Immerse yourself in an historic and fascinating culture. Travel to Nepal to join an international team of volunteers working to improve the lives of local communities by improving educational centres and other community facilities. Discover the wonder of this mountainous, landlocked country in your free time.
Depending on the needs on the ground at any given time, you will work alongside community members to build facilities and resources or renovate schools and centres to establish improved living and learning environments.
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. Our post earthquake support included building an early learning centre in one of the mountain villages and repairs to a temple and community centre in a rural area.
Schools throughout Nepal are often extremely basic, and you will help make them more effective as learning environments. You may be getting out the paintbrushes and brightening the place up with a splash of paint, or you could lend a hand in helping to reconstruct, build or rebuild school’s facilities.
No previous experience is required for this project. Our staff will be working along side you and you'll have access to the skills and experience of locals, such as builders who can support and guide you.There will also be GVI field staff at hand. If you have special training that may be an asset to the project, please let us know when applying.
Discover the culture, traditions and spectacular landscape of Nepal; immerse yourself in Nepalese culture through living with a host family; work with an international team of volunteers; experience life amongst some of the highest mountains and most incredible landscapes in the world; feel safe in the knowledge you will be making a serious and measurable impact in the community.
"Well what do I say about my time in Nepal but the only word I can use is magical. From the time you arrive at the airport in Kathmandu till the time you leave, you are looked after superbly. The activities that go along with the volunteering are amazing, the trek, rafting and the visit to Chitwan. All the staff and fellow volunteers I met during my time in Nepal were so friendly and supportive; you really feel part of the family."
What's Not Included
So what does Life on the Project actually involve? See below for an idea of what to expect on a day to day basis…
Monday to Friday
Upon arrival, you will receive a welcome orientation covering health and safety and cultural awareness that will fully prepare you for life on the project and in the community.
Your time on the project will be spent assisting schools and other local facilities with physical improvements. Depending on the needs at the time, the project may include building, painting, repairing or landscaping. All of our projects strive to improve local facilities.
Such is the nature of the work involved, this project can be physically demanding, which you should be prepared for.
Saturday and Sunday
Weekends are yours to spend as you wish. Nepal is an outdoor and adventure enthusiasts dream, with world class hiking trails, paragliding and mountain biking among the many activities possible. For more information on your time off project and side trip details, see the Free Time section above.
Your accommodation will be based in a homestay with a Nepali family and the volunteer group in shared bedrooms and bathrooms in the heart of Pokhara, giving you the rare opportunity to truly experience life inside a Nepalese community. Typical food will include a mix of Nepali and western food such as vegetable curry, beans, rice and pasta which are provided for you.
If you would prefer to stay in private accommodation while on this 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
The support you will provide goes a long way to improving the health and education of local people. By helping to renovate educational facilities, you can make a real contribution to this project.
How this project makes a difference
Whichever construction project you are involved in, you will be making a significant contribution to the development of underprivileged communities. Working in schools, you will be helping to create an environment suitable for learning that the children deserve.
*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.
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 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 center of Janakpur, and so many other options that will leave you wondering why you didn’t give yourself more time...
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!
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.