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Monsoon Volunteer Work Period (1 Jul - 30 Sep 2016)

What: Volunteer work opportunities in the arts of sustainable living

Activities: Earthen building (primarily interior work), organic gardening, and natural landscaping

When: 1 July - 30 September 2016 (You may apply to volunteer anytime during this period, with a minimum stay of two weeks)

Languages: English & Hindi

Facilitators: No formal facilitation, but as-needed guidance from Dharmalaya staff, artisans, and interns.

Description: Volunteer opportunities at the Dharmalaya Institute, open to both residential and non-residential participants (though, during the monsoon, we highly recommend staying on the Dharmalaya campus). During this period, volunteers have the opportunity to learn the arts and methods of sustainable living in the Himalayas by doing physical work related to earthen building and organic gardening.

Due to frequent rains in the monsoon period, most of the work will happen indoors. This usually includes:

  • Various aspects of traditional earthen building (e.g. interior mud plasters, tile work, wood/bamboo work, and fine finishing work)
  • Organic gardening and natural landscaping (as weather permits)
  • Possibly some tree planting

Dharmalaya is a beautiful place to get your hands dirty and learn about sustainable living and Himalayan culture in the process.

What to expect

  • At least four to seven hours of physical work per day (we strongly recommend exercising before you come so that you arrive in reasonably good physical fitness).
  • Six workdays per week (you are free to do whatever you like on Sundays).
  • Daily karma yoga tasks (everyone helps with running the place, e.g. cooking, cleaning, labour, etc.)
  • Free time in the evenings (5-10pm) and Sundays (and also independent project time in the afternoons if you wish, but all volunteers are expected to work as a team at least from 9am till 1pm Monday through Saturday)
  • Lots of rain (bring rain gear and work boots and/or hiking shoes).
  • Dharmalaya Institute is in a very remote area surrounded by forest, so coming and going to/from our campus is very inconvenient during the monsoon (and sometimes unpleasant since there are leeches along the paths in the forest), so you should only come during monsoon if you are the type of person who is very happy staying in one place for a long time. (If, instead, you’re a person who likes to go into town for fun, restaurants, etc., we recommend that you do not come during the monsoon.)

Since there is no formal instruction during this period, 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 (with a minimum stay of at least two weeks).

For more information see our Visitor Info page and our FAQ for volunteers, and then complete the volunteer application (you’ll find the link to the volunteer application in FAQ).

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