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Many people come to Kathmandu in order to participate on a trekking holiday, unaware that they are visiting one of the world’s economically poorest countries. This volunteering holiday allows you to see a totally different side of Nepal, working in schools to provide a better education for some of the region’s poorest children.
The harsh reality of day to day life in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, is that many children are forced, out of financial necessity, to work in factories in the city or work as domestic labour. Some of them are orphaned, some come from poor families in the villages, but what they have in common is that they are faced with tough living conditions with little chance to play or to get an education. The School Leaving Certificate, an academic qualification which could be their ticket to a better life, is beyond reach for many of these children.
The Samata schools have been founded as a charity, set up by a local Nepali to give these deprived children a chance to gain these academic qualifications, whilst at the same time also give them the support and freedom to play and develop their social skills. Crucially, the schools also focus on teaching English to the students. Without English, they cannot sit their exams and are unlikely to be able to break out of the poverty cycle in which they find themselves.
The schools are run on a charitable basis and rely on volunteers and donations and a small fee for those parents who can afford it. On this project, volunteers are needed on the educational side. Helping the schools to develop their English teaching practices and also encouraging both teachers and students alike to improve their computer skills.
This experience is all about doing a real job and making a difference. It is not some touchy feely project where you go and lurk at the back of a classroom for a few weeks and come home having barely got your hands dirty. There will be no time to stand round thinking about where you can get hold of a latte, this is a proper role and some hard work is required.
Having said all that, you are not going to be dropped in the middle of Kathmandu with a compass and left to it. You will be supported both locally and back in the UK before, during and after your experience and you will probably be placed with other volunteers, so will have a chance to share your thoughts with other people going through the same thing. The average age of volunteers on this project tends to be 35 – 65, although if you are younger or older than this you are still very welcome!
Teaching qualifications are particularly helpful on this project, especially TEFL (or equivalent) Participants are expected to work 5 days a week, but you do get time off at the weekends to explore the local area, and relax. Included in the price is one weekend hike, but there’s nothing stopping you taking a plane trip to view Everest from above, visiting India for the weekend, or trying you hand at white water rafting. All of these can be arranged whilst you’re there.
We select specialist operators who are experienced, qualified and most importantly passionate about what they do. Your enquiry will be passed straight through to the experts who will be able to give you the best advice.