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Voluntourism at its most rewarding. | February 2011

It’s not often you get an opportunity to step up and make a real difference while experiencing travel and adventure in a land of paradox.

The 12-day journey to Mumbai and the villages beyond embodied deeply into Indian culture was an experience of India from the grassroots up. It was ‘voluntourism’ at its very best and the ‘tour’ was a chance for giving time to help save lives and to give people hope – a combination of social responsibility and the real India.

Executed brilliantly by Shazar Robinson, international advisor to SAGE Foundation, who teamed up with the Shiksham Gram Shelter for Homeless Children, the tour contributed in varied ways – teaching the children English, helping plant trees and establishing the organic garden and assisting with construction of a prefabricated eco house for a training centre. And it was certainly not all work! They had a wonderful itinerary planned to take in places which are steeped in the historical and spiritual depth of India. This gave the opportunity to visit the huge and fascinating Dharavi slum in Mumbai as well as sip cocktails in the Harbour Bar of the opulent Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.

They had the time to wander through ancient Buddhist temple caves over 2,200 years old and take a visit to the meditation retreat to light an incense stick for the Gods

Here is what Paul Eglinton said after his journey in February 2011:

“The Sage Journey brought a new dimension to my life. It was magic, I feel refreshed and rejuvenated. The volunteer role is immensely rewarding. We worked with locals and got insights into the culture that you wouldn’t normally notice as a tourist. We visited unique places, had wonderful food – and if you are looking for travel with a purpose this is how you do it. Shazar – Wow! You have definitely sparked something.” Paul Eglinton NZ.

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