All posts by Chander_K

Awards & Achievements

Achievements:September 2007
Honored by the Honorable Tourism Minister (Uttarakhand) Shri Prakash Pant on World Tourism Day at H.N.B. Garhwal University, Srinagar for efforts in promoting Rural Eco / Voluntary Tourism.
This on the recommendation of Prof S.C.Bagri, Director of the Centre for Mountain Tourism and Hospitality Studies HNB Garhwal University Srinagar in his research on “Rural Eco / Voluntary Tourism in Sunargoan, Kanda, Bageshwar, Uttaranchal”.

Awards:

2006
Selected for Best Citizens of India 2006, by The India International Friendship Society, New Delhi

2005
Awarded First Choice Responsible Tourism Award 2005 for Best Volunteering programme, sponsored by The Imaginative Traveler, from The World Travel Market (WTM), London
(http://www.presspicture.net/p247t-login.htm).

2001
Selected for The Pride of Utaranchal, by Utsah New Delhi.

What to expect

Lodging & boarding:

image005Simplicity is what you would see and get in all the activities of your day-to- day living as you stay with us. We have kept in mind the hygiene needs while planning for our guests’ requirements. As a guest you would be provided with:

  • A room with traditional settings on single or sharing basis depending on the availability and the need.
  • Hygienically cooked vegetarian Kumauni food. Kumauni food is similar to food served elsewhere in northern India. For, non-vegetarian food one has to request in advance.
  • A clean traditional dry-composting or wet-compositing toilet.

Our Food:

We shall serve you our home cooked vegetarian food and it will be mostly from the ingredients grown locally .There is a tradition of two main meals in hill region of Uttrakhand. One full meal late morning around 9-10 am as the day goes in doing daily chores in the field or their respective work routines this is followed by light evening tea around 4.00 & 5.00 pm with some snacks and an early dinner between 7.00 & 8.00 pm as the village goes to sleep early. But now-a-days, eating habits are changing as per modern living so do get a three daily meal system in villages also.

In other words you will share all the same amenities as the family enjoy. Your only other expenses will be for personal shopping when you go to the local market or on excursions with the family or on your own.

Money Matters:

If you run out of money during your stay, the closest ATM (cash machine) is located in Bageshwar (1h bus ride from Kanda) and the nearest place for changing money is The State Bank of India in Almora (5h bus ride from Kanda). Do not expect to change more than £60 or a $100 at a time. Visas/Credit Cards are not accepted.

Internship

7An intern is one who works in a temporary position with an emphasis on education. ROSE offers to the opportunity for interns to work here on a voluntary basis (unpaid). Interns can work in sustainable agriculture, rural development and construction, gaining the associated skills.

Interns receive practical training from farmers, artisans and international students in a range of skills. In exchange for these learning opportunities, interns are expected to do farm work, assist in teaching skills to shorter-term guests, to assist in developing training materials, and to assist with organizational and guest support.

On a daily basis agricultural interns participate in the farming activities of the season. This gives practice in the skills of working with draft animals and using farm machinery. They plant, cultivate and harvest a rotation of crops and learn many associated skills, such as woodworking, metalworking and blacksmithing. These activities create an understanding and empathy for the work demands of farmers and crafts people.

Construction interns learn both traditional and modern Indian construction techniques while working on construction projects that will be of great benefit to the local community.

An example of a recent internship is Domonkos Mikesy from Planet Foundation Hungary who will be spending 6 months in total with the Verma family learning construction techniques during the building of a community centre, which will provide shelter to families whose houses are lost to flash floods and mudslides in the monsoon. Catherine Duclos represents Boarder Less Volunteers M.C.Gill University Canada who will be financing the construction work.

Travel advisory

What to carry?To make your trip planning easier we share some of our thoughts on:

Clothes:

travel_advisory_3Besides your basic personal clothing we suggest following cloths based on the weather and experiences of our past guests

For summers:

As the temperatures rises during the summer it is advised to take loose clothing along with at least one winter wear -a light jacket or a shawl, as there can be chill in the morning & evening. Loose cotton pyjamas or pants are suggested with one or two full sleeves shirts, T-shirts or tops to protect from insects. For, ladies Punjabi salwar suites if not trousers will be helpful in moving around and taking part in some activity.

For winters:

We would suggest that going by the temperature guidelines; kindly carry adequate winter clothing as per your body needs. There isn’t any central heating system so the clothing should be warm enough. A cap along with gloves will come handy in extreme cold weather. Please remember that you may not get proper heating in the rooms at times so please plan accordingly.

Medicines:

travel_advisory_1We would advise you to carry with you all the basic medicines for headache, stomach ache, upset stomach, body ache, fever, cough & cold, anti allergic, antibiotics for toothache along with any other medicine which you are used to having on a regular basis as we may not get all the medicines in the interiors. The medicines can be brought along or you may buy them from cities on the way up.

Footwear:

A pair of shoes suitable for walking in the hilly terrain is advisable along with a sleeper or sandals as per personal likings.

Toiletries:

Besides your daily needs, please do carry a moisturizer as the skin may turn dry because of the weather. In summers, may need to carry a prickly heat powder, mosquito repellent & a deodorant too.

Other accessories:

  • A small torch will be handy if power goes off or whilst negotiating a path during nights.
  • You may carry a token gift for your hosts though not very costly as that helps in building the bond and its also a tradition.
  • Carry a small notebook & a pen to jot down your experiences.
  • If you want to take your memories further, take your camera with a spare set of batteries.

 

Do’s & don’t:travel_advisory_2As we shall move into a conservative society it becomes important for us to respect their way of living. After discussing with our past guests we would like to share few points and we request our guests to kindly keep following points in mind during the stay:

  • Avoid public display of affection to your companion or with the local people.
  • Do not defecate or urinate near water source.
  • Do not use your finger or serving spoon for tasting the food.
  • For ladies, it is advisable that they wear concealing clothing & avoid wearing clothes like shorts, short skirts or spaghetti tops. Please do not feel offended. We are just facilitating you to be a part of the group. Incorrect clothing can make you feel isolated.
  • Please respect the values, believes, culture and religion of your hosts and the people of the locality.
  • Please feel free to ask your host questions about their customs, culture etc as this will not only enhance your awareness but also help in enhancing your relationship.
  • While planning your trip do consider referring to the inputs provided by us in the section what to carry.

The only prerequisites for volunteering with R.O.S E are:
• Patience and willingness to learn , low cost technology / skill and
knowledge sharer, helper and supporter.
• Flexibility and adaptability ,obedient  to host  .
• Honesty and respect for local lifestyles don’t create problem for
the host family and community.
• A sense of humors! Don’t doing antisocial activities. Living civilized way.
*Don’t show western culture and wearing proper dress.
*Don’t drink Alcohol / Wine  and don’t smoke  hemp .
* After dinner go to bed ,keep quite don’t shouting ,Don’t disturb any person .

What can I expect when volunteering with R.O.S.E?

ROSE offers an array of opportunities to self motivated volunteers It
is a real experience in community life Opportunities include:

  • Living with a family, as part of a local community / world wide family, and having a real experience of a rural Indian lifestyle.
  • Being involved in teaching school children, organic farming and learning about bio diversity and cottage industries, including construction and protection of local Environment.
  • Enjoying the tranquility and beautiful scenery of an organic agricultural village in the foothills of the Himalayas, or taking time out to explore the Himalayas on one of the many Treks in the Kanda area. Learning Hindi or Kumaoni and enjoying unique Kumaoni cuisine.
  • Developing self confidence social awareness, and having fun!

Testimonials

Greetings, My name is Tom Pi. I am 54 years old and hail from Darrington, Wa. USA. I spent 2 weeks at ROSE at the end of December, 2106. Before making the journey I researched volunteer activities in India online, as that is my preferred method of travel – that is, cultural immersion. In my mind I envisioned an India that I could witness from the inside without the pollution of tourism or commercialism. So often I’d find myself afflicted with culture fear that caused me to stay in my hotel or seek other Westerners for comfort. In other words I was retreating rather than advancing. ROSE seemed like it had something else in mind, chiefly an underlying promise to involve visitors locally without pretention. It’s quite a ways from Delhi but I found that I had made the right choice. On arrival I was given a cup of chai and sat down to chat with Jeevan, the director. I was given a modest room and the next morning shared breakfast with his family. This was a good start I reflected to myself while gazing upon the remarkable sunlit terraces. It wasn’t initially clear what I was going to be doing nor was it lucid what Jeevan expected of me. This is why a few days would not be appropriate for a hurried volunteer. It took 3 days alone to discover my purpose here. I began practicing Hindi phrases, spent time with the carpenter, contributed a meal and mastered the squat toilet. I suddenly found that I was immersing, just as I had hoped to do. It became clear that this was the sort of adventure that I had been seeking.

There are no demands of you here – you could quite comfortably and undisturbingly fill a journal or read a book between provided meals but if you have any sense of propriety in this socially unequal world you will answer a call to action and dip into this oft times alien culture. Immersion means just that – an overwhelming urge to know and understand the situation in which you’ve traveled 10,000 miles to put yourself into. Don’t expect India to echo the US or Europe. There are inconsistencies everywhere you look. Everything seems to be made of concrete. Why so much trash? Does every vehicle on the road need to be honking 24/7? If one could live in India for a year some of these questions might be answered. I felt my 2 weeks were a solid introduction, at least to the rural lifestyle. Yes, Indians are naturally curious and will swarm the light faced visitor but I found them to be gentle, honest and warm hearted folk, family oriented but somewhat powerless to change the government view of things and thus their social status. Jeevan here at ROSE is trying his best with limited resources. He is the earth of a grassroots organization, a fertile earth that will eventually grow all the produce necessary for change. It just needs a little Western fertilizer to get in into the spotlight.

 

 

“We are two British volunteers who have recently been staying with the Verma family in a beautiful setting in the foothills of the Himalayas. We really wanted to do something worthwhile while in India but found that a lot of charities had extortionate administration fees and a minimum length of stay requirement of at least one month. We soon came across R.O.S.E. Kanda which offered the perfect combination of volunteering and an experience of traditional rural Indian life at not too high a cost. We had no idea what to expect but were delighted when we laid eyes on the brightly rose-coloured family house and surrounding farm lands. The trip to Kanda is not an easy one but undeniably worth the time it takes to get here – the journey through the winding mountain roads is a wonderful experience in itself if you’re happy to share a bus with the locals and put up with the occasional bout of travel sickness! After one week with the family, we have witnessed a Hindu ceremony, tasted the delights of authentic home cuisine (eaten with hands of course), watched a cow being artificially inseminated, taught deprived Indian school children the hokey cokey and developed a warm attachment to Mr Verma and his family. We cannot recommend this experience more highly to anyone considering volunteering in India!
In the past, R.O.S.E. Kanda has raised a substantial amount of money thanks to the high number of visitors which has greatly improved the quality of lives of many poor residents here. We were, however, shocked to discover that R.O.S.E. is currently suffering from a lack of volunteers and therefore funds to initiate new development projects. Part of our job this week has been office-based to try to find new ways of promoting the organisation’s charitable activities, which we hope to continue on our return to England. Any volunteers with in interest in development, outreach or fundraising would therefore gain a lot from this experience and be highly valued. We have learnt a lot and thank the Verma family, wishing them every success in the future. We will stay in contact and hope to return to a thriving organisation in the future as it has been in the past.”
– Nicole and Harriet

‘Living all together within the same Indian family gave us the opportunity to experience and learn about new cultures.  In the family we are introduced to a modest lifestyle, which allows us to comprehend the daily realities for a rural community in India.  This is an incredible opportunity to experience and discover their music, smells, peaceful way of life and unique culture.’-Elise Desloges, Canada

‘Jeevan’s family welcomed me into their house and I enjoyed spending time helping with their chores or just playing with them.  My only real problem whilst staying at ROSE was homesickness but the children would cheer me up by putting flowers in my hair or drawing with me.  They are lovely people and I will never forget them.  I have fond memories of Gunja trying to teach me to wash my clothes at the well.  I really did appreciate all the delicious meals that were prepared by Jeevan’s wife and children.  Thank you so much!’
-Polly Rathbone, UK

‘The altitude where we are staying is 2800 meters and sometimes it is hard to breathe.  The view is so wonderful that it doesn’t matter.  There are many hills to go down and up, there are no cars about, just little stoney paths.’
-Amy Dorman and Stephanie Humberest, Switzerland

‘I spent a short spell of 3 weeks at ROSE in Kanda.  I found the experience totally worthwhile and informative…It helped me to really accept how little I understand this amazingly vast world and how much I am in no position to judge anyone else’s behaviour, culture, etc. or even my own for that matter.’
-Andrew Daube, Australia

‘Life at Jeevan’s house is relatively comfortable … (but) you can see all around poor families that suffer from a lack of resources. This … makes you realize that most of your problems are unimportant.’
-Eric Samson, Canada

‘The experience I gained here will always remain as on my most precious possessions.’
-Reiko Yoshida, Japan

‘I will be incredibly sad to leave Kanda … I will miss everyday life with the Vermas. Life here can be harsh, especially for the women, but they people are hardy ,inquisitive and open.’
-Carol Kitchener , UK