Mini Break Program - Palampur 2014 - 2015
Volunteering India offers an exciting opportunity to do a 2 week volunteer trip along with weekend excursions for the volunteers. Mini Break Program is a combination of volunteer program and weekend excursions to Dharamshala and the world famous Golden Temple in Amritsar.
This program is especially suitable for volunteers who do not have time to commit to a month or more of volunteering abroad but would like to make some contribution and also travel along with other volunteers on the weekends to one of the most spectacular places in northern India.
The program is based in Palampur which is located 550 Km North of New Delhi in the State of Himachal Pradesh. Palampur is located in District Kangra at an elevation of 4500 Ft above sea level. The area is very well known for its beautiful Tea gardens. Different tourist attractions such as Dharamshala are located in close proximity to Palampur. Dharamshala is the hometown of The Dalai Lama and provides immense tourist and learning opportunities.
Palampur is also close to the start up points of very Interesting trekking routes through the Dhauladhar Mountain Ranges which are snow Capped Mountains with ample scenic sites. Palampur is blessed with natural water streams flowing from the mountains besides thick forest cover. The beauty of the climate of this area during winters is that the days are nice and sunny and the nights are cool. The winters are not very harsh and ideal for travelers.
Volunteers in this program work in Childcare Program.The local day care centers or “Anganwadis” as they are locally called arelocated in and around Palampur. Since the area is a semi rural area, there are not many qualified and well trained caretakers for the children. Our volunteers play a significant role by providing the children with the much needed attention, love and care. Volunteers provide one on one attention to each and every child and help in the overall holistic development of the children.
Volunteers also help the day care centre staff by helping in daily jobs, such as feeding, cleaning, clothing, teaching and playing games with the children. Since the inception of this volunteer program, we have seen a gradual change and development in the working of the day care centers in which our volunteers work. Volunteers have played a big role in their development by lending a helping and caring hand.
Typical volunteer activities include:
- Create a fun, colorful, “Play Way” environment for the children through games, stories and other creative activities.
- Decorating and painting the day care center with charts, colors , papers to make it look attractive and inviting for more children to join these centers.
- Help, prepare and, serve nutritious meals for the children every day with the help of a local worker.
A Day in the life of a Volunteer in this Project
As a volunteer you would live in our homebase accommodations in Palampur. The accommodations are in close proximity to majority of the childcare project placements. Volunteers usually choose to take a pleasant walk to their placement or go by bus. After having breakfast at the accommodations, volunteers go to their placements and usually start work around 09:30 am in the morning. After working till the afternoon, you would return to the accommodations for lunch. For those volunteers, who are interested in working for longer hours we also arrange project placements where you can teach underprivileged children of migrant labourers working in tea gardens in Palampur. Volunteers can teach basic English, good hygiene habits to the children. In the evening you are free to go to the nearby main Palampur market for shopping or hang out with other volunteers and visit the famous tourist attrations around Palampur and enjoy the lush green landscape of the town. Volunteers can access internet at the local Volunteering India office in Palampur or at a nearby internet cafe to keep in touch with family and friends back home.
Start Date : Every 2nd and 4th Monday of the month
Arrival Date : One day before the Program Start Date
Weekend Excursions and Trips
Trip to Amritsar (Golden Temple)
Weekend One On the first weekend, volunteers will be going to Amritsar to visit the world famous Golden Temple, which is also the spiritual and cultural center of the Sikh religion. It is considered to be the holiest shrine by Sikhs. An active place of worship for Sikhs, the Golden Temple is also one of India's major tourist destinations. Other places that will be visited include :-
Visit The Wagah border – Change of Guards ceremony The Wagah border, often called the "Berlin wall of Asia", is a ceremonial border on the India–Pakistan Border where each evening there is a retreat ceremony called 'lowering of the flags. At that time there is an energetic parade by the Border Security Force (B.S.F) of India and the soldiers. Troops of each country put on a show in their uniforms with their colorful turbans. Border officials from the two countries sometimes walk over to the offices on the other side for day to day affairs. Volunteers will be returning to Palampur on Sunday evening after touring Amritsar.
Trip to Dharamsala / Mcleodganj
On the second weekend, you will be visiting Dharamsala and Mcleodganj which is also the home of the Dalai Lama and the exiled Tibetan government .Dharamsala is located at a distance of 40 kms from Palampur and is surrounded by dense forests.
Places to Visit –
Sightseeing Trip in Palampur (Half day trip)
Sightseeing includes local visits at art gallery, old Shiva temple as well as Buddhist monastery. This trip will be conducted on a weekday.
What does your Program Fee Cover ?
Pre Departure information - A comprehensive booklet to prepare you for your trip before you come. You will get this booklet as soon as you pay your registration fee after completing your application form online. The booklet provides information regarding the country , projects , coordinators , Things to pack , Visas and Emergency Contact Information.
Pickup and Drop - Volunteers joining the programs in Palampur can choose to arrive at Dharamsala Airport by taking a connecting flight from Delhi. You can also arrive in Palampur directly by bus from Delhi. All volunteers would be provided pickup and drop back to the airport/ bus station.
Volunteers also have a choice to arrive by train from Delhi. Volunteers choosing to arrive by train need to arrive at Pathankot or Una railway station from where they will be driven to Palampur. Volunteers need to incur extra charges for pickup and drop to train station.
Orientation - A half day orientation will be provided by the local coordinators in Palampur. Topics relevant to the project, safety guidelines, customs, local transportation, weekend activities are covered in the orientation.
Volunteers are encouraged to join the Orientation Week - Learn Language, History, Culture & Discover India! in Delhi which gives them an opportunity to explore different sights in Delhi and also learn some basic Hindi.
Welcome Dinner - Dinner out with local staff and other volunteers to welcome you in the program.
Accommodation - Volunteer accommodations are provided in the volunteer homebase. The accommodations are well furnished with bed and bedding provided. Rooms are shared with other volunteers.
Food - Volunteers are served with three meals a day in this project - Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Typical vegetarian Indian meals may include Dal (Lentils), Curry, Rice, Vegetables, Salad, Yoghurt, Roti (Indian Bread). We can accommodate any special dietary requirements for the volunteers.
Tour of Palampur and Nearby Tourist Attractions - Volunteers are taken on a tour of Palampur, the main market as well as famous tourist locations such as Tashi Jong Monastery and Baijnath Temple.
Trip to Amritsar and Dharamsala - 1 night / 2 day trip to Amritsar and day trip to Dharamsala is included as a part of the program.
Yoga Class - Once a Week - by a trained Yoga instructor
Visit to Tea Garden and Tea Factory - Volunteers are taken on a tour of a tea garden and tea factory to see how the famous Kangra Green Tea is manufactured.
In-country support - Volunteers have the support and assistance of the local coordinators and staff in case of any Emergency. All our staff and coordinators are available for any help which is required by volunteers.
What your Program Fee does not cover ?
- Visa Fee
- Personal expenses such as toiletries etc
- Local Transportation
- Travel / Medical Insurance
Other Programs in Palampur
- Language and Orientation Week
- Mini Break Program - Delhi
- Street Children Volunteer Program
- Volunteer at an Orphanage
- Women Empowerment Program