Kerala, located on the south-western tip of India, enjoys unique geographical features that have made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Asia. Fondly referred to as ‘God’s Own Country’, Kerala was selected by the National Geographic Traveler as one of the 50destinations of a lifetime and one of the thirteen paradises in the world. An equable climate, serene beaches, tranquil stretches of backwaters; lush hill stations and exotic wildlife are the major attractions of this land. A unique advantage of Kerala is that most of the destinations here are only a two – a four-hour drive from the other.
Classical art forms, colorful festivals, exotic cuisine are some of the cultural marvels that await the traveler. Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine and Panchakarma, the rejuvenation therapy in Ayurveda have also helped Kerala to gain a pan-global reputation as a worth-visit destination.
The season never ends in Kerala, thanks to the year-long moderate climate and events. Kerala has a higher Human Development Index than all other states in India. The state has a literacy rate of 94.59 percent, the highest in India. A survey conducted in 2005 by Transparency International ranked Kerala as the least corrupt state in the country. This makes Kerala one of the best locations for international volunteers to work in.
Our traditional medicine program is our trademark program and the most unique program volunteers from all across the world will ever come across. It involves working with a Traditional practitioner of Ayurveda to treat patients and at the same time help in preserving this traditional science. Ayurveda is the traditional medicine of India, which originated there over 5,000 years ago and is considered to be one of the oldest organized systems of medicines in the world. Ayurveda emphasizes re-establishing balance in the body through diet, lifestyle, exercise, and body cleansing, and on the health of the mind, body, and spirit. In India, up to 80% of the population living in rural areas rely on traditional medicine for their primary health care needs
Ayurveda stresses the use of plant-based medicines and treatments. Hundreds of plant-based medicines are employed, including cardamom and cinnamon. Some animal products may also be used, for example, milk, bones, and gallstones. Volunteers spend the first few days with the Ayurveda practitioner (or a Vadhiyar as he is called locally) learning the practices in Ayurveda, the art of recognizing medicinal plants, medicine making, use of medicines, understanding learning the treatment process and helping the Vadiyar in treating patients. Once the volunteers gain more confidence they then directly get onto treating patients under the guidance of the Vadhiyar. It’s a great program where volunteer gets a chance to learn and experience the ancient science of healing and at the same time practice it for community service.
This program does not need any prior education or experience with medicine but volunteers are required to sensitive and have an open-minded approach towards alternative methods of treatment.
Accommodation in Kerala is a typical ethnic Kerala Homestay, as it gives the volunteers a chance to experience the local culture, traditions, Indian family system and Indian way of life. Home cooked delicious India food is a bonus. Homestays are very basic unlike what volunteers are used to and volunteers generally share room/bathroom with fellow volunteers. Host families are carefully selected by us on the basis of their ability to handle and host international volunteers but because of the cultural differences settling in needs some adjustments. It is a wonderful experience for anyone who really wishes to enjoy and explore India on a deeper level than the general tourist.
Cultural Activities :
Kerala is famous world over for it’s cultural and spiritual traditions and has a lot to offer for the volunteers to learn from. Our program in Kerala includes Local sightseeing, orientation to the life, greetings, and customs to help volunteers settle in. We have also included 5 times a week Yoga lessons in our program which gives our volunteers a taste of the most popular traditions of India. Volunteers also have a chance to learn Indian cooking at the Homestay. Apart from our program, inclusive activities Volunteers are encouraged to extract and learn as much as they while they are staying in Kerala. Some of the courses are available are Ayurveda, Panchkarma, Kalari Martial Art, Tantric Kalam, Naga Yoga, Music, Herbal Medicine, etc.
Volunteers generally spend the weekends relaxing, shopping and exploring the city of Kannur. Volunteers also enroll themselves for cultural courses, which are generally taken on weekends such as Music classes or Tantric Kala. We encourage our volunteers to visit and explore the nearby cities, which are the most popular tourist destinations in Kerala and make a perfect weekend getaway. Some of the most popular weekend’s getaways are Wayanad, Cochin, Bangalore, Goa, Kovalam, Backwaters, etc. Our Program coordinators are always there to help, design and plan your weekends.
Local Coordinator :
Katja Gunzinam: A biologist and English teacher from Germany who has made India her home in 2006 following her true calling. Volunteered and traveled all over the world for 15 years and has been coordinating volunteers in India since 2007 after experiencing India as a volunteer herself. Finds it easier to be spiritual in India where the entire country is vibrating in spirituality, has done Vipassana meditation, and lives with her soul mate Ranjit and 3 dogs in their house in Kannur, Kerala, where they give volunteers a home away from home.
Program Fee and Start Dates :
Our projects in Dharamsala are available from March – Mid December, with no, have fixed start dates. Volunteers can start on any date of their preference. Though we do not have fixed start dates we prefer volunteers to arrive in India on Thursday or Friday, this provides the volunteers with an opportunity to relax, acclimatize and adjust to the new environment, weather, time zone, etc before starting work on Monday.
|Volunteering Period||Program Fee (USD)|
- Note : Apart from the above Program fee, a registration fee of $250 is required at the time of application to book your placement.
What does this program fee include?
Our programs are all inclusive they include everything from arrival till departure.
- Pre Departure information and support
- Airport pick upon arrival
- Overnight stay in Delhi (If required, depending upon arrival times)
- Transfer to Dharamsala via overnight Bus
- Home stay / Guest house Accommodation
- 2 or 3 meals per day while volunteering
- Orientation about Local life, customs, greetings etc.
- Yoga lessons 4-5 times per week
- Weekend trek to Triund
- Local Sightseeing
- Tibetan/India cooking lessons (once a week)
- In country support 24-7, emergency contact
- Return transfer to New Delhi via overnight Bus
What is NOT included?
- International Airfares
- Travel Insurance
- Visa and Visa extension fee
- Local transportation
- Airport Drop
- Personal expenses : Bottled water, Toiletries etc
- Weekend Trips