Join Sadhana Forest as a volunteer in South India! – Our main project is the reforestation of 70 acres of severely eroded land. We are working to re-create 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 nearing extinction as only 0.01% survives. This is a last-moment effort to keep this rich and beautiful forest on Earth. As part of our reforestation effort, we are also working on water conservation and soil management.
Our projects include the work with local children, hosting many groups of people interested in conservation, the UniverCity of Compassion, and an animal sanctuary where we care for rescued animals.
We practice an eco-friendly way of life, including veganism, alternative construction, solar energy, biodegradable toiletries, and compost toilets.
Volunteers mainly plant, mulch, and water trees during the season, work on water conservation in the forest and around the community, cook, clean, maintain the community area, and spend time with local and community kids.
What type of host are you? 🏡
What are you looking for help with?
- Animal keeping 🐓🐴
- Cleaning 🧹
- Farming/Gardening 🌿🐄
- General Help 💁♀️
What’s the mission of your community? 🎯
Sadhana Forest’s mission is to sustainably bring back water, forest, and life to rural arid and semi-arid lands.
In a spirit of human unity, our aim is to introduce a growing number of people to sustainable living, food security through ecological transformation, wasteland reclamation, and veganism.
Volunteers’ age restrictions 🔞
We can host volunteers of all ages (senior volunteers and minors are welcome) 💪
Volunteers with disabilities ♿
Volunteers with disabilities are welcome ♿ ✅
When would you need volunteers? 📅
We welcome and accept everyone who wishes to get involved with us, any time of year, and we always have plenty of space available and plenty of work to do!
How many hours of help per day? ⏱
- 6 hours of help per day
How many days of help per week? 🌒
- 5 days per week – 2 days off
Note about the volunteer work and other expectations 📝
We engage in seva (selfless service) for 30-35 hours a week. Our seva primarily consists of reforestation and water conservation, as well as general tasks that sustain the project as a whole. The reforestation seva consists of preparing mounds for tree planting, planting trees, watering and mulching young trees and caring for trees in our tree nursery. The general community seva includes tasks such as preparing meals in the kitchen, cleaning up after meals, composting food waste, managing the tool shed, organizing and repairing tools, gathering and processing firewood, inspecting huts for bee and termite damage, maintaining solar panels, maintaining dry compost toilets, and sorting community waste.
All volunteers are required not to smoke cigarettes, use drugs, or drink alcohol, inside AND outside of Sadhana Forest, during their entire stay! Please only come to Sadhana Forest if you are 100% sure that you are able and willing to completely respect this request. Volunteers who do not respect this policy will have to immediately leave Sadhana Forest.
Are accommodation and food included? 🏠🍜
Yes, we offer food and accommodation
What type of accommodation can you provide? 🏕
- Dormitory/shared rooms 🛌
- Private room for a couple 🎎
Diet – nutrition information 🥗🥤
Fees transparency 🆓🔍
Sadhana Forest is a not-for-profit organization; we do not sell any products or services, and run solely on donations. We are happy to provide dormitory space to all volunteers free of any cost so that they can participate in our work and life, but we cannot afford to provide free food to our many short-term guests. Everyone staying at Sadhana Forest contributes Rs. 600 per day in order to cover the cost of our 100% vegan, mostly organic meals, filtered water, and basic hygiene supplies.
VISA – could you provide Visa support/info/invitation letters? 🛂
No! we cannot help with Visa/invitation letters – similar requests will be ignored. ❌
Volunteers’ benefits 🏆🏅
Our dynamic community is composed of people of all ages and backgrounds, from all over India and all over the world. We have found that living and sharing in a communal atmosphere brings us into harmony with nature and with ourselves; as one of our community members commented when she left, “May there be many forests to grow people.”
What to do in your free time 🚴🚣🦒
In the afternoon, our participants often organize free-of-charge workshops where they share their skills or knowledge with the community. The evenings we have regular community activities such as core value talk, sharing circle, open stage (non-talent show), Eco Film Club and community meetings.
In their free time, volunteers are welcome to explore Auroville, Pondicherry or go to the beach.
Sadhana Forest is located in south India and is quite warm throughout most of the year. It is important that we respect the local culture of rural Tamil Nadu, so we recommend loose-fitting clothing that covers shoulders, chest and knees.
If you are coming in the winter, it is recommended to carry a light jacket and/or full-sleeve clothes for the evenings, nights, and early mornings. The end of October to the beginning of December is the monsoon season, so bring appropriate rain gear.
How to get to our site ✈ 🗺
FROM CHENNAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (MAA)
If you plan on coming directly from Chennai International Airport to Sadhana Forest it may be most convenient for you to take a taxi. Taxi reservations may be made with Arumugam Taxi, a reliable and helpful local taxi driver. Contact him via email at email@example.com, WhatsApp him at +91 76393 46605 or call him at +91 94420 29054. We do not recommend that you try to find your own taxi at the airport – the driver is unlikely to know the way here and it could take a long time for them to find us. In this case phone us on the way and we will try to direct you here. In both cases, please confirm taxi charges beforehand.
You can also reach us from the airport by bus, but this requires making a few transfers and is not recommended at night. You can exit the airport on foot, cross the street, and take a bus, local train (or autorickshaw/taxi) to Perungalathur, 10km away. From Perungalathur, ask for a bus to Pondicherry. You can also take the metro from the airport to the CMBT Koyambedu Bus Terminal and take a bus from there, although this is a bit of a detour.
Take the bus to Pondicherry that goes via Tindivanam bypass. You can get off at Morattandi Toll Gate, which is 9km before Pondicherry, and the closest stop to Sadhana Forest. Do not take the bus that goes through the Beach Road / ECR (East Coast Road)!
FROM CHENNAI CENTRAL RAILWAY STATION (MAS)
From the Railway Station, go to CMBT Koyambedu Bus Terminal. The easiest way to the bus terminal is by metro. You can also get a local bus or autorickshaw. From CMBT take the bus to Pondicherry that goes via Tindivanam bypass. You can get off at Morattandi Toll Gate, which is 9km before Pondicherry, and the closest stop to Sadhana Forest. Do not take the bus that goes through the Beach Road / ECR (East Coast Road)!
The cheapest way to reach Sadhana Forest from Pondicherry is to get a bus from Pondicherry bus stand to Tindivanam or to Sedarapet, and get off at the Morattandi Toll Gate.
You can also take an autorickshaw from Pondicherry to Sadhana Forest via JIPMER / Tindivanam Road for about 400 INR. Many autorickshaw drivers do not know the way to Sadhana Forest and may charge you extra if they get lost. Alternatively, you can book a taxi from Arumugam Taxi via WhatsApp at +91 76393 46605 or call at +91 94420 29054
Is there internet access? 🌐
CONTACT DETAILS 🔍📧
If you are interested in joining the Sadhana Forest community, feel free to reach out to the volunteer coordinators using one of the following contacts:
Host Email ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone number/WhatsApp +91 413 267 7682
Volunteer Project’s Instagram page
Hostname 📛 Sadhana Forest