Get involved in natural building, farming and establishing a food forest in Malsain village, India

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  • Last activity: 27 Feb 2024



 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks



  • Description


    Malsain village is a small and quiet locality of three to four houses in the Himalayas about an hour away from Pauri.

    It is in a beautiful location on the side of the mountain, with the forest above and spectacular views of the valley below and the mountain ranges beyond. For many years, the land was left fallow and the old buildings left unused; part of the general trend of migration from these villages. However, there is so much about this traditional lifestyle and building designs that should be preserved and valued.

    I came to Malsain with the goal of living a simple and sustainable life close to nature. To create a place where others can come and experience this life – to appreciate the beauty of the surroundings and to be part of exploring new and traditional ways of working with the resources that we have around us – to meet our needs and to live within our means.

    At this stage, the focus is on earthen and ecological building projects; establishing low impact narural farming; and creating a food forest system.

    I have travelled and volunteered throughout India, gaining exposure to different earthen building projects, as well as permaculture, natural farming, biodynamics, traditional practices, Soil Food Web School etc. That is, many areas that explore sustainable and holistic ways of living. With this background I started experimenting with different projects and designs, with local materials and products, in both the areas of building and food production. I am particularly concerned with exploring different techniques that are affordable and have low embodied energy.

    Part of my aim is to create comfortable spaces and a healthy lifestyle with resourcefulness and creative design.

    For example, the recently completed volunteer accommodation is a mix of adobe, cob and stonework, as well as an experimental form of wattle and daub using the locally abundant pine needles as a base.

    Part of our philosophy is to support the local economy – to retain skills and craftsmanship within the local community (such as stone-masonry and traditional organic farming practices and produce); buy local products; to support local farmers and women’s self-help groups to package, promote and get their produce to market; and to support local employment.

    We are gradually building a network of like-minded people to achieve these goals, and would welcome others to come and join us, to participate and bring their ideas, enthusiasm and labour to support our efforts.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
    Help with Computers/ Internet
  • UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainability 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

    Travellers can learn about earthen building and stonework; ecological design and passive and low energy use infrastructure; and traditional and alternative farming practices. They will get an immersive experience of the local food and culture of this region.

  • Help


    The major projects for the near future include the establishment of a food forest; earthen building and stonework – particularly making adobe bricks for the next building project; carpentry/furniture making for the volunteer accommodation; building seating and an earthen oven for an outdoor kitchen; building a compost toilet; tree planting and care; gardening and weeding; and building and maintaining fencing to protect crops from marauding wild and domestic animals.

    Volunteers with skills in digital and social media, video production, design, marketing, artwork, building, carpentry etc would be very welcome.

    Volunteers will also be expected to help with cooking and cleaning and general maintenance of the facilities.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    Hindi: Fluent

    This host offers a language exchange
    This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
    You can contact them directly for more information.

  • Accommodation


    We have recently completed a dedicated room for volunteers to stay, which demonstrates different forms of earthen building and stonework. This could accommodate 1-3 volunteers and there is also the option of staying in tents.
    Volunteers will share kitchen and bathroom facilities with the hosts (Western and Indian style toilets and basic washing facilities. Hot water is only available if heated on the fire at this point in time).
    At this stage, we do not have the financial means to provide free food for participants. The accommodation is in exchange for 4 work hours a day and a minimum stay of one week.
    Volunteers can choose any of the following options for food

    1. Source their own food from the village, which is a 20-minute walk from the farm.

    2. They can choose to participate in daily meals (vegan/vegetarian food including rice, dal, roti, vegetable etc]. The preparation of food is shared and participants are asked to contribute $5 USD - $10 USD on a sliding scale toward daily meals.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    There are lot of small one day hikes all around the area, as well as some longer overnight hikes and some very beautiful villages to explore.

    I can also organise longer, guided treks in the region for those who are interested and have the right equipment for these activities.

    Srinagar and Pauri are the nearest big towns. Khirsu is the closest well know tourist destination from the village. From Khirsu a shared taxi can be taken to reach the destination in 30 minutes.

    Volunteers are expected to respect the local culture.

    Any kind of intoxicants are strictly prohibited.

  • 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

    Maximum 4 hours a day, 5 days a week (food not provided)

Host ref number: 873246582376

Feedback (14)


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Accuracy of profile: (4.8)

Cultural exchange: (5.0)

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