The kingdom of Nepal, situated in the lap of the central Himalayas, is a country of amazing extremes, not only from the plains of the Terai to the top of Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest), but also among the many ethnic groups which have made Nepal their home. Blessed with an incredible diversity of natural beauty and cultures, Nepal offers magnificent landscapes, colorful people, timeless rituals and traditions, and a distinct array of architectural styles. Those who choose to visit and explore Nepal will find much to enjoy in this country. Nepal's ancient history, flora and fauna, varied terrain, warmly hospitable people and their cultures are its greatest attractions. This is what brings people from all over the world to Nepal to discover a unique way of life.
Cultural Destination Nepal (CDN Nepal) is an organization which was established to introduce program participants to Nepal's diverse geographical and cultural environment by fostering a deeper understanding of cultural similarities and differences through experiential learning in Nepal. This organization is dedicated to the promotion of worldwide understanding of Nepal's culture through its program, Volunteer Nepal!. This volunteer program is designed for people who wish to learn about Nepalese culture and customs by living as a member of a host family and engaging in volunteer work in various fields. During Volunteer Nepal!, participants will join in family activities and responsibilities. By partaking in the program, it is hoped that participants will experience personal growth as well as open communication channels between different countries and cultures.
"I think the five months I spent in Nepal have been the 5 best months in my life so far. Rajesh is really the best; he gives you so many opportunities to experience Nepal like it is."
Kathy Bernaerts (Belgium) ULR: www.users.skynet.be/namaste
We believe that service to humanity is one of the most worthwhile experiences a person can have.
1. The main goal of this program is to provide volunteer service opportunities for people who are genuinely interested in learning about a new and different community while contributing their time and skills to benefit worthwhile community service throughout Nepal.
2. Another goal is to help those who are looking for a specific opportunity to reach out to people and community groups in need of their skills.
3. Furthermore, we want to offer opportunities for those who are interested in experiencing the differences among the cultural aspects of urban, semi-urban, and rural life in Nepal.
Program participants will develop new skills, confidence and perspective which will help them create a different way of viewing the world.
"The most challenging and rewarding experience of my life. I will never forger what I've learned about myself and the people and the country. I am forever grateful to Rajesh, his family, and everyone else involved with CDN Nepal!"
Jonna Eggerer (Canada)
Throughout Volunteer Nepal!, participants will be involved in a number of different activities designed to prepare them for their volunteer work and to provide them opportunities to more fully experience life in Nepal.
1. Orientation Phase (two weeks)
In the first part of the orientation phase, participants will be given an introduction to the program's schedule, health care, cultural and social "Dos" & "Don'ts", and interactions with the host Nepalese family. This is more like "Pre-Service Training". During this phase the participants will begin to learn about Nepal, its cultures and customs, Nepali language, and community interaction skills. Meanwhile, the participants will stay with the Nepalese family to reinforce their new language and culture. The orientation phase provides participants the necessary preparation for their volunteer work experience and the knowledge needed to deal with their host organizations and host communities.
"As three months of summer / autumn festivities, activities and challenges mixed into Nepali day-to-day life comes to an end. I'm pleased to say Volunteer Nepal has been an eye-opening, breath-taking, and at times frustrating experience. Just the thing to push myself the extra mile. Having participated, I feel a greater respect and appreciation for Nepali culture, my won culture and the very excitement and wonder of cultures themselves. In Nepal there is always so much to see, do and understand, Volunteer Nepal makes so much of that possible. Thank you."
Jennifer Hall (Australia)
During the orientation phase participants will stay with, and become a member of a Nepalese host family, sharing in family activities and responsibilities. Host families are selected because they want to share their own culture and to learn about others. By living with a Nepalese family, participants will have the unique opportunity to connect on a personal level with its people and culture. Staying with a Nepali family provides an excellent opportunity to use ones new language, skills and to learn more about its culture. Within a homestay situation, learning by doing provides the best reinforcement of language and cross-culture skills learned in classroom situation.
(B) Nepali Language Training
CDN Nepal has designed comprehensive language courses based on participants' immediate needs in order to impart standard communicative Nepali language and cultural information. During the orientation phase, participants will be taught basic communication skills in spoken Nepali by professional language trainers. We believe in providing participants with ample opportunities to learn through their individual experiences and preferences, a process, which will be furthered by the homestay experience. The ultimate goal of our program design is to help participants achieve basic skills in Nepali language and culture in a limited span of time. The participants will have many opportunities to use and improve their new language with their host family and throughout the program.
"I think it's a great program for anyone who is interested in learning more about the Nepali culture and doing something good at the same time. It's the right mix of volunteering and travelling and doing all the fun activities, like the village excursion, white water rafting, visiting the National park for elephant riding and canoeing. Living with a Nepali family really taught me quite a bit about their culture which I couldn't have experienced as a regular tourist on my own. The continuos support from Rajesh and his family really made me feel at home in a foreign country. It was a great experience for personal growth that I will cherish for the rest of my life." Guri Grewal
(C) Cultural Orientation Tour
As an additional introduction to Nepalese culture and history, we emphasize on the tour to various historic cities in the Kathmandu Valley as well as the orientation tour includes sightseeing and places with which participants should be familiar. Such as the Immigration Office, the Post Office, Banks, Health Clinics, and other important places and also the facilities available in Kathmandu.
(D) Hiking (Day trip)
CDN Nepal will arrange a one-day trip (hiking). Beyond the urban milieu of the Kathmandu valley, there's a wealth of artistic culture and nature waiting to be discovered. Ensconced amidst the lush green serenity, magnificent monuments stand as specimens of traditional Nepali workmanship.
(E) Lectures (4 to 5 topics)
During the orientation phase participants will be given lectures on religion, culture, history, politics, geography, necessary health precautions, women in Nepal, and various other topics that explain the diversity of Nepali life. Plus, participants can express an interest or a need for additional information.
"The Volunteer Nepal! program is fantastic! It's given me the chance to really feel a part of Nepal whilst at the same time giving something back to the people. I only wish I could stay longer. Thank you Rajesh!"
Amanda North (UK)
2. Volunteering Phase (1 to 3 months)
The volunteering phase is the most important as well as the most challenging phase of the whole program. In this phase, participants will work at their placement site as per their skills and interests and the needs of the host organization. We will place the participants according to their desired living situation (rural, semi-urban, and urban), and they will live with a local Nepali family. In the meantime, the participants will learn more about themselves and what they are capable of doing.
Urban: City, with modern facilities (Internet, fax, and phone facilities, public transportation, variety of modern shops and restaurants, etc.), and modern families.
Semi-urban: Small town, limited facilities (phone and pharmacies available, transportation), more traditional families and communities.
Rural: Village, very limited facilities (electricity and public phone may be available), very traditional & conservative families and communities.
The process of "giving and receiving" through volunteer work enables the participants to contribute their time and skills while gaining new perspectives about the world. The personal growth experienced during volunteering helps participants develop confidence in their abilities and can help them overcome obstacles and problems that might arise.
Normally, placement is provided in schools teaching various subjects such as English, Social Studies, Mathematics, Science, Environment etc. and educate the children in various way. Participants will also be able to engage in outdoor activities, excursions, and acquire general knowledge about the area. They will have the added opportunity to volunteer in other fields at their placement site. We also provide placement in NGO working in women issues, environment, disabled children and so on. The participants have to have special experience and educational background volunteering in such field.
The length of the volunteer phase depends on the participant's requested interest, school schedules (if volunteering in a school), and the needs of the host school/organization.
"I found Rajesh's attitude to his volunteers during, before and after very obliging. His library collection was also very useful. His close involvement is definitely very important to CDN. My experience of Nepal in conclusion was very rewarding, I believe I learnt a lot partly due to the breadth of the program. Thank you."
Zoë Gray (Ireland)
3. Trekking - Village Excursion (one week)
An additional, exciting experience for participants is the village excursion (trekking) phase. CDN Nepal will arrange a trek through the mountains and villages of Nepal. While trekking, participants will be able to observe the traditional lifestyle of Nepalese families and enjoy fascinating views of beautiful landscapes, snowcapped peaks and Nepal's flora and fauna.
Nepal offers astonishing topographical variation with altitudes ranging from 70 meters to 8848 meters across a width of merely 193 kilometers. Within its limited boundaries, Nepal enjoys a range of climates from alpine to temperate to tropical jungle, in narrow regions determined by its incredible altitude variation. The immensely diverse, undulating topography and the different communities in Nepal combine to produce a magical attraction for the participants. The trekking phase allows the participants to use their language and cultural skills to experience the real Nepal, far beyond what most tourists are able to experience.
"This experience has taught me more than I would ever imagined it could about this culture, this country, and myself. Though I am on the other side of the world, I sincerely feel that I have found a second home. If I have made a fraction of the impact on the people here they made on me, then I truly have something to be proud off."
Kimberly Klemek (USA)
4. Recreational Phase:
At the end of Volunteer Nepal!, there will be two recreational activities for the participants: a jungle safari, and a white water rafting trip.
(A) Jungle Safari
CDN Nepal will arrange a safari trip for 2 nights, 3 days near the end of the program. Chitwan National Park is a large area of low, heavily forested hills that border India to the south. The park is a haven for wildlife: the Royal Bengal Tiger, the lumbering yet agile one-horned rhinoceros, leopards, various deer and bear species, wild boars, and over 40 other mammal species. There are also gharial crocodiles in the rivers and over 400 bird species that make the park their home. Elephant rides, a canoe trip and nature walks are available to allow participants to enjoy the wilderness and learn about the wildlife.
"Cultural Destination Nepal opened my eyes to Nepali life and culture. Every day came with experiences so amazing that I don't even bother trying to explain them because they truly are unbelievable. The Volunteer Nepal! program gave me the opportunity to learn so much about myself and the world around me; a unique opportunity most people never have."
Chris de Eyre (Canada) ULR : http://www.cdnnepal.tripod.com
There are numerous fine rivers in Nepal, which offer excellent rafting or canoeing opportunities. Depending on the season, participants can experience gliding on calm, jade-colored waters surrounded by magnificent scenery or rush through roaring white rapids in the care of expert river guides. Either choice provides clean sandy beaches to enjoy lunch and cool, clear pools in which to bathe.
During Volunteer Nepal!, participants will have a memorable opportunity to explore and experience Nepal's unique way of life, the natural beauty of this wonderful country, and the warmth of its people. When the participants leave, they will take with them what they learned from and about this Himalayan kingdom, its people, and most importantly themselves. The Nepalese people only at random express their feelings in words, but in their faces a connection will be seen that the planet is not such a big place after all.
"Volunteer Nepal! gave me the platform to take my first steps in a world so similar and so different from my own."
Sean Shodahl (USA)
Positions available: 25
Length of the Program: 2 to 4 months
Age limitation: Min. age: 18 yr. Max. age: 65 yr.
Qualifications: High school Diploma, Volunteers should be flexible, physically fit, and willing to immerse themselves in another culture.
Language Requirement: English
Program Schedule: Commences four times yearly (February, April, August and October) but other dates can be arranged on request.
Food and accommodation: Accommodation, two meals (breakfast and dinner) will be provided. Lunch needs to be furnished independently.
*Orientation phase: CDN Nepal will provide Food & Accommodation. *Volunteering phase: The host organization will provide Food & Accommodation. *Village Excursion phase: CDN Nepal will provide Food & Accommodation. *Recreational phase: CDN Nepal will provide Food & Accommodation.
Program Fees: * Application fee Euro 50 (non-refundable) * Program fee Euro 650 (includes: orientation program, village excursion (trekking), volunteering, jungle safari and rafting)
Not included in program fee: Airfare to and from Nepal, Travel & Health Insurance, Personal expenses, Visa fees and Entrance fees to the different sites and trekking area.
Deadline for the application: Applications have to reach Cultural Destination Nepal two & half months prior to the program commencement date.
"If you tell me, I will listen.
If you show me, I will see.
If you let me experience, I will learn."
"This is the perfect opportunity to come to Nepal and volunteer: the program and Rajesh are supportive, informative, and fun. I guarantee that you will have the time of your life… and in the mean time help people and learn about yourself. Doing this program is one of the best things you can do for yourself."
Margaret Mills (USA)