I’m so happy that so many travelers want to volunteer in Goa! You guys asked, so I did a little more research because even I wasn’t sure outside of the animal rescue centers. Doing charity work abroad can be tricky because sometimes “voluntourism” is a scam (read more here).
If you want volunteer jobs and work in Goa, these are places that I’ve either checked out personally or good friends recommend and have volunteered at. Keep in mind Goa is actually one of the most well-off states in India and may not be the type of work you’re looking for in comparison to something like Mother Teresa’s in Calcutta, but these volunteer programs are rewarding in their own way and help the local community. If you have some more to add, PLEASE DO in the comments :)
If you google where to volunteer in Goa you will see many websites who make you pay for assignments. I don’t recommend this. You can do directly to the source and volunteer and put any money you want to donate directly into the hands of the people who will use it properly. There are some that charge over $1000 USD to place you at an orphanage to help. This is the wrong side of “voluntourism”.
Don’t forget to pick up my Insider Guide to Goa and my Guide to India
General Goa Travel Tips
- Safety Tips For Solo Female Travel in Goa, India
- BEST Places to Visit in Goa in 3 Days
- 50 Things to Do in Goa
- Best Place to Stay in Goa
Where you can volunteer in Goa
Welfare for Animals in Goa (WAGS), Siolim
WAGS is a godsend in Goa. They rescue dogs, cats, CAMELS, cows, goats, donkeys… you name it, they can do it! Atul is a very nice guy who runs the place and we have taken our animals there when we need help. They need people to walk the dogs, feed the animals, clean up, feed dogs on the beach in the monsoon, help catching the dogs who need neutered, helping with the cows, with fundraising, and help at reception. They are always out patrolling and picking up animals to neuter and give shots to. You must be vaccinated against rabies to volunteer. Check out the volunteer page for more information.
International Animal Rescue, Assagao
Similar needs as WAGS: walking, feeding, playing with dogs, de-ticking, cleaning, etc. You’ll most likely see this van driving around. Whenever there is an injured animal you can call them and they will send someone. If you do call, please give them some money at least and cover the cost of the animal (although they will help even if you don’t) or better yet take the animal to them. They are so full of animals and can use the help. You must be vaccinated against rabies to volunteer. They do welcome drop-in volunteers. Check out their volunteer information page.
Panjim Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), Panjim
I haven’t been in touch with PAWS about what they need from volunteers. Our Huckleberry was taken here as they specialize in preventing rabies and noticing signs of rabies. Huck as you might know passed away from rabies even though he was vaccinated by a local vet which was really traumatic. I will always be thankful to the help the women at PAWS gave us during the roughest week of my life. They neuter thousands of animals to help prevent so many strays and to get to the goal of eradicating rabies in Goa. You must be vaccinated against rabies to volunteer. Contact them through their Facebook page.
The Primate Trust, Camurlim
Baby monkeys whose mothers die are either rescued by humans, or usually killed by other monkeys. Once rescued they cannot go back to the wild. Read more about my experience at the primate trust after Ben and I saw they needed babysitters in monsoon. You will spend a lot of time cleaning the monkeys cages. If you want a unique volunteer overseas job, this is it. You must stay a minimum of 1 month and to stay on site at the “tree house” it’s 4,000 Rs per week. You must be vaccinated against rabies to volunteer. Check out the details volunteering here entails, as they are very unique. You’ll work 6 days a week from 8 AM.
Mango Tree Trust, Mapusa
If you want to work in education with children this may be for you. Children in the Mango House are 3-6 years old but you may also need to do outreach programs in the slums. They talk about having teaching certifications but say it’s not necessary. They really want people who can stay a 3 month minimum. It’s 50 pounds donation to volunteer, but they do pick you up from the train station or airport and help you get settled. Read the volunteer FAQ here.
Inspire Trust, all over Goa
This is an NGO which works with arts, music, theatre, and crafts to help inspire the community. They work to help with recycling, education, pollution prevention, and general awareness. To see some examples of their work check their Facebook page. I love what they are doing and it seems like they are truly making a difference with people who need it!
Jamboree Creek, Goa
This is for you yogis, gardeners, chefs, or anyone who offers a unique talent. The owner of Jamboree Creek, Priyanka, offers free stays in exchange for work (like the workaway program). Recently she has had a yoga teacher stay and give free yoga classes to the public every afternoon. There’s also been a capoeira teacher which again meant free classes for anyone! This could be a good way to save money on your trip and share your skills with people who don’t have the budget to pay for things like yoga classes.
I’m sure there are more options in Goa that I haven’t heard of and I’d love for you to leave information in the comments. This is for volunteer programs that help the community or some cause, not volunteers to help at your company or for profit business unless it’s an internship or they get room and board in return. Thanks!
If you are coming to Goa, check out my ebook, Insider’s Guide to Goa. It’s 170 pages filled with the most up to date, comprehensive information about Goa plus it has all my secret places to go that I’ve found after living here almost five years.This book has 50x more information about Goa than my blog and is organized to make things easy for you to find. Click here to buy it now.
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As an animal lover and advocate myself I can’t stress enough how important articles like this are! Keep up the amazing work!
Thanks Mike :)
Hi Rachael, I would really like to speak with you regarding my dog. I am Canadian and have to go home for 6 months and I need help trying to find someone to care for her . I got your name from Sharell please get back to me with any suggestions you may have.thanks Cathy
The only person I can think of runs a kennel in South Goa but it’s a little pricey – there are so many people who leave during monsoon and really no one to care for the dogs. This is the FB page, but it says Parra although he has moved: https://www.facebook.com/sicherheit.kennelindia/?fref=ts
Do people volunteer on a tourist visa? It says it is illegal, but not sure how strictly it is enforced. Thank you, Rainbow
I am really not sure… I think on a small scale they wouldn’t enforce but an actual program would be
Hi Rachel was wondering if we can connect and do something together .
Sending you my number and email id . If you could please get in touch ASAP
Nice article! I am an animal lover currently living in Goa and I’m willing to volunteer. I can’t get my head around the idea of me having to pay for doing volunteer work. Thanks for providing details about animal rescue centers!
No problem, good luck!
I straight away emailed primate trust to see if they have availibility in April :)
I was first planning on flying into Delhi, but now I think it might be a good idea to fly into Bangalore and come to Goa first to “ease into” India before going further up north..
Oh great, I’m sure they’d love the help!
Have enjoyed reading some of your blogs, thank you. That’s really sad about Huck, I’m sorry :(
My boyfriend and I are currently living in Goa. He’s a vet working for the Worldwide Veterinary Service / Mission Rabies based at what was IAR (now called Hicks ITC) in Assagao. They run a statewide emergency rabies hotline for reporting rabies cases and take rescued animals from north Goa. They’re always looking for people to foster puppies to keep them out of the shelter where they can become sick (we currently have three) and there may well be opportunities to go in and support at the shelter I am not sure. They certainly take international vet / vet nurse volunteers.
I’m a Clinical Psychologist from the UK and have recently met with one of the directors of Sethu Child Development / Family guidance centre (http://www.sethu.in/) about doing some voluntary work there. They specialise in working with children, families and local communities to increase understanding and education around autism / learning disability and emotional wellbeing. They have a fantastic ethos about promoting inclusion and I’m sure would always welcome time and support from visitors.
Ok, yes I heard IAR got taken over or switched owners. What happened with that? Thanks for sharing this!
hi there, so im of to Goa in a few weeks and having worked in hostels etc in the past i thought i would put a feeder out there and see if there was any work for board jobs to help save some money and still spend a good amount of time in Goa, i searched on facebook for hostels in Goa and sent a message to each place and was overwhelmed with the response. Now i am a chef to a good level, i have experience in working in hostels and speak a handful of languages despite that i do think there is a demand for long stay volunteers whatever your experience. I think in this case with hostels as it seems to be rather new in India you need to contact direct and just spend a day looking. some do a min of 2 weeks max 1 month others offer Kovember to march giving board and lodgings in return five hours a day work 5 days a week. not so bad right! i have personally gone for the full season as i want to get a real taste for Goa. good luck and safe travels :)