Travel with “Me to We” to India on a life-changing trip

Lake Palace Hotel and the pink-hued Aravelli Hills, Udaipur, Rasjasthan, India

Lake Palace Hotel and the pink-hued Aravelli Hills, Udaipur, Rasjasthan.

Enjoy the beauty of Rajasthan on a volunteer adventure trip-of-a-lifetime

Pink sunsets giving way to the broadening dome of an azure sky. Peacocks flying low across the desert. Burnished golden forts rising from the baked earth. Women walking gracefully in neon-bright saris. Men in bulbous turbans leading loping camels. This is Rajasthan: romantic scenes from your fantasies of India really do come to life here. But of course Rajasthan is much more than a picture postcard of idealized India. It is also home to a large population, many of whom lead traditional and impoverished lives of back-breaking labour in a climate of extreme weather.

And this is where Me to We is building Araveli Cottages, a new property for volunteer travellers. Participants will be able to experience Rajasthan, contribute to the community and stay in comfort. For more than 10 years, Me to We Trips have been sending young people, families, adults and groups on life-changing trips to a Free the Children “Adopt-a-Village” program near Udaipur, Rajasthan. And starting this summer, 2013, participants will be able to stay in luxury at Araveli Cottages, a property designed with authentic Rajasthani decor and featuring well-appointed private cottages and generous indoor and outdoor shared spaces. Read on to find out more about Me to We trips to India and Kenya (and elsewhere), and about the surprising story of how it was all started by a 12-year-old Canadian boy.

Bogani Cottages, Kenya, Volunteer travel, Africa, Me to We

Bogani Cottages, Kenya

Experience the world with Me to Me

How would you like to spend a night in a luxury tent on the grounds of Karen Blixen’s Kenyan coffee estate — the place made famous by Out of Africa — on your way to Maasai Mara; and then spend your days immersing in the local culture and staying in comfort at Bogani Cottages? Or, stay at the luxurious Araveli Cottages in rural Rajasthan and interact with a developing community? Well, you can if you book a Me To We volunteer adventure trip.

Me to We is a unique, and innovative social enterprise that “creates lifestyle experiences for the conscious consumer who wants to contribute to a better world.” Among other socially conscious pursuits, Me to We offers volunteer trips for both children and adults. And the adult trips were the reason I was at the Me to We store in Toronto, on a blustery February morning, along with a roomful of hand-picked travel editors, writers and bloggers. These trips, and especially their new facilities in Kenya and Rajasthan, India are really exciting. And one of the best things about them is that half their profits go to support their sister charity, Free the Children. If you don’t know the story of the founding of Free the Children it’s a good one.

In 1995, when Craig Kielburger was a normal 12 year old boy in suburban Toronto, he came across a news story about a Pakistani boy who had been sold into bonded labour, escaped, began speaking about children’s rights and was shot dead. At the age of 12. Craig marveled at the age similarity and the life story dissimilarity. Moved by a deeply felt sense of injustice, Craig and some other friends started a group to try and help children who weren’t as lucky as they were — and that group eventually evolved into Free the Children.

Me to We volunteers in India , Free the Children

Me to We volunteers in India

Contribute to a better world

Now, Free the Children is an, “international charity and educational partner, with more than 1.7 million youth involved in innovative education and development programs in 45 countries.” The charity’s sister organization, Me To We, is a social enterprise company run by Marc Kielburger — who has worked hand-in-hand with his brother Craig right from the start — and Marc’s wife Roxanne Joyal. Marc and Roxanne were on hand to tell us the story of Me to We, and of the volunteer adventure trips, and their passion and idealism was palpable. Softy that I am, tears rose in my eyes more than once.

There is no doubt in my mind that the secret of the success of Free the Children and Me to We is the infectious passion and spirit of idealism that Craig Kielburger, Marc Kielburger and Roxanne Joyal poured into creating these endeavours. And there is no doubt that anyone who gets involved with Free the Children, or goes on a Me to We volunteer adventure, will be fundamentally changed.

For more information on Me to We volunteer adventure trips, visit the Me to We website. And enjoy the video!

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12 Responses to Travel with “Me to We” to India on a life-changing trip

  1. Shalu Sharma March 1, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    Going to India for to volunteering in this way seems like a perfect thing to do. I think its noble who volunteer and give time and money to the needy. Thank you for pointing out free the Children and “Me to We”.
    Shalu Sharma recently posted..Char Dham Yatra – A Sacred Journey to Wash Away the SinsMy Profile

    • Mariellen Ward March 3, 2013 at 10:57 am #

      Thanks Shalu. I am sure the community benefits in a myriad of ways from the work and presence of the volunteers; but ultimately it’s probably the volunteers who benefit the most! These kinds of experience are life-altering — they teach you so much about yourself, other cultures, and the nature of life itself.

  2. Junalin @ Doula Training March 5, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    I’ve never been in that place but I think it’s really an interesting place to visit. The people, as I can see there are so warm and friendly. And oh… the Bogani Cottages looks so relaxing.

    Junalin @ Doula Training recently posted..Finding the right Obestetrician for you!My Profile

  3. Tharun James Jimani (@icyhighs) March 6, 2013 at 2:14 am #

    Truly inspiring stuff. Makes me feel a little small but wow.
    Tharun James Jimani (@icyhighs) recently posted..Keeping It RealMy Profile

  4. neoimaginations March 13, 2013 at 8:19 am #

    Inspiring blog. Showing India like never before.Thanks

    neoimaginations recently posted..A Walk to Remember.My Profile

  5. Rajasthan Tour Packages March 13, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    Really rajasthan is one of the best historical states of India where you can make your tour and travel trip memorable by visiting best places of rajasthan like fort, palaces etc.

  6. Meghana March 23, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    Hello, nice blog regarding udaipur. have you visited the chittorghar fort. if not its good place for person like you.
    Meghana recently posted..Local Life in Kumarkom KeralaMy Profile

  7. Nishi Jain March 24, 2013 at 11:08 pm #

    That’s a novel initiative! I will definitely keep this in mind the next time I travel.

  8. Andrea April 29, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    I’d love to do a volunteering stint somewhere someday! And to think that Free the Children was started by a kid. Just amazing!
    Andrea recently posted..Bicycling around the isle of Oland, SwedenMy Profile

  9. volunteer opportunities india  August 14, 2013 at 3:44 am #

    Nice post and Volunteer India specialises in volunteer work and volunteer programs in India. If you’re interested in volunteering in India, look no further! We offer background information, information on programs, weekly news and much more.
    volunteer opportunities india  recently posted..Why Paid VolunteeringMy Profile

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