Telling our story of purposeful adventure
From our film and through this short introduction you will learn about who we are, what we aim to do and why. Following that we want to inspire you with our personal stories of adventure in India, African and UK. These stories, we hope, will motivate you to take off on your own adventure or join one of ours and to donate to one of the causes we so passionately support.
India changes you, it changed us. We should say who we are, we are group of over 500 adventurers. We were adventurers before, individually. But now we adventure together throughout all of India, with purpose. Because as wonderfully as India has changed us, there is also change that is needed there. And that is what Adventure Ashram exists to do. But let us tell you our story....
We started our charity 10 years ago to give back to India, the country that captured our hearts as we rode our motorbikes and drove our cars through its beautiful landscapes and volunteeredin its communities. Wonderful people made us welcome, told us their life stories, described their joys and challenges.
As we travelled, we discovered 5 small grass roots charities working hard to improve children's health and education and because we believe that every child and young person has rights, we committed to working with them to help them realise their visions. It involved us in fundraising. So far we have raised over £1 million, which we put to work. It means that 750 children each year have improved health and education as a direct result of our donations, time and commitment. What hope and health do, is to give hope to families and communities that the challenges of today will not be repeated tomorrow. But let's hear people telling us about hope and change in their own words and find out how you can help them on their journey...
"Hi everyone, greetings from Grace Charitable Trust and all of our children in this area. We want to thank you from bottom of our hearts for supporting Grace Charitable Trust. The support from Adventure Ashram and adventurers has transformed Grace Charitable Trust. We have come so far in 9 years and with your ongoing support we can reach more tribal children and educate them. Thank you!"
Photo: Solomon and a group of our sponsored children ready to board the school bus
When Solomon told us that some of his friends could not go to school we funded their education, a fleet of buses and 6 tuition centres. 500 children's future prospects improved. Pledge: £12, £75 or £150
"Honestly we will never forget that moment when we met Adventure Ashram on the journey of Odanadi in addressing the sufferings of women and children from past 27 years."
Photo: Stanly, Parashu and the boys outside the dinning hall
Stanly showed us a house for boys that needed finishing. We funded it's completion, built a food hall, a protective wall and turned the house into a home. 100 children's safety improved.
Pledge: £36, £360 or £1,100
"Hello, my name is Doctor Arun Kolhatka, your donations over the years have enabled me to provide medical care to hundred's of children aged between 3 to 5 years. Helping to identify those in need of special nutritional supplements, treating illnesses before they become major and keeping up their general good health, whilst reliving their families of the burden of ill health."
Photo: Dr Kolhatka (AKA Doc) examines a child in one of the creches
Pledge: £3, £10, £20 or £40
In further celebration of 10 years of our small but mighty charity, we will establish an Emergency Fund. Through conversations we have had with our charity partners we learnt they face a variety of potential disasters from spread of disease, financial losses caused by changes in policy, road traffic accidents and loss of life through violence. We were shocked to learn about 2 staff members of Odanadi Seva Trust who lost their lives in violent attacks while protecting women and children. There were no emergency funds to support their families in the aftermath. The bottom line is that all the charities we support don't hold emergency funds and we feel it is our duty to be ready to support our partners when they most need us.
Pledge: £5, £10, £50,£100, £500 or £1000
As we have done for the last decade, we continue to keep our running costs to an absolute minimum (we clean the office ourselves!), which means we use our Adventurer’s donations where the money is most needed overseas. But we do have overheads such as our rent, our small teams salaries, business rates and utilities and rely on the generosity of our supporters, along with Gift Aid claimed from Inland Revenue to help us meet our bills.
Pledge: £5, £10, £50, £100, £500 or £1000
We are proud of our achievements over the last 10 years and we want to celebrate them. More than that, we want to invite to you join in our celebrations by reading our personal stories and backing our campaign by making a donation to improve health and education in India. Any donation big or small makes a difference because big change starts with small change. Please check out our rewards* starting from £5.
We thank everyone who has been a part of this journey so far........who's for the next adventure?
*Please scroll down for our frequently asked questions
We are delighted to share some of our personal adventure stories, click here to read them all.
Look out for the top adventure tip at the end of many of the stories. We hope you can use some of them when you set off on your own adventure.
If you have a story to tell and a top tip please email to:[email protected]
We’re often told, "this will change your life” events like this makes you change the way you view the world.South India somewhere in the backwaters of Karnataka… I pulled up alongside Damo, a fellow team member who had a broken seat bracket on his trusty Bullet. He needed to locate a welder urgently and I needed to mark the next junction for the riders coming up behind us. We parted agreeing, "it’s India… it will be ok”… this is his story. Damo rode gently through small villages of mud dwellings until he found a small house with old bicycle parts hanging from the low roof. He knocked on the ill-fitting wooden door. It opened and a smiling man appeared. Damo spoke of his predicament and the man apologised to say that there was a power cut so his electric welder was not available, but he had a friend who was a gas welder. The man said he would be very grateful if he could speak english to his children whilst his wife prepared the chai. The man and his bag of tools made swift work of removing the seat and broken bracket and off he went. 20 minutes later the man returned with his friend the gas welder and his welded seat. The two men set about re-fixing his seat. They finished and proudly said… “Sir, you can continue your journey”, Damo shook hands and thanked them and searched his pockets for some rupees. He tried to give the man the money, he refused… he tried to give the gas welder the money, he refused. Damo looked around him, they were as we would say dirt poor, he tried once more to no avail. As the gas welder left he said something. Damo asked the man, "what did he say?" “Sir, he said his payment is for you to remember him”. I carry this everywhere I go and I try to be as the man and his friend the gas welder.
Iain Crockart, Adventure Ashram Trustee
For me the adventure has always been what we could achieve through the adventure, we call it purposeful adventure. Our main goal has always been improving health and education in India's communities. There is a legend that goes around South India, the legend of a group of motorbikers who visited a construction site and learnt that under construction was a house for rescued boys. After observing the site, meeting the 12 boys that lived on site and meeting the men that rescued them, the motorbikers made a call to England where they came from. The next day the rescuers found £70,000 in their charities bank account. Building restarted immediately. This legend is repeated and it makes me so proud that this legend is based on a true story, the motorbikers where the Adventure Ashram trustee board and the money was given in 2011.
Fritha Vincent, Adventure Ashram CEO
Tony Smith, Adventure Ashram Trustee
Six weeks before the first motorbike rally in Southern India I was invited to join the newly-formed EnduroMedic medical team, looking after 80 motorcyclists covering 2,000 km on some unforgiving terrain and roads. As a medic team we had no idea of what equipment was available in India to help us cover this type of event. We put together what equipment we could beg and borrow and had the basics to cover most trauma emergencies. We took out bandages/dressing, splints, spinal boards, collars, intravenous cannulae, giving sets and intubation kits. What we needed was some ambulances and we arranged for these to be hired through our India Mr Fixit. We had fun dividing all our equipment between riders who met at Heathrow so that we wouldn’t exceed our luggage allowances. On arrival at our hotel we eagerly awaited the arrival of our three ambulances. What would they be like? We worked in emergency ambulance services in the UK and so were used to some high spec equipped vehicles…. The vehicles were delayed but would be there… They are coming Sir, do not worry! Into the evening of the night before the riders hit the roads – some more heavily than others our dinner was interrupted by the announcement that the ambulances had arrived. We rushed out to see them, the local management were very proud of these vehicles being made available to us and were keen to see our reaction. In the hotel car park three white vans with a single blue light and a red cross on the side were parked. They were the Indian version of a long wheelbase VW van. On later, closer inspection the tyres were suspect, the AC was just a dream…but we inspected our new ambulances. I opened the door and inspected the saloon interior. At the bulkhead was a large oxygen cylinder with mask, above that was a first aid cupboard, about the size of an A5 piece of paper and empty and to the side of the saloon was a basic board stretcher. On asked my thoughts by the team leader I replied “I reckon I can use everything that’s in here!” And so our adventure into the unknown world of trauma medicine in India began…….I returned each year for the next nine years to experience this once in a lifetime trip and we dealt with every sort of emergency from trauma to fatalities as well as heat exhaustion, fractures, cuts, bruises and delicate intestines!
Colin Taylor, Paramedic, Chair of Adventure Ashram Trustee Board
My first ever trip with Enduro India and being very green to the sharing a room scenario and feeling somewhat out of my comfort zone with the whole trip, on the first day checking into a quite reasonable hotel near Palolem beach put my bags into the room complete with decent double bed and went down in search of a cold beer and the other guys arriving. Going back to my room later that evening discovered 4 other kit bags on the double bed giving 1 double between 5, never looked back from there and now love being out of that comfort zone whatever it may bring! On another occasion being frantically flagged down in a small village by some locals only to discover one of our team had left his expensive camera at the Chi stop and they wanted me to return it to him, the camera probably equated to more than a year’s salary for the local.
Craig Jarvis, Adventure Ashram Trustee
A memory of James Warne handing out balloons to children in a rural school near Jog Falls. There was a beautiful mural on the school wall and the children were so neatly dressed in their very clean and well ironed school uniforms. The little girls all had their hair neatly plaited and the boys well-oiled hair neatly combed and very presentable. The striking thing though was that they all had no shoes. It highlighted the poverty to me but illustrated that they had such pride in their appearance. They were very proud of their school and curious of us as strangers. Their protective teachers cast a watchful eye on us and made sure we caused no harm to their charges. We asked permission before handing out the balloons and to my surprise they did not know what they were. I felt like a pupil again as the teacher brought this to our attention. You should have seen the children’s eyes light up as James promptly blew into a balloon to inflate it. There were true gasps of wonder. An excited flurry of activity then followed as all the little ones attempted to do the same to their own deflated balloons. Squeals of pleasure and joy filled their little playground as they played with their balloons. We took a few photos with permission and they were promptly call back into lessons. I often wonder what has happened to those children I met as an adventurer that day. Did they continue with their education or have to leave school prematurely to work and support their families? Are some of them no longer with us, having succumbed to the myriad of disease and lack of health care in that rural environment? I would like to think that they have grown into successful and confident individuals having a wonderful life and fulfilling future to look forward to. God bless all those little souls……
Udesh Naidoo, Adventure Ashram Trustee
Charlie Ring: 'Family Volunteering adventure with Adventure Ashram Project Manager, Margaret Ring (My mother!)'
I was very excited when I got the opportunity to volunteer with Adventure Ashram. I volunteered with my mum through the Adventure Ashram Family Volunteering Programme, and this allowed us to travel to India together which was amazing. This was my first time outside Europe and ‘off the beaten track’, and for the first couple of days I was just overwhelmed by everything I saw. Perhaps one of my favourite memories from the trip was how open and easy the kids were with me. I was practically used as a climbing frame in every village we visited and it was lovely to see how happy the kids were. Although my mum was very embarrassing whilst we were away (as she always is!) I wouldn’t have wanted to go with anyone else and I think going with family made the experience even better.
Charlie Ring, Adventure Ashram Volunteer
I remember my first day of riding in India in 2009 very clearly. I didn’t own a bike at that time and I had only taken my Direct Access test a few months before. I was a novice of the highest order and the longest I’d ever ridden a bike was a few hours around the sedentary streets of West London and Surrey. Having landed in India, I was entrusted with a lovely 350cc Royal Enfield. We were told that these weren’t like the bikes (that some of us) had at home and that the controls were on the “wrong side". With that we all pulled on our body armour and off we went onto the roads of Goa. I suppose I recall my first day so clearly because it was very nearly my last day. We’d ridden no more than a mile or so from out hotel and I was getting to grips with the Enfield. Its brakes were soft, the seat was hard, the mirrors were awash with vibration and I was loving every minute of it. Of course there was lots of traffic on the roads and I had naively thought that the brake lights on the huge bus in front of me would come on when the bus was looking to lose speed and stop. However, the lesson that India very quickly taught me was to expect the unexpected. The lights on the back of the bus were clearly just for show and they either didn’t have bulbs in them or they did but the bulbs weren’t actually wired to the bus’ battery. You can guess what happened. Fortunately I didn’t ride into the back of the bus but I was inches from doing so. The local people queuing to get on the bus weren’t in the least bit surprised when my Royal Enfield screeched to a halt using every but of power stopping power that I could muster from the wonderfully unpredictable brakes. After that I kept a decent distance (as much as one can on Indian roads) from buses & trucks and as a result my riding was more relaxed and I was able to see more of the beautiful country that I had wanted to visit for many years. I suppose that’s my top tip really, make sure that you take time to savour and really appreciate where you are riding. It’s tempting some days to ride from A to B as fast as you can, and sometimes it is a necessity, but to visit India and not enjoy a cup of chai in the smokiest, dingiest cottage in a Keralan village is an opportunity missed. Take time to engage with locals when you stop for petrol in their town. Shake the hands of the kids that will undoubtedly flock to you as you stop for a fresh coconut by the roadside. Language doesn’t seem to be barrier in these moments. Take it all in because you’ll be home soon enough and you’ll miss it like crazy.
Ollie Langston, Adventure Ashram Supporter
Mine is not very exciting, but pushed my boundaries (at the time). My first trip was on the 2011 Karma Enduro. I had never embarked on anything remotely like this before, so was extremely anxious about travelling, let alone driving in India. I was co-driving with my friend, Liz, and we shared each day's duties equally (the navigation seemed to be as important as the driving, but Liz was by far, the better driver). So far we had bumbled along, gaining confidence each day and arrived at Jungle Hut looking forward to our day off. As we got out of the car, and went to get our luggage out of the boot, Liz's back made an audible crack. She was stuck. Buggered. Barely able to breathe through the pain. We managed to get to our room, I booked a massage for her and plied her with pain meds. Later that evening we were ferried up to Jungle Retreat for our group meal, with Liz wincing at every slight bump on the track. I managed to get hold of our first aid chap (Alan), who, in the car park below, unceremoniously pulled Liz's trousers down and jabbed her in the arse with some serious meds. I think Raj was in the bushes somewhere, taking photos (he said) of monkeys. She slept like a babe that night. After a day off, and me having several panic attacks about having to drive a full day until she completely recovered, let alone on the 36 hairpin bends road, I set off. It was hairy, but being followed by the "mortuary truck" AKA ambulance, whose horn was the siren, gave me a small amount of comfort. Small thing, I know, but when you've never done anything adventurous or scary enough to push your boundaries in your life, it seemed huge.
Sarah Goodwin, Former Administrator to the Board of Trustees, Adventure Ashram Supporter
Frequently Asked Questions
If you want to find more about Adventure Ashram, the best place to go is our "About Us" section on our website, click hereto visit.
More specific questions relating to the campaign, are below:
1. Where can I learn more about Adventure Ashram? Please visit our websitewww.adventureashram.org
2. I am considering making a donation towards Grace Charitable Trust. I would like to read more about it? Please click here for full details.
3. I am considering making a donation towards Odanadi Seva Trust. I would like to read more about it? Please click here for full details.
4. I am considering making a donation towards Dr Arun Kolhatka's accessible health care project for women and children. I would like to read more about it. Please click here for full details.
5. I am considering making a donation towards the Emergency Fund, I would like to read more about it? The webpage is currently under construction and will be available to view shortly
6. I am inspired by everything your charity has achieved and I am considering making a donation towards the running costs, I would like more details on how you run?Please click here for full details.
7. I am interested in volunteering for Adventure Ashram, where can I find out more information? Please click hereto visit our volunteering page on our website.
8. I am considering making a donation towards the Ted Jervis Fund. I would like to read more about it? Please click here for full details.
10. Will gift aid be claimed on my donation? Yes it will be if you ticked the "eligible for gift aid" box at the checkout.
11. What happens to the gift aid monies Adventure Ashram claims back from the government? Money reconciled through HMRC contributes to the running costs of Adventure Ashram. Click hereto find out more.
12. Can I receive a receipt for my donation? When the campaign finishes on 12 July, all the donations will transfer out of backers accounts and into Adventure Ashram's bank account. Once all the monies are received we will process the donations and send each backer an email receipt. This process will be completed by the end of July 2017.
13. What is the difference between a restricted and unrestricted donation? A restricted donation means all the money you donate, less the charge for processing the payment through Paypal or Stripe and the small fee to Crowdfunder.co.uk and 10% core cost recovery to Adventure Ashram, will go directly to the charity in question. Unrestricted donations means that all the donation will help cover the running costs of Adventure Ashram.
If you still have a question unanswered, please contact us through the contact section of the campaign, or click here for direct contact details.