Nepal has always been an ideal destination for Trekkers and Adventure lover for decades. Since the rise of Tourism after the mid-twentieth century, Nepal has now been pushed to modernization with many political and social changes. Nepalese tourism sector has grown substantially blending according to time. In 2015, it contributed almost 4.0% GDP to the nation’s economy. Along with Cultural, Mountaineering, and Eco Tourism, Volunteering tourism in Nepal has always been present and equally contributing as a pull factor for tourists all the worlds.
Following the recent chain of events, Nepalese economy has suffered a significant amount of loss due to the mega earthquake and other disasters. In this time of despair, Volunteers from all over the world have been contributing to rebuilding this Himalayan nation. From Lower Terai region to the High Himalayas, volunteers are scattered all over the country participating in social awareness campaign, infrastructure rebuild program, health care camps and in the education sector.
The earthquake of 2015 took hundreds of lives and left thousands shelter less. People have been struggling to get back to their normal life while many have already overcome the disaster and started a normal life again. Over the period of 17 months, Nepalese people have been bouncing back better.
Now it is the best time to travel in Nepal- Travelling not just in the form of recreation but also with the mean to help other peoples. It is also an opportunity to blend with the local people and their culture. Your journey can make a difference in somebody’s life on a side while on the other side; you will also take great memories back from Nepal. You will also have the opportunity to witness the damages done by the earthquake firsthand. Volunteering Tourism in Nepal can be your small effort that will make a huge difference on the rebuilding of an entire nation.
The adventurous trail to Langtang
Langtang Trek initiates 19miles away from Kathmandu at Syabru Besi. It is one of the shortest approaches to snowy mountains. One can explore the ethnic Tamang villages, lust green forests and snowy peak surrounded in Kyangjin valley during the trek. Langtang Trek offers a magnificent 360-degree panoramic view of mountains from an elevation of 4350m at Kyangjin Ri.
A native awaits to welcome
Recently, a student group of 15 from Hong Kong, Great Britain and Canada led by their tutors Ms. Donna Gee and Mr. David Ensor were with us for the Volunteering Holiday in Nepal. The holiday that took them to Langtang Valley supported schools and a health post of the trail. Here we have a trip report on the group’s Langtang Trek.
Day 1: Kathmandu to Khamjing
The first day’s schedule was a drive to Khamjing via Syabru Besi. After the breakfast, the team exit out of Kathmandu along the serpentine Highway. After a long drive of almost a whole day, the team was tired. So without any further activities on that day, the day was concluded. They spent the night camping at a local school premises at Khamjing.
Beautiful kids of Langtang Region, yet underprivilged
Day 2: Khamjing to Lama Hotel
After the breakfast, the team donated NRS 75, 000 to repair the water tank pipes and paint the school to Shree Nepal Rastriya Prathamik School. Receiving the donation amount the principal of the school Mr. Temba Tamang was delighted and thankful to our valued guests. The team also contributed some sports items and stationeries to the school. The team was also involved in some sort games with the students of the school. This school currently has 16 students.
After 2 hours of program in the school, the team started their trekking again. On the way, at Sherpagaun, the team had their lunch. After the lunch, the team hiked to Lama Hotel where they spent the night after a long tiring day of walking.
Helping others always brings the smile that worths millions
Day 3: Lama Hotel to Langtang
After the breakfast, the team continued their Langtang trekking towards Ghode tabela. The team had to walk all over the day as they only rested on Ghode Tabela where they had their lunch. At the end of Day 3 the student group arrived at Langtang .
Walking along the shadows of Himalayas- to Mundu
Donating life-saving medical equipments in Langtang
Day 4: Morning hike to Mundu and trek to Ghumti
After the breakfast, the students on volunteering tour to Nepal donated medical equipments worth Rs.40000 to a local health post in Langtang. They also donated sports equipment to a local school- Shree Nepal Rastriya School. After the program, except three members of the group others had short hiking of 2 hours to Mundu and back to Langtang. Because of the altitude sickness few students suffered, the group had to abandon their plans of trekking to Kyangjin Gompa. Hence, after the hike to Mundu the student group had their lunch at Langtang and began their trek on the retracing trail towards Ghumti. Ghumti is a beautiful riverside spot on the Langtang Trekking trail, where the group spent a night.
Playground in the Himalayas
Day 5: Ghumti to Syabru Besi
This day was all scheduled for walking. The team hiked all day until they reached Syabru Besi. They had their lunch at Bamboo on the way. After a tiring day, they spent the night at Syabru Besi.
The following day they drove back to Kathmandu and enjoyed the cultural farewell dinner at Hotel Shangri-La and the day after they departed back home.
Langtang Trek- the camera does not rest
After the conclusion of the trek in Nepal, Ms. Donna Gee the group leader said few beautiful lines about their trek to Langtang.
The best memory of my trip was Langtang village. It has been a remarkable trekking alongside the most unique opportunity to connect with very memorable and inspiring people.
Explore Himalaya’s meeting and handling was perfect and timely. I feel it was well taken care of. The hotel were all fantastic with good food. The guide was very helpful. The staffs were remarkable. The transport was excellent even during in rough conditions.
Without a doubt, I would recommend this trip and the service of Explore Himalaya. Thank you for this unforgettable experience.
The group poses for the group photo
The team- Danish Opticians, Explore Himalayans and the local representatives
After the treatment when the people lacking facility of eye check-up had the proper seeing abilities, to see the happiness in the faces of these people, made our day. We felt proud on what we did. Recently, six Danish Opticians through our exclusive country partner Kipling Travel were in the mid-hill settlements of Nuwakot, a district flanking Kathmandu. The opticians from Denmark and Explore Himalaya’s few staffs conducted a week long Free Eye Clinic Camps in different places of Nuwakot. Almost 2,200 people enjoyed the benefits of free Eye Clinic Camps and 1,650 people requiring spectacles received free pairs of spectacles throughout the project. In brief the Free Eye Clinic Camp was one of other effective Community Service Projects we have conducted.
Every day was a busy day. Hours before the eye clinic camp began; the people thronged to the site and stood in a long queue that sometimes stretched to several hundred meters. It was amazing to see the health consciousness in people and at times, it was difficult to imagine a long restless day ahead. However, the passion of the team never went down who were there to contribute something really important in any human’s life. From Day 1 to Day 7 the level of enthusiasm remained same and the willingness to help was intact.
Native senior citizens welcome the noble people
Day 1 :Nuwakot
The first day camp was set in a small health post nearby famous Nuwakot Palace. Nuwakot Palace having huge historic significance lies on a hilltop above Bidur, a small municipality 70 km north of Kathmandu. The people of Nuwakot Durbar area and neighboring regions welcomed the Danish opticians and their two assistants with open arms. Before the camp started to work, the Community of Senior Citizens of Nuwakot conducted a small welcome ceremony. Seeing hundreds of people waiting in a long stretched queue, a long busy day was guaranteed. Despite of many patients, the Danish team of Opticians and their two assistant were able carry out an excellent job in the limited time. With the help of The Nepali doctor from “Trishuli Eye Hospital”, many people having cataract problem were recommended for operation in the lower town “Devighat” 25 min’s from Nuwakot. After a long day, the project was a big success, treating 350 patients. On the first day, 250 pairs of spectacles were distributed.
Local volunteers helping the elder citizens during Free Eye Clinic Camp
Day 2 & 3: Battar
Day 2 started with the fresh morning air blowing in the town Nuwakot. The venue for the second day was a gymnasium in the town of “Battar” 20 minutes from “Nuwakot Durbar”. As of Day 1, the people seeking treatment had lined up in front of gymnasium hall gate before we got there. A long line of people waiting in front of the gate was the sign of a very long day ahead. A long busy day ahead! we were okay with it. As the opticians began, their work the non-stopping flow of patients kept on moving into the hall seeking check-up. In addition, after 8 hours of hard work 150 people were recommended for cataract problem and 280 people were treated for their poor vision. The second day of event was hectic yet satisfying.
Second day at “Battar” was same as the first day. On Day 2 at Battar, 250 people were given free pair of spectacles.
The long queue of at Battar stretches to few hundred meters
A beautiful village of “Samari” was the venue for the fourth day of Free Eye Camp in Nuwakot. The work done in previous day was very remarkable and a motivating for all the team members. A small health post in the village was the workstation for the day. Now we were used to seeing people lining up in long stretched queues hours before the camp even started. Again, after 6 hours of hard work 200 people received glasses for their daily use.
Day 5 Samaribhanjayang (Kalabari)
The location for the fifth day’s Clinic Camp was in a Buddhist monastery in village of “Kalabari” south of Samari. The monks and the local people welcomed us with a lot of enthusiasm. They had a hope of seeing better on sighting our team in their village. Again, the people of all ages lined up for the checkup before the team reached the venue. After a long day of hard work 150 people were given glasses for their poor vision and the fifth and of the charity project ended with the happy smiles in the faces of people who got treated.
Danish opticians giving 100% to make sure that free Eye Clinic Camp benefits more
Hard work continues
Day 6 & 7 Sele
The venue for the sixth day Free Eye Camp was at a local government school in the beautiful village of Sele. Needless to mention, there was a long queue on the venue, hours before the project started. The sixth day of Free Eye Clinic Camp started and with a lot of energy. Yet again 150 people were given free pair of glasses and the second last day of the program was very successful.
The last day for the program was scheduled just for a half day. 120 people were enjoyed the benefits of free Eye Clinic Camp on this day.
Isn’t the smile beautiful? We are proud that we made that smile possible
Sometimes a small help means a lot to one who badly needs it
After a hard work, everyone deserves refreshing few moments
Recently, Mr. Sudeep Pagedar from Mumbai volunteered in Nepal as a research & documentation officer at Panchakanya V.D.C., Nuwakot. He’s done his Masters of Arts in Disaster management. After the quake hit on Nepal, he somehow managed to come to Nepal to contribute his disaster management skills through an organization “Doctors for You” which was supported by “PATA Nepal Chapter”. Here he shares his first ever international disaster response experience.
“Overcoming all the challenges to serve the community that was in need was the only factor that boosted me continuously to undertake this rare opportunity.”
A guy like me living in Mumbai coming to Nepal in this situation was a huge decision. Before coming to Nepal I knew Kathmandu and Mt. Everest which was the whole picture of Nepal for me. I had lived in a village before but not for 10 continuous days in a disaster condition. Everything was a challenge. Getting to an isolated village across devastated mountainous roads, being cut off with all technology that connected me to my home and the uncertainty of disaster that could hit back any time were nerve racking experiences. However, overcoming all the challenges to serve the community that was in need was the only factor that boosted me continuously to undertake this rare opportunity.
“The best thing about Nepalese is that they dare to cater extraordinary hospitality to visitors of any sorts despite the awful conditions they are in.”
During the time I worked at Panchakanya I got inter-connected with the place and people over there. We were outsiders still we never felt that. The best thing about Nepalese is that they dare to cater extraordinary hospitality to visitors of any sorts despite the awful conditions they are in.
“When needed you need to give up everything that’s been your life and do something. But one thing is for sure it will give you that satisfaction which you won’t be finding anywhere else, not even in the most luxurious clubs of Mumbai, Delhi or Kathmandu.”
The most important thing I’d like to say to any potential volunteer: “When needed you need to give up everything that’s been your life and do something. But one thing is for sure it will give you that satisfaction which you won’t be finding anywhere else, not even in the most luxurious clubs of Mumbai, Delhi or Kathmandu. That’s the kind of high you get! But you’re not doing it for the high, you’re doing it because it needs to be done and the high is just the side effect.” IT’S NOT EASY BUT IT’S WORTH IT! But before coming you need to have some genuine skills to offer and I believe everyone has something to offer.
“When you start volunteering you move beyond your organization and yourself and then you become a part of the community.”
This is a message to all the people “if you want to do something you can always find the ways to do it. Volunteering might not be paid. For a guy like me if I do the same thing elsewhere I’ll make some money. But this volunteering itself is a payment. I can use this experience in future which will be beneficial for me. While you are working you need to have the sense of ownership. When you start volunteering you move beyond your organization and yourself and then you become a part of the community.
“So if you want to do it- do it! If you can do it- do it! Just don’t think you can’t do it!”
At last, It’s not an easy decision to come to a disaster zone to volunteer, but at the end when you’re done with it and you go back, you realize that you small role you has made a big difference. Plus, whoever comes to Nepal right now, they’ve got a huge opportunity. They will be in the frontline of building an entire nation in every way. Nepal is an ideal place to work, especially in the development sectors where you will get to learn a lot of things. So if you want to do it- do it! If you can do it- do it! Just don’t think you can’t do it!
A random guy from Mumbai did it; I urge every professionals of Nepal and around the world, give it a try. Trust me the happiness you see in the faces of the survivors is the priceless payment that values more than anything else.
Amrita Singh Tamang- a nurse by profession who was the part of medical campaign in Panchakanya V.D.C. of Nuwakot organized by “Doctors For You” in collaboration with “PATA Nepal Chapter” shares her experience after her first volunteering session in Nuwakot.
“I felt little disheartened but it was more than okay because I was still on the noble mission of helping the quake survivors. I soon realized my actions mattered not the place.”
My teacher connected me with “Doctors for You”. Knowing the fact this humanitarian organization was planning to work in quake affected regions of Sindhuplanchowk, I was really looking forward to serve the victims of the quake of the district, which is also my home. However, the last minute change in plan asked us to go to Nuwakot. I felt little disheartened but it was more than okay because I was still on the noble mission to serve the quake survivors. I soon realized my actions mattered not the place.
Being a nurse to be a part of Medical Team that aimed to contribute the medical expertise in isolated disaster suffered region, I was very much grateful to Doctors for You and PATA Nepal Chapter. Since, we were in Nuwakot after all rescue operation; the only thing we aimed was to lessen the epidemic diseases that can occur after the disaster.
“I knew no one there, I had no idea where to sleep and the biggest challenge was I had no clue about the team I was working with and the people I was helping.”
For a girl like me, who always had the sophisticated lifestyle in Kathmandu, to be in quake struck isolated village of Nuwakot was a huge challenge. I knew no one there, I had no idea where to sleep and the biggest challenge was I had no clue about the team I was working with and the people I was helping. Eight hours of work every day, no weekend break and no electricity to charge my gadgets were the last things I would prefer experiencing throughout my career. However, the smiles on the faces of the quake victims our team was able to put after all the nightmares these survivors had gone through were boosting me to continue my job at Nuwakot. Pretty soon I realized, I was here to serve. I was not on a holiday. I was with the people who really needed me. I was not a duty I was assigned for; it was an opportunity I chose to serve the humanity.
Interacting with the local people around there was the one of the good things that happened to us. The people were very humble and generous. Through our regular general check up, we got know to about the different problems that people are facing after the earthquake. We provided them basic knowledge about personal hygiene, drinking habits and did some treatments. We even provided some psychosocial support to the people who were mentally traumatized because of the quake that swept their everything. Since most of the people were living in tents, so the disease they were more prone to were diarrhea and respiratory tract infection.
“I realized my small effort to comfort my people has given the biggest satisfaction, which is priceless.”
On the final note, I request everyone whatever expertise you have contribute your skills for a while to these needy people who are one of us. I realized my small effort to comfort my people has given the biggest satisfaction, which is priceless. I urge everyone who really wants to help Nepal and the quake victim Nepalese to be the part of the change that we have always been willing to have. I am happy as I have become the part of this change.
Amrita Singh Tamang