Help us finish a bamboo house and in the natural farm or document a regenerated forest in Kerala, India



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  • Description


    This is a center for learning sustainable lifestyle. It is located on a remote hilltop and has been developed as a live textbook for environmental regeneration, soil regeneration, watershed management and natural farming.

    Our family is a growing alternative school. We currently have 4 students living & learning with us, between the age of 18 and 23 years. Gopalakrishnan and Vijayalekshmi, the founders of the school are living on campus along with Gautham, the couple's son, his wife Anuradha and their family, including 9 year old Hiranya, 6 year old Parthan and 3 year old Chinmayi.

    We work on our constructions all the time. (The idea is to rebuild an alternative learning center. So there are many small buildings) The farm is active most of the year. A master plan for the campus is being done with a few architect friends from another part of the state. They visit every now and then planning replanning, documenting etc. We are also in the process of documenting the flora of the regenerated forest and surrounding areas. This happens every 5-6 months. We hope to start the fauna documentation in a year or two when we have funds for buying necessary equipment. Planting Agave against forest fire, planting bamboo against soil erosion and strengthening our fence with medicinal plants are ongoing activities according to the seasons. We dream of a life learning center. Naturally, we get involved in all kinds of activities and experiment in construction, agriculture, art forms, publishing and so on so forth. You shouldn't be surprised if we are in the middle of some crazy experiment. :) (Like trying out a water-proof roof with waste paper or building a readymade oven with clay)

    Check the 'Help Required section for the latest project where you can help.

    We would love hands to share the work of building a truly sustainable center for learning.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    General Maintenance
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Farmstay help
    Help with Eco Projects
    Help around the house
    Animal Care
    Language practice
    Art Projects

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Volunteers who choose to visit us will have the opportunity to learn a broad range of skills from cooking in a traditional mud built kitchen to construction of shelters and homes made from materials sourced on the farm. You will find yourself in a knowledge sharing environment and learn to find creative solution using materials at hand therefore, the skills you may learn are endless.

  • Help


    Current tasks:

    We just built a bamboo guest house. We have to finish the following:

    1. Mud plastering of the kitchen wall
    2. Setting the courtyard and garden around
    3. Building a compost toilet
    4. Varnishing the bamboo exterior
    5. Building a smokefree oven

    And on the farm
    1. Erecting an electric fence against wild boar
    2. Planting of crops
    3. Clearing the paths from overgrowth

    It will be good to get an idea about the seasons and tasks in general. This is just for reference. Seasons and tasks can change all the time. Read on.

    Summer (January - May):
    The cool time before the sun really gets up will be used for some hard work. The mornings can start with working on the construction or de-silting percolation pits or check dam. Housework never ends, so you can also choose to help around the house, with chores, cleaning up, cooking etc. The hotter times in the middle of the day, you can use for reading, writing or any other activity that you can do in the shade. After lunch, you can catch a nap. In the tropics, you need the rest. Afternoons, you can again join the heavy work. Any time you spend with the children is always appreciated.

    Kind of help needed:
    Removing bio-mass from the fireline (against forest fire) and putting it in the farm
    Removing silt from rainwater percolation pits and check dams
    Harvesting from the farm
    Preparing farm
    (We will update this towards the summer)

    Keep yourself hydrated, do not overwork your body, keep your body cool with at least one bath everyday, sing, dance and be merry!

    Rainy season (June - August, October):
    It will be muddy and slippery everywhere. Be careful when you are walking. Carry a raincoat since we will have work to do when it is raining. Cloths take time to dry, so be prepared.

    Kind of help needed:
    Diverting rainwater to the percolation pits and farm
    Planting the fence and garden
    Planting Agave through the fireline
    Getting firewood from the forest
    Working on sorting documents, photos, etc. sitting inside

    We can sit around the fire after a nice bath in the rain! Music and merry always welcome!

    Other times (September, November, and December)
    It will be all greenery around and temperatures will be comfortable. We have work in the farm, maintenance of the bud houses and some performances outside and classes for college students.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    Hindi: Fluent
    Malayalam: Fluent
    Tamil: Fluent

  • Accommodation


    As of August 2019 the top storey of the guest house is ready for occupation. It's a 14 feet x 20 feet hall you can share with other travellers, volunteers or students. There are a few beds available. We can also provide mats and simple bedsheets. Bringing a sleeping bag or blanket will be ideal since the nights get cold. Mud pit toilets are there; a way of enriching the soil. We might have a compost toilet soon. For bathing and washing clothes, we have a place near the well. It's just a few meters down the hill from the Guesthouse. Alternatively you are welcome to walk down to the river some half kilometre.

    Food is rice based, vegetarian and home-cooked. There will sometimes be fruit available on the farm but if you need to snack in between, keep yourself stocked from the small town nearby. Boiled and cooled water will be available for drinking.

    The centre is run on our income from various workshops we conduct in the campus and in the cities, not on external funds. Some of our books also bring in some income. This is why we charge a fee of INR 400/day from volunteers, which will cover the cost of food and accommodation. Hope we will be able to offer food and accommodation in exchange of working in the campus some time in future.

    The main house is powered with a Solar Electric System which takes care of all energy needs. Most mobile networks are available, so you can stay connected. There is a 4G spot from where we work on the internet. If you have an Indian Vodafone, Idea or Jio phone number you can use it for the internet. Please note wifi is not available therefore if you require internet access during your stay it is advised that you organise a local sim prior to your arrival. (We are experimenting with a wifi thingy as of August. We are yet to see how dependable it is and how we can share the expense) Otherwise, internet facility, if needed, will have to be availed from the nearest town Goolikkadavu about 7 Kilometers away.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    If you can volunteer for three months, six months or longer, we have a few critical projects that you can help us with. Let us know if you are interested.

    We look for a genuine interest in other cultures and earth's future in volunteers. We are basically trying to share simple solutions with everybody around us. You should have the capacity to learn and willingness to share your knowledge. Should be able to live simply. Knowledge of basic communicative English or any one of these Indian languages, Hindi, Malayalam or Tamil is a necessary criteria.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    2 - 4 hours

  • ...

    This host charges a fee

    read more
    400 INR (approx USD 5.5) per person per day for accommodation and food

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Host ref number: 25556617434a