Volunteering in India

Social, Cultural and Traditional Underpinnings

Strong commitment towards the change one aspires to make or work towards, beyond oneself, is the key to effective volunteering. The process not just leads to external transformation but also changes and sensitises the volunteer towards larger realities. Here, the volunteer becomes an enabler of change, by bridging the gap between the subalterns and power holders /influencers. Such voluntary commitments continue to be demonstrated since the times of Rishis (sage), Christian missionaries, Ramakrishna Mission, freedom struggle and subsequent social reform movements.

Right motivation is the key to volunteering, and is rooted in the historical, social and religious traditions of India. In religious contexts, Daanam (alms) - giving/sharing among and Gupt Dan (anonymous charity) among Hindus, Kar Seva (voluntary labour for the common good) among Sikhs, Zakat among Muslims, and Tithes among Christians are examples in which different religions encourage voluntary giving for the underprivileged. With time, these traditions guided the social movements that challenged social evils. People's movements continue to be galvanised around specific social justice issues in present day India; and many I/NGOs now engage volunteers towards sustainable development and changes in the society.

Volunteering and Sustainable Development Goals

Many of the Sustainable Development Goals call for long-term attitude and behaviour changes, and the UN recognises the indispensable role of Volunteers in realising the SDGs. The Youth Policy of India 2014 draws attention to youth volunteering for promoting youth development. The National Service Scheme and Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, are both volunteer-based programmes since the 7th Five Year Plan. The State of Youth Volunteering in India 2017 - Report by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, recognises the need for formulating guidelines for volunteer protection as well. The Digital India Volunteer Programme (DigiSevak) is a latest initiative of the Government of India to promote volunteering.

Volunteering initiatives of Caritas India

Caritas India recognises potential of volunteering as a powerful and practical way to reach out to the most marginalised. At its core, volunteering is a powerful expression of a people-centred approach to social change and development. Among many, some initiatives include:
  • Dedicated volunteers from hazard prone states of India, trained on Emergency Response Mechanisms, and actively engaging in emergency relief works in recent disasters.
  • Ashakiranam-Cancer Care campaign spanning Kerala, with 16000 dedicated volunteers from all walks of life across ages, including Cancer survivors, spreading awareness on prevention; and supporting patients in a myriad ways.
  • Community volunteers enabling diagnosis and treatment to the unreached population in difficult terrains of remote villages in the states of North East and Odisha under the Intensified Malaria Control Programme, with GoI.
  • Paani-Mitr (Water-friends) as community specialists giving locally-suitable solutions of water conservation and protection, engaging with local governance systems in Maharashtra, under the Water and Agriculture Regeneration Mission of Caritas India.
  • Poshan-Mitra (Nutrition-friends), the trained community volunteers and specialists help in the early identification of malnourished children; sustainable local nutrition solutions, and sanitation and hygiene awareness; and sensitisation of traditional healers under the SABAL initiative in Madhya Pradesh.
Realising the role of volunteers as invaluable knowledge and human resource, the outcomes of the National Assembly on Resource Development: Building Alliances, in 2016, resulted in institutionalising volunteering as a strategic focus into the upcoming Carita India Strategic Plan 2018-22.

Our Speakers

Our speakers shown in below:-

Dr. Tony Castleman
Dr. Tony Castleman
South Asia Representative, Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
Dr. Tony Castleman, South Asia Representative, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Dr. Tony Castleman leads a team at CRS that supports partners to implement agriculture, health, disaster relief and recovery, and anti-trafficking programs in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
H.E. Most Rev. Jacob Mar Barnabas
H.E. Most Rev. Jacob Mar Barnabas
H.E. Most Rev. Jacob Mar Barnabas, Bishop of Gurgaon Ordained as priest in 1986, Most Rev. Jacob Mar Barnabas joined the order of Imitation of Christ in 1975 after his schooling. He had his philosophy and theology studies at Jnana Deepa Vidhyapeeth (JDV) in Pune.
H.H. Pujya Swami ChidanandSaraswatiji
H.H. Pujya Swami ChidanandSaraswatiji
H.H. Pujya Swami ChidanandSaraswatiji, Co-Founder, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance Swamiji is the President of Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh), Co-Founder, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, and Founder, Ganga Action Parivar.
H.E. Most Rev. GiambattistaDiquattro
H.E. Most Rev. GiambattistaDiquattro
H.E. Most Rev. GiambattistaDiquattro, Apostolic Nuncio, Apostolic Nunciature (TBC) Ordained as priest in 1981, Most Rev. GiambattistaDiquattro is an Italian archbishop and Vatican diplomat. On 21 January 2017, he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal

Program Schedule

November 9, 2017 0915-0930

  • 0900-0945

    Registration & Tea

  • 0945-1000

    Lighting of the Lamp

  • 1000-1010

    Welcome Message: Fr. Frederick D'Souza, Executive Director, Caritas India

  • 1010-1020

    Perspectives and Experiences: Fr. Poly Varghese, Asst. Executive Director, Caritas India Special Invitees.

  • 1020-1030

    H.E. Most Rev. Giambattista Diquattro, Apostolic Nuncio, Apostolic Nunciature

  • 1030-1040

    H.H. Pujya Swami ChidanandSaraswatiji, Co-Founder, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance

  • 1040-1050

    H.E. Most Rev. Jacob Mar Barnabas, Bishop of Gurgaon

  • 1050-1100

    Mr. Tony Castleman, South Asia Representative, Catholic Relief Services, India

  • 1100-1130

    Health Break
    Volunteering- A Global Experience
    Chair: Smt Kiran Soni Gupta, AS & FA, Ministry of Youth & Sports Affairs, GoI.

  • 1130-1140

    Mr. Subramanian Pattabiraman, Senior Programme Manager – Development Co-operation, Delegation of the European Union to India

  • 1140-1150

    Mr Nigel Wallace, Director of Income Development, Caritas Internationalis.

  • 1150-1200

    Mr. Ranmal Samarawickrama, Design, M&E Advisor, Asia group, Caritas Australia


  • 1200-1210

    Chair: H.E. Most Rev. Jacob Mar Barnabas.

  • 1210-1220

    Swami Shantatmananda, Secretary, Ramakrishna Mission, Delhi.

  • 1220-1230

    Moulana Mehmood Madani, General Secretary, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (TBC)

  • 1230-1240

    Dr. Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati ji, Secretary General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance.

  • 1240-1250

    Bhante K. Nagabhushana, Gautam Buddha University, Uttar Pradesh.

  • 1250-1300

    Paramjeet S. Chandhok, Gurudwara Rakabganj.

  • 1300-1315

    Open House.

  • 1315-1415

    Lunch Break


  • 1415-1425

    Chair: Ms. Trina Chakrabarti, General Manager - Volunteer Action, CRY - Child Rights and You.

  • 1425-1435

    Fr. Jegath Gaspar, Vision Head, ReGreening Chennai - A Multidimensional Volunteering.

  • 1435-1445

    Ms. Anja Nicolay, Programme Manager, PEACH Caritas Asia/Caritas Austria - European Asian Partnership in Voluntary Service - Introducing PEACH.

  • 1445-1455

    Mr. Sandeep Talwar, CMO, Akshaya Patra Foundation - Unlimited Food for Education: An investment in Future.

  • 1455-1505

    Mr. Mathew Cherian, Chief Executive, HelpAge India.

  • 1505-1515

    Mr. Rohit Shipstone, CxO Business Leader,CII-India - Engaging India Inc. in skills based volunteering for building capacities in nonprofits.

  • 1515-1530

    Open House

  • 1530-1600

    Health Break


  • 1600-1610

    Chair: Mr. Sandeep Chachra, Co-Chair, World Urban Campaign, UN-HABITAT, Executive Director, ActionAid India.

  • 1610-1620

    Ms. MedhaPatkar, Social Activist, Narmada BachaoAndolan - Movements in India: Mobilising for a Cause.

  • 1620-1630

    Mr. Ramesh Sharma, Campaign Coordinator, Ekta Parishad - Revisiting Gandhian Approach to social Change.

  • 1630-1640

    Br. Varghese Theckanath S.G., Founder Director of Montfort Social Institute - Volunteers from the Bottom: A Case Study of the Urban Working Classes.

  • 1640-1700

    Open House

  • 1700-1715

    Justice Kurian Joseph, Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.

November 10, 2017 0915-0930

  • Highlights of Day I
  • 0930-0940

    Chair: Ms. Rose Joseph, Karunya Trust

  • 0940-1000

    Mrs. OmanaBabu, Mrs. Fousy M.N, Angel Ross Pallan, Johnson Baby - Ashakiranam: Cancer Care Campaign, Kerala

  • 1000-1005

    Mr. Rahul D Sangma, Dimapur, Nagaland - Intensified Malaria Control Programme.

  • 1005-1010

    Mr. SosidanadaBordoloi, Morigaon, Assam - EU Humanitarian Volunteering (PEACH).

  • 1010-1015

    Mr. RajkumarNathuPatil, PoshanMitr, M.P - Volunteering for Nutrition and Food Security.

  • 1015-1020

    Mr. Ravindra Yadav, PaaniMitr, Maharashtra - Volunteering for Water Conservation.

  • 1020-1025

    Ms. Sapna Mittal, Udayan Care

  • 1025-1045

    Planning for Volunteer Engagement - Caritas India.

  • 1045-1100

    Open House

  • 1100-1130

    Health Break.

  • 1130- 1145

    Special Address: Sh. Arvind Kejriwal, Hon'ble Chief Minister, Government of NCT of Delhi (TBC).

  • 1145-1200

    H.E. Most Rev. Lumen Monteiro, Chairman, Caritas India - Valedictory Message.

  • 1200-1215

    Ms. Lee Macqueen, Manager- Advocacy & Child Rights, Caritas India - Adoption of Action Agenda.

  • 1215-1230

    Book Release: Volunteer Guidebook of Caritas India: Caritas India Management & Panel.

  • 1230-1245

    Fr. Frederick D'Souza, Executive Director, Caritas India - Concluding Remarks.

  • 1245-1300

    Mr. Rajesh Upadhyay, Head of Programmes, Caritas India - Vote of Thanks.

  • 1300-1400