Today, join more than 30 volunteers on a day-long trek to Chinchoti waterfalls in Naigaon (E), 90 minutes away from Chinchoti Phata on the Western Express highway. Recommended for beginners, the moderate trek starts from Kaman Village in Vasai. Bordered by thick foliage on both sides of the foothill, it might even allow you to cross the stream a few times before reaching the falls. However, this isn’t your average trek. You’ll also be involved in a clean-up drive of the trekking route. This eco-trek has been organised by iVolunteer, a pan-Indian social enterprise, on the occasion of International Volunteer Day.
Chinchoti waterfalls in Naigaon
“In India, volunteerism is picking up pace steadily. In order to provide more thrust to it, we wished to engage our pool of volunteers in an innovative and fun activity,” informs Shalabh Sahai, co-founder and director, iVolunteer, adding, “Our mission is to bring volunteers and organisations together to share time, skills and passion to promote India’s social development. We have a range of initiatives and a large network of individuals, NGOs, and corporate organisations. A trek is one such initiative to engage like-minded people in a more relaxed setting.”
Post a brain storming session, the team zeroed in on the lush green forest area leading to Chinchoti waterfalls, due to its proximity to the city. “It also offers a breathtaking trek experience. Since it is a regular trekking spot, it has become polluted. Often, families leave behind thermocol plates, plastic bags and bottles while younger groups discard empty beer bottles and cans. This puts a lot of burden on the eco-system of Chinchoti, specially affecting its water quality,” adds Sahai.
The volunteers will be provided with gloves, masks and garbage bags. The team has also made arrangements to discard the collected waste, by carrying it to the nearest municipal garbage dumping spot.
Scheduled sometime in January, the organisation has planned a Skill Marathon, where participants can use their skills to add value to the social sector organisations. For instance, revamping a website for an NGO or training its staff on basic computer skills.
What is International Volunteer Day
Designated by United Nations since 1985, International Volunteer Day offers an opportunity for volunteer organizations and individual volunteers to contribute at local, national and international level to achieve the eight Millennium Development Goals.
On Today, 8 am to 5 pm, Starting Point Naigaon (E) railway station
Cost Rs 150 (inclusive of transportation and snacks)
For updates, log on to www.ivolunteer.in
Plan for the volunteers
7.30 am: Report for departure at Naigaon (E) station
8 am: Transfer to Kaman Village by autorickshaw
8.30 am: Breakfast at a local restaurant at Kaman Village
9:30 am: General safety introduction and briefing
11 am: Arrive at waterfall point
11.30 am: Cleaning the trek point
2 am: Close of cleaning drive
2.30 am: Lunch/snacks
3 pm: Start downwards to Kaman Village
4.30 pm: Reach base village, travel to Naigaon station by auto
4:45 pm: Snacks
5 pm: Departure from Naigaon station
Protect Maharashtra’s heritage
Did you know that Vajreshwari temple at Bhiwandi is home to 2000-year old hot water springs? “The area has one of the city’s oldest water tanks but it has become extremely dirty over time and remains neglected,” informs Dr Shridatta Raut, founder of Kille Vasai Mohim, who has initiated a clean-up drive of the temple area, this Sunday.
The organisation has cleaned up Vasai Fort. Pic/Shadab Khan
Since a few years, the organisation has been involved in conservation of forts in Thane and other areas in Maharashtra.
On December 6, 7 am to 11 am
At Vajreshwari temple area (get down at Vasai (W) railway station and take a bus to Vajreshwari)
Described as a world within a world by Rudyard Kipling, the beautiful and lesser-known Trans-Himalayan belt of Himachal Pradesh offers volunteering opportunities too.
One of the villages in the Spiti region
One of them is Kaza-based Ecosphere, a social enterprise that works towards creating sustainable livelihoods. They have a range of volunteering programmes for travellers.
Log on to firstname.lastname@example.org
Save the Yamuna in Delhi
One of the foremost voices urging for a clean Yamuna, Delhi’s Swechha organisation drives many initiatives revolving around education, environment and enterprise.
Volunteers from different NGOs, citizens and Delhi government officials clean the Yamuna banks during a drive in New Delhi in 2003. Pic/AFP
Last year, they also hosted Yamuna Shramdaan, a symbolic clean-up of the river and its banks by hundreds of concerned citizens.