Volunteering with ODAM

We are seeking volunteers who can bring their skills and outside perspective to help us build and strengthen our programs for a 3-6 month time commitment in the following areas:

Rural Development

Sustainable Agriculture

Fundraising/Grants Writing

Women’s Empowerment


ODAM is located in the village of Tiruchuli in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, about 2 hours south of the city of Madurai. We will pick you up from the Madurai Airport or Bus/Rail Stations.

Live as a Volunteer

We will provide your accommodation in a modest private room (not with a family, unless requested), Indian home cooked food 3 times a day, packaged drinking water and transportation from Tiruchuli to required destinations. We ask that all volunteers contribute 200 Euros per month to cover the costs of accommodation and food during their stay. Volunteers may assist in on-going ODAM projects or may create own initiatives, as long as they are approved by staff. Volunteers must be self-managed and self-motivated, as ODAM staff will not oversee volunteers’ daily tasks. Volunteers should be advanced/fluent in English, but it is advised that they learn basic spoken Tamil before arrival and during their stay in Tiruchuli.

Activities around Tiruchuli:

– Staff and Volunteer outings – join in local festivals, attend traditional ceremonies, trips to cinema, learn about local agriculture (rice harvesting, tree planting)

– Madurai – The Sri Meenakshi Temple

– Local natural waterfalls

– Weekend trips to destinations in South India such as Kanyakumari, Rameshwaram, Chennai, Conchin, Pondicherry



Frequently Asked Questions

What type of visa do I need to enter India as a volunteer for ODAM?

  • You should apply for an entry visa for India, be sure to email ODAM as soon as you decide to volunteer in Tiruchuli. All volunteers must obtain written permission from our organization to receive an entry visa. Please give ODAM at least two weeks notice before you apply for your visa and pay its fee.

Does ODAM have access to internet? Should I bring a laptop?

  • ODAM’s office in Tiruchuli has 24 hour internet access. However, power cuts do occur and may sometimes block access for hours at a time. It is advised that you bring a laptop if you plan to volunteer.

How can I get in touch with current or previous volunteers to answer more questions?

  • ODAM is on facebook! You can contact volunteers through our current facebook page, search”ODAM Interns”.

Suggested Reading List

The following is a list of books and blogs that will help you prepare for the challenges ODAM’s projects address.


Easterly, William. The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done so Much Ill and so Little Good. New York: Penguin, 2006.

Dr├Ęze, Jean, and Amartya Kumar. Sen. India: Development and Participation. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002.

Yunus, Muhammad, and Alan Jolis. Banker to the Poor: Micro-lending and the Battle against World Poverty. New York: Public Affairs, 1999.

McDonough, William, and Michael Braungart. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. New York: North Point, 2002.


Villgro Research Blog: on social enterprise and rural development

Design Impact: on linking design, markets, and local empowerment for social change