My name is Jeevan Lal Verma, I was born in the village of Sunargaon, which is in the Kanda, Bageshwar District of the Kumoan region in Uttarakhand, North India. I studied in Inter College Kanda, ITI Training Almora and National Apprenticeship at Scooters India limited Lucknow after I had finished my studying and visiting life in the city I decided to do social work within my village. I felt called to social work because I had a helping nature, I had always suffered from a lack of money, but my soul told me to serve the local community. I made it my hobby to connect to the whole of the world, so I participated in many training projects, workshops, visits and conferences by the youth leadership and as a social activist.
It was June 1988 when I participated in a workshop where I met some foreign visitors looking for a host family. August the same year I hosted eight international volunteers from different nations. They participated in 15 days home stay, cultural exchange and social & rural development work camps. That was my first experience and it was very successful. My family and the whole community gave the visitors a warm welcome. The community and youth of Kanda participated and my family was very cooperative with hosting the international volunteers, who adjusted very well to our family life. I felt good because the visiting group were very flexible, civilized and had a good sense of humor. It was a valuable exchange because I learnt some skills and increased my knowledge from them.
I still participate in international seminars, workshops, training programs, fairs and festivals in India and exhibit photographs of the volunteers and village tourism so people are aware of the opportunities we provide.
My family members will also be your hosts. Myself and my wife Hema have six children together. The eldest girl Praveen is married and lives about 45 minutes away – a breathtaking walk through the paddy fields and hills. Jeetendra is my eldest son, Diptee is my second daughter (also married), Renu and Gunga are my other daughters in order of age and Sadju is my youngest son. Jeetendra’s wife also lives with us, as does my grandson Gautam (Praveen’s son).