determine the time frame of their volunteer experience. Given our desire to create sustained relationships across boundaries, we prefer volunteers to spend four weeks or more in the field—but this decision is ultimately in the hands of the Partner and the volunteer.
→ How do I figure out the logistics of international travel—airfare, visas, health insurance, etc.?
Please visit our Travel Resources page for more information on the logistics of international travel.
→ Who is eligible to volunteer?
Broadly speaking, anyone is eligible to volunteer within the Omprakash network, regardless of age, nationality, language skills, volunteer experience, or any other factor. However, we let our Partners determine whether or not your skill set and experience will meet their needs.
→ How can I make a financial contribution to Omprakash or an Omprakash Partner?
To donate to Omprakash, please click on the Donate tab at the top of the page. You can donate by check or credit card (using PayPal), and have the option to earmark your check for a specific partner, person, or program.
→ How can I fundraise under the Omprakash umbrella?
Individuals fundraising under the Omprakash umbrella can use our site to help teach people about the causes they can support, and can use our tax-deductible status as extra incentive and reassurance for potential donors. All donations can be earmarked for the project of your choice. When a donation is earmarked for one of our partners, the partner receives the full donation minus possible bank transfer fees. We do not charge any administrative fee for processing donations. You can encourage donors to give directly to Omprakash by donating through PayPal or by sending a check to our address in the United States. Alternatively, you can collect money yourself and then you can transfer it to us using either of the options above.
→ How does the “Classroom” component of Omprakash work?
“Omprakash in the Classroom” is our effort to bring our network onto middle- and high-school campuses and offer it as a resource for global engagement, active citizenship, and service learning. With the help of our international partners and the volunteers who have served them, we work to design meaningful hands-on projects that student groups can realistically adopt and achieve from afar. These projects support the work of our partners while also inspiring, empowering, and educating the people who accomplish them. Compelling project proposals are eligible for start-up funding through our Seed Grant program.
→ How else can I get involved?
Our hope is that all members of our network will work to build long-lasting relationships between their home communities and our foreign partners. This might involve fundraising under the Omprakash “umbrella,” delivering community presentations with photos and stories about the work of an Omprakash Partner or your own volunteer experiences, initiating a pen-pal exchange between students in your home community and students abroad, or working with teachers to build curricula around social issues addressed by partners in our network. The only limit is your own imagination!