Volunteers are an essential part of the swaYYam community. One of our objectives is to be independent of outside labor and manage our daily work together with the volunteers. You are welcome at any time to come and participate in our project, to live and work together with us in awareness and respect for the environment. Farming or any relevant experience is very welcome but not necessary. Bring your open mind and happy spirits to share. The facilities (electricity, water, purchasing food and supplies, cooking and cleaning etc) are run and maintained by volunteers, with some advice from the facilitators. Things may not be as perfectly organised as back home, but we ask you to try to take an attitude of helping out rather than complaining.
Suggested length of stay for volunteers:
A minimum commitment of 15 days is essential to enable a worthwhile engagement for both of us.
Opportunities for volunteers:
The project offers a wide range of working possibilities – vegetable gardens, fruit trees nursery, medicinal plants nursery, seed saving, composting, vermicomposting, natural soap making, cooking community meals, natural buildings, preserving foods – pickles, spice powders, jams, kombucha, documentation, tree planting, mulching, watering, maintaining the community space, educational workshops, building up a live fence etc.
We start work early, of course depending on the weather and work for about 6-8 hours, Monday to Friday (although, there are no holidays for farmers and the love of the work makes it fun). We are always flexible in considering your individual needs and preferences. We appreciate creativity and initiative and welcome any ideas you may have to improve our project and our community. We consider volunteering an opportunity to share, learn and exchange. We are as much open to learning from you as you are.
Bus services to the village are quite convenient.
English, Hindi, Kannada.
Children or pets:
Given that we are not very far from a Wildlife Reserve Forest (tigers, elephants, leopards and wild boars) we would NOT be able to host pets. Children however are very welcome.
swaYYam is a nonprofit project that does not generate any income; therefore we unfortunately cannot afford to provide free food and accommodation for volunteers. We share the costs of our vegetarian organic meals equally. The total cost of food per person per day is 250 Indian Rupees per day (this is about 3 USD), though support is provided for those who have stayed 2 months showing dedication, taken on a role of responsibility and committed to a minimum of 4 months. In the future, when we grow more of our own food, we hope the cost for food will be lesser. Vegetarian Community meals are cooked together by the volunteers and residents. Most of the food cooked is Organic and grown locally.
Various possibilities of a house in a village, dormitory, bamboo huts and mud houses on the land, which we will build soon. You could help us build some too. If you have your tents you could pitch it up to the sight of the starlit skies. Mattresses, pillows and clean sheets will be provided. However we encourage you to bring your own sleeping bags and a sheet if possible.
Dress code and conduct:
Given that we are in a rural setting in conservative India, living with farmers who toil the soil all day, please dress modestly at all times. Wear clothes that cover the shoulders and the knees. Avoid wearing deep neck and figure hugging outfits. Inappropriate displays of physical affection, public displays of physical affection between men and women are not very welcome. This is requested of you more out of respect for the Indian culture and the people rather than a code.
We hope to provide free limited access to the internet for a couple hours twice a week. We aim towards living off the grid and become independent from non-renewable energies.; therefore a wise use of electric/electronic gadgets will be very much appreciated. The closest town with good internet access is 45 minutes away by bus that plies every hour.
If you stay with us for long, you have several places of interest within 2-3 hours since we are in Karnataka and at the borders of 2 other states – Tamilnadu and Kerala in less than 100 km radius.
We follow and practice an eco-friendly lifestyle, please, bring your biodegradable toiletries or you can buy them from us. It’s preferred that the women use washable sanitary cotton pads or a moon/she cup. Keeping the ethos of the land, plastics or any non-biodegradable materials, you will need to take them back with you and cannot be littered, burned or disposed off on the land.
Volunteers should not smoke cigarettes, use drugs, or drink alcohol during their entire stay. Only come when this is a realistic lifestyle for you.
Believers need to keep their faith to themselves or in utmost privacy. Carry insect repellants, towels, toiletries, work clothes, sun hat, a sleeping bag and a torch.
Distances from the project site to:
Bandipur Tiger Reserve – 10.5 kms, Gundlupet – 29 kms, Ooty (Tamilnadu)– 57 kms, Chamarajnagar – 50 kms, Mysore – 85 kms, Wayanad (Kerala) – 100 kms, Calicut (Kerala) – 148 kms, Coimbatore (Tamilnadu) – 150 kms, Bangalore – 225 kms.
Coordinates: 11 39’ 01”N, 76 42’ 21.80”E: elevation – 957m.
We look forward to a pleasant and a meaningful association.