Savi (Tamil for “key”) is a service for students and professionals who wish to participate in and contribute to Auroville for a duration between 2 and 12 months, in any of the township’s many work areas. An extensive database of volunteering opportunities, both informal and academic, serves volunteers and the community to make the best use of learning opportunities, skills and goodwill offered. SAVI also responds to universities and organisations interested in student exchange programmes. Through structured programmes and personalised follow-up, SAVI supports and assists volunteers in their various needs throughout their stay.
A complete package of services to support you throughout your stay as volunteer
- Information & advice to prepare your stay, before you journey to India
- Information on units/places that offer volunteer work assignments
- Workshops and courses that complement your field of interest
- Assistance for visa applications for non-Indians
- Welcome & registration when you arrive
- Introductory seminar to discover and understand Auroville
- Educational support and follow-up for students and volunteers
Auroville, a unique place to volunteer
Auroville is often called a 'human laboratory'. Because the high vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is its raison d'être, it's a very specific place, different from the many other 'eco-villages' and intentional or alternative communities that exist on the planet.
To come to Auroville as a volunteer implies that, somewhere, you resonate with the city's aims and ideals; that you are ready to give your energies to its various projects and services, and take part in its development. SAVI will help you find just the right environment for your interest, skill and temperament.
As Auroville is an experimental energy field, in which a collective effort tries to shape new ways to live and be together, volunteers are faced with an environment that constantly evolves and changes, and need to have the flexibility to adapt. A certain open-mindedness and psychological maturity is required for this and, naturally, unaccompanied applicants younger than 18 years cannot be accepted.
You may need to support yourself financially
Auroville is a city in the making, which has emerged from an almost desert-like, rural, 'backward' area. Compared with life in western societies and large Indian cities, its standard of living is basic. Due to the overall economy of the project, students and volunteers have to be financially self supportive. Some farms can offer rustic accommodations, but in most cases the hosting units cannot offer 'bed and breakfast against work' arrangements.
And where will you stay..?
Lodging facilities in Auroville are guesthouses, youth camps and a volunteers residence named Mitra. As we are still building the city, to find accommodation is not always easy, especially during the cooler months of December-February. You are advised to book long in advance. Once placement in a hosting unit is found for you, more information regarding these matters can be given.
Tamil Nadu, INDIA
- SAVI (AVIS) opens every morning except Sundays 10:00 to 12:00pm
- Team: Dominique – Julien - Laure - Sara - Michael
- SAVI offers opportunities for long term commitments: 6 to 12 months
- Indian visa regulations impose specific conditions for volunteer participation in Auroville projects and activities
- It is recommended to apply for SAVI registration long in advance of your stay (2 to 6 months at least), by email.
- If you plan to stay for a shorter time period, contact the Auroville Guests Service (email@example.com), which has a range of short term volunteer opportunities.
How to go about it and start your volunteering process
First explore the Auroville website and note down specific information regarding projects that interest you.
Send a first mail to SAVI, introduce yourself, explain your purpose and field of interest, your learning expectations and intended duration and dates of your stay; an application form will be sent to you via email.
Complete and return the application form. The information you provide is an important way for Auroville to know your focus and help you with relevant volunteer opportunities.
Informed by SAVI, units/projects that are interested to have you volunteer with them, will contact you within 2 weeks; discuss with them your future tasks.
Once an agreement has been reached and your application accepted, SAVI will send you further guidelines to prepare for your stay.
Don't forget to get a proper visa to Auroville well before departure
If you are non-Indian, a visa is required. The visa request at the Indian Embassy, Consulate or High Commissioner in your country may take a long time: prepare it carefully, and check out the existing regulations in your own country. If you have arranged for long term voluntary service, SAVI can help you obtain a specific category of visa; for this you need an invitation letter issued by Auroville. Once a volunteer application has been agreed and accepted, SAVI will provide you with the necessary documents.
As a general rule, the Immigration Office of India through its Regional Registration Office (RRO), controls who comes and stays on the Indian territory. For visits exceeding 6 months, you will have to register at their office in Pondicherry within 2 weeks of your arrival in Auroville.
Formalities upon your arrival, and yes, those rupees..
When you arrive in Auroville, make an appointment with SAVI at Unity Pavilion ( firstname.lastname@example.org), located in Auroville's central area, next to Savitri Bhavan. One of the team members will meet you, register your stay and assist you in the first steps of your life in Auroville.
You will be given an Aurocard connected with a personal Auroville internal account, so that, after making a deposit into your account, you are plugged into Auroville's internal financial set-up and have access to the city's many services and amenities for which payment in cash is not accepted. With this card you can contribute for your meals and all your daily needs. At various places in Auroville you can exchange foreign currency into Indian Rupees. (LINK TO THE RELEVANT PAGE, FIRST VISIT ETC.
The average budget of students for a basic living is around 13 to 15,000 INR per month (approximately $150-250).
We hope to learn a lot from you!
SAVI organises regular Introduction weeks and other sessions which facilitate discovery of, and integration into, Auroville. It is available for SAVI-registered students and volunteers throughout your stay; it supports you during your learning journey in this amazing complex of people and ideas, projects and hands-on activities in southern India, called Auroville.
At the end of their Auroville sojourn, volunteers are invited for a personal assessment of their learning experience. Your feedback is seriously listened to and, at times, communicated to the community at large. We hope to learn a lot from you!
For postgraduate students and academic researchers
Also requests for academic and/or field researches find their way to Auroville and are welcome. SAVI's application process for these is similar to the above, with emphasis on detailed description and background of the purpose and content of the research. The SAVI team will get you in touch with knowledgeable contact persons in the field of your research, provide you with relevant documentation, and generally support your stay. Of course, you will be requested to send a copy of your work when finalised, as Auroville archives all academic material for future research projects.
Students exchange and other opportunities
Auroville also welcomes student exchange programmes with Indian and foreign Educational institutions and Universities; SAVI offers support for programme design for these and also organises educational programmes in collaboration with Auroville units focused on specific themes. It is open to well defined partnerships, arrangements for retired professionals to find a work place and other such opportunities.
If you don't fit into any of the above mentioned arrangements and seriously want to come and volunteer, just describe your situation in an email and somehow a possibility will be found. That's how Auroville works.