Nirvana in Nepal
Nepal can be described as nirvana, the birthplace of Buddha, and home to Mount Everest, this small country offers everything an adventurer could dream of. Nepal is situated between India to the south, and China to the north, with a sub-tropical climate and no seasonal constraint. Once a sovereign monarchy, the country is also rich with a multi-religious history and heritage.
Even after the 2015 earthquake, Nepal remains a cultural powerhouse, offering ancient palaces, hidden shrines, and beautiful temple art. Nepal is also a great place to learn about everything from Tibetan Buddhism to eating delicious momos (vegetable and/or meat dumplings).
Globe Aware's Nepal program is based in the lush valley of Chitwan, 60 miles outside of Kathmandu. This is a region where traditional mountain life and a variety of exotic wildlife reign. Your fully packed schedule will have you working three full days at either or both projects, explained below.
Volunteers will work in a school, that was developed to provide free or near to free education to the children below the poverty line. You will help teach subjects like English, Art, Music and more. You can also provide tutoring to students with learning difficulties, help them learn essential problem-solving skills, and help build their confidence by playing sports and games.
Nepal's education quality is heavily affected by a lack of teachers and the children's attendance. You'll find many of the children at home, providing an extra pair of hands when it comes to farm labor or earning an additional income for the family. The schools that are provided for low-income families do not have updated resources and materials. To improve the current situation, your volunteering efforts can encourage students to come to class and participate, learn new skills, and take an interest in new hobbies, opening their world and leaving a positive impact.
You will focus on renovating old homes falling apart, in desperate need of repairs, and building hygiene stations. Many of these homes belong to families with low income and are unable to afford the repairs themselves.
In 2015, Nepal an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 struck Nepal. Aftershocks followed with another earthquake just days after. These disasters left many people homeless or with homes badly in need of repair. Due to the more remote location of Chitwan, resources are limited and the community welcomes volunteers who have come to help rebuild.
Access to sanitation is a major issue for many villages in Nepal, including Chitwan. Many folks do not have access to toilets and therefore use open defecation, leading to the spread of many diseases. Providing sanitation facilities also allows the vulnerable to have a hygienic safe space. This is why part of your project may be to build a latrine for the community or home.
Please take note you may not always interact with the school children during a holiday season (changes yearly based on the calendar). Many children travel back to their homes in the surrounding mountainous areas. In this case, your primary volunteer project will be in renovating and beautifying homes and selected buildings. You will enjoy daily interactions with the community and friendly neighbors.
Food and Lodging
All meals are included. Nepali cuisine is heavily influenced by India, China, and Tibet, adding an authentic culinary twist. Expect meals of rice, flatbreads, and a variety of side dishes. Beef is generally not eaten or requested.
Your time in Chitwan and Kathmandu will be at a 3 star or equivalent hotel. Two people will share a room; however, you can have a private room at an additional $160. Please inform us ahead of time, so that we are able to book the private room for you.
Rooms will have running water and western toilets. Do not be alarmed by the occasional power blackout and spotty hotel wi-fi. You can purchase a sim card upon arrival in Nepal, with the help of the coordinator, this is highly recommended. Transportation will be provided to and from your project site. Several hotels of similar quality will be available for housing volunteers.
Your final night in Chitwan, before heading back to Kathmandu, will be a celebration, having a local community dinner.
Your week will also include:
- Nepali language workshop.
- Nepali dress workshop.
- Nepali cooking workshop.
- Exploring the jungles of Chitwan wildlife safari.
- Learn about elephants in the Elephant Breeding Center.
- A jungle safari with an English-speaking guide.
- Kathmandu sightseeing of famous Hindu temples and Buddhist monuments.
- Free time to shop in Thamel market, in the heart of Kathmandu.
Nepal is famous for its many nature trails and trekking. Additional tours can be added as an out-of-pocket cost. Inform us ahead of time so we can plan accordingly with our coordinator, and be understanding of time and weather constraints.
- Pokhara sightseeing and trekking.
- Paragliding in Pokhara.
- Crocodile river canoeing.
Arrival and Departure
After landing at Tribhuvan International airport in Kathmandu, you will meet with your Globe Aware coordinator, and be taken to a guest house, where you can catch up on some rest. You will then be on your way to Chitwan in the evening, via an overnight bus (can range from 5 hours to 10 hours depending on weather and road work). Please attempt to land in Nepal before 4 pm.
You will return to Kathmandu on the second to last night on a similar bus and have an entire day of exploration in the capital. You will then be dropped off at the airport on your departure date.
Safety and Security
Nepal has a low serious crime rate; however, you should take sensible precautions. Watch out for any pick-pockets purse-snatchers, particularly in airports, on buses, and in areas popular with foreign nationals. You should also take care when walking around at night.
There have been reports of smugglers trying to entice travelers to assist in smuggling items. Under no circumstances accept - smuggling is a major criminal act. Do not buy any illegal substances, the penalty in Nepal is severe. Exercise general caution and feel free to ask your coordinator for assistance or clarification of a given situation. You will need to apply for a visa in order gain entry into Nepal.