Immerse yourself in magical Nepal, one of the most spiritual countries in Asia. This volunteer and adventure programme combines supporting one of our vital projects with a two-week trek to the base camp of Mount Everest.
Before your volunteer placement begins, you will have the chance to discover Nepal at its wildest, taking in an action-packed few weeks including trekking to the base camp of the tallest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest, visiting ancient Hindu temples and white water rafting.
Following the 2015 Nepal Earthquake, our projects adjusted focus to provide disaster relief to those in need. In conjunction with our partners, trucks of supplies and family care packages were taken to some of the most affected areas. Now our projects are focused on initiatives within our local communities, who have needs around education and improving educational facilities.
This is a very active project so you will need to be physically fit to complete the trek.
Making a genuine contribution to the education of underprivileged Nepalese children; discovering the culture, traditions and spectacular landscapes of Nepal; living in mountain lodges on the trek; immersing yourself in Nepalese culture through living with a host family during your volunteer placement; getting involved in pulsating activities in spectacular locations; exploring the world’s tallest mountain range, meeting volunteers from across the world.
"Bandipur is a spectacular location and I felt lucky to be placed there. The students seemed to come to class for the experience of the volunteers and the bonus of learning in a different setting and manner. The Everest Base Camp trek was indescribable and a great way to close out our program. GVI was supportive and assisted me in the experience of a lifetime."
What's Not Included
The breathtaking views you will have of the Himalayas during your mountain trek make the tough trek to Everest base camp well worth the effort. The ascent will take you through picturesque meadows and mountain villages, so make sure to have plenty of space on your camera’s memory card…! You will be spending your nights in tea houses (lodges) and meals will be provided. Expect to be tucking in to local food such as spring rolls, fried rice, boiled vegetables, Momos (dumplings) and noodles.
During your volunteer placement, you will work in a care centre, school or children's home, according to your skills and the needs of the community at any given time. In planning and supervising English language lessons, sports and educational games, computer skills workshops or conservation-community based initiatives, you will be heavily involved in the children’s education.
Days can be long and demanding so you will need to be as energetic as the children!
During your volunteer placement, Your accommodation will be based in a homestay with a Nepali family and the volunteer group in shared bedrooms and bathrooms, giving you the rare opportunity to truly experience life inside a Nepalese community. While trekking you will be staying in local tea houses (lodges), with shared bathroom facilities. Typical food will include fresh vegetables, beans and rice for breakfast and evening meals, both of which are provided for you.
If you would prefer to stay in private accommodation while on the volunteering part of the project, this location does offer upgrades. Contact us for more information, or mention to your Country Expert who will be able to assist you.
What's Not Included
You will have the opportunity to make a real difference to the personal and educational development of underprivileged children and disadvantaged community members. Many of the care facilities would not be able to continue running without the continued support, hard work and enthusiasm volunteers provide.
Within a care centre, school, or children's home, you will be matched according to your skills to a teaching or childcare or other community development project in Nepal. English teaching, conservation-community based initiatives, sports, and computer skills are all areas which may need your assistance.
How this project makes a difference
Many of the people you will be helping come from difficult backgrounds. It’s important that they are given the opportunity to develop to their full potential in a safe and nurturing environment. GVI supplies the necessary support for many care centres, schools and children's homes to continue operating. By providing community members with an education, they will have the chance at a brighter future.
*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. Its 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 our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 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 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.
Learn about the long-term objectives you will be contributing to in Nepal:
1. Support students to reach learning goals appropriate to their Age (under 5s) Grade level (5-18 year olds) or Individual Need (students with Special Needs)
2.Support students to expand their English vocabulary
3. Increase the knowedge and understanding of Healthcare in the community with an emphasis on prevention
4. Develop the skills of women in the community in order to improve their potential to generate income or to become more self sufficient
5. Support the local community with improved facilities with an emphasis on educational and health and safety needs
6. To minimize our environmental impact in Lakeside and raise awareness of environmental issues amongst volunteers and the students with whom we work
What's Not Included
Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on 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
During your orientation you will visit the Tal Bahari temple which is situated in the middle of the beautiful Fewa Tal Lake surrounded by the Annapurna Himal. You will also get the opportunity to learn about the local culture with local Nepali language lessons and cooking classes.
And who can forget the adventure side of your trip! See below for an outline itinerary for your trek to Everest Base Camp. Please note due to weather and unforeseen events, the itinerary is subject to change.
Day 1: Fly to Lukla and trek to Phakding
Take a stunning early-morning flight to Lukla, the ‘Gateway to Everest’. Start the trek from this region of the legendary Sherpas, trekking north towards Phakding along meandering trails which are lined with stone walls, eventually leading to the night stop.
Day 2: To Namche Bazaar
Following the Dudh Koshi, the trail heads north as it gently starts to rise through rhododendron and magnolia forests with giant fir trees to the village of Jorsalle. After a brief stop-over for lunch, the climb proceeds towards Namche Bazaar, a delightful mountain village and the so-called ‘Sherpa Capital’ of Khumbu.
Day 3: In Namche Bazaar
This particular day is used to allow you to get acclimatised to the high altitude. You can explore the local markets, mingle with the people, walk up to the Everest viewpoint, visit the museum, or just happily laze around and bask in the sun later in the afternoon.
Day 4: To Tyangboche
The trail turns northeast from Namche along a tributary valley and the mountain views start to open up, becoming more dramatic as the steep climb approaches the holy ground of Tyangboche. Tyangboche Monastery is the highest monastery in the world, which offers amazing views of a myriad of impressive mountains, including Mount Everest, Mount Kwangde, Nuptse, Lhotse & Ama Dablam, and it is also the home to the highly revered Rinpoche, a Buddhist Monk.
Day 5: To Dingboche
Continue to trek from Tyangboche past Pangboche, where a Gompa holds the famous 'Yeti scalp'. This region lies in high altitude, which makes agriculture only barely possible, and therefore the lives of the local Sherpas are Spartan by any standard. Much of the walking in this area is comparatively of gentle gradient, although a leisurely pace is recommended due to the high altitude.
Day 6: In Dingboche
There will be another acclimatisation day. There are day hikes available to Nagajun Hill (approx. 5050m) or Chukung village, which offer magnificent views of the Amadablam and Makalu mountains and other peaks, as well as those of lakes and glaciers in that region.
Day 7: To Lobuche
Leaving Dingboche, the trail ascends gently but still at easy pace. Walking past frozen rivers, we reach Lobuche where stone houses sit amongst an icy wilderness of stunning beauty.
Day 8: To Everest base camp (5300m) and Gorakshep
You will spend the whole day trekking to Everest Base Camp, and then back to Gorakshep. The trek Sirdar will navigate the Khumbu Glacier as the trial makes its way to the base camp of Mount Everest. The infamous Khumbu icefall can be seen at the base of the tallest mountain on Earth. Eventually, the reverse set off descends back to Gorakshep for the night.
Day 9: To Kala Patthar (5545m) & Pheriche
The day will start earlier than usual as we aim to reach Kala Patthar before sunrise – the best vantage point for viewing Everest and the other surrounding peaks. As you ascend to the top of Kala Patthar, the views are amazing views and Everest is breathtaking. You will continue to descend to sandy flat expanse of Gorakshep, and then travel on to Pheriche, where an overnight break is taken.
Day 10: To Tyangboche
Trek down back towards to Tyangboche on a trail that descends gently, then cross Dudh Koshi through a wooden bridge. The trek continues downwards, passing several yak herders and tea shops to Shomare. Leaving behind alpine meadows, the trail descends to Tyangboche for the night stop.
Day 11: To Monjo
Descend to Monjo via Namche Bazaar where the trail descends steeply to Dudh Kosi River. The slightly warmer climate of Monjo greets you at this altitude.
Day 12: To Lukla
On the last day you spend in the Khumbu Region, the trail you follow is fairly easy. You will have some steady climbs through scrub forests, then a final steep ascent that leads to a Tamang village and shortly thereafter to Lukla, where you will have time to relax and experience the Sherpa ambience.
Day 13: Contingency day
Guides will use this day as they see fit, depending on how group is doing and/or how bad the weather is.
Day 14: To Kathmandu
The flight back to Kathmandu is short but spectacular. The rest of the day can be spent exploring, shopping or simply just chilling out in numerous cafes in Thamel, before the group meets for an end-of-the-trek celebration dinner at The Rum Doodle Restaurant.
Optional Side Trips
In Nepal, you are in a true adventure region. Don’t worry if you forget to pack your adrenalin, with these options, there are ample opportunities to top it up!
From a two day rafting or kayaking trip on the white-water of the Trisuli or Seti Rivers, to paragliding over incredible scenery to mountain biking, canyoning and bungee jumping, you could spend weeks here and still not do everything.
But if the adventure side of things becomes too much, Nepal will continue to provide and surprise you. Besides sightseeing in Kathmandu and Pokhara, you could try a three-day/two-night elephant safari in the Chitwan National Park staying at the Royal Park Hotel, chancing upon tigers and rhinos out on drives. Also, if throwing yourself off of high places attached to a kite is not your thing, Nepal boasts some of the best hiking trails in the world. Embark on a four-day trek in the Annapurna Mountains, where you will immerse with the villages and communities of the High Himal.
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 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 wondering why you didn’t give yourself more time…
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!
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
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!”
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.