Jules Lund recently showed us the beautiful and ancient Hampi in India. He then decided to see the other side of the rupee and visit Bangalore, a large and growing metropolis.
Urban slums are the fastest-growing sector of India. Four out of every 10 slum children are malnourished and malnutrition contributes to more than half of child deaths. Absence of safe water and sanitation traps millions of slum dwellers in a cycle of poverty and vulnerability.
India still endures one of the world's highest concentrations of poverty with an estimated 400 million people barely existing on less than US$1 a day. Raising the living standards of India's poor has been high on its government's agenda since independence in 1947.
The commercial success of Bangalore has led to it being India's third most populous city with an estimated 5.7 million, but not everyone is enjoying the fruits of the newly-found wealth.
We can help
Jules went to India with i-to-i, a meaningful travel company offering volunteer projects in 24 countries. In Bangalore volunteers can assist at a number of community projects around the colourful city, working in schools that help underprivileged, handicapped and deaf children to build better lives. Placements range from 2 to 12 weeks.
Some of the young people live in the slums, others are homeless and are given accommodation and food at the shelters.
Carpentry, dressmaking, cooking and English are some of the things taught. Boys make and sell things they have made in the woodwork area and girls are given the chance of becoming something other than house servants. They also have time for a game of soccer or cricket.
The program, run in conjunction with i-to-i Australia, offers volunteer placements in Bangalore for travellers to undertake community work. Last year more than 6000 volunteers in 34 countries supported 500 projects.
They see the country through the eyes of its hardest done by and the memories linger, but they are fulfilled by knowing they have done something to help. They become part of the community they work in and for many saying goodbye is difficult.
Bangalore in southern India.
i-to-i Australia has two- to 12-week volunteer community work programs in Bangalore. The price includes all accommodation, meals, transfers and local support starting at $1399 per person for two weeks and $230 for every week thereafter. It operates year round with trips currently scheduled up to October 2010.
Prices correct at December 10, 2009.
For further information
Level 4, 380 Lonsdale Street
Ph: 1300 88 15 90
Level 5, Glasshouse
135 King Street
Ph: (02) 9221 9555
Fax: (02) 9221 9777
Visas: Entry visas are required before arrival. Six-month multiple-entry visas are issued to most people regardless of intended length of stay. Most Indian embassies and consulates will not issue a visa to enter India unless you have an onward ticket. They are valid from date of issue, rather than date of arrival in India.
Electricity: 230-240V/50Hz. You will find two sorts of plugs; one with two circular pins above a large circular grounding pin or a European plug with two circular metal pins.
Time zone: GMT +5.30.
Currency: The Indian rupee made up of 100 paise.
International dialling code: +91.
It is recommended travellers to India see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there are specific vaccinations recommended for the country. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended and are best discussed with your doctor. For further information, visit www.welltogo.com.au and www.smarttraveller.gov.au.