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Interns at Himalayan Ecotourism

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Internship, volunteering and research work in the Himalayas

Internship within a social enterprise

Interning with HET is an exciting opportunity to familiarize yourself with the concept of social enterprise and contribute to a cause you care about.

The Himalayas are an extremely fascinating but fragile place. Working with HET is an exciting opportunity for our interns to promote sustainable development by involving the local communities and operating ecotourism activities.

Our interns are typically involved in two domains of work.
In the “social” side : conservation efforts, education of local kids, women empowerment, development of green technologies, capacity building and awareness raising campaigns.
In the “enterprise” side : improving the skills of our cooperative members, marketing, social media, business management, etc.

We have previously been affiliated with a number of organizations and educational institutes like TISS, Symbiosis, Presidency College Kolkata, IIM Indore among others whose students have chosen to work with us on their internship for earning significant work experience and understanding the grassroots movement in India.

Our interns are graduate, industry experts, travellers looking to find a purpose in their journeys, retirees wanting to give back to society and anybody else who wants to make a difference in the social sector with their skills and unique capacities.

Please note:
While working with us, the interns are hosted by a local family. To be able to ensure a sustainable source of income for these families our interns pay a subsidized amount to the host family that takes care of their lovingly home-cooked meals and a comfortable accommodation.
Interns who complete a minimum of three weeks working with us, receive an internship certificate from Himalayan Ecotourism.

Internship program 2024 & 2025

In 2024 and 2025, our team will focus on the following program :

  1. Himalayan Ecocreation (Social Enterprise) – Coordinating women’s empowerment program, supervising local products production, and engaging in sales and marketing efforts. (opportunity to join as a full time position)
  2. Himalayan Insight – Participate in conducting village meetings and awareness campaigns in local schools for ‘Stop forest fires’ campaign. Collaborate on testing a restoration method near the village Chipni in Tirthan Valley. (opportunity to join as a full time position)
  3. Himalayan Ecotourism – Working on managing women-led trekking groups. Managing Trek operations, processing of inquiries and assisting at preparation of trekking equipment (opportunity to join as a full time position)
  4. Videographer Intern – Creating video content of all our programs for social media and marketing purpose. Making of a final video about the work of HECO.

You can apply by sending us an email here :

get-involved@himalayanecotourism.com

Projects on which interns/volunteers can work

Volunteer travel

Have you ever felt like your skills can make a real difference to people’s lives? Do you share our vision of a better, equal, greener tomorrow? We’re providing you a platform to contribute to our social initiatives while at the same time giving you an authentic insight into the region.Spend your days contributing to our Education Program, working in local farms, learning about our Women Empowerment initiatives. Trek across unexplored trails of the Great Himalayan National Park, live with a local family, learn traditional crafts. Join our Volunteer Travel Program for the best of both worlds!

Inquire about our Volunteer Travel Program here and our present work to know more about what your volunteer experience will look : enquire about our Volunteer Travel Program.

VOLUNTEERING IN THE HIMALAYAS
VOLUNTEERING IN THE HIMALAYAS

A group of volunteers at Himalayan Ecotourism, a volunteer travel organization.

Child development and education

Since 2018, Himalayan Ecotourism has introduced an education program in the schools of the Tirthan Valley. We took up this project because we wanted to find a solution to reform the current situation of education the valley. Particularly since the pandemic hit, school children have been terribly affected due to a break in education, lack of access to electronic accessories and inefficiency in planning.We believe that no child should miss out on the opportunity to receive good education.

Currently, we have kickstarted Himalayan Insight’s “Kitaab aur Vaadiyan” Education Program which is a 3 month nature immersive education program aimed at children of all ages. As we take children on a journey to connect with nature and understand concepts of ecology and conservation, we will create an open source curriculum that organisations and individuals around the world can use to implement in their schools and communities.

If you have an interest in nature education, write to us to get involved. You too, can be leading a class of budding minds into a forest to observe, question and discover.

What our schools do differently

Himalayan Insight focuses on a holistic, progressive approach to education. At our schools, we aim at sharing age-appropriate education through interactive learning techniques, conduct a number of workshops to aid an all-round development and try to create awareness among students regarding various issues that affect our societies like ecological degradation, gender inequality, pollution, etc. through creative activities.

Like any other village school, we do our best with the infrastructure and resources available to us and keep working creatively and in coordination to give our students the best experience possible. Our students are highly motivated and keen to learn, making the internship fruitful learning experience for them as well as our interns.

How our interns can be a part of this initiative

Interns from across the country have joined us in the last three years. Coming from different backgrounds and adding their own unique skills to the program, they have been able to introduce new ideas and lasting changes to the education scenario we see in the villages. The internship is also a wonderful opportunity for people from different parts of the world, with diverse stories and interests to meet and interact with each other.

How can you align with our efforts?

  • The intern will be teaching either in the Pekhri or Bihar villages in the Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pradesh.
  • A minimum commitment of one month is expected of our interns. You will be working for 6 hours a day for 6 days a week on average.
  • Our interns are expected to be fluent in conversational Hindi as that is the main medium of communication and education here. Very young students can only speak Pahadi but understand Hindi. Anyway, we believe the right intentions and willingness to share can help us cross that barrier 🙂
  • Based on your subjects of interest, feel free to design and try to implement newer, effective teaching methodology with the help of our local teachers.
  • Keeping your work at the school as the main focus area, you can explore our other areas of work and offer to join in in an area of your interest as well.
  • Accommodation and food for our interns is arranged with a local family in the village or at one of our dorms.
  • Further details and terms of the internship will be shared with our shortlisted applicants via email.

Development of the micro-enterprise of our local women

Himalayan Ecotourism has been developing a microenterprise model for women in our villages to encourage their entrepreneurial spirit through a sustainable business opportunity in order to provide an alternative source of income to local, underprivileged women. A team of women from Pekhri and around Gushaini have been selected and trained to make products like natural cosmetics, handicrafts, traditional food products, etc. We have tried to create an environment and working conditions that will give them the flexibility to work from home, according to their convenience and from our workshop very close to the village to encourage more participation from women.

There has been a gap in the production process because of the pandemic but we are ready to scale up the process now. The production now needs to be systemized, right from procurement of the required material, to packaging, quality control and eventual marketing and retail.

Sales to the local tourist would continue, and we would like to start online sales so that we can sell throughout the year.

Work of the interns/volunteers :

  • Volunteers and interns can help in revising the production process with the women after understanding the process well.They can
  • help in improving the branding / packaging to offer eco-friendly yet efficient packaging of our products.
  • Training the women in a systematic way of production and quality control.
  • Establishing outlets at the local resort, guesthouses or homestays and other avenues to promote our products.
  • Helping set up an online store for our products and look into collaborations with other online platforms and brands.

For tourism or MBA students

Himalayan Ecotourism welcomes motivated students in the field of tourism or MBA students who want to gain an experience with a social enterprise. During their internship they will get to know about the unique cooperative-based model developed by Himalayan Ecotourism.

Besides working for the day-to-day management of the business, they will have to take interest in the other projects implemented by the organization and to lend a helping hand when required. We have had students from some very prestigious colleges across India like TISS, IIM Indore, Delhi University, etc. join us on our projects

The work usually consists in :

  • Market researches and product development.
  • Social media marketing, website optimization, other promotions of the organization.
  • Working with the cooperative members to enhance their management skills.
  • Quality control of the trekking and camping equipment.
  • Marketing of the local products made by women.
  • Meeting clients, organizing leisure activities.
  • Video editing, blogging and photography are desired skills.
  • To contribute to at least one of the projects of Himalayan Outreach along with the above-mentioned roles.

Our Reforestation Project and Prevention of Forest Fires Campaign

Setting intentional fires to the beautiful forests that are a bounty of resources, is an age-old system for reaping short term economic benefit. In the long run, this technique is severely problematic for the environment and people alike. Since 2016 Himalayan Ecotourism has organized campaigns to raise awareness among the locals to stop these intentional and widespread forest fires. We will be actively working on this until this practice is completely dropped. Posters and informative road signs are put up, discussions are organized in the villages, and the children are approached and educated about the issue in their schools.

Since 2019, Himalayan Ecotourism has also started a tree plantation program in the ecozone of the Great Himalayan National Park. Following the COVID-19 breakout, we decided to scale up our program in order to provide an alternate source of income to our cooperative members, and to continue working for conservation despite the financial stress caused by the pandemic. We have tried to involve women in the project as much as possible to encourage their participation in conservation activities and nurturing the regenerated ecosystems.

The initial stage of the program is being implemented around the village Pekhri where we have our nursery to produce the saplings, and where many villagers are members of our cooperative. You may have to stay in Pekhri village if you work on this project.
This program is closely linked to the carbon-offsetting service we provide to our clients to sequestrate their carbon emissions in exchange for reforestation in the Tirthan Valley.

The program also involves social activities with the village women and children.

Read more about the reforestation program here and about our Carbon offset business here.

Work of the interns/volunteers :

  • Helping in management of the nursery and plantation processes.
  • Promoting our “Be a zero carbon citizen” business that is the source of funds for the program.
  • Encouraging the participation of more villagers in the Forest Management Committee.
  • Making of a botanical inventory of the plants available in the area.
  • Helping raise awareness about the prevention of intentional forest fires in the area.
  • Putting up posters in the villages to raise awareness and devising other strategies that can help the program yield best results.
  • Working alongside the villagers, particularly women to encourage villagers to become defenders of their own forests.
  • Visiting different replantation site to see the progress on the project and if all the steps are being implemented efficiently.

Contributing to the improvement of the administration of the Cooperative society

The GHNP Community-based Ecotourism Cooperative Society was a movement started with the local community members in the Tirthan Valley in 2014 to help elevate the economic standards of the members through environmentally conscious tourism alternatives.

Over the years, the cooperative has grown into a successful grassroot organization but there’s still a lot of work left to do. Keeping the cooperative members motivated, working with them, and revising our model is a continuous process to ensure the success of the movement.

Work of the interns/volunteers :

  • Assess the opinion of the cooperative members about their society and work around their concerns and requirements.
  • Help the board members to be more systematic and to organize regular meetings with adequate reporting.
  • Help in publishing the Himalayan Ecotourism newsletters.
  • Volunteers and interns with a background or previous experience in managing finances, administrative roles and managerial positions are encouraged to apply.

Final development of clean wood stoves and a solar drier

To a great extent the people living around the Great Himalayan National Park are natural resources dependent. This is also true for their sources of energy. Most of the villagers who are not connected to a road use fuelwood for heating their houses, cooking and having hot water. For burning the wood the villagers use either the traditional “three stones” open fire or very cheap and bad locally-made devices.
As a result they need to collect huge quantities of wood from the surrounding forests. It contributes to deforestation and adds to the drudgery of the women. On top of that, the atmospheric pollution substantially increases and the indoor air gets toxic and puts the family members at risk of having pulmonary diseases.

For about 4 years Himalayan Ecotourism worked closely with researchers to develop efficient, non-polluting and appropriate wood stoves. With their help, we were able to develop three models of stove and a solar cooker.
The designs are efficient and innovative. You can see on of them here.
A team of researchers from IIT Mandi decided to continue the R&D based on our existing prototypes.However, we don’t have a final product ready yet.

We want to continue the R&D ourselves at a local workshop near Gushaini. The stoves are already efficient and clean; they just need to be slightly modified to become more user-friendly and easy to be produced locally. This is typically an internship project for students of engineering.

Besides we are designing a solar drier that could enhance the income of the villagers by adding value to their local fruits (dried apricot for example).

Work of the interns/volunteers :

  • Understanding the technology of our latest prototypes.
  • Refining the designs of the stove (3D modelling) to make them user-friendly and easy to make locally.
  • Making of the prototypes at our local workshop.
  • Assessing the retail price of the stoves.
  • Hiring skilled staff and train them in making of the stoves.

Research work for sustainable development in the Himalayas

RESEARCH AT HIMALAYAN ECOTOURISM

RESEARCH AT HIMALAYAN ECOTOURISM
Arushi during her fieldwork for her research in the field of ecotourism.

Gain on-field experience. Work closely with conservationists. Understand community engagement.

The Himalayas are a treasure trove of biodiversity in urgent need of conservation. This goal can only be achieved through research, education and awareness in the region.

If you’re a researcher looking to further your knowledge in the field of Environmental or Social Sciences and wanting to gain first-hand experience on field, join us!

Inquire about our research opportunities here.

Photos of internship at Himalayan Ecotourism

Accommodation Location of Himalayan Ecotourism for Internship

Accommodation

This is the building where our interns stay

Workshop location of Himalayan Ecotourism for Internship

Volunteer travel organization

This is the village where we stay ,just front of the GHNP.

Accommodation at Himalayan Ecotourism for Interns

In the room

One room is for the women and the other one for the men.

Brainstorming Sessions with Interns of Himalayan Ecotourism

Brainstorming

We send some a good amount of time interacting and learning from each other.

Teaching the kids with Himalayan Ecotourism

teaching the kids

Vishwa helps our two local teacher with innovative teaching methods

Forest Fires Campaign in the Tirthan Valley with Himalayan Ecotourism

Stop forest fires

Getting ready with all material before field work.

Himalayan Ecotourism Interns on the field

On the filed

At the end of a meeting with women in village.

Organic farming in the Tirthan Valley with Himalayan Ecotourism

Organic farming

Interns promoting innovative
practices for organic farming.

Awareness campaign in the Tirthan Valley

Awareness campaign

On field work to spread the word about the forest issue

Local products with Himalayan Ecotourism in the Tirthan Valley

Making of local products

A soap making session in our workshop in Gushaini.

Forest fires in the Tirthan Valley

Forest fires

Extinguishing the flames of a forest fire teaches a lesson to any one.

Last day Internship with Himalayan Ecotourism

Last day

On the last day of Devanshi’s internship. with keshav, our president.

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