A Nepal gap year will take your breath away. Home to the Himalayas, including Mount Everest and seven more of the world’s ten tallest mountains, Nepal presents some of the world’s most spectacular scenery. But there is much more to the country than its famous peaks, as you’ll learn from living and working in a rural community.

Tucked at the North of India, and bordering Tibet, Nepal has an array of Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites and celebrates a large number of colourful religious festivals. Its capital city, Kathmandu, offers a lively contrast to the quiet, peaceful mountain countryside. There you’ll be overwhelmed by sights, smells and people everywhere, going about daily life in the city.

Nepal’s economy is developing, but is it still largely dependent on agriculture with over 70% of the workforce being employed in this sector.  There is a huge demand for teachers, particularly in rural areas. The under-resourced education system means that less than half of primary school children enter into secondary school. For many Nepalese, the choice is either to stay in their local village as a subsistence farmer or move to a big city. Many Nepalese have gone further afield in search of work, becoming labourers or construction workers in the Middle East.

Living in the foothills of the Himalayas, Volunteers in Nepal have to be prepared for the challenge of adapting to a very different life style with basic accommodation, limited access to western luxuries or amenities and a simple diet. You will mainly be eating Dal Bhat (rice and dal), supplemented by vegetables, meat on special occasions and fruit when in season.

These projects are remote. Volunteers have phone coverage and but little access to the internet. This means you will have to immerse yourself in the community, helping on the farms, collecting wood and assisting with cleaning and washing.

Nepal Volunteers work in schools in the far west of Baglung District teaching grades 1-10 (ages 5-18) to GCSE equivalent exams. All the schools start at 10am and run through to 4pm with an hour for lunch.

The volunteers are requested to assist with the English and ICT teaching. The English teaching is paired with a local teacher but the ICT the volunteers teach on their own. The schools follow a very strict teaching style which heavily relies on poorly written textbooks. The classes sizes vary greatly in the secondary schools from 30 – 90 kids in the primary school they are more consistent at 20. All the schools really struggle with the level of spoken English within the staff as well as the students; this can cause some difficulties especially at the start of the volunteering placement overseas due to the language barrier.

Project Trust has sent volunteers to Nepal since 2013 when two Volunteers start teaching in the village of Jhimpa. The same valleys have received Volunteers every year and the levels of English have improved as a result of the Volunteers’ work. You have a real chance to impact the levels of spoken English in these rural areas.

The need for teachers in these communities is evident, and the knowledge and enthusiasm the Volunteers bring is so valuable. Through improving the English language ability and IT skills, a Nepali student has the possibility of accessing a much wider range of opportunities.

You’ll have a lot of independence over how the English lessons are run and you can offer your creativity, engaging students through games, songs and different teaching methods. You may have time to provide extra tuition for students and community members in the evenings or at weekend. Your energy, enthusiasm and work ethic will be especially valuable in these quite challenging volunteering environments.

Living and working within Nepal provides opportunities to work with young people and communities from very disadvantaged backgrounds. You will become acutely aware of the caste system, particularly in the attitude and behaviour of the older generation, although society is working hard to mitigate its effects.

You will develop an empathy for rural living and also learn about the practicalities of living and farming in a rural area and how reliant you are on production of crops for your own community.

There are also opportunities to learn languages, explore the vastly diverse country and learn new skills from the many people that you meet.

Projects available in Cambodia

Fra Macintyre | Sri Lanka 93/94
Fra Macintyre | Sri Lanka 93/94Country Coordinator for Nepal
Fra is a Returned Volunteer from Sri Lanka (93/94) and has been in the staff team for a number of years. Fra has been back to Sri Lanka a number of times to visit Volunteers and to see new projects, and this year had the opportunity to familiarise herself with the India programme.

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