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Pondicherry, India

December 28, 2012 to January 8, 2012

It is said that the way your spend New Year’s Eve will dictate how your year goes. What better way to start 2012 then by helping others?

Join us on a life-changing adventure to Pondy (Pondicherry), a historically rich, small city that was once a French-held enclave on the Tamil Nadu coast of Southern India. A very professional and active local affiliate will help us see and learn more about the history of this extraordinary region. Potentially included will be visits to the World Heritage site of Mamallapuram and the Temple Town of Chidambaram.

In Pondy, the French influence is still very much felt. The older part of the city has wide boulevards, and many of the streets have French names. Quiet tree-lined streets lead out to the ocean front road. There is a large Catholic church which also lends a European flavor to the area.

After working hard each day, we can enjoy many diverse dining and cultural experiences, such as Auroville, Aurobindo Ashram and the colonial buildings along the seafront.

About India
The Republic of India is home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world and is a land as diverse as it is vast. It is the world’s most populous country.

India is located in southern Asia, with 7,000 kilometers of coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. It shares political borders with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, China, Nepal and Pakistan.

India gained its independence from Great Britain in 1947 and is the world’s largest democracy. Since independence, India’s history has been turbulent. Now in a period of liberalization, India faces the challenge of modernizing while trying to preserve its ancient culture. With an annual per capita income of US$1,000, most Indian families are unable to afford a decent home.

About Habitat for Humanity India
Habitat India was formed in 1983 and has built more than 17,000 houses. House designs vary, depending on materials available in the area and the specific needs of the local community. Typically, house designs range in size from 240 to 360 square feet and are comprised of a living room, veranda, kitchen and toilet.

Habitat’s IndiaBUILDS campaign aims to house 250,000 people over five years, mobilizing 1 million volunteers in the process and raising capital towards that goal. Currently, Habitat India operates through Resource Centers in Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi, as well as satellite centers in the south, east and west. New partnerships with corporate supporters and non-governmental organizations extend Habitat’s presence to north India.

For more information, please visit the Habitat for Humanity India.

Types of construction for volunteers
Volunteers may work on new construction of complete homes and with disaster-response programs. Habitat house designs and materials vary with climate and locale.

Standard itinerary
(12 days)
Day 1 (Wednesday):
Depart for India.
Day 2 (Thursday):
Travel day.
Day 3
(Friday): Arrive in Chennai; free time; dinner;
Day 4 (Saturday):
Travel to Pondicherry; welcome and orientation with local staff member; visit project sites and families; welcome dinner. New Year’s Eve celebrations!
Day 5 (Sunday):
New Year’s Day. Welcome 2012! Free day for local sightseeing.
Days 6–10 (Work days, Monday–Friday):
Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. with lunch on site; free time after work to clean up; dinner and time for team activities.
Day 11 (Saturday):
Travel to departure city; free time for local activities; dinner.
Day 12 (Sunday):
Departure day.

Team members should expect to stay at a hotel or a retreat center, depending on the location. Rooms will be at least double-occupancy in a hotel and will usually have a private bathroom. Some teams may stay in a shared space with a shared bathroom.

Breakfast is usually provided at the hotel or the retreat center, and lunch is usually provided by the affiliate and taken on the work site. Dinner is taken at various restaurants or provided by the hotel or retreat center.

Trip cost
For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village trip cost.

Team leader
DJ Forza has participated with Global Village teams in Nepal and Guatemala and in Cambodia for The Jimmy and Roselyn Carter Work Project. Last year, she co-led a fantastic build team to Jordan. After visiting some 60 countries, she finds that the best way to learn about a new culture is to live and work side by side with the families through Habitat’s mission.

She looks forward to bringing together a diverse group of dedicated volunteers to work in and explore this historically and culturally rich area of Tamil Nadu India over New Year’s 2012.

For more information or to join this GV trip to India, contact

To apply for a GV trip, please follow the Application Instructions.

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