Guidelines

Auroville residents are legally defined by the Government of India as “honorary voluntary worker” of Auroville; in the same spirit, temporary residents coming from outside to participate and learn from Auroville are welcome as long as they remain aligned with its ideals and values. Hereafter are some guidelines on the conditions to integrate harmoniously in the community as a volunteer, a student/intern or researcher.

Identification

Volunteers from India and foreign countries must register at Town Hall or Guesthouses, and have an Aurocard. Volunteering registration and visa registration are done at Savi office; a Registration form is filled out and signed by the hosting place.

Status

Volunteer and Newcomer are different statuses: they are sequential (one after the other), and managed by different working groups: Savi for volunteers, Entry service for newcomers (see details in the Volunteer or Newcomer page).

Compliance with Indian regulations

Foreigners must have a valid passport, and a visa in accordance with the Auroville Visa policy as recommended by the Auroville Foundation. (See details in Visa Application Process)

Residence 

Residing in Auroville guesthouses and housing is mandatory, except during the touristic season. Any change of housing must be reported.

Activities

All activities, productive or service-oriented, must be part of the overall Auroville framework and follow the Auroville policies. There must be no remunerated work or financial gain through volunteers’ assistance in whatever organization.

Finance

All financial transactions should take place through the official channels of Auroville. Volunteers and Interns are self-supporting and do not get any salary for their work. In the same way Aurovilian residents give a contribution for the common welfare of Auroville, a financial contribution of 900 Rupees per month is required from all Volunteers.

Special conditions for long term stays

If you plan to come as a volunteer for more than 180 days, or if your internship plan requires a special recommendation from Auroville, please read the page Long term stays.

  Frequently Asked Questions regarding Volunteering

In Auroville we are all volunteers, offering our best energies, our time, and our work, for the accomplishment of a common vision. While Aurovilian resident volunteers have made a life-lasting commitment, temporary volunteers test the waters and usually stay for a defined period of time.

1) Who may volunteer? anyone 18 yrs or older who meets the requirements.

2) As a foreigner on a Business or Employment or Study visa can I be a volunteer?  NO Foreigners must either have an Entry or Tourist visa.

3) How do I find a Unit to volunteer with? visit www.auroville-learning.net

4) How do I become a registered SAVI volunteer?: visit our office at Unity Pavillion, Mon – Fri 9.00hrs to 12.30hrs,  except Wednesdays between 10.30hr to 12.30hrs.

5) Can I be a registered volunteer if not staying in an Auroville property?  NO. Residing in Auroville guest houses/ Homestays, Sharing a house with an Aurovilian or in a staff quarters of an Auroville Unit is mandatory. Any change of housing must be reported to  Savi.

6) Is there a monthly contribution for a registered Savi volunteer? YES. Rs.900 payable by either the Volunteer or the Hosting Unit. The payment is done directly to financial services and not to Savi.

7) Are there any reductions/cost savings as a registered volunteer? YES. After the first 2 months, you may become eligible for a refund of 20% of your housing contribution. Some Auroville units/eateries/workshops/therapies also offer discounts.

8) Can I get paid for my volunteer work? NO. There must be no remunerated work or financial gain through volunteers’ assistance in whatever organization. Volunteers and Interns are self-supporting and do not get any salary for their work.

9) Can I get my lodgings and/or food paid for?  Not usually, but is sometimes possible and is up to the Hosting Unit who you volunteer with.

10) What is the minimum period of volunteer work required to be registered?  2 months at a minimum of 18 hrs a week. (which will be a probationary period).

11) What is the maximum period? For tourists, it is 3 months and 6 months for Indian Nationals and OCI. (renewable).

12) Can I change the place where I volunteer?  Only under special circumstances, and to do so you will need to re-register with Savi.

Some General Information for Volunteers

When you arrive in Auroville you will need to complete an Arrival Form either at your Guesthouse or at Guest Registration Services (Town Hall). This will entitle you to a Guest AuroCard.  While there are many guest houses and homestays around Auroville, only guests staying in a registered Auroville residence are eligible to receive an AuroCard. The AuroCard serves as your identity card, showing you are a registered guest of Auroville and is required for attending many cultural events. The Aurocard can also be set up as a debit card for your expenses within Auroville (Most Auroville units do not accept cash).

Volunteering registration (and RRO visa registration for foreigners) are done at the Savi office. A Volunteer Agreement/Registration Form is filled out and signed by the hosting place and volunteer. This is to clarify the mutual expectations between the hosting unit/mentor and the volunteer, including your future conditions of stay: the objective of the mission, arrival/departure dates, accommodation, budget, etc.  A Volunteer Pass is then issued to you by Savi and should be carried with you at all times.

Housing:

When your placement in a hosting unit is confirmed you can ask them if they can help you find affordable accommodation. Some Auroville units/projects have staff quarters for Volunteers, while others do not. For a larger exploration of housing possibilities, please contact Auroville Guest Accommodation Services: http://guesthouses.auroville.org/. Note that as a volunteer you can also find accommodation in the hostels reserved for volunteers only, such as Celebration, Las Maison des Jeunes, Mitra and Youth Hostel. 

Reimbursement of Guest House Contribution (20%): 

After 2 months of Volunteering, volunteers staying in Guest Houses or Homestays can ask the Financial Service for a refund of the 20% of their Guest House contribution  – These cannot exceed Rs.4500;  Refund Eligibility:

  1. Minimum 2 months and 18hrs per week
  2. Staying in Auroville accommodation.
  3. Paying the Volunteer Contribution Rs.900

Refund Requires the Following Documents:

  1. An Invoice of Guest House
  2. Signed letter from the hosting Unit confirming the volunteer is active. 

Note that if a couple is sharing the accommodation and only one is volunteering then the amount refunded will be only 10%.

Insurance:

Volunteers are solely responsible for their own insurance which should cover civil liability for damage to a third party, health, and repatriation.

Volunteer WhatsApp Group:                                                                                                                  

We have a WhatsApp group “Volunteer info. Sharing” which all active volunteers may be part of to share information. Let us know if you are interested. When you finish your stay in Auroville please remove yourself from this group.

Long Term Stay on an Entry Visa :

Foreigners intending long-term voluntary service or internship for 9 – 12 months need an X-Visa (Entry Visa) obtained by receiving a letter of recommendation signed by the Auroville Foundation. This is a lengthy process usually taking about 6 – 8 weeks minimum.

This means that the Auroville Foundation extends its guarantee normally reserved to its permanent residents to foreigners who come temporarily. 

The counterpart of this protection entails obligations of complying with formalities, such as:

registering in the RRO of Pondicherry within 14 days upon arrival if the duration of stay exceeds 180 days, signing an agreement with an Auroville Unit/activity at the admission, residing only inside Auroville, responding to a monthly reporting to Savi.

Foreigners sometimes do not realize the implications of this policy for Auroville and underestimate its requirements. Take this matter seriously and make conscious use of the visa obtained from the Auroville Foundation, it has great value and requires a lot of work!

Volunteers on an Entry visa are not entitled to leave Auroville without notice. The unit may grant leave-in specific circumstances and Savi has to be notified for any leave longer than one week.  If the Unit or Volunteer wishes to prematurely terminate the agreement Savi must be informed. Resolution may take the shape of reassignment of the Participant to another host. An interruption or termination of a Volunteer Agreement, made without notice by a Participant will be brought to the notice of the Working Committee and the Auroville Foundation Office. Consequently, undue cancellation will invalidate the purpose of the visa granted and will be reported to the concerned Indian Authorities.  

Disagreements/ Problems:

Any disagreements/problems between a volunteer and the hosting unit must be reported to Savi who will attempt to ensure that the situation is properly resolved.

The transition from Volunteer to Newcomer:

At the end of a 6-month voluntary service, it is possible to apply for becoming an Auroville resident, and then start the “Newcomer” probation period which usually takes 12-18 months.

“News & Notes”: the weekly internal newsletter delivered to all Units and available online at www.auroville.org.in

Essential Shopping:

City Center:

  • Food Link Distribution Center: fresh & organic produce payment with AVcard only.
  • Kottakarai:
  • H.E.R.S.: payment with AvCard or cash.
  • Kuilapalayam:
  • Pour Tous Purchasing Service: payment with AvCard only.
  • Auroville Bakery: payment with AvCard or cash.
  • Health Center Pharmacy: personal care items, payment with AvCard or cash.

Pour Tous Distribution Centre, near the Solar Kitchen, is an internal cooperative providing dry goods, fresh produce, and cooked food. If you want to join you need to make previous arrangements with the PTDC coordinator and the person in charge of your unit. [email protected]

The places listed below offer discounts for volunteers:

  • Visitor Center Cafeteria  (Visitors’ Center) Tanto Trattoria Pizzeria  (Kuilapalayam)
  • Auroville Bakery Café (Kuilapalayam) Neem tree (beside library)
  • La Terrace (above Solar Kitchen) Coffee Break  (Kuilapalayam)
  • Yashi’s Café  (Kuilapalayam) Pitanga Cultural Center
  • Sound Bath (Unity Pavillion) Quiet Healing Center (ECR)

Some important contacts:

Auroville Safety and Security Team- 9443090107/ [email protected]

Ambulance – Auroville 9442224680

Hospital (PIMS) 041326556271

Emergency Service in India: 108

http://guesthouses.auroville.org/

Auroville School Board: [email protected]