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Pantomime with casteless women in Jodhpur

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Sambhali Trust works with women in Jodhpur who are casteless and are at the bottom end of the socio-economic ladder. In early 2011, two voluntary German drama teachers came to Jodhpur and led an acting workshop with the 13-40 year old women. None of the women had previous acting experience. Since then, we have regular volunteers working with these women. The idea is to use drama as part of the empowerment program. To stand on a stage and notice that someone cares for them improves the women's motivation and self-esteem.
Volunteers in the field of mime/drama design the content of their acting workshops themselves. We recommend that you go through reports of former volunteers, which can be found in the tab "More Info", to get a better idea. We can also put you in touch with former volunteers so that they can tell you about their experiences.
Info Box
Location: Jodhpur/Rajasthan, India
Availability: All year, Start date flexible
Minimum Duration: 2 weeks
Maximum Duration: 12 months
Language Requirements: English
Further Languages Of Advantage: Hindi
Guest House
Supervision Possible: No
Qualification Of Supervisor: -
Minimum Qualification Of Intern:
Further Contribution To Project: -
Volunteering Possible: Yes
Required Qualification For Volunteer: Acting experience
Further Contribution To Project: None
Professional Conduct, Do you have the "right" attitude?

Report by the first pantomime volunteers


Report by Katja

My name is Katja Kuhlmann, I’m from Germany, I’m an actress and currently I’m studying Social Work at the University of Applied Science in Aachen. My studies include one semester for an internship, which I decided to do in India.
I´m working for three months in two projects of the Sambhali Trust Organization. Together with my colleague, Anke Kraatz, I’m running the theater workshop for young women, which is taking place from Monday to Friday for one and a half hour. Now, after six weeks, our first play will have its premiere in a few days. I really enjoyed this time working free with the five members of our workshop. Of course, we had problems with the language, with understanding each other, which made the work not easier, but often much more interesting, particularly in the field of acting: When the limits of words have been achieved, you have to express yourself in another way. This is very good, not only for acting beginners, I think! 
Our first play deals with the role of women in India and we picked out three exemplary scenes to show frightening facts that girls and women are facing here: Is the birth of a girl no reason for rejoice? What’s wrong with the relationship between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law? Still child marriage! We admire the trust, the strength and the courage of the participating women to deal with such issues, that concern themselves. It’s sheer fun to see that there is so much in these young women that they want to express, that they have something to say and that they take the chance to do it in our workshop. I think, the method “Acting” is quite good to encourage the self-confidence, the self-perception and the expressiveness of our members, living in a society in which those skills are not worthy to develop for women, but indispensable for their empowerment.
In the afternoons I work in the boarding house, together with other volunteers, where fifteen girls at the age between six and thirteen years live. The circumstances, why they were taken away from their families living in villages, are shown in the information about this project, and clearly those are not easy. In Germany children with such backgrounds get much more care, especially psychological assistance to get over their traumatic experiences. So when I started my work with these kids, it was hard for me to grasp that things work so much differently in India and that the way they do it, is just the best way possible and practicable. Now I know that this is quite a lot! And I can see how the girls developed in the last weeks from children who seemed to be under shock and plagued by homesickness to children who open themselves more and more and just enjoy their rights of being a child and being respected as an individual person. They seem to feel good at their new home and that’s really fine! The school system in India is not fine in terms of educational methods (hitting is normal even in better schools) and the way and the amount of learning materials and homework. The time for playing, dancing, singing and relaxing in the afternoons is often too short but intense and I’m really enjoying the time at this work, too. I think there is one big difficulty for volunteers and the work with kids: Finding the right mixture between closeness and distance! Because you have to keep in mind that you will leave them after a while, that they have to get along without you and that the farewell shouldn’t be too hard for them.
Vital for empowerment!

Accommodation in Jodhpur and Setrawa



Guest House in Jodhpur:

Accommodation in Jodhpur is at a guest house of high standard, which is run by our partner Sambhali Trust, and where more volunteers/interns live. There are single and double rooms on the ground floor and the first floor with ceiling fans and/or Indian cooler. All rooms have a private bathroom. Our participants get full boarding (3 meals a day) + free drinking water. Wifi is also included. There is also access to a complementary washing machine, iron board, refrigerator, and house kitchen. Linen and towels are provided at no extra cost. If the house is fully occupied, we organize a homestay in Jodhpur.

Acccommodation in Setrawa:

In Setrawa (village in the Thar Desert), our participants live in a house of simple standard with full boarding. The local Indian food is cooked by a neighborhood woman. In the neighborhood there is also telephone and wifi internet. During the hot months (March-October), with daytime highs between 40 and 50 degrees Celsius (100-122 Fahrenheit) and night temperatures of about 24-30 degrees (75-86 F), participants in Jodhpur and Setrawa often sleep on the roof.
Volunteers in Setrawa also often drive on the weekends to Jodphur, where there are accommodation costs of about 450-600 Rs/night; so the total cost per month for bus, accommodation and food should be expected to be slightly higher.

I. World Unite! Service Package

Mobile/Cell Phone Users: If you don't see the rates for your desired duration of stay, hide other (shorter) durations of stay.
  up to 31 Days
32-60 Days
61-90 Days
91-120 Days
5 Months or longer
 wu servicepackage
1 Person
450 EUR 600 EUR 700 EUR 750 EUR 850 EUR
2-4 Persons
(Rate per Person)
400 EUR 500 EUR 600 EUR 650 EUR 700 EUR
Convert rates to USD, GBP, CAD, AUD and other currencies

The World Unite! Service Package includes:

  • Individual Consultation and Preparation prior to your arrival
  • Access to the World Unite! Online Resource Centre which has Preparation Materials including Intercultural Preparation, compiled particularly for your destination (PDFs, Videos)
  • Preparation Session via Skype, together with further participants
  • Arrangements of the Documents you need for your Visa Application and assistance with local registration (if required) but not the official government fees for the visa (See costs below)
  • Pick-up and Transfers from/to Jodhpur Airport (JDH) on arrival and departure
  • Personal support staff at your location and at our international office
  • Orientation and Introduction in Jodhpur
  • Accompanying you to your placement on your first day. This is done by long-term volunteers, the so called "volunteer coordinators" who will also introduce you to your project work
  • 24 Hours emergency support by local support team
  • Local SIM Card with 600 Rs. airtime credit
  • Issuance of Confirmations/Certificates for your university, scholarship, insurance, etc. and filling out/signing Internship Contracts for your university
  • Donation of 50 USD (in domestic currency) to your placement organization (in case of charitable organizations)
  • Costs for 10 seedlings of indigenous trees that we plant on the slopes of Kilimanjaro

The Rates do NOT include:

  • Accommodation and Meals (see below)
  • Travel to/from Jodhpur (you book it on your own; we can assist you)
  • Official fees for Visa (see below)
  • Insurance (Travel Health Insurance, Liability Insurance, Travel Cancellation insurance; you book it on your own, we can assist you)
  • Personal Expenses
  • Vaccinations
  • Local Transport (Estimated amounts see below)
  • Please note that for supervised/mentored internships, some organizations charge further contributions. You find this information in the "Info Box" below the respective internship description.

II. Accommodation Costs

You can choose between the following options:
Mobile/Cell Phone Users: If you don't see the rates for your desired duration of stay, hide other (shorter) durations of stay.
Rates in Indian Rupees! Convert Currency Short-time stay
(1-31 Days)
Long-time stay
(32-365 Day)
(You pay proportionally per day)
In Jodhpur
Guest House on Full Board
1 Person*
(Single Room)
32,000 Rs/Month
2 Persons p.p.*
(Double/Twin Room)
- 22,000 Rs/Month
Bed at a 4-share dorm room   15,000 Rs/Month
In Setrawa
House of Simple Standard
on Full Board
1 Person
(Sharing double room)
- 12,000 Rs/Month
2 Persons p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
- 12,000 Rs/Month
If available, also single persons might choose to be accommodated sharing with another participant. For incomplete months you pay proportionally per day.
In case of 3-4 person: Same rate as in case of 2 Persons. 5 or more persons: Contact us for group rates.

Overview of other costs:

  • Visa around 130 EUR (160 USD); to apply for prior to your travel
  • Insurances around 20-40 EUR (30-50 USD)/Month

How do I pay?

Once all your questions have been answered and you confirm that you want to participate, we will email you an invoice. You can pay it via bank transfer, credit card or via Paypal. You will pay a deposit of 200 EUR / 250 USD when the invoice is issued. One months prior to your arrival you will pay the remainder for your Service Package.
The payment modalities for rent and possible further costs (e.g. internship supervision fees, as stated in info box of the respective project description) depend on your host country and placement. We will inform you beforehand. In many cases these costs are paid on site, but for some countries and placements they need to be paid partially or fully in advance.

Other Projects That Might Interest You:

These projects are suggestions for alternatives that may interest you or those that could be chosen as COMBINATIONS. The combination of projects in different organizations is often possible and usually cheaper than two individual bookings. Please contact us to know more! Check out our other listings in the areas of "World Learner" and "Active Travel" at your travel destination to make your stay even more interesting.

Travel Health Insurance

We recommend the following travel insurance that is meant specifically for participants of internships, volunteering, language study, working holiday, and courses abroad. It is available for travelers of all nationalities and usable for all countries, except your home country. You can also add a journey liability insurance.
Just click on the link, fill in the form and you will get a confirmation email.

Rajasthan - The Land of the Kings

Rajasthan is located in the North-West of India and means "Land of the Kings". More than 2500 years ago, tribes built cities, and kingdoms were formed, which existed until the British colonial time in the 19th century. The largest state of India, in terms of area, is determined by the landscapes of the Thar Desert and the Aravalli Range, which are rich in forts and palaces of the Rajput kings. Due to its natural beauty and cultural heritage, Rajasthan is today, one of India's most popular travel destinations. Jaipur is part of the so-called "Golden Triangle", consisting of the cities of Agra (Taj Mahal), Delhi and Jaipur, which is part of every round trip in northern India.
Jaipur is known as the "Pink City" due to the dominant color of its buildings. The 3 million-people city has numerous forts, palaces and temples. Jaipur is also known for its jewelry industry. More than 14,000 people produce jewelery made of metal, stone and rubber lacquer, typically at small backyard workshops, which are sold all over the world.
Jodhpur is called the "blue city" due to the colour of its houses. The city is overlooked by the mighty Meherangarh Fort. There is also a university in Jodhpur.
Setrawa is a village in the Thar desert, located around 100 km north of Jodhpur. A problem in Rajasthan is the scarcity of water. In the Thar desert, the only annual rains pour down in the form of heavy thunderstorms during the months of July to September, when temperatures normally go up to 50 degree Celsius. Traditionally, the water of these hot summer months are stored in ponds that are the shape of a half moon, called Johad. In the patriarchal society of the rural regions, women are denied access to education and social life.

Our Coordinator in Rajasthan

In Jaipur, Hasmik with her team will welcome you and provide support for you. In Jodphur and Setrawa our coordinator is Govind from Sambhali Trust.

Recreational Activities in Rajasthan

Jaipur and Jodhpur can count with a large number of forts, palaces, temples, historical and natural history museums, and gardens and parks that you can visit. At both cities you can also take part in yoga classes, cooking lessons, Indian dance session, and join other cultural activities.
It is of course also recommended to travel around other parts of Rajasthan.

Music Video with the girls of Sambhali Trust in Jodhpur

In this music video, shot on the streets of Jodhpur, the girls of Sambhali Trust (with whom we arrange volunteering) sing and play. It communicates very well the mood of the city of Jodhpur!

Video of Setrawa/Sambhali Trust

Karina and Kerry, volunteers from South Africa, speak about their experience in the school of Sambhali Trust in the desert village of Setrawa. They also tell about life in the village.

Getting To Jaipur, Jodhpur and Setrawa

india map
Jaipur: Jaipur has a large international airport. It is best if you book your flight directly there. From Jaipur Airport (JAI) our local team will pick you up and bring you to your accommodation in Jaipur.
Jodhpur: You book a flight to Jodhpur (JDH) where you will be picked up from the airport by our local team and taken to your accommodation in Jodhpur.
Setrawa: You will book a flight to Jodhpur (JDH) where you will be picked up from the airport by our local team. You willI spend the first 1-2 days in Jodhpur, where you get an introduction and will then be driven to Setrawa.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are there fixed start dates for the project, which I must adhere to?
No, you can arrive at any date and you can hence, plan your trip according to your availability and the prices of flights. You may want to avoid travelling during the festival holidays of Holi and Diwali. We can pick you up from Jodhpur airport even at night. If your project is in Setrawa, you may spend the first couple of nights in Jodhpur for an induction.
Can I stay longer at my accommodation after my volunteering/internship or arrive earlier?
Yes, this is possible and we will give you our best rates. Just let us know when you arrive and leave and we will let you know the costs.
During my stay, can I travel around the country?
Of course, you can do this - most of our participants do so. However, when the travel destination is too far away, it may not be possible over a weekend; these, we would recommend you keep for before the projects begins or after the completion or during holidays. In India, it is possible to travel around with an Internship visa.
When is the rainy season and can I travel to India during this time?
The monsoon begins in early June in Kerala, Mumbai, in mid-June and the Himalayan region, early to mid-July and ends in September. The Thar Desert in Rajasthan (location Setrawa), barely gets rain during the monsoon and Jodhpur is rather dry.
During the monsoon, it usually rains heavily for several hours every day. As a result, there are often floods in the streets of the cities, because the drains cannot absorb the amounts of water. An internship or volunteering is possible during the monsoon, and the only nuisance will probably be wet clothes and shoes, which are often difficult to dry because of the high humidity. You might want to carry a few extra shoes and a change of clothes with you (or buy them locally). You can even buy an umbrella or a raincoat locally. An advantage to traveling during the monsoon, is that the fares are cheaper and accommodation during the off season is cheaper.
Can I travel to India as a young woman alone? The media constantly reports of rape - how high is the risk?
For decades, India has been a safe country for women and now the impression, given by the media, is that the number of rapes has skyrocketed and India is unsafe for women. More cases are coming into light now, as women previously would not speak about rape, but are now empowered to do so. Compared to the number of cases in relation to the huge population of India (almost twice as many as the whole of Europe), even if projections of unreported cases are included, there is much less rape than in many other countries. There are 2 cases that happen per 100,000 inhabitants in India (in comparison: Central Europe: 8.1 cases; 14.7 cases in Latin America; 28.6 cases per 100,000 population in the US).
Of course you have to be careful as a woman, as far as the style of dressing and dealing with local men are concerned. In schools, boys and girls are often strictly separated and many young men have no experience in dealing with women who are not their own mother or sisters; your behavior, based on dealing with Western men, might be misinterpreted as “easy” or “loose” behaviour.
Will I be the only volunteer/intern in the project or in Jodhpur?
Sambhali Trust is our only project option in Jodhpur. Here, there are several other Organizations that provide interns and volunteers and so, there will always be others who you can share an accommodation with in Jodhpur or Setrawa.
What vaccinations do I need?
Our Info - PDF that you get as a participant, gives detailed information on health care. Also refer to Recommended Vaccinations
Where will I live?
You find housing options in the tab "Accommodation".
Does my accommodation have internet facilities?
Yes, there is wifi internet at the guest house in Jodhpur. In Setrawa, internet can be shared from a neighbouring house.
How can I do my laundry?
There are many laundromats in Jodhpur that wash clothes by hand and neatly iron them for a price per unit (e.g. trousers, shirts, sheets, towels, etc.). It is best to ask around for a good laundromat and negotiate rates, especially if you have a lot of laundry to be done on a regular basis. In Setrawa, you can ask at your accommodation, for someone who will do the laundry for a fee.
Can I cook in the accommodation?
No, but food is included at the accommodations.
I am a vegetarian. Can I get vegetarian food?
Yes, India is a paradise for vegetarians. Almost all restaurants are clearly marked, whether they are vegetarian ("Veg") or not ("Non-Veg"), and there are separate menus. About 40% of Indians are vegetarians.
What language skills do I require?
You must be able to understand and make yourself understood in English.

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