• ---Introduction to the host---
Namaste to You! I am Naveen writing you from the Higher Himalayas. I am an English teacher/volunteer corodinator and I work with a local school where we host volunteers to participate in our educational project. I have been hosting volunteers since 2015 at our school. I strongly believe in the power of education to transform lives. My hobbies include having light hearted interaction over a cup of tea, hiking the mountain trails and reading books.
• ---The School project---
Our objective is to improve the English educational standard at our school. Owing to many reasons the local children do not have access to better educational opportunities. It is important for the children to learn English comprehension skills for a better future. We try to create new learning opportunities for the children at our school.
The school is a primary school, with the number of students always fluctuating. However, on average each class has about 8-10 students. There are 10 classes, from lower kindergarten to grade 8, 4-14 years old.
The school building is basic, and differs between each school we work with. The school runs from 7:30 am-12:00 pm in the summer time. In winter, the school runs from 8:30 am-2:00 pm. In general, up to grade 5 the students learn 6-7 subjects, and after grade 5 they learn 8-10 subjects including English as a compulsory subject, science, maths, social studies, environmental science, Sanskrit, general knowledge, drawing, arts and crafts, and of course Hindi.
• ---Role of the volunteers---
The volunteers who come give the children a new found confidence in learning English. The role of the volunteer is to help provide a new way of thinking and promote English learning skills. . Volunteers will be expected to be part of the curriculum and daily routine.
The volunteers would be working with Naveen, the volunteer coordinator, alongside the teachers of the school. Naveen will welcome you and situate you into the classes, explain the educational set up, the local culture, customs and way of living. He will also explain the do's and don'ts of the local culture and living. The volunteers are expected to be proactive and talk to the teachers, lead a lesson once they have understood the system, create a positive environment for learning. Volunteers can expect to learn Indian education system, method and how it works. They will also get a close purview of the local culture, religion and general way of living. If the volunteers have teaching supplies they would like to bring, they may do so. However it is not required.
Cooking / shopping
Help with Computers / internet
We are in need of volunteers, who are passionate about teaching and who have a desire to help our children reach their full potential. Not all volunteers may be qualified teachers, but they could be teachers at heart. If that is you, good understanding of English, have skills to share, and have a desire to teach then we would be happy to invite you into our school to share your skills with our children.
• ---Typical day---
Typical day starts at 8:00am in the summer and 9:00am in the winter. After breakfast you are expected to arrive at school and start teaching the classes assigned to you according to the schedule. Each period is 45 minutes long before the break at 10:00 am in summer and 11:00am in the winter. After the break each period is 30 minutes.
You are expected to teach only English and each period is a different grade level. There are text books that we use for each class that you can teach out of. Naveen will assist you in the classroom for the beginning until you are comfortable. The school day ends at 12:30 pm in summer and 2:00 pm in winter. From there you will have lunch and have some rest.
You can be part of the local culture, get invited for the tea at local houses, and take advantage of your visit by hiking in the mountain trails. Our community is known for celebrating life through festivals, fairs and weddings which you can be welcomed in.
• ---Free-time activities---
Our community is known for having many festivals and celebrations throughout the year. Also there are lots of weddings that take place in certain months. There are world famous treks, hiking trails which you can choose to do. Also you can visit Yamunotri temple a popular pilgrim center, which is at 10,000 feet above the sea level. Visit a 12th century old Shiva temple preserved by Archaeological survey of India.
The people at our place are quite welcoming and they do invite you to visit their villages over a meal and particularly over a cup of tea. Volunteers necessarily don't have to work 6 days a week, if they request time off to explore, we will be happy to give them free time.
English, hindi, garhwali
The school is located in a village in the foothills of the Himalayas. The locals live a basic life and the village has a strong sense of community. You will find most of your needs are provided in a nearby town. The volunteer will be living in a local homestay/hotel. The rooms are comfortable and basic.The basic room provides a bucket shower and Indian squat toilet, however at an additional charge we can provide a western toilet and a regular shower.
Meals will be provided by a local family who will cook your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Meals are basic, but we can provide tailored meals according to your needs at an additional cost as well. Outside of the village you are responsible for paying for your own meals and or snacks. You can get a lots of eating options in Barkot.
• ---Items to pack---
1. Personal hygiene items (shampoos, soaps, creams are all available in Barkot)
2. Cotton pants, t-shirts (light colours, light weight fabric) for summer
3. For winter, fleece jacket, long johns, warm sweaters, pants, pajamas, wool socks, mittens, hats
4. Trekking shoes
5. Bug spray
6. Malaria medication (although most brands are available in India for a fraction of the cost, and we don’t have so many mosquitos in Barkot)
7. Motion sickness tablets
8. Flash light
9. Comfort foods for snacks, etc., but you can also buy many of these things in Barkot
11. Camera- pictures of you and your family
13. Sleeping bag (for trekking, or sleep sheets for hotels when traveling)
14. Water purifying tablets for when you are outside the village
• ---How to reach us---
Volunteers are expected to find their own way to Barkot, but we will be happy to provide you with information on how to do that, and we will pick you up in Barkot and bring you to the Kharadi village. From Delhi you can;
fly to Dehradun( 40 minutes) and take a bus or shared taxi to Barkot from there. Once you reach Dehradun you can get government run buses at 6:30am, 8:30 am, 11:00am, 12:00pm and 1:00 pm. You can also get shared cab nearby the Railway station
Take a train to Dehradun (7 hrs or overnight) and take a bus or shared taxi to Barkot The Bus station is located outside the Railways station premises so it won’t be a difficult task to find the options to reach us.
We can help you arrange private transportation on an additional cost. You can always write to us for guidance to reach us.
• ---Guidelines for Living in the Village and Volunteering---
Dress code-Please dress conservatively and professionally at our place. We want you to be comfortable, but it is important to maintain a good appearance as children are impressionable. Dress in the village is conservative. Women should not expose cleavage, shoulders, or leg (above the knee). Men should not wear low rise pants, or muscle shirts. T-shirts and long cotton pants are acceptable. Women visitors can buy local wear within a fraction of the cost in Barkot. Most of the young girls and women wear these so they are the most appropriate and practical clothes for the village.
---Living with local community---
We live in a tribal village in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas. You will have an opportunity to engage in a very unique culture in a most beautiful setting. Volunteers are encouraged to take part in village activities, and if you happen to arrive during wedding season (October to March) you are in for a very entertaining cultural experience. Villagers are very hospitable, and once they get to know you, you will have friends for life. If you are interested, you can take part in the agricultural practices, or accompany the young people when they go to collect fodder or fire wood. Or you may just wish to sit and enjoy a cup of chai and take in the the village life going on about you. Whatever it may be, you will not be bored. There is much to learn about this ancient culture, and many of the ancient agricultural as well as cultural practices are still in place. So you can regard this volunteer experience as a learning experience as well.
• ---Rules to follow---
There are a number of rules which can be written down for your comfortable stay but we personally think that with the application of common sense and having respectful attitude towards a different culture, people, its customs and life ways the expeirence becomes memorable.
• ---Additional ways you can help---
Many volunteers ask if they can bring any thing for the school, however most things are available in India for a fraction of the cost you would pay in your country, so best to save your money and purchase things for the school once you are here. Or you may decide to sponsor one of our girl children for a very minimum donation.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Volunteers can experience local culture, customs, and traditions; they often get invited to weddings, festivals, and local gatherings. There are so many things we can't describe, as they can only be experienced!
Maximum 4-5hours a day, 5 days a week
In developing countries (Where most hosts are involved in charity work or community development) some of our hosts may ask for a small donation to help the host family or charity (often less then 5 dollars per day) Workaway will allow this listing when the donation goes directly to the family or charity and is just to cover the cost of the volunteers stay. (This will be clearly marked on the host listing).
We will strictly not allow listings posted by agents, “middle men” or projects who we feel are looking to profit from a volunteers stay.