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Early Childhood Development in Nepal

Use your theoretical knowledge to gain practical experience in Early Childhood Development in the beautiful city of Pokhara, Nepal.


Program Information

This program is ideal for participants studying a related degree or qualification. It provides an opportunity to apply practical experience to the theoretical knowledge gained in the lecture hall. Participants have the opportunity to work alongside local teachers in delivering stimulating and positive Early Years programmes that are the building blocks for children’s education. Your support can be invaluable to the local staff who not only appreciate the extra classroom support but are also eager to learn new ideas. You will learn to gain new skills and understandings making this an invaluable addition to your studies while at the same time increasing children’s learning opportunities.

United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals

Overview

Working with children in their early years helps provides a foundation for them to excel in their future. Our aim is to provide human and physical resources to optimise children’s learning. By supporting local staff to provide developmentally appropriate curriculum we can help children thrive and develop, increasing their opportunities for a healthy and educationally sound future.

In the mornings you will work at an Early Learning Centre which focuses on early development skills such as gross and fine motor skills, language development and social interaction. Pre reading skills and English development are also a focus. Based on the UNICEF’s WASH programme you will also support the staff and children with daily routines of tooth brushing, hand-washing and drinking ample clean water. Your participation allows for increased individual and small group learning opportunities for children resulting in greater learning outcomes.

In the afternoon you will work with a group primary students from the local area.  The aim is to provide a range of learning experiences that takes them wider than a textbook focussed curriculum and to a more creative and problem solving approach to learning. We are able to utilise resources that are often unavailable in schools in arts, crafts, science, physical activities, creative writing and research tasks. Here we are able to develop programmes based on the students’ needs and interests and build upon their school learning programmes.

Educational support can make a vast difference in the lives of children and your work on this program will allow you to make a direct contribution to their lives and futures. By volunteering on this programme you can help address one of the fundamental ways we can that meet sustainable development outcomes related to health and education, ensuring children reach their developmental milestones in the Early Years.

Highlights include:

  • Implementing theoretical learning in a practical environment;

  • Supporting local staff;

  • Impacting on children’s developmental outcomes;

  • Growing your capacity as a global citizen, while participating with other volunteers from all over the world;

  • Meeting inspirational people, making lifelong friends and falling in love with Nepali culture

Program Details

Program Type: Volunteering
Location: Asia - Nepal - Pokhara

Project Life

Weekdays

Your mornings will start with a team meeting where we will ensure everyone is clear of the day’s programme and that we have our resources all ready. Then we head off to the learning centre.  On a clear day your get amazing views of the Annupurna ranges on the way which is a fantastic bonus to this program.

On arrival, it’s all hands on deck as we support the local staff with the learning programme. This includes a range of songs, dance, reading activities, games, and a more structured lesson time.  Handwashing, toothbrushing and eating routines are also part of the routine that we support. Volunteers are all clear on their responsibilities and therefore help to get the most learning out of each day, whether that is developing children’s social interaction skills or confidently recognising numbers, for example. This program helps develop a range of skills.

During school breaks, participants will possibly assist with other necessary projects in the region, which will still be focused on promoting early childhood development. This includes lesson planning, resource making, workshops, gardening or other community programs or improvements and renovations to schools.

Accomodation
You will be housed in a local homestay, which is a great chance to experience life in a Nepalese community.  You will share with one or two other volunteers and each room has an ensuite bathroom. Home cooked meals are served for the duration of the program. The types of foods you could expect include a mix of Nepali and Western food, such as traditional Dahl Bhat, lentils, mild curry, beans, rice and pasta. Our host mother is an amazing cook! If you would prefer to stay in a private accomodation, you have the option to consider an upgrade.

Project Details

Positive learning opportunities in the early years is fundamental to a child's health, wellbeing and development. This program provides learning support at a local learning centre as well as groups of primary children in the local community.  

How this project makes a difference:

Our volunteers help provide positive and stimulating learning environments for children. We support local staff with new ideas and provide additional resources to help put these ideas into practice. Our hands-on work  provides more individual and small group support for children meaning they have increased learning opportunities. By exposing children to English at a young age, it provides them with a good basis for future English learning.  This provides greater opportunities in future years.

*Please take note that there are many religious and cultural festivals throughout the year in Nepal, as well as school holidays and exam periods. During these periods we may run activities and programs that are slightly different to our regular programs. It's possible that during these periods you might support the running of 'Holiday Programs' for children in local communities, create lesson plans and resources to support our work, facilitate adult training programs related to a range of issues or help out with some construction or maintenance work to improve educational facilities. Where possible we would also like you to enjoy the festivities and engage with our partners in the community to share these experiences. There may be times when we are able to enjoy the celebrations, food and traditions that Nepal has to offer.

Nepal's short, mid, and long-term objectives:

All of GVI’s programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that are designed with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in mind. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Upon arrival to base, you will be fully briefed about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Some of the long-term objectives you will be contributing to as a volunteer in Nepal:

  • Providing support to students to reach learning goals appropriate to their age

  • Supporting students to expand their English vocabulary.

  • Increasing the knowledge and understanding of Healthcare in the community with an emphasis on prevention.

  • Supporting the local community with improved facilities with an emphasis on educational and health and safety needs.

Your Impact

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or UN SDGs. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.


Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.


Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.


What's It like?

If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.

We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.

Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.

Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.


Our 10 Ethical Commitments

 

Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.


 

Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.


 

Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.


 

Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.


 

Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.


 

Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that ever participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.


 

Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.


 

Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conduct, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.


 

Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.


 

Child and Vulnerable adult policies

We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.


Continual Development

As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.


However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.


What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal items and toiletries
  • Police or background check
  • Visa costs (where necessary)

Support & Safety

We won’t sugarcoat it — Traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.


Support

Once a participant books, they will be assigned a personal support coordinator who will oversee their pre-departure journey. The support coordinator helps to bridge the gap between program enrolment and arrival at one of our field bases. Your personal support coordinator will ensure that you are provided with all the necessary information required to apply for visas, background checks, and any other documentation.


Safety

Upon arrival at the airport participants will be greeted by a GVI staff member. All GVI staff are our own and all our programs around the world are run by our staff. All GVI field staff are background checked, Emergency First Response and safety trained. Our minimum staff to participant ratio is one to six, although on several bases we have a ratio of one to three. When finishing the experience, participants will provide feedback on all aspects of their program.


Health & Safety Case Studies

19 Nov

HOW GVI UPHOLDS HEALTH AND SAFETY

It takes courage to book a GVI program, get on a flight, and head off to somewhere new. Volunteering offers a level of cultural immersion that typical backpacking or holidays just can’t achieve. This is why thousands of people around the world participate in paid GVI programs.


1 Nov

GVI’S COMMITMENT TO SAFETY AND SECURITY

As the saying goes: ‘Expect the best, plan for the worst’. Cliched or not, we take it to heart. This tenet is at the core of how GVI operates when it comes to promoting the health and safety of our participants, staff, and local community members at all of our 20+ bases around the world.


6 Nov

HOW GVI REMAINS PREPARED FOR NATURAL DISASTERS

The weather isn’t just a topic for polite small-talk here at GVI. We have emergency action plans in place for all scenarios. So when the weather, or other natural forces, takes a nasty turn, we are prepared to respond to stormy situations.


5 Nov

HOW GVI MANAGES PARTICIPANTS EXPECTATIONS

Once GVI has matched a participant to a program that suits their passions and goals, our team aims to set the right expectations for them. In the event that false expectations around a program are created, the GVI team takes immediate action to ensure that the situation rectified.


Country Exploration

Participating on a program with GVI not only allows you to assist in local communities or work with endangered ecosystems, but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your downtime or further afield either before or after your program. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships as established on the program.

Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in Nepal:

Included Side Trips

As a part of your orientation, you will visit the Tal Bahari Hindu  temple, a local monastery and participate in a cooking lesson. You will also have a local tour and Nepali language lesson.  


Optional Side Trips


Nepal also continues to surprise, by providing some incredible sightseeing opportunities at every corner. Apart from sightseeing in Kathmandu and Pokhara, perhaps coming across tigers and rhinos in Chitwan National Park. Nepal also boasts some of the best trekking trails in the world. There are numerous trekking opportunities not to far from our base which cater for a range of fitness levels and abilities.  Our local staff can help you find the right trek for you.


Further Travelling Opportunities

There are a wealth of opportunities in Nepal for further travel and exploration of the rest of the country. This can include Lumbini, the birth place of Buddha, Chitwan National Park, treks in the Annupurna ranges, visits to some of the many UNESCO world heritage sites such as Pashupatinath and Boudhanath and of course Nepal’s most famous attraction, Mount Everest, which you can see either by or walking the famous Everest Base Camp trek or taking a stunning scenic flight.

Additional travel could include the foothills of the Himalayas in Langtang National Park, the ancient temples and villages of Tansen, Newari architecture in Bandipur, the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu, Everest Base Camp, the ancient Hindu centre of Janakpur, and so many other options that will leave you questioning why you didn’t extend your trip in the first place.

The Team

Shayle Havemann

Director of Programs
Meet Shayle, our innovative and driven director for all our projects around the world. She has two honours degrees, one in Industrial and Organisational Psycology, and another in Developmental and Education Psycology. Shayle also has over 10 years experience in setting up, managing and evaluating environmental and community programs across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

She is well-practiced in facilitating meaningful and effective intercultural engagement and this makes her the perfect person for overseeing our operations in the multicultural country of South Africa.

When not attending meetings or planning her next endeavour, Shayle can be found spending time with her family or taking part in some or other exciting outdoors activity!

Binita Gurung

Field Staff
Meet Binita, one of our lovely field staff members working on our childcare projects in Pokhara, Nepal. Before joining GVI, this Nepalese music lover helped struggling students in Kathmandu with their studies and decided that she wanted to help more.

Binita is passionate about her job at GVI and how she has been able to make a difference in the lives of others. She is enthusiastic about motivating the local local staff and helping them to learn new ideas. “My main highlight would be meeting the volunteers from around the world and sharing my country with them.” She loves welcoming new volunteers and appreciates all the fresh ideas that they bring to the project.

Her most memorable travel experience was when she travelled to Buddha’s birthplace in Lumbini, Nepal, to visit the different temples and to learn more about her religion. Binita’s proudest accomplishment since working with GVI was seeing the children become more confident in their English and achieving higher grades. She is not all work and no play; she can make 15 momos (steamed dumplings) in a minute!

Jill Walker

Assistant Director of Programs
Meet Jill, our Assistant Director of Programs and line manager for Thailand, Laos, India, Nepal, Australia and Kenya programs. ‘Manow’ (lime), as she’s locally known in Thailand where she's based, taught English, environmental education and art in the USA and Thailand before joining us to set up a TEFL and Community Development Expedition. “I haven’t looked back since!”


When Jill isn’t working, she likes reading or doing just about anything energetic. “I devour books, love cooking and enjoy finding some time to get some exercise – yoga, dancing and aerobics are some of my faves.”


What does Jill like most about her job? “It’s great to see volunteers rising above the cultural and language barriers between themselves and the communities. That, and every day is completely different, which is the way I like it- it keeps me from getting bored.” Being ‘allergic’ to being bored has led to Manow doing some pretty amazing things. “I once ended up spending a week living in a cave with some Buddhist monks while I helped them build a small adobe monk hut.”

Lok Bahadur Gurung

Community Liason
Meet Lok, our Community Liason in Pokhara. Lok is bona fide Nepalese and worked as a kayaking instructor prior to joining GVI.


Being the Community Liason, Lok is involved in all projects we have based in Pokhara. His favourite aspect of his job? Working with the volunteers. “I get to meet amazing people from around the world and I love getting to know them. I feel that not only the volunteers, but myself as well gain a great cultural exchange.”


How do the volunteers assist Lok in his work on the projects? “They’re great at helping the kids gain the confidence to speak English and thereby improve their chances at a better future. Thanks to the volunteers, over 400 children now have access to a healthier learning environment!”

Cheryl Martin

Project Manager
Meet Cheryl, our Base Manager in Nepal. A former teacher, headmaster and special needs educator, she was the first volunteer on our ‘Grade R’ project in Cape Town, and was exactly who we needed.

Cheryl’s main highlight since being involved with GVI? “When we first started 'book-time' at the educare centre, the children didn’t really appreciate books and stories. We were pretty persistent and the children now easily sit and enjoy a book for almost an hour, even the toddlers! It’s led to such a great improvement in their language skills, attention span and ability to learn. I’m also really proud of the work we have done concerning protecting children’s rights, especially in social media. We’ve set a really good standard.”

What does Cheryl think volunteers bring to the project? “The volunteers never cease to amaze me with their skills and talents! It’s so important to use these talents as best we can. These things have made a difference to the teacher’s ability to provide a program, and therefore, to the children’s ability to learn.

Cultural Immersion

Engaging intimately with a new context teaches not only global awareness but adaptability and critical thinking, skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and is also one of the most enjoyable aspects of the GVI experience. Luckily, there are many activities you can get involved with in your free time, or before and after your GVI program. On our community programs the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore diverse and eclectic topics like Theravada Buddhism in Laos or how plastic pollution and climate change affects Indian Ocean coral.


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  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020

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Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Herritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.

We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.

Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’

Parent Info Pack

Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:

Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.

live base updates

Follow GVI Pokhara's Facebook page for live updates straight from the field. Get an idea of the types of projects you might be involved in, meet our staff and participants, experience life on this GVI base, hear about free time activities, and learn about the local culture and environment.
 
GVINepalPokhara

Arrivals

When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.


As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile. This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.