We have anywhere from 1 to 8 volunteers at any time from India and abroad, living in the rooms in Ganeshpuri or on the farm in Gorad.
Saha Astitva Eco-Center in Gorad
The farm is located in the Adivasi (tribal) village area of Gorad, 3 km from Ganeshpuri, consisting of roughly a thousand people. Geographically there is a tribal belt across central India. The tribal belt developed as Adivasi communities were squeezed by migrations from the north and south of India. It runs from Gujarat and Maharastra in the West, all the way across to Arunachal Pradesh in the far Northeast. Within the tribal belt the Adivasis make a sizable portion of the population: 15% in Gujarat, 24% in Madhya Pradesh, 11% Maharashtra (11 million people). The adivasis make up 8% of the population of India, and are the largest group of indigenous people in the world. As they are tribal, they live in bamboo and mud houses and actively interact with the jungle for hunting and harvesting plants and trees for building, food and medicines. Around the farm are the Warli adivasis that live in several different pockets – you may see up to 100 people as they come and go from the forest and as you come and go from the farm.
We are building a relationship with the Warli adivasis, but in a very gentle manner; we aim to be warm, friendly and respectful and wave to the children as we go by. They are a closed community following many years of marginalization and exploitation and because of such there are many of social issues.
Saha Astitva Headquarters in Ganeshpuri
Our apartment/office and volunteer rented rooms are in the lively pilgrim village of Ganeshpuri. This village is known as a spiritual vortex that has attracted many yogis, gurus and, consequently, many tourists and pilgrims from India and abroad. The area has several hot spring sources, many temples and a plethora of natural sights, making it a quaint but potent place for prayer, meditation and relaxation.
In and close to Ganeshpuri there is a post office and allopathic (conventional) hospital. In regards to food and shopping there are two internet cafes in the village, restaurants that serve basic vegetarian meals and market stalls and shops that sell vegetables and very basic items. Saha Astitva also has a small organic dry goods shop, Mandagni Organics,selling at a fraction of the price that organic goods are sold at in Mumbai, and from which volunteers get the wholesale (bulk order) price discount.
For laundry, you are welcome to purchase soap nuts from Mandagni Organics or bring your own biodegrable laundry soap and use our clotheslines. If you don’t want to do your own laundry there are services available in town for cleaning and pressing.