Volunteer Testimonials

“I, along with my wife and son, spent two months volunteering at Ramana’s Garden helping out as best we

Nathan Cook

could. Over the two months we split our time between Ramana Seva Samiti in Tapovan, Rishikesh and Ambiya Mountain Retreat preparing it for forthcoming guests. It was an amazing experience where each day brought new challenges. I enjoyed both places for different reasons. The rustic nature of the mountain retreat made it a pleasant and peaceful escape, especially from the heat of the monsoon months in Rishikesh. Ramana’s Garden was special for the children, the joy they exude and the welcome we were afforded. It was a memorable experience and I hope to return sometime in the near future to donate more of my time.”

Nathan Cook


“I have spent the last 4 months living at Ramana’s Garden, sharing my life with the children 24 hours a day,

Phoebe Jackson

7 days a week.  The people are amazing and I have gained much more than I can ever give back to these wonderful children and staff.  My main responsibility is teaching and managing our primary school, but I also participate in after school tuition, creative afternoon activities, cooking, Satsang, trips to the Ganga, picnics, gardening in the mountains and too many more activities to name.  Life is never boring here and aside from spending time with the kids my favorite aspect of volunteering at Ramana’s Garden is the feeling of being needed.  For the first time I have felt like my skills are not just useful, but necessary.  It has affirmed many things I have questioned in my life and I have a newfound respect for my profession and for anyone who offers up their time in service to others.  I have made lifelong friends among the other volunteers, and I now have family of 55 children whose love and generosity I will take with me wherever I go.  Living at Ramana’s Garden has changed me for the better and for that I thank Dr. Prabhavati.  This special place heals not only orphaned and destitute children but also the volunteers.  I have seen recalcitrant and insecure youths from other countries arrive, spend one week helping with the children and leave with huge smiles, hugs, tears and a brighter perspective on their future.  Ramana’s is a place for those who are willing to give all of themselves and no less;  I wouldn’t trade my time spent here for anything.”

Phoebe Jackson (25), from Canada


“In 2003 I spent 6 months as a volunteer at Ramana’s Garden, both at Ramana Seva Samiti in Tapovan and

Owen Sarll

at the Ambiya Mountain Retreat. My prime responsibility was one of looking after the kids; organising tuition classes and activities, helping with basic medical and health care as well as providing the friendship, love and support that every child needs. I can honestly say that the experience was easily the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Although, in some regards, you may have to give up certain things to become a volunteer, what you get back in return far outweighs any personal sacrifices made. The beauty of the gift of giving is that it is a gift that flows both ways.”

Owen Sarll


“Ramana’s Garden is striking for the friendliness of the children and staff.  The kids really appreciate contact

Dave Snall

with adults and anything that is done for them. They are eager to learn. There is a tremendous caring supportive family atmosphere. It is an extremely well organized operation.  There are challenges for volunteers but the payback in personal development is terrific. Creature comforts are met with good food and accommodation. On top of this, the surroundings are attractive and interesting.”

Dave Sarll


“It would be a mistake to believe that you can understand what it is to volunteer atRamana’s Garden

Laura Caldwell

through reading these testimonials, because even I, a volunteer, can not fully understand everything that has happened these four months I have been here.  What I do understand, is in this garden, I’ve seen children and volunteers alike setting their roots deep into this life, with their hearts like branches; strong and always reaching towards the light of the world.  There are the seeds of love that have been planted deep inside all of us here, that will blossom beautifully in the days and years to come.  The most beautiful parts of being a volunteer are the parts har

I came to offer my services as a nurse, stayed on as a tutor, seamstress, playmate, play director and set designer, art teacher, hug dispenser, and more.  As I leave this place, I know that I am saying good-bye to family.”

Laura Caldwell (24), U.S.A.

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