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Welcome to

Autumn Years

India is the seventh-largest country, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world. India has so much to offer but how many of us have actually been?  Join us for a holiday with a difference this year.  Our two week cultural enrichment programs offer you the opportunity to experience a new culture, while sharing your skills with rural communities that do not have access to good quality education.


Included within the project are the following components:

* One pre-departure introductory workshop in the UK where you will meet your fellow participants.

* Project Handbook and pre-departure advice via a shared 'What's App' group.

* A dedicated bi-lingual group leader throughout your stay.

* Two week organised itinerary that includes a range of community activities.

* Support to plan and deliver multiple activity sessions (minimum 5) with local communities giving you the opportunity to 

   share your skills with local children and families. 

* Pick up from and drop off from the nearest domestic airport - Kangra

* Accommodation in our dedicated house - shared rooms with dedicated attached bathrooms in a traditional Indian village rural setting.

* Three freshly prepared vegetarian Indian meals per day from locally sourced produce.

* Bespoke comprehensive orientation on arrival tailored to your specialist areas of interest.

* 3 x one hour group Hindi language Lessons. 

* Escorted cultural walk to meet and greet the local community and learn about their day to day life in rural India.

* Escorted orientation visit to nearest town to acclimatise participants with facilities.

Optional Activities:

* Mehendi (Henna Art Workshop)   

* Morning Yoga x 5 sessions          

* Indian Cookery x 3  sessions       

* Optional Sightseeing Excursions are available to purchase in India - Further information will be sent at time of booking. 


* International and Domestic Flight Tickets

* Indian Visa

* Vaccination Costs

* Travel Insurance Costs

* Cost of optional excursions.

Application Criteria

* Age 45+

* Fitness and suitability clearance certificate from your GP

* Clear DBS (Basti Ram can assist with obtaining this)

* Valid Travel Insurance and Immunisations

* A willingness to step out of your comfort zone & a passion for travel. 

 Cost £800 - Returning Participants attract a £50 discount.

 28th September - 11th October 2019 - Pre Departure Workshop - Saturday 7th September. 

Please email for further information.

(Please watch the video from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - which is located near to one of our project sites.)

Testimonial from previous volunteer 

I was very fortunate to be able to be part of a group to go to Rajasthan, India last month for a couple of weeks of community activities in a school and orphanage. It was a truly amazing experience.  We stayed in dedicated accomodation  which was basic but adequate for our needs, and we were very well catered for.

We spent time in a school that was populated by tribal children, they were very poor, no shoes or many clothes but generally just children.  Their parents are uneducated so the government have offered them a free lunch which is a great incentive to get them to school.  I spent time with the younger ones and with Natasha, we devised a sort of plan incorporating all the things that we were asked to include, ie colours, body parts, alphabet, maths. We made it fun for the children, some of it worked, and some of it didn’t.  We had to think on our toes at times, it was lovely working with them even though they were” full on”.

In the evenings we spent time at a boys orphanage which had nearly 100 boys living there, aged  between 6-18.  About a quarter are orphans, the rest destitute.  It appeared to be a tough life for the children albeit well ordered, their food is frugal also they have to look after themselves, wash their own clothes etc. something I can’t imagine my 6 year old grandson being able to do very easily.   I found them more disciplined than the tribal children, consequently It was easier to engage them in activities, they were like sponges and most lapped up all we did with them.  


I would describe some of it like what I imagine England was like 100 years ago, their way of farming is with a bullock and plough, no mechanical equipment, having to carry water from the well, basic food and shelter.


We also did some touristy things, went out in the desert and slept under the stars for a night which was fabulous, didn't enjoy riding a camel the next day though as I had nothing to hold onto!


I found the Hindu culture fascinating, and found the people to be friendly and very hard working. When travelling in the town I found it very noisy, manic but no-one seemed to be aggressive.  I loved the food and enjoyed being vegetarian whilst there.  I think we in England could learn a lot from them.


Overall I felt very humbled by the experience, it was not a holiday as you know it, we saw the real India, not what you would see if you went and stayed in a hotel.  felt privileged to be a small part of Basti Ram’s work and what they are trying to achieve in helping educate children to give them a better life. Thank you for all your efforts.

Sandra Coyne

Autumn Years volunteer 2014

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