For Volunteers wanting challenging and deep cultural experience Nepal is worth considering as a volunteer destination. Living with a local family and working in a locally run organisation will give you a fascinating insight into this landlocked country in the heart of the Himalayas.
Despite some progress in poverty reduction in recent years, Nepal remains one of the poorest countries in the world, placed 157th out of 187 countries listed in the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report 2013.
Over 30 per cent of Nepalese live on less than US$14 per person, per month, according to the national living standards survey conducted in 2010-2011 and only 15% of households have electricity. In addition, many thousands of children are engaged in hard physical work and live on the streets.
There is also a wide gap between women and men in terms of access to health care, nutrition, education and participation in decision-making. Infant mortality is much higher for girls than boys, and illiteracy is far more prevalent among women than men.
Nepal remains a magnet for travellers, drawn by the immense landscape, culture and the immense character and beauty of the Nepali people. the country contains eight of the world’s highest peaks, including that of Everest. The culture is rich and varied and being invited to a local festival is something of a highlight of volunteering in Nepal. Our projects are based in both Hindu and Buddhist communities, and you will play an active role in daily life.
Outreach International have two bases for volunteering in Nepal; one in Kathmandu, the other in Pokhara. The latter is probably the best centre for trekking, white water rafting and canoeing in Nepal. It is one of the liveliest Nepalese towns but infinitely more tranquil than Kathmandu. Located on the beautiful Phewa Lake the skyline is dominated by the Annapurna mountain range. There are wonderful day walks and longer treks into the Himalayas. The best known of these is probably the trek around Annapurna.
Kathmandu is a wonderful ‘medieval time capsule’. Ancient timber buildings have become internet cafes, narrow lanes seethe with merchants and echo with the sound of bicycle bells, chanting, religious music and car horns. The hustle and bustle is never far away but so are the mountains and rivers of the Himalayas.
Volunteering in Nepal offers the opportunity for qualified physiotherapists and occupational therapists to work in established projects, working with disabled children and adults, increasing capacity and transferring skills when appropriate.
Volunteers can experience the bustle of Kathmandu working in a children’s day centre, or choose to teach English in a remote rural village, where you will be welcomed into the local community and live as an extended part of the family.
Above all, Nepal remains one of the most meaningful and intriguing destinations for volunteering overseas.
Ram Hari is a respected businessman based in Kathmandu, with a wealth of local connections. Ram Hari built up 17 years valuable experience working in the prestigious Kathmandu Guest House and so has an excellent cultural understanding of foreign travellers. He used this platform to successfully start his own business and he now supports a number of charitable projects, including funding his own private school in his home village.
Hand on heart the best 3 months of my life… what a country, what a village, what a nation. I have never felt so at home somewhere so foreign.Rural teaching in Nepal
A trip to Nepal wouldn’t be complete without going trekking and there are an abundance of opportunities to suit all budgets and levels of fitness. A popular area is the Annapurna region, walking in the shadow of the magnificent Macchapuchre.
Having survived the earthquakes of 2015, Kathmandu remains an incredible attraction in its own right. Visit the tea houses, walk the ancient streets, soak in the history and culture as you visit temples both humble and grandiose.
The Chitwan National Park, designated a World Heritage site in 1984, offers visitors an opportunity (not a guarantee) to see the rare Royal Bengal tigers and one-horned rhino. Rather than the safari trucks of Africa, enjoy your safari on the back of an elephant.
For those with the spirit of adventure and a serious sense of commitment, a trek to Everest basecamp is a once in a lifetime opportunity.