Volunteering Travel Solutions
Mr. Saurabh Sabharwal is the owner of a startup enterprise called Volunteering Travel Solutions. We have conducted an interview with him.
What is Volunteering Travel Solutions about?
Started in 2007, Volunteering Solutions is a leading, international volunteering organisation. A brain child of Mr. Saurabh Sabharwal, VolSol (as it is fondly known as) provides affordable and safe volunteer placements to students and backpackers on their gap year, under 100+ volunteer projects.
How did you get the idea behind this business?
There are a number of small scale social welfare and Not for Profit organizations that do not get the kind of funding to help sustain their endeavours. Such organizations are always on the look for skilled and educated volunteers to work at their projects. On the other hand, volunteering abroad during gap year travel is a highly common practice exercised by students and travelers from US, UK and European countries. These gap year travelers are always on the lookout for genuine and meaningful volunteer programs. Mr. Sabharwal, at a young age of 24, conceptualised the idea of bridging this gap and, thus, formed Volunteering Travel Solutions.
What is the fun and help element in this business?
VolSol understands the fact that the majority of these volunteers are teenagers and young travelers who look forward to an exciting sojourn. And, it is for this that the program placements offered by VolSol are a complete package of meaningful volunteer work along with exciting excursion; providing a comprehensive and memorable travel experience.
While the volunteers help build the community, educate unfortunate children, and provide assistance in several other social welfare causes, they get to not only witness but live the local lifestyle and understand the native culture better.
How long has it been running?
What are your progress and services so far?
The organization was started on a bootstrap model (without any funding or loan) and kicked-off its operations with presence in just two destinations; India and Nepal. Today, VolSol has its presence in more than 20 different destinations across Asia, Africa, South America, Australia, and Europe. Some of our most popular volunteer destinations include, India, Thailand, Nepal, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, Peru, and Cambodia.
Over the period of time, VolSol has successfully placed more than 11k volunteers in over 100 different volunteer programs. We provide placements under programs; such as, Childcare, Healthcare, Women Empowerment, Animal Welfare and Conservation, Street Children Program, Teaching, and more.
We also provide specially customised volunteer programs including, Summer Volunteer Program, 2 Weeks’ Special Volunteer Program, Language and Orientation Week, etc. Also, there are tremendous internship opportunities offered as well for Medical and Healthcare students from Dental, Nursing, and Physiotherapy departments.
What kind of marketing and publicity activities do you do to reach out to students?
Since, most of our volunteers constitutes of the millennials, VolSol has made sure to not leave any stone unturned. We are present on all major social media channels; including, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, and Google+. The entire business services by VolSol are web based, and that is where we reach out to our audience through frequent blogs, stories, reviews, photo galleries, and more. Often we release a variety of offers and contests for our audience to take part in. We have a dedicated team that takes care of the entire online image building and outreach for Volunteering Solutions, as well as dedicated staff for continuous customer support.
How much will a student or the organisation pay per placement match/made?
Volunteering Solutions’ majority of applicants are college students and teenagers, and we understand that they look for a budget trip. It is for this that VolSol provides one of the most affordable and cheap volunteer programs abroad. Our programs starts at $200 for an entire week’s trip.
What does the cost, that a volunteer pay, covers?
The program fee paid by a volunteer covers the following;
• In-country support
• Pre-departure information booklet
• Orientation on arrival
• Pick up from the airport
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