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Volunteer Work Period (3-29 Jul 2017)


What: Volunteer work opportunities in the arts of sustainable living

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

When: 3rd-29th July 2017 — You may apply to volunteer arriving on a Monday (3, 10, or 17 July), with a minimum commitment of two weeks. See below for details.

Languages: English & Hindi

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

Description: Volunteer service-learning opportunity at the Dharmalaya Institute, open to both residential and non-residential participants (though, during the rainy season, we strongly recommend staying on the Dharmalaya campus). During this period, volunteers have the opportunity to offer service for a great cause while learning the arts and methods of sustainable living in the Himalayas by doing physical work related to earthen building, organic gardening, and more.

Dharmalaya Institute is a place to practice simple, clean, compassionate living while doing service work as karma yoga in service toward a long-term vision for rural sustainability and holistic education.

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, flooring, tile work, wood/bamboo work, and fine finishing work)
  • Organic gardening and natural landscaping (as weather permits)
  • Rainwater harvesting and water management
  • Possibly some tree planting

What to Expect

  • 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. All volunteers are required to work as a team at least from 9am till 5pm Monday through Saturday (with one-hour lunch break), with optional personal  project time on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons if you wish.
  • Volunteers are free to take personal quiet time in the evenings (7:00-9:30pm) and on Sundays.
  • Daily karma yoga tasks (everyone helps with running the place, e.g. cooking, cleaning, labour, etc.).
  • Lots of rain. Bring rain clothes, waterproof boots/shoes, and an umbrealla.
  • Dharmalaya Institute is in a very remote area surrounded by forest, so coming and going to/from our campus can be 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 and living with rustic simplicity. (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 because you will probably be miserable.)

There is no formal instruction during the Volunteer Work Period, but new arrivals receive a basic training in the relevant tasks and then learn by experience, practicing alongside our team of artisans.

All volunteers attend the starting circle at 9:00 sharp every morning (except Sundays) to learn about the work to be done each day, and then proceed with doing whatever work is required.

A healthy sense of flexibility is helpful, since the work to be done might vary from one day to the next, and plans change depending on circumstances. 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.

Dates & Logistics

All volunteers must arrive on a Monday, as that is when we do the weekly orientation and training for new volunteers. (Please do not arrive on any day other than Monday.) You are welcome to apply to start volunteering on any Monday during this period, with a minimum stay of at least two weeks. For example, if you were to start on Monday, the 3rd of July, you would need to commit to volunteering through at least Saturday the 15th of July.

How to Apply to Volunteer

Volunteering at Dharmalaya Institute is by application only. Acceptance to the volunteer programme is subject to limited availability. The application procedure is as follows:

1. Chose the date you would like to arrive and start volunteering, as well as your proposed departure date. Note that during this Volunteer Work Period your arrival date must be a Monday (i.e. 3rd, 10th, or 17th July) and your departure date must be at least two weeks after your start date (in order to meet the two-week minimum commitment).

2. Read all of the important information on our Visitor Info page and our FAQ for volunteers.

3. Complete the volunteer application (you’ll find the link to the volunteer application in FAQ). Please read the questions in the application carefully and answer them thoughtfully.

4. Wait for our reply to learn if your application has been accepted. Please note: We process applications in batches around twice per month, so it could take a week or two before we are able to reply.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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