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At Basti Ram we are proud of our association with the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme Ltd.  We have been accredited as an Approved Activity Provider for our residential excursion to Rajasthan, India since 2011.


Our 14-day residential experiences combine the perfect mix of volunteering, sightseeing and cultural education creating truly memorable experiences the benefits of which volunteers carry with them throughout their lifetime.


If you are interested in joining our unique program please contact us at for further information and an application form.

Next Group -  8th to 22nd June 2019

"If we want to see real peace in this world, we should start educating children”- Mahatma Ghandi. Over the past few years, my interest in travelling has increased greatly and learning about different cultures has now become a slight addiction. A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to visit the Wema Centre, Mombasa. After seeing children who have very little, it shocked and disgusted me how we take education for granted. Since then, I’ve made it my mission to help young people who are less fortunate than myself and offer them the gift of education. Since Africa, It’s always been a dream to visit India.


Last year, I was put in touch with a charity called Basti Ram, who run residentials in the beautiful north Indian state Rajasthan, where volunteers teach children with poor education English and basic maths. After disciplined saving and fundraising, this summer I travelled to India alone, met my host family and other volunteers and worked with the street children of India. Every day, we first visited a tribal school, where I had my own class of 4-8 year olds. We then travelled to a boy’s orphanage in the afternoon. In the evenings, we would spend hours working on our lesson planning, trying to make our classes both interesting and educational.


On weekends, we were given the opportunity to explore India. I spent my weekend visiting Agra, after a 13 hour sleeper train journey, where I saw the Taj Mahal!


The project gave me the opportunity to experience a culture a world away from my own, to broaden my horizons and to develop personally.


I was able to try different foods, learn about a different culture and also help children who had so little. The experience has proven to be the most incredible adventure and stands as the best fortnight of my life. After being made Deputy Head Girl, with my forte being Charity, I encourage everybody to take part in this incredible journey. 

Polly Sisley

DofE participant

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Testimony of previous DofE participant.


Gap years: What to think about 


  • Natural breaks, like finishing school completing a degree, can often feel like the right time to take a gap year

  • A gap year can give you the opportunity to think about what you’re going to do in your career. We all have to work for a very long time, so it’s good to have time to reflect before starting your journey in the world of employment

  • Ask yourself: How is a gap year going to contribute to your CV?

  • It’s important to do things that are considered to be positive and important for your personal development. That way, if future employers quiz you about gaps in your employment or education, you can explain how that time contributed to your growth

  • Some amazing things you could do to develop your skills during a gap year include: doing some work experience, travelling the world, volunteering

  • Some gap year activities, like moving abroad to become fluent in a foreign language, could count towards a degree or help you massively in your studies

  • Think of the practicalities: how are you going to finance your gap year? Is the timing right? What do you want to achieve? How long can you take a break for?

  • Some universities will allow you to take a year out. This is sometimes referred to as voluntary suspension, intermission or leave of absence. You must seek your university’s permission to take a break and return to your studies, and unis are not obliged to grant it to you. It can also affect your student loans and tuition fees, so check with your finance officer before taking any decisions.

  • Some companies will also allow you to take a career break. This means you can take some unpaid leave for an extended period of time.

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