What: Informal, unstructured volunteer opportunities
Activities: Tree planting and orchard maintenance, organic gardening, and earthen building (interior finishing work only)
When: 1 July - 14 October 2014 (Volunteers may arrive and depart anytime during this period)
Languages: English & Hindi
Facilitators: Raj Kumar (‘Raju’) et al.
Description: Informal volunteer opportunities at the Dharmalaya Institute. During this period, there is no educational or training programme at all, but there is plenty of physical work to do — including planting trees and helping to maintain our young orchards, organic gardening, and earthen building (interior finishing work only) — and Dharmalaya is a beautiful place to get your hands dirty and learn a bit about sustainable living and Himalayan culture in the process.
Since there is no formal instruction during this period and there is no organised programme, one simply jumps in and does whatever needs doing on a given day, learning by watching others and then doing it yourself. In such an unstructured or loosely guided situation, sometimes one needs to ask for help if one needs it, so a certain degree of self-motivation and initiative makes for the best experience. It also helps to bring a healthy sense of flexibility, since the work to be done might vary from one day to the next, depending on circumstances. If that appeals to you, you’re welcome to come and go anytime during this period (and to arrive earlier or depart later if you’re interested in participating in Dharmalaya’s other programmes).
There will be plenty of quiet time for doing your personal practice (meditation/yoga/etc.), and for reading, writing, drawing/painting, or whatever quiet indoor activities might inspire you.
Weather warning: Please note that the monsoon period in this area is extremely wet— probably wetter than anything you’ve seen before outside of an ocean! The rain and clouds can be relentless, and coming and going to and from the Dharmalaya Institute is no fun at all in the rain, so it is preferable to arrive here and settle in for a good long time (in other words, once you get here, you’re probably going to want to stay here, and go out rarely if ever). On the other hand, everything is lush and green and alive, so it can be wonderful if you really don’t mind getting wet and sometimes muddy, but one must be prepared both psychologically and practically — with rain clothes, mud boots, and at least a couple of warm layers (evenings can be cool).
For more information see our volunteer page, read the FAQ, and complete the volunteer application if you’re interesting in joining us.