Yoga in India and volunteering vacation

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2017: 6 May, 13 May, 20 May, 27 May, 3 Jun, 10 Jun, 17 Jun, 24 Jun, 1 Jul, 8 Jul, 15 Jul, 22 Jul, 29 Jul, 5 Aug, 12 Aug, 19 Aug, 26 Aug, 2 Sep, 9 Sep, 16 Sep, 23 Sep, 30 Sep, 7 Oct, 14 Oct, 21 Oct, 28 Oct, 4 Nov, 11 Nov, 18 Nov, 25 Nov, 2 Dec, 9 Dec, 16 Dec, 23 Dec, 30 Dec
2018: 6 Jan, 13 Jan, 20 Jan
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Yoga in India and volunteering vacation

Environment

Our volunteer placements in India are designed to immerse you in a different culture, living and working with local people. There’s plenty to gain personally from this. But we make sure that local people benefit too by choosing projects that bring tangible improvements to their lives. Our local partners are leaders in sustainable tourism. All activities and itineraries are designed in collaboration with the villagers themselves, based around the principles of community-based tourism. We are committed to providing local people with a complimentary source of income while still continuing their traditional way of life.

Pre-departure preparation
All of our participants receive pre-departure guides. This covers topics on how to be culturally sensitive, how to best look after the environment when in the country and how to stay safe as well as up to date information on the political situation. They are also briefed on how to dispose of waste properly and where possible, to avoid using plastic water bottles as these are not easy to dispose of environmentally.

Meaningful Volunteering:
Our Volunteer programs are lasting and meaningful and have a long term impact on the communities we work with. These children have little access to quality education.This is where the volunteers come in. In order to attend formal school in India students must be at a certain academic level and you will be helping the children we work with to reach this standard. For the children, a good understanding of English opens up many more opportunities in the future particularly in Tourism.

Child Protection:
We have a strong child protection policy and require police checks and DBS from all our participants. Staff who take photos are required to ensure they are up to a standard approved by our local partners or schools. We have strict expectations of volunteers as far as how they interact with the children. We also give no information to the volunteers about the children’s backgrounds.

Environment:
We send out comprehensive pre-departure briefing, which includes a section on protecting the local environment. In particular we advise participants to take care with water, which is an issue in many of our destinations. We recommend they avoid unnecessary washing, using hand wash gel where they can. We also instruct them on how to dispose of waste properly, not to litter and, where possible, to avoid using plastic water bottles which are not easy to dispose of environmentally.

Community

All our programs are designed in collaboration with the community and based around the principles of community-based tourism. We are committed to providing local people with a support while still continuing their traditional way of life.

Volunteer and Service Placements:
Volunteer time, effort, and attention are of great value to our local partners such as NGOs, schools, and children’s homes that we serve. We make sure that whoever we are tied up with are operating with our values in mind and are for the improvement of life on ground. Yoga classes with a local local teacher generates revenue for the teachers also.


Cultural sensitivity:
We emphasise the importance of showing respect for local people and their customs in our briefing material. Participants will work alongside permanent staff, forming close bonds and getting an insight into real life in India Our policy is to send people to the developing world in small groups or individually. This minimises the environmental and social impact that the participants have on the destination and helps them to integrate into the local community.

Reviews of Yoga in India and volunteering vacation

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 20 Feb 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


So many aspects of the trip were memorable, even life changing -- it is hard to choose just one. The members of the Volunteering Journeys team in Fort Kochi are so warm and welcoming, and work so hard to ensure that all the volunteers have a special time there that they really made the experience come to life. Working closely with the women and children in the projects was an incredible opportunity to connect with and learn about realities outside our own world. We also had some very special opportunities to explore the local area using local transport and our own initiative that brought us a much richer experience of the culture and living in the community.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Leave your expectations behind, along with any clothing made of synthetic fabrics (it is HOT in Kerala). Bring loose fitting shoes, as your feet will swell, and spend some time before you arrive thinking of how you would approach teaching English to the people on the projects. There are lesson materials available, but you hit the ground running and the first couple of days can be a bit of a struggle.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I hope so. I think particularly the children benefit from the attention and exposure they get to confident and supportive people from other countries and cultures, and the women gain their own confidence in their English and their awareness of the world. I have to say, though, that for everything we gave them I feel sure we took away far more in terms of understanding, self-
confidence and the warmth of their affection.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Truly life-changing. It is very much the kind of experience where you get back in proportion to what you put in, but the wonderful staff at VJ magnified the returns on everything.

Reviewed on 02 Oct 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


This was a volunteering vacation so that whole premise was fantastic. I'd never done that before and it felt fabulous to be really doing something even though on vacations.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


I think that everything on this vacation was very well organised but I think that you need to stay in contact with the people on the ground as much as possible so having a local sim is really handy. Oh, and find out if it's school vacation time when you go as that does make a difference to the volunteering program. I would have liked to know what happens when school term time is on.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I would hope so. I hope it wasn't just a flash in the pan for them. I hope it was
real.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Fabulous.

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