Participate in reforestation in this eco-friendly, rural village in India! Help to reforest 70 acres of severely eroded land, in order to recreate the Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest indigenous to this area.
Sadhana Forest is a unit of Auroville, an experimental international township devoted to the goal of Human Unity. We are located in South India about 8km from the city of Pondicherry, 150 kilometers from the major metropolitan city of Chennai, and within a few hundred kilometers of numerous other destinations (beaches, mangroves, national parks, and so on).
Volunteers will sleep in 30-40 person dormitories constructed from natural, biodegradable and/or recycled materials.
It is worth noting that there will be other individual and group volunteers present in addition to the members of this group.
Sadhana Forest provides 18 all-vegan, whole food, mostly organic, mostly local meals per week for all volunteers. Breakfast is served every day, while there is no dinner served on Fridays and no lunch served on Saturday and Sunday. When no meals are provided, volunteers may cook on their own in the kitchen or go out to eat.
Our main project is the reforestation of 70 acres of severely eroded land.
We are working to recreate the Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest indigenous to our area. This forest type is found only in Southern India and Sri Lanka and provides a rare biological richness due to its very high species abundance (over 1000 species of trees, shrubbery and liana). The Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest is now close to total extinction, with only 0.01% of the original forest surviving.
We are working to keep this rich and beautiful forest on earth.
Volunteers at Sadhana Forest spend about 30-35 hours a week assisting in reforestation and water conservation work or in general community work that sustains the project as a whole. The reforestation work consists of preparing mounds for tree planting, planting trees, watering and mulching young trees, inspecting trees for fungal, bacterial, or other attacks, brewing home-made organic fertilizers and insect repellents, applying them, and caring for trees in our tree nursery. The water conservation work consists of building and repairing bunds, swales, trenches, and gabions. Our main goal is to use natural, low-tech landscaping methods to sequester water in the aquifer below, then to plant and care for young trees until they tap into the aquifer and begin to sustain themselves.
Here’s an outline of how your typical day and week will look:
5:30 am: Wakeup
6:00 am: Morning Circle
6:15 am: First Seva (forest work)
8:30 am: Breakfast
9:30 am: Second Seva (community work)
12:30 pm: Lunch
1:30 - 6:00 pm: Workshops and free time
3:00 pm: Dinner cooking (selected volunteers)
6:00 pm: Dinner
7:00 pm: Community event
Community Events (after dinner):
Monday: Core Values Talk
Tuesday: Sharing Circle
Wednesday: Non-talent Show
Thursday: Night Out
Friday: Eco-Film Club
Sunday: Community Meeting
7:00 am: First seva (selected teams)
9:00 am: Breakfast
10:00 am: Second seva (selected teams)
3:00 pm: Dinner cooking (selected volunteers)
6:00 pm: Dinner
The general community work includes tasks such as:
- Preparing meals in the kitchen
- Cleaning up after meals
- Composting food waste
- Managing the tool shed, organizing and repairing tools
- Working in the gardens
- Gathering and processing firewood
- Inspecting huts for bee and termite damage
- Maintaining solar panels
- Maintaining dry compost toilets
- Sorting community waste for processing in nearby recycling centers
- We provide 24/7 WiFi and cellphone connectivity.
- We are located 4km from the local hospital, and in cases of emergency, we have 24/7 access to the Auroville ambulance service and there are numerous clinics and health centers in the immediate area.
What's included in the fee?
What's not included in the fee?
The following is not included in our fee:
- Flights and travel costs to Auroville
- Transportation to and from our location
- Insurance: Volunteers are responsible for purchasing travel and health insurance at their own cost
- Pickup: Sunday, July 1st 2018 at 9:00 from CMBT Bus terminal, Chennai
- Drop off: Saturday, July 14th, 2018, at CMBT Bus terminal, Chennai
- An additional 1,000 Indian Rupees (about $14 USD) deposit is required for bedding and will be returned to you at the end of your stay
- Sadhana Forest will provide all volunteers with orientation on the day of arrival and with a full, in-depth tour of the project on their first Friday
- Volunteers should be aware that Sadhana Forest is an organization run exclusively by volunteers; any incoming volunteers will be joining an already established (if always changing) group of volunteers. All who stay here participate equally in our work.
- Facilities include access to a large natural swimming pond, 24/7 unlimited access to the Internet with your own device (weather and solar energy permitting), 4 hours each day of AC power to charge electrical items, and a small library.
- There are also daily workshops offered free of charge by our community members, which vary each week, as well as regular community events such as the Wednesday Night Non-Talent Show and the Friday Night Eco Film Club.
- Having a successful and rewarding experience at Sadhana Forest requires an openness to foreign cultures and climates (we are in India and host guests from all over the world), to a different schedule (we work from 6AM until 12 Noon), to new diets (we eat only vegan, unprocessed food), to new forms of accommodation (we live in open-air, thatch-roofed bamboo huts), and to new living arrangements (we sleep in dormitories, eat meals communally, take bucket showers, and use dry-compost toilets).
- As our work in the forest has progressed and Sadhana Forest has grown, we have also opened two new projects here on our premises. The first, Children’s Land, opened in 2010. It is a space for local children from underprivileged backgrounds to come explore and use freely as their own. The second, the “Goshala” (Animal Sanctuary), opened in 2016, is a retirement center for a small number of injured and/or abandoned animals.