Below are some of the more commonly asked questions – if there is anything not covered here, please do Contact Us.
With India being one of the fastest growing economies in the World, why help them? Can’t they help themselves?
Whilst India continues to experience economic growth, the gap between rich and poor is considerable. A large number of the population lives below the poverty line, with children experiencing immense hardship. The facts speak for themselves:
700 million people in India live on less than 2 US dollars or £1.25 per day.
37% of the population live below the poverty line.
One in 3 of the world’s poor children live in India.
44% of children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition.
1.7 million children die from preventable diseases each year and half the children who live suffer with malnutrition.
Whilst there are 55 billionaires in India almost 4 in 10 of the adult population cannot read.
China spends 203 dollars per person per year on Health care, Brazil 483 dollars and India 39 dollars.
The science programme costs 1 billion dollars per year.
Why do we not work in Africa?
There are more poor people living in the eight poorest States of India compared with the 26 poorest countries in Africa combined. We would love to but with limited resources we feel it wise to not spread our work too thin. We do have great ambition however, and will continue to consider other countries including Africa where our chief executive has worked before. At the moment it would be a step too far.
Are you financially competitive with other companies doing this sort of thing?
We believe we are, we always try to drive down costs. We are after all a charity with a ‘not for profit’ ethos. The projects themselves are seen as very good value for money as we work with the local builders, artisans and villagers. Our Chief Executive works full time as a volunteer, running the charity from his home and we only employ two staff at approximately four hours a week each looking after Public Relations and Book Keeping. We have a volunteer who helps with the production of our promotion material.
Are you an environmentally friendly charity?
Yes. All our buildings are constructed with locally available materials to allow the villagers to carry out their own maintenance. All contractors are local indigenous people, and their work for us brings much needed money into the economy. Local villagers are encouraged to help with the construction work to encourage “ownership”. Where possible we plant trees and flowers to offset our carbon footprint. We do everything we can to minimise the risk to the environment when we are trekking or camping. All our people are encouraged to behave in a responsible manner with regard to local customs and religious beliefs.
How do we ensure sustainability?
Before we commence any project, it has to be proved by the local people that the project is sustainable and we will not fundraise unless we have evidence that reassure us. Our aim is to finance the building works. On completion we then hand over the project to the appropriate local authorities, teachers, carers and local villagers to manage. We might consider some further funding support where it is needed, eg in the Janet Sheed Roberts Special Needs School and Home in Ramnagar We arrange a visit at least twice a year to Completed Projects to follow up the success of our work. Our associates in India, Amazing Treks and Tours, continue to visit building sites and Completed Projects, reassuring the team in the UK that everything is as we would like it.
How should I go about fundraising?
There are two types of fundraising: Personal – for you own travel costs, and for the Charity. Lotus Flower Trust has considerable expertise in all facets of fundraising, so if you are short of ideas, please Contact Us! Always leave plenty of time to raise funds and create a plan of action. Try to think creatively and do something a bit different.
How much will it cost?
Costs do vary depending on a number of factors (eg. exchange rates, travel times, length of stay etc.) Roughly, to join us in India, it will cost between £1500 – £2000 ‘all in’ – this includes travel in-country and accommodation but excludes the £1000 fundraising that we ask you to donate to the Charity. Other costs are dependent on personal choice, such as gifts you may wish to purchase or amendments that are requested to the travel itinerary. NB. The costs indicated are a rough guide only.
How do we choose the projects?
We follow an in-depth process when evaluating and adopting projects. Most projects initially start from an approach from an NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation). The project is then researched and evaluated before being passed to the Trustees for approval. Upon approval, it is then adopted by Lotus Flower Trust and fundraising commences. The final decision will only ever be made after in-depth discussions with the community in order that we provide exactly what local people need rather than what we think might be best.
How long does a project normally take to be completed?
Much depends on the scale of the project, but roughly one to two years. Due to the extreme seasonal climate in some areas, work can only take place at certain points throughout the year, slowing the process down.
What does a project cost?
Again, this depends on the scale of the project but is normally between £20,000 and £60,000. Some smaller projects have been completed to a budget of £10,000.
Can you provide building costs?
Yes. We can give you the overall costs of building materials, transport and labour plus the Trust’s administration charges.
Do we involve the local people?
We most certainly do. We use local labour and encourage the community to get involved with the building works. Thus we bring finance into the local areas ensuring local ownership of the completed home, school or orphanage.
Please also see Trip Essentials Page which covers all the points below
What is the weather like?
India is a vast country – over 1.2 million square miles. As such, the weather varies greatly from one area to the next! All our visits are scheduled to avoid extremes in climate and to ensure that the work required can be completed.
Where do we sleep?
For most trips, the accommodation will consist of either camping in tents or staying in reasonably priced hotels. For some trips, you may have lots of fun sleeping on the night train.
Should I take anti-malarial medication?
It’s important to consult your GP before travel. All guests will receive a list of medical supplies that they should carry with them.
What clothing should I take?
These requirements depend on which area and project you will be working. You will receive guidance on suitable clothing for the area/project.
How do I avoid falling ill?
Some of our guests are particularly concerned with avoiding ‘Dehli Belly’ whilst travelling. Rest assured, all our guests are well looked after. The simple answer is to always follow our advice! All food is provided on the trip – for any other local foodstuff, please check with the Trust representative before consuming! We cannot guarantee that you wont fall ill, but if you follow our guidelines, you will minimise the chances.