Tong-Len Charitable Trust - Compassion in Action: charity based in dharamsala supporting displaced communities in Himachal Pradesh, India. Compassion in Action

Frequently Asked Questions for Volunteers

Where does the volunteering take place?

If you are teaching in the tuition tents you will work in the community of Charan Khad. This community is situated about 16 km by main road below the hill town of Mcleod Ganj, on the outskirts of Dharamsala. There is a bus service, or the short-cut walk from McLeod Ganj takes about one hour.

Those working in the health programmes may travel to other communities around the district of Kangra as well as working in Dharamsala.

Where can I stay? Is accommodation provided?

There are many guest houses or rooms for rent in Dharamsala (below Mcleod Ganj) or in Mcleod Ganj. Tong-Len does not take any responsibility for your lodging or food expenses. We are happy to help you find accommodation or offer you guidance on this matter.

Most volunteers choose to stay in Mcleod Ganj and travel down for their work.

How much does accommodation cost?

You can find a room, with attached bathroom and hot water, for approximately 200-300 rupees. If you are looking for a long term arrangement you can find a room for a minimum of 3000 rupees a month.

There are many guest houses in Mcleod Ganj so it is quite easy to find accommodation. However, when His Holiness, the Dalai Lama is holding his teachings availability of rooms is limited and more expensive.

How do I get to Dharamsala?

From Delhi you can take a bus, train (half way) or a plane. The bus journey is overnight and takes 12-14 hours. We can order a taxi to collect you from the Delhi airport and arrange accommodation in Delhi as well as transport to McLeod Ganj. Many people stay in the Tibetan colony of Majnu Ka Tilla in Delhi and catch the overnight bus from there. The bus leaves at around 5 - 6 in the evening.

Where does the Delhi to Dharamsala bus take me?

Normally the bus will drop you in Mcleod Ganj at the main bus stand. Sometimes, dependent on the weather the bus may drop you in the Dharamsala market and you can take a taxi (130 Rupees) to Mcleod Ganj.

How do I travel from Mcleod Ganj to the Community of Charan Khad?

There are several options and all will take about 1 hour. You can walk the entire distance down the hill. Or you can take a jeep to Dharamsala and a bus the remainder of the way (cost: 12 rupees). Alternatively, you can walk half way and take a jeep or a bus for half of the distance.

How many hours will I work?

If you are teaching in the tuition tents you will teach from 3 pm to 5 pm Monday to Friday and take additional time for planning and preparation etc.

If you are working in the health section, you will most likely be required for 1-2 health clinics (from 8-12 in the morning) and 1-2 ‘Under 5' clinics for child health, per week.  In addition, your services may be needed for the preparation of health awareness programs. 

What about Insurance?

It is suggested that you take out your own personal travel insurance.

Where is the Tong-Len office?

The Tong-Len office is opposite the taxi and jeep stand in Kotwali Bazaar, Dharamsala. It is above the Bank of Baroda. The office is open from 10 am to 4 pm each week day.  You can contact Tashi Lhamo on the office phone number (0091 98) 22 39 30.