Far away in the Eastern Himalayas, on the foothills of Kangchenjunga (the third highest mountain in the world), there is a village where the women wear ornate gold rings in their noses, where time passes in traditions of festivals and farming, and where people walking by call out ‘Namaste’. Bees buzz in and out of hives on house walls. Buffaloes plough fields. And children skip along paths between cardamom fields. The golden paddy fields give way to snow-capped mountains, with a Hindu temple on the top of Pathibhara all clad in bright flags and large bells – whilst offerings are made to the gods. This is prime trekking country, where few people come and yet it sits on the path to Kangchenjunga base camp. You can see further than most places on earth. Imagine a cold beer on a balcony, with views across the mountains….
You would need to get to Kathmandu, Nepal, see the ancient sites for a few days, and then journey across the Himalayas to the far North Eastern town, Taplejung. There are flights to Taplejung three times a week but only when the skies are clear. Otherwise, you can fly to Bodrapur in the SE and take a bus (or jeep with driver) to Taplejung, stopping overnight in the tea-growing region of Ilam. Or take an overnight bus from Kathmandu….. this is a very safe and remote location; you need to come with a friend or two to get the best out of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
What You Would Contribute
In the village of Hangdewa, there are two schools, ten classes and 15 teachers and assistants for 200 students aged 4-16, both boys and girls. These schools are governed by a charity set up in Nepal and sponsored from UK charity. Very unusually for Nepal, they have clean water to drink, electricity from the dam below (built by the Chinese), good teachers, with all lessons in English, and 25 computers….with very poor WiFi.
We need to bring lessons up to world standards. Of course, practical science, technology and more spoken English would all be useful. As their IT know-how is basic (a bit of Word, a bit of paint and a bit of excel), the students need guided practice using computers in cross-subject projects – can you make music by using computers? Can you learn cultural studies using computers? They also need to learn coding…using Java. Help with any of this would be amazing. That is why we need you!
You Can Expect Support
The schools have been up and running for more than a decade. People have visited from the UK, USA, Hong Kong, Poland, Russia, Nigeria, India, and Germany….so you will be able to build on their experiences. The charity is well connected with people both worldwide and with key people in Nepal itself. Most people only speak Nepali and their tribal language (Limbu, Sherpa etc), however, the schools have teachers who speak English, as do the children, and everyone is very hospitable. The headmaster will make sure you are looked after and will help in any way he can. None-the-less you will need to be resourceful: Nepal is a horrendously difficult country to get things done – what might seem easy can still take days. Most teachers can get onto Facebook but otherwise are IT illiterate. There is one teacher who does his best to teach IT in a country where that is a theoretical subject only in schools. So your 21st Century skills will change how the children can learn.
Day to Day Living
You will stay in a lovely house with 360’ views, wrap-around balconies and rocking chairs to while away the hours. Inside, a bedroom and combined living room with beds sleep 3 or 4 (1 king-sized bed and 2 singles). The kitchen and bathroom have modern fittings eg a flush toilet, shower, fridge, gas rings…although the washing machine is not plumbed in. We will arrange for you to have help with food so that it is provided either cooked or ingredients left in the fridge, to suit you.
This is a remote location and therefore it is best if you are happy trekking, exploring, meeting people in their homes, reading, playing cards or music etc, helping children and young people learn IT skills outside of the curriculum…..and maybe have other hobbies. Many visitors return for a way of life that has disappeared from much of the rest of the world and, even here, is beginning to change. For more information and descriptions from other volunteers please see their quotes.
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