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Pre-departure information kit

Pre-departure Information Kit Pre-departure Information Kit Pre-departure Information Kit Pre-departure Information Kit 1. What is Idex?
We are a leading volunteer travel organization in Rajasthan involved in developing and promoting volunteering opportunities for international visitors to India with the aim to accelerate social development and cultural understanding. We have an extensive global network to facilitate culturally immersive volunteer assignments in the Indian development sector, we have succeeded in mobilizing resources and people from across the world who bring with them knowledge, skills and abilities to contribute productively in the change. Founded in 2000, Idex has come a long way in offering authentic cultural exchanges and an enriching project experience to volunteers from all around the world. We create a safe and organized environment for people of different age groups, diverse cultures and interests to support social work initiatives in India. By training and guiding these international volunteers, we facilitate their contribution to the growth and development in both rural & semi-urban India. By dovetailing tourism and social development through innovative approaches, we hope to bring positive changes in the area of education, care and empowerment. Volunteering is an excellent and rewarding medium to make a contribution to the society around oneself while picking up skills and sensitivities that are so important in the professional world. However, travelling to a foreign country can be intimidating for first-time travellers. At Idex, we strive hard to provide a safe and smooth transition into Indian culture for our first-time volunteer tourists. With our partner organization operating in 21 different countries, the volunteers can have the luxury of embarking on a hassle-free journey right from their home town. Upon their arrival in India, our support staff pick-up volunteers on the arrival and bring them to the camp destinations where they receive a detailed orientation. All along the way, Idex staff provides interpretation and advice on different aspects to make their stay comfortable. Under the guidance from a project executive, volunteers get to work on a chosen activity from a range of projects available in the programs. While this already might seem enticing, the real gratification comes when they have spent a few weeks in the project and witnessed their role as change agents. It is indeed a life time experience and in some cases, a life-altering one! 2. Our History
Idex was "officially" established in 2002 when its founding members were approached by a European travel company to organise a stay for a youth group who wanted to work on a local community project. The community responded very well to the international involvement and the project got an unprecedented boost. This "discovery" led to the initial decision that a specialised operation be established to provide tourism and volunteering benefits to international travellers at the same go, while supporting a number of a social development programs in needy communities. Idex swung into action and started organizing volunteer travel programs. We have come a long way since then. Thousands of participants have benefited from Idex programs Pre-departure Information Kit and worked with communities in different locations in India. Our network has grown tremendously and we have added more programs on our list with every passing year. Our real success is when we have participants booking Idex programs for the third or fourth time and we continue to work dedicatedly for our volunteer programs. 3. Our People
Managing several programs at the same time and ensuring each and every participant's satisfaction is not easy but Idex has proved over the years that professional and dedicated staff members can make it possible. With over a hundred employees spread across the different project locations and the head office, Idex maintains high quality assurance through its efficient staff. The operations and administration departments are run from the head office where professionally-trained managers and executives work tirelessly to create interesting programs and oversee program implementation under the excellent guidance of Idex directors. In the field, the project executives who are trained social workers with wide experience of working with foreigners and locals alike, also translate and interpret for the participants thus facilitating in-depth cultural immersion and volunteer contribution. Each camp location is administered by a Camp Manager who is there to help you with any kind of lodging/ boarding or scheduling issues. Camp Managers are also trained social workers and skilled managers who oversee camp management as well as program implementation. Idex Camp Managers are well-versed in English as well as local dialects. Apart from the office and field staff, there is support staff like cooks, drivers and helpers who contribute immensely to the success of any program. The support staff is usually not able to speak English very well but can still understand basic English and assist Camp Managers in making your stay comfortable. Most of Idex staff undergoes rigorous training and development programs from time to time to ensure the success of each and every volunteer program. 4. Our Network
While Idex is independently owned and operated, the success of our work depends on our network. Idex works with partner organizations in 21 countries that communicate program content and features to potential volunteers and help them sign up for volunteering in India with Idex. Once the partner organization sends us information about a volunteer for any program, Idex forwards program information and begins making appropriate arrangements. Idex has associations with travel companies and local experts in India through which they organize services like orientation, workshops, ground transport and excursions. Volunteer work placements are the most complicated things to organize involving office staff, on-site staff, NGO partners, work-placement institutions (schools, day-care centers etc.) and members of the communities. Though all members must play their role for Idex projects to succeed, the most important member of the network remains our volunteers. Volunteer feedback and suggestions then serve to improve the functioning of the network. Most importantly, through the generosity and optimism of volunteers, the network receives a Pre-departure Information Kit crucial measure of inspiration. Volunteers' willingness to challenge themselves and seek out substantive modes of travel and cultural exchange is the sort of modest but undeniably positive aspect of globalization that often gets missed in debates about the state of today's changing world. 5. Volunteering in India
a) Concept: Volunteer, Travel & Relax!
Your travel program is based on the volunteer and travel combination concept where you are able to volunteer in a needy community while traveling and relaxing at the same time. For almost a century, tourists have always planned their travel around heritage monuments, beautiful cities, beaches or wildlife. These days, the tourists are also keen to interact with the local community and participate in the life of the people thus enriching their travel experience and making it more memorable and rewarding. Since volunteering also brings inner satisfaction and immediate gratification, it enhances the value of your vacation. So, when you come to India, be prepared to volunteer, explore, travel, relax and immerse yourself in the local culture. b) Idex Volunteering Program Focus
Idex range of activities open for volunteering activities cover three broad areas: Education, Care and Empowerment. Education: Volunteers offer much needed support to local teachers. Class sizes in India can be extremely large
and under staffed. Volunteers add to the children's' educational experience by instructing classes while helping
to develop students' positive attitudes about personal hygiene and school attendance. Working in local schools
gives volunteers a chance to meet regularly with local children and their families. When schools are not in
session, volunteers utilize resources provided by Idex and the community to run independent classes in English
and Math. Volunteers also teach at special school for mentally challenged children, providing much needed
emotional support and teaching educational and vocational skills. For those volunteers with a professional
interest in education, teaching gives them a chance to hone their skills in a very different environment.
Care: Volunteers assist in local child-care centers, known as Aanganbari. The concept of "preschool" child care
is new for India, where the joint family system has long provided ample child care providers. Unlike Western
countries, where child-care facilities exist primarily to free women to work, the Aanganbari's main purpose is to
serve pregnant women and provide a safe, healthy, and hygienic space for young children who would not be
able to receive proper care at home. Unfortunately, Aanganbaris suffer from under funding and
mismanagement. Volunteers share the work load with regular staff and help bring a level of professionalism,
dedication and the community's attention to these important institutions.
Empowerment: As in many countries around the world, Indian women often suffer from disproportionate
educational and employment opportunities. In order to help redress this gender gap, volunteers instruct
Conversational English, computer, and vocational classes for local adolescent girls and grown up women.
Volunteers' presence alone helps motivate women and young girls. Teaching and mentoring efforts help
Pre-departure Information Kit improve their confidence and self-esteem, increasing their sense of independence and personal fulfillment, while improving their educational and employment opportunities. Also, as a supplement to primary volunteer placements, volunteers create and launch creative health awareness campaigns in communities that address the importance of local health concerns, such as breast feeding, safe sex, proper hygiene, and Iodine Deficiency Disorder amongst young children. c) Volunteering Challenges
Initiative: In many cases, the institutions that Idex works with do not operate to standards of bureaucratic
efficiency typical in the West; indeed, the very lack of strong institutions is why volunteer help is needed. In
weaker institutions, placements can require negotiation, creativity, and flexibility. Volunteers and their local
support staff often need to take a lead role in making the placement as effective as possible. At other times,
volunteers have to immediately begin working and participating rather than just observing. In light of these
challenges, we ask that volunteers take an active role in the creation of their own work placement and that they
communicate difficulties or problems as soon as they arise. While we are committed to offering support
throughout the volunteer placement, our ability to do so is dependant on volunteer engagement, initiative, and
Flexibility: Working in Indian communities requires flexibility and creativity. For example, though Idex strives to
place volunteers in a single work setting for the complete duration, work roles may switch, either because of
community needs or because a change of scene is necessary. Holiday schedules may require creative staffing
decisions, as may ad-hoc activities like vaccination drives. Considering our focus on meeting local needs, we also
ask that volunteers be patient with us in the matter of finding applications for special volunteer skills. Some of
our volunteers have experience in specialized aspects of child care, teaching, health care, or other related fields.
While we try at every opportunity to make use of these skills, our projects are not geared towards placing
volunteers with specific skills, and our main placement areas are designed for a general population, requiring no
special skills other than reasonable spoken English, enthusiasm, and a willingness to learn.
Climate & Topography: India has diverse climatic conditions and topography which means that the
temperature and lifestyle may vary from one region to another. While summers can be really hot in Jaipur,
Himalayas offer cooler temperatures around the same time because of high altitudes. Volunteers will need to
adjust to different climatic conditions if they are choosing to integrate different locations in their program.
Volunteering Placements and Locations
Volunteers are assigned work in one of three main areas –education, care, or empowerment. Wherever your
volunteer placement occurs, the general pattern is to work five days a week for approximately three to five
hours per day. Most work occurs in the morning before lunch, but some placements will require afternoon work
as well. Work schedules will generally be fixed, although changes do occur due to holiday seasons and evolving
needs within the community.

Pre-departure Information Kit Sometimes known as the cultural bridge between the east and the west, Goa is home to a wide variety of ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic varieties. What was once a former Portuguese colony is now the smallest geographical Indian state, but one of the most diverse and appealing. Goa is particularly famous among foreign travels for its great climate and fantastic white sandy beaches. The inland, with its plentiful flora and fauna, is internationally recognized as a biodiversity hotspot and compared to the Amazon and Congo basins for its rich tropical diversity. Finally authentic Indian food and dance, influenced by its wealth of cultural and religious varieties, offer a distinct and enriching cultural experience for any traveler. The Idex Goa Camp is situated close to the Majorda beach and the town of Madgaon in southern part of the small state. The 25 km long series of beaches including the Majorda and the famous Colva beach is known for its palm trees and silvery sand and is one of the most appealing, yet least developed areas of Goa. It lies about 6 Kms to the west of Madgaon.  Rajasthan
Idex's Camps in Rajasthan are located in different rural areas of the region like Shiv in Barmer District, Lalsot in Dausa district and in the town of Jhalawar. These untouched areas guarantee an authentic experience of rural life and culture to all volunteers. Idex first introduced social development projects in Rajasthan to international volunteers in 2001, and since then volunteers have continued to expand the quality and range of services provided to those in need. Rajasthan is a vibrant state where tradition and history blend with contemporary life styles. Every region has its distinct dialect of food, music and dance. The varieties of Rajasthan dances are colorful expressions of celebration and festivity, which make the desert region come to light. The large state is home to the Thar Desert, with Aravali Mountains running from the southwest to the northeast, and has dry climatic conditions with minimal rainfall. Despite these harsh conditions, the people and their cultures have adapted and flourished for thousands of years. In the rural areas of Rajasthan, the land is rich with a dynamic array of people and their vivid, colourful cultures.  Jaipur
Idex camp in Jaipur is located in an urban residential area of this beautiful city which allows participants to indulge in the culturally vibrant city life of Jaipur while enjoying the heritage and traditions of Rajasthan. Being the capital city, Jaipur offers modern infrastructure, an extensive public transport network, modern shopping complexes and a variety of restaurants and bars. The Idex accommodation is a 15 minute drive from the walled-city, popularly known as the pink city which is quite a happening part of the city until almost nine pm at night. The walled city is resplendent in red and pink with thousands of shops displaying ethnic wear, traditional jewellery and precious gem stones, delicious food and so much more to the curious visitors. A fusion of the modern and the traditional, you'll find at least half a dozen cinema halls, Mc Donalds, coffee shops and pizzerias within reach of your accommodation. Summers can be very hot with the daytime temperature rising upto 47°C while winters are cold with temperature going as low as 0°C. When there is no heating, or carpets in homes, it can feel colder than it would normally. Volunteers who are looking for an urban India experience enjoy staying in Jaipur. They volunteer in the less-privileged communities in different parts of the city. Some even take lessons in Hindi during their free time. Jaipur offers close proximity to tourist places like Pushkar, Bharatpur, Ranthambore, Udaipur, Jodhpur & Jaisalmer. Pre-departure Information Kit  Himalayas
Idex's Himachal Camp is situated close to the Palampur village, amidst snow capped mountains and lush green valleys, providing a year-round scenic and peaceful environment. Idex first introduced social development projects in Himachal Pradesh to international volunteers in 2005, and since then volunteers have continued to expand the quality and range of services provided to those most in need. Himachal has a mild climate, even during Indian summer heat waves. Himachal Pradesh is India's northern- most state covered by the spectacular Himalayan Mountains. The literal translation of the state's name is The Land of Snowy Mountains. The main feature of Himachal is its stunning geography, with wide variations in altitudes ranging from low hills to high mountains, lakes and flowing rivers. Dharamsala, the capital of the exiled Tibetan government and centre of Tibetan Buddhist culture, adds another cultural dimension to the already culturally packed region. Program Services
The information in this document is written with utmost care but is still subject to change at any point depending upon climatic conditions, particular program offerings or group preferences. Trip Style: Volunteer while you travel and explore the cultural heritage of India. You get to spend time
volunteering on a project and do excursions during your free-time. There is ample time to relax during the trip.
Service Level: Our standard services include a fully-escorted trip with comfortable boarding, nutritious
meals wherever possible, group travel and room sharing.
Arrival & Departure Assistance
Arrival information in India
 Most of the airport officials can converse quite well in English and you can ask them for any important information that you need.  Once you clear Immigration check, collect your baggage and choose the green customs line which implies
that you are not carrying anything meant for commercial purpose.
 Once you are through with customs, remember to change some money into Indian rupees (about US $100/
INR 5000) or get it from the ATM which you'll find in the terminal. Airport Pick-up
 Depending on the time of arrival of your flight, you will be picked up at the airport, either by one of our supervisors or by a local taxi company. That person would be waiting for you in the arrival lounge of the airport displaying a placard with your name or "IDEX" written on it.  Upon being received you will be taken to a hotel (details in Itinerary) where you will sleep overnight and meet other volunteers. Most likely you will share a room with another volunteer, who would either be present there already or join you later in the night. Pre-departure Information Kit  In the very unlikely event that you do not find anyone to pick you up at the airport, please contact us using the contact information marked Emergency Contacts listed on the last page of this document. To call, locate an easily visible sign marked "STD/ISD" at a public calling stand at the airport.  As a very last resort, if you are unable to find an Idex person to pick you up and are unable to make contact with Idex representative by phone, we suggest that you take a pre-paid taxi to the hotel (the address and contact information is given in your itinerary). The pre-paid taxi stand is in the terminal building. It is a set price which you pay in advance and get a voucher to give to the driver. Airport Drop-Off
If you are following your schedule as planned, an Idex Executive will drop you off at the airport on the scheduled date and time of departure. If you decide to cut short your trip or prolong it, Idex will not be responsible for drop-off or travel connections. Escorted Travel
Idex provides 100% escorted trips except when you choose to go out on an excursion or socializing which is not included in your trip. We ensure that our Executives are available to guide you and assist you in your travel and volunteer programs. Idex Volunteer Accommodation: Volunteers have access to clean, comfortable, and simple rooms.
The number of people can vary from 2-4 per room, with bunk beds included in the larger rooms. Invariably, we ensure comfortable and safe accommodation with plenty of opportunities to socialize and relax. In addition to personal space, each accommodation has a group dining area where you eat food prepared by our staff, a kitchen where you could cook special meals, and a common area for relaxing, watching movies and holding cultural workshops. Close to the living area/camp are local cafés, internet access points, telephone services and post office for mailing letters and packages. There may be exceptions when you are in rural areas where you would have to travel a few kilometres to the town. Outdoor Camps: During excursions or safari, volunteers might have an opportunity to sleep in tents or
other outdoor camping arrangement. Hotels/Guest House: Volunteers are offered hotel or guest house accommodation upon arrival or
drop-off depending upon the program requirement or during excursions. Transport
Traveling in India means using various transport medium like trains, luxury and local buses, taxis, auto- rickshaws, pedal rickshas or even horses or camel-carts! While we don't promise any particular kind of transport at pre-departure , you might use most of these means of transport at different times in your trip. However, we do ensure that the transportation provided to you is as comfortable as possible. Pre-departure Information Kit Meals: During your stay at Idex accommodation, three meals –a-day are provided.
Orientation: Idex offers 1-2 day Orientation for most programs, where there are interactive sessions
focused on cross-cultural communication, Indian culture and society, Hindi lessons and preparing for volunteer
work area and its challenges.
Activities/ Workshops:
We offer interactive learning sessions in the form of cultural activities and workshops which encourage
participants to learn about the local traditions and lifestyle. These workshops range from Hindi lessons to henna
painting or bollywood dancing. Please check with the Project Executive about the workshops that might be
included in your program.
Idex offers different excursions to participants based on the kind of program they chose to sign up for.
Internet at Camp Area
Most Idex locations offer internet access facilities to its participants which helps you to stay in touch with your
friends or families and also do any research you need to. However, based on the area you are in, speed could be
slow and connections unreliable due to poor internet provision in those areas. Also, depending upon the
number of participants staying at the location, you would have to share the internet time with others.
Volunteer Resources
Idex Workbooks:
For work placements that are focused on teaching, Idex-published workbooks are
given to all volunteers to supplement the children's school curriculums with more interactive and
varied learning methods.
Stationary: Idex provides relevant stationary for use in work area while teaching children.
f) Code of Conduct
You would receive a soft copy of the Code of Conduct for Idex programs via email which we expect you to read and understand carefully. Upon arrival, at the airport, you will receive the hard copy of the Code which you would be expected to sign a statement of your acceptance of the Code of Conduct, and present it to Idex staff. g) Supplementary Information
Travellers Checks:
TCs are an easy way of carrying money as they can be easily cancelled or replaced if lost or
stolen. You can take your Travellers Checks to any major bank or currency exchange facility close by for
immediate encashment. It is best to carry TCs in small denominations and note their details including serial
Pre-departure Information Kit number with you. It is advisable to keep some money in hand if you are going into a rural location as you might not be able to find an exchange facility there. If your placement is in one of our rural locations, then you'll need to change money before you go out there. Cash: If you don't have any Indian currency on you, it is best to exchange some money at the airport itself on
arrival, for immediate use. You might need to buy something urgently and having some cash on you will be
helpful. Otherwise, you can exchange currency at the hotel or bank or money agents like Western Union,
Thomas Cook etc.
Credit Card/Debit Card: Most Indian towns now have ATM cabins in all major shopping areas and you can use
your debit card to retrieve money. You can also use your Credit Card to pay for purchases at select outlets.
Money Transfer: With Moneygram, Western Union, Thomas Cook, Amex and a host of other credible money
transfer facilities available in urban areas, it is not difficult to send or receive money in India in emergency,
though charges apply and it is not immediate.
Insurance: Idex recommends all volunteers to obtain travel insurance before coming to India and ensure
that your insurance covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage, personal effects and
voluntary work. It is important to keep you Insurance details handy in your pouch for easy access during any
kind of emergency.
Indians place a lot of importance on their clothing and style especially during social events or professional
meetings. You can take with you clothes that are a combination of casual and semi-formal. Also, the climatic
conditions change from region to region and hence, it is important to check the temperature of the area you are
visiting and pack your bags accordingly. For example, if you are visiting Rajasthan in April-May, then it is best to
take light and airy cotton clothes for the hot summer afternoons. On the other hand, if you are visiting the
Himalayas during October, the weather might be much cooler than New Delhi and you might need to wear
warmer clothes. Idex also helps you choose comfortable clothing based on the location you are at by organizing
shopping trips and visits to a local tailor. An important part of clothing in India is the difference in men and
women wear.
You will find that men normally wear western clothes at work and Indian traditional at home or at social events. Western clothes range from semi-formal shirt and trousers to formal business suits and sometimes, a t-shirt with a pair of jeans are acceptable attire in professional life. Indian traditional clothes for men include kurta-pajama, dhoti, lungi, etc which are normally worn at social gatherings, religious events or while relaxing at home. You can wear Jeans/pants and t-shirts or cotton tops at work or during excursions. Volunteers are expected to keep their arms and legs covered while at work. Women
Indian women‘s choice of clothes largely depends upon their family norms, local traditions and professional life. While there are millions of women who wear saree or salwar-kurta, the younger girls prefer to wear casual Pre-departure Information Kit western attire. You can choose to wear long skirts with tee or pants/ jeans with a t-shirt or cotton shirts. Volunteers are expected to keep their arms and legs covered while at work. You can always buy salwar kurta which are quite comfortable to wear. Cleavage should not be visible and clothes shouldn't be tight or transparent. Culture Shock
It is normal to have difficulty adjusting to a new culture that differs quite prominently from you own. However,
some people might have more trouble adjusting to a new routine and a different lifestyle in a new country or
culture and therefore, they could behave nervously or show signs of anxiety. This is termed as culture shock.
You can avoid this situation by:
a) Acquainting yourself with the new culture-: by reading books, talking to other people who have visited India or by meeting Indians, watching films or documentaries about India or by checking out Indian websites about food, clothing, history and popular traditions. b) While in India, it is a good idea to spend your free time checking out the markets, meeting new people or learning local language to overcome culture shock. c) Avoid staying alone and indoors during your free time. d) Also, write about your new experiences to your friends and family via social media like facebook, twitter or myspace. This will build up further curiosity to know more. When in a new culture, the best approach is to confirm to local customs when it comes to food, clothing and social behaviour. It will help you develop cultural intelligence and understand new cultural dimensions. Remember that once you have finished your program, you will come out as a more enlightened and culturally intelligent individual than before and which could be a rewarding addition in your life. Free Time
When not working or participating in a workshop or excursion, volunteers have plenty of time to relax and
pursue their own hobbies. Some volunteers explore the natural beauty of local surroundings; others read, write,
play board games or even plan excursions to local points of interest. Most Friday evenings, volunteers arrange a
small party or get together to celebrate the end of the workweek.
Though India features certain health problems typical of a developing country, there is no need to be paranoid
about your health. More than three million international tourists come to India every year and most do not
experience anything more serious that a few days of upset stomach. For those who do get sicker, India's major
urban centers have sophisticated, in some cases world class health facilities which are even beginning to attract
large numbers of "health tourists" who fly to India for cheaper versions of certain procedures.
While there is no need to be overly concerned, you should still consult your doctor and get a health check-up
and important vaccinations before coming to India. Westerners' immune systems are often unprepared for
many garden variety Indian viruses and ailments, but if proper preventative measures are taken, most
conditions can be avoided before any question of treatment arises.
Pre-departure Information Kit Malaria : Malarone, one of the newer Malaria drugs, is not available in India. So, if prescribed, sufficient
supplies should be purchased before departure. Please consult your physician and insurance provider before making up your mind about which anti-malarial to take. As the best way to prevent malaria is to avoid mosquito bites, also think about bringing good bug spray, which is harder to find in India. Asthma: Be sure to bring an adequate supply of inhalers with you if you suffer from asthma, either
currently or previously. Allergies: Popular drugs like Claritin (loratadine) and other anti-histamines used to treat allergies are not
widely available, especially in non-drowsy forms. If you are at all prone to dust, pollen, and pollution related allergies, bring an adequate supply of your preferred allergy medication. Sinus Problem: Sinus medication (e.g. Sinutab) is not widely available; bring a supply if you are likely to
experience sinus problems due to dust and pollution. Safe Drinking Water: While safe drinking water will be readily available during your stay, some people like
to bring water purification tablets, which can be helpful in certain unexpected situations where potable water is not available. Protection from Sun: Quality UV-Protection sunglasses are hard to find so bring your own if you have
them. If you have a favourite hat, it will also be good, as will sunscreen products, which not widely available. A waterproof (i.e. sweat proof!) 30 SPF for legs and neck would be useful, and a 30SPF facial sunscreen. Feminine Hygiene: Although sanitary napkins are easily available in larger towns, tampons are difficult to
find in India, so bring plenty with you. A lot of women may be prone to menstrual problems when they move into different climatic conditions. Remember to prepare accordingly. Communication & Technology
Internet is one of the easiest and fastest ways to connect. Internet access is cheap and readily available in cities in India. There are Cyber Café available in most towns or you can purchase a data card of Reliance, Airtell or Tata Photon to get internet on your own laptop. However, if you are in a rural location, there might not be an internet network available. So, plan in advance for communication in such areas. Telephone
There are numerous public call boxes (STD/ISD) all over India from where it is easy to make international calls at fairly reasonable rates. Cell phones, which range from Rs. 1500 - Rs. 3000 ($50-80 USD), can be purchased at a store. You will then have to buy a pre-paid plan, insert the SIM and its ready to use. Most European-style tri-band handsets can take Indian PIN cards and all our present project sites are within mobile network coverage. If you bring a phone, you need to contact your service provide before you leave to unlock it for use abroad. Pre-departure Information Kit Post
India's postal service is growing more efficient, but remains unreliable, especially for incoming and outgoing packages. When mailing in India, be sure to hand your envelopes to the clerk to ensure that they are stamped and sorted correctly. It is not recommended to have anything valuable sent to you. Electronic Equipment
Electronic items run on 220 Volts in India – make sure yours do the same or else run on batteries. Plugs are usually round with 2 pins or sometimes, round 3 pins. It's a good idea to bring adapters for non-European style plugs. Packing & Preparation Check List

Pack light! You can get almost everything you need to live in India, including many international brands, usually at far lower prices. Volunteers usually complain that they've brought too much stuff. Below are some recommendations to augment other packing lists:  Money pouch: Your money, ATM/Credit Cards, air ticket, and travelers' checks should be carried on
your person – never in a backpack or bag! A traveler's pouch or money belt is the safest and most convenient way to protect your valuables.  Flashlight/Headlamp: Indispensable during power cuts which could be frequent depending on
Day Pack: All sorts of bags are available for purchase in India, but if you have a good day pack suitable
for short excursions, it may be sturdier than local varieties.
Cable and Combination Lock: Handy for locking your luggage when traveling; also can be purchased
in India. You will probably need a padlock for lockers when at camp.
Travel alarm clock: Essential for waking up on time to go to work; battery operated models are much
preferable and are locally available. Of course, if you have a mobile, that works too!
Guidebook: Both the Lonely Planet guide and the Rough Guide to India are comprehensive and well
organized; though beware of treating them as authoritative on matters of politics and culture. You may
also be able to get a regional one which will be smaller or you can print selected chapters off the
Passport & papers: Double-check your passport and visa and make sure they are both valid through
the duration of your stay. Keep your travel insurance and airline tickets in your pouch. Please keep photocopies of your passport & visa, travel insurance and airline tickets in another piece of luggage with you. Mosquito net/ Insect-repellent: If you are taking up home stay accommodation during your
program, we recommend that you bring mosquito nets as a safe and effective method for preventing
mosquito bites. Or, you can also bring a good insect-repellent.
Hand Sanitizer Wet wipes / moist towelletes: It is advisable to carry a hand sanitizer as it might not
be possible to wash your hands properly in some situations. You can also keep wet wipes for instant use
during excursions or shopping.
Pre-departure Information Kit  Sports shoes or sneakers: With generally uneven walking surfaces that are found in India, it is
advisable to wear comfortable walking or running shoes for everyday use and during any adventure or excursion activities.  Sun hat, Sun block, Sunglasses: It can get really hot and sunny in the afternoons and a hat and
sunglasses will keep you cooler and sun block will save your skin from sunburns.  Water bottle: Water bottle will come in handy wherever you are and will save unnecessary spending
on packed bottles. You will have access to filtered water at your accommodation.  Ear plugs for train journeys or light sleepers: Indian trains or buses can get quite noisy and it will be
helpful to keep a pair of ear plugs handy.  Toiletries: Although, toiletries like deodorants, soap, shampoo, face wash are easily available and much
cheaper in India, if you have a preferred brand, bring those along. Many brands are available in India like Dove, Pantene, Sunsilk, Head & Shoulders and are cheaper.  Appropriate clothes: During Orientation you will have a chance to go shopping for any clothes you
might need but it is still advisable to bring long trousers, hiking pants/track pants, shirts and shirts with you that you are comfortable wearing.  Reading/writing material: Indian cities and towns have plenty of stationary shops and book stores but
you might not find exactly what you are used to in your home country. So, bring some essential writing material with you.  Binoculars: If you are interested in wild-life and exploring during excursions, bring your binocular.
Pocketknife: A pocket knife could come in handy when you need to cut fruits, tying ropes etc during an
First-aid kit: It should contain lip salve, Aspirin, band aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for
mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder (though only 1-2 pouches as it is easily available in India) and extra prescription drugs you may be taking 6. Volunteer Contributions
There are many ways to think about the complicated interactions involved in international volunteering. One way that we find helpful is to think in terms of contributions. You are coming to India to contribute your time, energy and expertise to people with fewer advantages; but what sorts of contributions are possible? a) Direct
The most tangible type of contribution made by volunteers is what we call direct contributions. When you volunteer in a school or hospital, you improve the services of that institution while lessening the workload on over-burdened staff. Besides providing very real and tangible benefits to community institutions, direct contributions are usually the most gratifying for the volunteer. When you teach a child a new word or help a hospital worker finish her job, you see clearly and simply the impact of your work. The importance of direct contributions is apparent in every volunteer placement. For example, primary schools in India often make a single teacher responsible for multiple classes with upwards of 75 students. In normal conditions, the teacher, who often lacks adequate training, simply manages this mass of students as well as possible. When volunteers join the school, they take daily responsibility for some classes, lessening the teacher's workload and allowing her to concentrate on the students who need the most help. Meanwhile, the students taught by volunteers also receive more attention and have a richer educational experience, especially in the important subject of English. Pre-departure Information Kit b) Indirect
While direct contributions are more obvious and immediately gratifying, it is important to realize that a major
part of your contribution will be indirect. By volunteering in a hospital or school, you ensure that the institution
where you work will receive more attention than it would under normal circumstances. In a country like India,
where population is large and resources are limited, the benefits of this added attention can make a
tremendous difference to all of the lives impacted by these institutions, including people that you never even
For example, some of our volunteers serve in government run hospitals. Typically under-staffed and under-
funded, these hospitals can easily require each doctor to see over 100 patients in a single day. When doctors are
overworked, the quality of the care they give declines. Wealthier people can address this problem by seeking
out private medical facilities, but the cost of private health care is generally out of reach of the vast majority of
Indians, especially in rural areas. When volunteers begin working at a government hospital, however, that
hospital invariably receives more attention from local authorities. More attention means more funds, which
means better facilities, more doctors and an overall improvement in low cost health care. Besides benefiting the
people who use the hospital, these improvements also raise the morale of the doctors and other hospital
c) Monetary
Though you will already be contributing considerable amounts of time and energy, some people in the communities where you work may still ask you for monetary contributions. Such requests can come directly, or via seemingly innocent conversations about sick family members or studying cousins. The wealth disparities experienced by volunteers make the prospect of direct monetary contributions appealing: most of the people you meet really could use the cash. While such need is undeniable, IDEX nevertheless strongly discourages direct monetary gifts to beneficiaries of volunteer services. Giving money directly to recipients of development assistance can create a sense of dependency among the local community while increasing simplistic and extractive attitudes towards Westerners. At their worst, monetary contributions disempower people, leading them towards unsustainable reliance on foreign donations, at the expense of local efforts at upliftment, financial or otherwise. If you do feel compelled to give monetary contributions, IDEX asks that you reserve them for our NGO partners. For obvious reasons, giving even small monetary gifts is especially discouraged in and around IDEX housing. d) Contribution Limitations
While many kinds of contributions are possible, it's also important to set realistic expectations about their limits. At times, some volunteers experience frustration at what they perceive as the slow pace of change. If this happens, it is important to remember that in almost all cases progressive social change is a slow and arduous process. Social ills like poverty, poor health or mistreatment of women tend to be woven into complex political, economic and cultural systems that are best approached through patient, holistic approaches. NGOs in India work in needy areas for years before realizing a shift in the habit patterns of the locals and attitude of the authorities. This slow pace is just as much a feature of more developed countries. By contributing short-term volunteer work to local NGOs involved in long-term projects of social uplift, you will be part of a process of gradual change that will eventually result in meaningful and sustainable improvements in the lives of the people you serve. As noted above, much of your impact, tied as it is to larger recurring cycles of volunteer support, may only bear fruit after you leave. While frustration is a natural response, keeping perspective will make your experience far more positive and the contributions that you do make all the more effective. Indeed, whenever Pre-departure Information Kit possible, we advise volunteers to keep specific expectations and predictions to a minimum. By keeping an open mind, you will help prepare yourself to engage with and appreciate the volunteer experience as it unfolds. 7. Idex Foundation (Saarthak)
Saarthak- Initiatives of relevance is a non-profit organisation founded in 2007 by the founders of Idex with the purpose of setting up relevant social initiatives that bring about sustainable social change. We believe that women and girl child centric initiatives are the key to sustainable development, fighting poverty by unlocking women's power as economic catalysts. Founded in 2007 by Kusum Sharma who is also the Chairperson of Idex, SAARTHAK aims to be a credible non-profit organization facilitating initiatives of relevance for girls and women in quality education, capacity building and empowerment. We aim to continuously develop our international network of supporters through efficient, transparent and accountable functions to ensure the sustainability of our initiatives. Idex is SAARTHAK's main donor in terms of financial & managerial support, but also other resources such as staffing and facilities are provided by Idex. Presently, Saarthak is involved in the following activities: 1. Empowering in field of Education
 Literacy classes  Computer Education  English Literacy 2. Economic Empowerment
Vocational training / Skills training 3. Self Empowerment
Advocacy workshops 4. Knowledge & Awareness Building
Individual / Group counseling and workshops 5. Child Development Activities:
Non formal education Facilitating & supporting formal education Facilitating & strengthening Day Care Center functioning Computer literacy  Currently collecting funds for a mobile school  Developing a model of non formal education for children & women  Planning to impart "Life Skill Education Training" to adolescent girls For more information on Saarthak, check outor visit the page on facebook. Pre-departure Information Kit 8. Emergency Contacts
Keep the mobile numbers of the Project Executive & Camp Manager handy in your phone, purse or wallet
and contact them immediately in any kind of emergency. If you fail to establish contact with local staff,
contact Idex Head Office. If you are unable to contact the head office team, call local emergency numbers of
your city.
a) Idex Contacts
Operations Team: Mobile: (0) 99280-70958/ (0) 97840-02581 Ninad Sharma (Director) Mobile: (0) 99280-55121 Kusum Sharma (Director) Mobile: (0) 98293-73518 b) Useful Contacts in India
Our participants have rarely seen any major problems during their trip to India since it is a 100% escorted
trip except when you choose to take an excursion during your free time. However, we still advise all
participants to keep important numbers handy in case of any emergency. If you are in trouble and need
immediate help and unable to reach out to Idex staff, then you can call on these numbers:
Police: 100
Fire: 101
Ambulance: 108 / 102
 It is a good idea to note down your Embassy contact numbers in your diary for emergency.  Upon arrival, before checking-into the hotel, take down the contact number of the Idex representative who will be picking you up again for sight-seeing or further travel.  Note down the phone numbers for Tourism Department of the city you are living in and you can always ask them for relevant information before taking an excursion. YOUR PROGRAM
1. Program features
Individual program features: ex Youth/ grown-up etc Pre-departure Information Kit The following are special features: Orientation: 1 day/ 2 days Workshops: Indian Cuisine, Saree wearing, Henna painting & Bollywood dancing Excursions: Meals: Local Sight-seeing: Travel: Group 2. Destination
3. Itinerary
Pre-departure Information Kit INCREDIBLE INDIA
1. Indian Culture
Similar to the geographical diversity in India, its cultural topography is equally diverse; the genesis of which can be traced to as far back as 5000 years ago. The most fascinating aspect about the Indian culture is that it is made up of innumerable sub-cultures which are continuously evolving. While most regions follow a typical lifestyle, it won't be difficult to find people in one region following traditions of a different region. So, you could find one Sikh woman in Hyderabad speaking in Punjabi, cooking north-Indian menu and wearing Punjabi salwar kameez while the immediate neighbour wearing saree, eating sambhar-dosa and speaking in Telugu. A foreigner might be confused to see such varying traditions existing in the same neighbourhood. This is normally a result of continuous migration in between various regions. Let us now learn something about the different aspects of Indian culture. 1.1 Religions
India is a secular country and people have the right to follow a religion of their choice if they wish to. The major religions practiced are Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism apart from some other religions and sects. Hinduism is AN ancient religion which is said to have originated during the Indus valley civilization and evolved for centuries. Buddhism and Jainism flourished around the same time in the north-western part of India. With the advent of the Mughals, Islam was introduced to the Indian subcontinent and patronized by the Mughal emperors. In the 15th century, Sikhism was founded in Punjab. The Europeans and Persians brought with them other religious interests too and hence, the central and coastal parts of India welcomed Christianity and Zoroastrianism. A very remarkable fact about India's pluralistic society is the inter-mingling of different religious traditions. It is normal to see Hindus visiting Sikh temples or vice versa. Non-practicing Christians also participate in Christmas celebrations while Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is celebrated all over India with people of all faiths. Indian people are, on the whole, religious by nature. Hindus, Sikhs or Muslims, normally begin their mornings with prayers or visit their religious centres daily. Most neighbourhoods have a variety of temples, churches and mosques. In India, many important religious days are marked as national holidays. Over the years, various religious traditions have travelled out of India and aroused global interest in spiritual philosophies like Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism. This has brought travelers and tourists looking to India for a first-hand taste of Indian mysticism. One could find more information about different religions practiced in India by visiting related internet sites, reading books or visiting local temples and religious centres. Pre-departure Information Kit 1.2 Fairs and Festivals
Most festivals have a religious base but there are some which are celebrated out of social interests too. Over the centuries, many festivals have gradually changed. While Diwali was primarily the festival of lights, celebrated to mark the occasion of Lord Rama's homecoming with his spouse, Sita, after 14 years in exile and celebrated by lighting earthen lamps with clarified butter and distributing sweets, it has changed a lot. Presently, Diwali is celebrated by lighting candles, earthen lamps, firecrackers and distributing sweets, candies, chocolates and gifts. Electric lights brighten up most of the markets and plazas while some people decorate their houses too. Over the years, companies in India have also begun celebrating Diwali by distributing salary bonuses or organizing a Diwali get-together. Here is a list of important festivals & holidays celebrated in India. The festival dates might vary each year as most of the Hindu festivals are based on Hindu calendar. January
Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti: The birth anniversary of the 10th Guru of Sikh religion, Guru Gobind Singh.
Lohri: A festival of harvest, dance and enjoyment
Makar Sankranti: A day for flying kites
Republic Day: A national holiday commemorating the declaration of the constitution of India on 26th Jan 1950.
Holi: The famous festival of colours representing the burning of evil-minded Holika.
Mahavir Jayanti: The birth anniversary of the founder of Jainism, Lord Mahavira
Vaisakhi: The beginning of the solar year and a festival of harvest, food and dance. Celebrated as Pothundu or
Vishu in south India.
Good Friday: A religious holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ
Easter: A religious day commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ
Raksha Bandhan: A festive occasion for families when sisters tie the sacred thread on their brother's wrist to
symbolize love and protection for each other.
Independance Day: A national celebration of India's independence in 1947 from British rule
Janamashtami: The birth anniversary of Hindu God, Krishna
Gandhi Jayanti: A national holiday marking the birthday of Gandhi ji who is considered the father of the nation.
Eid-ul-Fitr: A worldwide Islamic religious occasion marking the end of holy fasting,"Ramadan"
Dusshehra: A festival of harvest with religious significance for Hindus because: first, Hindu God Rama killed the
demon, Ravana on this day; second, it also marks the ending of 9 days of fasting and prayers, Navaratra.
Diwali: The festival of lights celebrated all over India with prayers, lights, firecrackers, sweets, dancing and
feasting marking the auspicious homecoming of Hindu God Rama & his consort Sita after 14 years in exile.
Bakr-Eid: A world-wide Islamic religious holiday to honour the willingness of Abrahim to sacrifice his son,
Ishmael, as an act of obedience to God.
Guru Nanak Jayanti: The birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev.
Christmas: The birth anniversary of Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity
Pre-departure Information Kit 1.3 Languages
Hindi in the Devanagri script is the official language of India although there are 18 other regional languages
spread across different states. Once the British established their stronghold in India, English became the second
official language of India. Today, Hindi and English are the most popular languages used liberally in newspapers,
magazines, movies, television and as a medium of instruction in schools & colleges in India. Bollywood cinema
uses Hindi & Urdu with a lot of song numbers using Marwari, Punjabi & English quite lavishly. Other important
languages are Marwari, Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese, Oriya, Bihari, Kashmiri and Sanskrit.
Languages spoken in the southern part of India have a Dravidian base, eg:Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam or Kannada.
1.4 Cuisine
The Indian cuisine derives its inspiration from almost 5000 years ago when the Indus valley civilization came into
being. Over the centuries, more flavours have been added to its bouquet of spices and condiments. Today,
Indian cuisine is noted for its colourful use of turmeric, vibrant tastes and spicy flavours. Food and spices vary
from region to region but the new cosmopolitan culture allows regional varieties to be available in all parts of
India. Food is a significant part of any celebration and people like sharing it with friends, family and neighbours.
Indians are very particular about religious instructions related to food consumption and have special diets on
special religious occasions or during fasting. A big population is vegetarian because of religious reasons and
hence it is very easy to find pure vegetarian restaurants. Egg is considered non-vegetarian food and hence a lot
of vegetarians may take offence if people offer them egg. It is easy therefore to buy egg-less cake.
The staple diet in Northern India is wheat dough rolled out into chapattis, cooked on tawa or baked inside a
Tandoor; rice or noodles in the north-eastern and rice, idli or dosa in the south of India. There can be slight
variations from region to region. Indians like to eat dry beans popularly called daal which is a rich source of
protein, at least once a day with chapatis or rice. Vegetables are normally cooked into into curries or eaten raw.
Some of the popular spices are turmeric, dry coriander, cumin, asafoetida, mustard seeds, cardamom, cloves
and sesame. Non-vegetarian food, especially fish is quite popular in certain regions of India, especially coastal
plains like Kerala, Maharashtra and Bengal. Mutton and chicken are the most popular non-vegetarian food. Of
course, for strongly- held religious reasons, both beef and pork are rarely available in some parts of the country.
It is customary to serve snacks along with tea or coffee when you visit someone's home. Snacks can be as light
as savoury mixtures and cookies or as elaborate as samosas, kachoris, dhokla, chaat-papri, alu-tiki or traditional
Indian sweets. Hot tea & coffee is normally served at breakfast or in the evening. During summer months, fresh
juices are quite popular. Most families don't drink alcohol in their homes. Since it is not customary for women to
drink alcohol in Indian families, women guests are not generally offered alcohol. However, the younger
generation may now open to drinking with friends outside their homes.
1.5 Clothing
Traditional Indian clothing for men and women is different even though a lot of younger women in the cities
have started wearing western outfits like trousers and tee-shirts. The most popular and oldest form of clothing
for women has been saree or ghagra choli and salwar kameez while dhoti kurta, lungi or kurtapyjama for men.
Pre-departure Information Kit Women:
A saree is a four metre or longer piece of fabric, draped around the waist and bosom normally
accompanied by a bodice or blouse. Traditionally women wore cotton or silk sarees depending upon the social
status or occasion but nowadays, you can find saree material of all kinds- chiffon, chignon, crepe, polyester or
other mixed fabrics. Most saree material come along with a matching piece to make a blouse that would go well
with the saree. In India, while saree is considered formal clothing at work, many unmarried young girls wait
untill their marriage to wear saree in everyday routine.
Ghagra Choli: A popular form of clothing for married and unmarried women, it comprises of a long gathered
skirt with a bodice and a stole to be hung around loosely. Some women use the stole to cover their head as well.
It is most popular in rural parts of India. A lot of city women continue to wear Ghagra Choli on festive occasion
or during religious rituals. Fabric used varies from personal choice or the occasion. For example, Ghagra cholis
for weddings are usually in pure silk, brocade or chiffons with embroidery.
Salwar Kameez: It is a comfortable and easily manageable form of Indian attire which has its roots in the pre-
partition Punjab. Salwar Kameez is presently worn in Pakistan, & Afghanistan apart from India. The dress
consists of loose pants and a knee length shirt accompanied by a stole which could be used to cover one's head.
The loose pants have developed variations like churidar pyjama which resembles Jodhpurs (tight from the
bottom and loose from the thighs) etc. The length of the shirt or stole can vary depending upon the latest trends
or personal choice. The fabric used for this dress also depends on the trend, weather or personal choice. Since
India is primarily warm most of the year, women prefer to wear cotton salwar kameez with beautiful prints or
Kurta Pyjama:
This is a loosely-fitted pair of pants and a long shirt. Traditionally, pyjamas- wide or narrow,
have been plain white or light in colour but the new trends allow variations in colours. This is a very comfortable
ensemble for men during summers especially if it is in pure cotton.
Dhoti-kurta: Dhotis are 4-5 metres long piece of cotton cloth traditionally in white colour which is wrapped
around the loins. It is more common for men to wear a dhoti in the rural parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya
Pradesh, Rajasthan or Haryana.
Lungi: Lungi, sarong or Chadar (in Punjabi) is a 3-4 metre long piece of cloth that is worn around the waist by
men accompanied by a kurta or shirt. It is a very comfortable piece of attire during hot summer months and for
people working in the farms. Lungi is quite popular in the south of India, Bihar, Bengal and Punjab.

We hope this pre-departure booklet is helpful in preparing you for your volunteer trip to India with Idex. There is a lot to
learn about India which you can always find from other sources like books, films or the internet. However, we sincerely
feel that this information kit will serve the purpose of answering most of your questions and provide you all the details
you need before you board your flight. Bon Voyage!


Micro-Level Value Creation Under Managerial Short-termism ∗ Jonathan B. Cohn† University of Texas at Austin University of Texas at Dallas Wharton Research Data Services We present evidence that managers facing short-termist incentives set a lower threshold for accepting projects. Using novel data on new client and product an- nouncements in both the U.S. and international markets, we find that the marketresponds less positively to a new project announcement when the firm's managers haveincentives to focus on short-term stock price performance. Furthermore, textual analy-sis of project announcements show that firms with short-termist CEOs use more vagueand generically positive language when introducing new projects to the marketplace.Keywords: CEO Short-termism, Corporate Investment, CEO Compensation, CareerConcerns, Corporate Governance

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