India: Grassroots Education

Learn about Education in India

The Program

Explore education through the lens of gender, economic status, ability, and/or caste alongside 10 other students, a UTM Faculty, a UTM staff member and our partners from Operations Groundswell.


  • Spend time with individuals and organisations that work to overcome the obstacles many people face to education;
  • Explore the difference in access to education according to economic status and location;
  • Work with the members of Dehradun Disability Forum to explore their work with vocational training in the local context, accessing educational facilities, early interventions initiatives, and livelihood development;
  • Trek into the Himalayas and appreciate both their beauty and the barrier they create to making education accessible in rural communities along the way.


  • Dates: April 23 to May 7, 2017
  • Estimated Cost: $3725

Important Dates

Participants must be available on the dates specified below for the pre departure and post-departure sessions as a requirement of participation in this experience. Plus, participation in the pre departure sessions and reflection after the experience will get the experience recognized on the Co-Curricular Record!

Date Description
Monday, September 26 to Monday, October 17 Application Period
Thursday, November 24 from 1 pm to 2 pm Pre Departure Orientation: Creating Connections
Thursday, March 16 from 10 to 11 pm Pre Departure Session: A World of Opportunity
Wednesday, March 15 from 10 to 12 pm or Wednesday, April 5 from 1 to 3 pm in DV3130CC Safety Abroad Mandatory Session at UTM (students can also participate in sessions offered at St George) 
Saturday, April 1 approximately 9 to 12 pm Pre Departure Session: Experiential Day
Sunday, April 23 to Sunday, May 7 Travel Dates
Saturday, May 13 approximately 9 to 12 pm Post Trip Session: The good, the bad and the travel bug


Day 1-3

Location: New Delhi


Landing in India's bustling capital, we will spend a few days acclimatizing to India in the second largest metropolis in the country. We'll get to try the first bites of properly spiced Indian curries, spend time in (and out of!) tuk tuks, marvelling at the variety in this city of Presidential palaces, ancient forts, bazaars, shopping malls, high rises and slums. We'll also be preparing the ground for this whirlwind program. This will involve workshops on Cultural Literacy and Solidarity run by OG, as well as spending time with Sonu, the director of Thrive Seed, a non-for-profit organization that provides for girls’ education and female empowerment workshops at the Nehru Nagar Slum School.

Thrive Seed believes that education is the most effective way to tackle poverty in India, particularly the education of women and girls. Girls’ education has been shown to decrease infant mortality rates, reduce maternal death, increase safe sex practices, and provide women and girls with the necessary skills and financial ability to marry later in life. Visiting Thrive Seed’s school and women’s empowerment project, participants will gain insight into the particular ways in which poverty and gender impact access to education in India, as well as the steps toward justice that are taking place from a grassroots level.

Days 4-9

Location: Dehradun

Description: Dehradun is just 5 hours north of Delhi, in the state of Uttarakhand, and is the regional hub for a wide variety of community-focused non-profit organisations. Uttarakhand is a Himalayan region, also known as Bhumdevi, land of the gods, particularly providing great opportunities to see the difference between rural and urban India as well as to experience traditional medicine.

In our five days in Dehradun we will work closely with Latika Roy Foundation and other members of the Dehradun Disability Forum (DDF), a collaborative group of local organizations working in the Disability sector in Dehradun.

Together we will explore:

  • The challenges of accessing education and educational facilities.
  • Vocational training in the local cultural and economic context.
  • How organisations like Latika Roy interact with communities and government to navigate these challenges and bring about change to the systems in place to achieve better results for their beneficiaries.

Latika Roy Foundation works with children and adults who have developmental and other disabilities, covering early intervention services, education, livelihoods development, training,and awareness.

Outside of our program of engagement with local organizations, we will explore the growing city of Dehradun, a regional centre for education and home of local and colonial history, temples, and markets. We will also spend some time with students from the Ayurveda University to get an informal introduction to the ancient practice of Ayurvedic healing and the study of traditional medicine.

Day 10-11

Location: Rural Uttarakhand

Description: The next two days will be spent going further into the mountains, trekking into rural Uttarkhand and the Himalaya, the source of many Ayurvedic medicines. This fantastic opportunity to experience the powerful nature of the Himalaya will not only be breath-taking in its own right, but along the way we will encounter rural communities for whom access to education is a real challenge.

The final day will be spent travelling back to Rishikesh, with the afternoon free to explore and relax after the trek.

Day 12-14

Location: Rishikesh

Description: Disorientation is all about debriefing as a whole group, at the wonderfully relaxed and secluded Pyramid Cafe Hostel in upper Ramjulah. Here, in what some call the yoga capital of the world, we will have the space we need to bring the group back together and reflect on lessons learned. We will spend the morning sharing the experiences and insights we had on program, and the afternoon unpacking those narratives and discussing how to take those experiences forward after we leave. We will spend our final sunset together on Triveni Ghats, where the three rivers meet, overlooking the slowly flowing Ganges lit by the floating candles of the evening Aarti ceremony, before settling down to one final table full of fresh curry.

Day 15

Location: Delhi

Description: We'll get an early morning start to ensure a timely arrival back in Delhi, with the opportunity for a last minute dash around Paharganj Bazaar before heading to the airport for some teary goodbyes!

Applications for this experience are closed. Check back with us in September.