Fighting Poverty in India
Globe Aware's new (as of summer 2009) India program is based in Jaipur. Maharaja Jai Singh II, a Kachhwaha Rajput, who ruled from 1699-1744, founded Jaipur, "The Pink City". Built in 1727 Jaipur was the first planned city of India and the King took great interest in its design. The title of "The Pink City" is in reference to its distinctly colored buildings, which were originally painted that color to imitate the red sandstone architecture of Mughal cities. Jaipur has grown into the commercial centre for most of the rural regions of the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan and is that state's largest city. It is a place with a rich cultural history. During your strolls through the city you will come across typical Rajasthani men and women wearing turbans and colorful ghagra-choli. While much of the news of India is rightfully focused on the stunning growth rates of its tech sector and the miraculous transformations of many of the major cities, mass poverty is still very much in evidence in rural regions throughout the country.
Globe Aware has partnered with a local community in Jaipur to combat poverty which has identified several areas in which Globe Aware volunteers can assist their community. One priority is working with slum dwelling and other disadvantaged children (often referred to locals as "rag-picking children". This will be accomplished by providing support for teachers, working with rescued child laborers, and assisting at day care centers catering to children below the poverty line. The local community is also concerned with the conditions of local communal facilities. As a result volunteers will also participate in beautification activities at government schools, day care centers, & other public facilities. In all cases the projects that you, our volunteers, make possible will enhance the quality of life for these children and communities in ways that you can only begin to imagine.
Food and Lodging
Volunteers will be accommodated in one of several modest hotels near near our program site. All have running hot water, flushing western style toilets, and electricity. Though the accommodations cannot be labeled luxurious, you will find that they more than suffice to ensure you enjoy your experience.
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Leisure and Activities
Have dinner with a local family. Enjoy a Bollywood Film in the homeland of this worldwide phenomenon. Take a visit to a traditional carpet factory. Enjoy a Rickshaw ride through the old Bazaar of Jaipur or rise with the sun to visit the Amber fort and take an elephant ride. India is a land of stunningly unique sights, sounds, and smells. Even a walk down the street can be an unforgettable experience. As you embed yourself into the local community and your work project you will have ample time to enjoy these and other cultural activities.
Arranging Your Airfare
Jaipur Airport (JAI/VIJP) is situated in the satellite town of Sanganer and offers sporadic (chartered) service to London and Dublin. Flights to Singapore and Bangkok are available via Delhi. Direct flights to Sharjah, Muscat and Dubai are also available. Jaipur also has daily domestic air links with many Indian cities such as Jodhpur, Udaipur, Aurangabad, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Goa, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Mumbai and Indore. Globe Aware volunteers will find it simpler to fly into one of these cities and make a connecting domestic flight to Jaipur. One plus point for those flying out of Delhi is that the Delhi airport is close to the highway, so you could reach the airport without entering the city.
One other option for interested volunteers is ground transport from Delhi to Jaipur. Journeying by car is the most popular way of reaching Jaipur from Delhi. The travel time is less than 4hrs. National Highway no. 8 connects Delhi to Jaipur via the industrial township of Gurgaon. The road is by all accounts in excellent condition. Travel by train is also a popular option, and tickets for the 5-6 hour train trip can be purchased before or after an arrival in Delhi. A number of daily trains connect Delhi to Jaipur, with the most common choice being the Shatabdi express. This train leaves Delhi at 6:05am and arrives in Jaipur at 10:50am. Whatever your budget or personal preferences, options abound when considering how you'll make your way to the program site in Jaipur.
Safety and Security
Jaipur is a safe city accustomed to visitors from around the world. You may encounter youths on motorbikes claiming that Westerners are unwilling to engage with the Indian people. They might say "Why don't tourists want to talk to me", or "I am a student, I want to learn about your culture". This is occasionally a segue into a common scam in this part of India, the "gem scam." It involves the purchase of fake stones for resale, a supposed scheme to bypass Indian tax laws, or a host of other machinations. As a general rule, do not accept tea from strangers, but in addition be wary of any who invite you to talk in secluded areas. For your own sake, you will want to stay out of the precious gem business in Jaipur. There have been reports of smugglers trying to entice travelers to assist in smuggling items. Under no circumstances accept - smuggling is a major criminal act. In all these cases, exercise general caution and never fear to ask your coordinator for assistance or clarification of a given situation.