Volunteer Program India

IIMC accepts students from all over the world for one month’s volunteer work at the IIMC Center in Kolkata. This is a unique opportunity to gain insight of the Indian healthcare system, learn about global health, experience a different culture, and contribute to improving the standard of living for the most vulnerable individuals in rural India. IIMC primarily accepts medical students, but are starting to accept students from other areas as well.

Tasks and Responsibilities

As a volunteer worker at IIMC, around 50% of the time will be spent doing hospital related work, either at the hospitals or at one of the smaller clinics. Your responsibilities will consist of basic medical procedures such as measuring blood pressure, weighing and measuring children, dressing minor wounds, and sometimes giving vaccines. You will always receive a thorough walk through of your tasks to ensure you are comfortable doing them.

The other 50% of the time will be spent visiting IIMC’s different projects. As a volunteer, you have the important role of inspiring and supervising, where your focus is on learning about IIMC’s functions while inspiring local volunteers and employees of IIMC. The exchange of knowledge is vital. You will get to visit schools, participate in Women’s Peace Council, visit Microcredit banks, and visit rural villages and communities. You can express interest in projects you have a special desire to learn more about, and IIMC are open to initiative and ideas and always make an effort to tend to the requests made by volunteers.

Costs and Practicalities

The volunteer program is one month long. Volunteers are needed on location the first day of the month, every month, and are expected to stay the full month (it is therefore not possible to go from the middle of one month to the middle of the following month). If you have a reason for special customization regarding the dates, please contact volunteer@macha.se. All volunteers pay for their own flight to India and stay together in a house in the outskirts of Kolkata with access to a kitchen and common areas. Volunteers pay a sum of 2500 SEK for housing which covers the entire month. Food in India is cheap, with the price of a full meal at 15-30 SEK.


The selection of volunteers for the program is divided into three rounds:

Deadline September 30

To go in January, February, March, April, or May; the application deadline is September 30.

Deadline January 31

To go in June, July, or August; the application deadline is January 31.

Deadline April 30

To go in September, October, November, or December, the application deadline is April 30.

How to apply?

After the deadline, a Selection Committee will meet and a certain number of volunteers will be nominated for each month.

The volunteers are selected based on involvement in MACHA, IFMSA or IIMC, interest shown in continued involvement in the IIMC-project through MACHA or IFMSA after returning to Sweden, sponsoring a child education through the IIMC- Sponsorship Program, experience and interest in global health, suitable personal attributes and motivation to why you wish to participate. Shortlisted applicants may be asked to submit a short video or participate in a phone screen. The Volunteer Program through MACHA is only available for students and young professionals based in Sweden.

You can apply to the volunteer program by filling out the following form and sending a motivational letter to volunteer@macha.se. The letter should state your motivation for wanting to participate to the IIMC volunteer program and include the following: motivation, previous experiences and activities in IIMC/MACHA/IFMSA.”
Application form

Increase your chances

Since the largest number of applications is received for the summer months, MACHA recommends applying for the other months as well to increase your chances of being nominated.

Residual vacancies

Sometimes residual vacancies exist, making it possible to apply after the deadline. Do this by sending an email to the person responsible for volunteer workers and inform them that you have applied after the deadline.

Volunteer crash course

Before you leave you are expected to participate in a volunteer preparation “crash course”. It will be possible to participate via zoom. The crash course will prepare you for the exchange as well as for ethical dilemmas that might be associated with global health exchanges. You will also discuss social determinants of health. More information will be available to you once you are approved as a volunteer.

Do you want to know more?

See the Documentary about the Volunteer Program, or contact our Volunteer Manager at volunteer@macha.se.

You can also read the Volunteer Stories.

Common questions and answers

Here you can find frequently asked questions with answers. Click on the question to expand the answer.

Answer: 1 month. The Volunteer Program runs every whole month all year around. Volunteers are expected to arrive at IIMC and be ready to start working at the latest on the 1st of every month. Preferably volunteers arrive a couple of days prior to 1st, i.e. around the 27-28th of the previous month.

Answer: All volunteers pay a sum of 2500 SEK for accommodation during their stay. Volunteers also pay for their flight tickets and food. Food in India is very cheap. You can buy a meal for 15-30 SEK.

Answer: All volunteers are expected to work 50 % with healthcare-related tasks at the hospitals or at one of the smaller clinics. The work includes simple medical tasks such as measuring blood pressure, weighing children, tend to wounds and administrate vaccinations. You always get an introduction to your tasks in order to feel safe while performing them.

The other 50 % of your time your work constitutes visiting IIMC’s other projects. The international volunteers have a very important roll as inspiration to the local volunteers. You are expected to learn about IIMC’s work and exchange knowledge and experience with the local volunteers. You will visit schools, participate in Women’s Peace Council, visit Microcredit banks and remote villages on the countryside. You are free to give suggestions and requests about any specific projects that you are especially interested in. IIMC try to be very open to new initiatives and try their best to meet any requests from the volunteers.

Answer: All volunteers live together in a house in the outskirts of Kolkata. You share a kitchen and a living room and travel together to the IIMC Center every day.