Explore Asia to its fullest by travelling to not one, not two but three countries! Experience the exotic cuisine, the rich culture and breath-taking scenic beauty to its fullest while you volunteer with children at various local schools and care centres.
On this multi country project you will volunteer primarily with disadvantaged children, providing an important assistance in their care, education and early development
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.
In Nepal, you will be volunteering at a care centre or children’s home, depending on your skills and local needs at the time. In India, you will primarily support local education efforts, supporting teachers and other leaders directly or work with their students individually or in groups. Lastly, you will rounding off your trip in Laos, where you will be focusing on teaching English to young children to help improve their English skills and chances of a better education and employment opportunities.
Although often from difficult backgrounds, these children have an incredible desire to learn and your support will ensure that their needs are met as you make a valuable contribution their caregivers, teachers and the community as a whole.
Please note travel between Nepal, India and Laos is not included, but please speak to your Country Expert who will be able to advise you on your options and costs involved.
Live in beautiful Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; discover gold domed temples and marvel at the Pak Ou Caves; unleash your adventurous side with white water rafting and mountain trekking trips in Nepal; take it easy and enjoy the beautiful beaches and stunning backwaters found in Kerala, India; work with a team of international volunteers; learn new skills in caring for and teaching underprivileged children; make a genuine difference in the children’s development and feel safe in the knowledge that you will be making a serious and measurable impact in the community.
"Working with the GVI team has been a great way to learn more about the incredible work that GVI guys are doing every day. It is a wonderful way to stay connected and learn about ongoing social and environmental projects and helping GVI amplify the work done by change-makers internationally."
What's Not Included
Surrounded by the beautiful Himalayan Mountains, your time in Nepal will be divided between a local care centre and taking in all the rich culture and traditions. During the week you will be leading sports, games, art projects and activities with local disadvantaged children. After a busy day of work, you will be able to spend the time relaxing with your fellow volunteers and exploring the beautiful town of Pokhara.
Your accommodation will consist of shared bedrooms and bathrooms with a local family near to your volunteer placement. This provides a fantastic opportunity for you to truly experience life inside a Nepalese community. During your time on project you will also be able to enjoy delicious home cooked meals consisting of fresh vegetables, beans and rice, made in authentic Nepalese style.
While staying in the vibrant southern state of Kerala, you will be volunteering from Monday to Friday assisting local teachers, planning lessons and delivering educational activities for orphaned and disadvantaged children. Your lessons will be focused on developing English language skills by incorporating art, sport and games into your lessons. During the evenings, you will have time to relax with your fellow volunteers, while preparing for the following day’s activities.
Your accommodation will be shared and is situated in the centre of town with electricity, running water and flush toilets. Lunch and dinner will consist of fresh vegetables. Lunch will be prepared for you in local style, giving you the chance to experience an authentic part of the Indian lifestyle and dinners are prepared together, on base.
On weekends you will be free to explore the surrounding area, sample local cuisine, shop in exotic spice markets, take part in one of the various optional side trips or simply relax in your base town of Kochi.
Experience the Buddhist culture that Laos is famous during your stay in this majestic country Start your day walking past Buddhist shrines and local cafes to the learning centre where you will spend the majority of your time volunteering. From Monday to Friday you will be working on project, planning and delivering English lessons using a variety of techniques, including playing games and singing songs. During the evenings you will return to base, where you will have the chance to get to know your fellow volunteers while preparing for the following day’s lessons.
During your stay on the project you will be living in a conveniently located guesthouse with shared rooms and bathrooms. You will get a chance to sample the local cuisine and truly immerse yourself into the fascinating local culture.
If you would prefer to stay in private accommodation while on this project, these locations do offer upgrades. Contact us for more information, or mention to your Country Expert who will be able to assist you.
What's Not Included
Our project aims vary between countries, but are all focused around building a better future and support structure for these children.
In Nepal, volunteers provide critical support to local teachers with your project cost being one of the only sources of funding. We aim to keep these facilities running to allow the provision of education to continue as well as helping to create a nurturing and positive learning environment.
In India, education is the basis for much of the work, whether the objective is to empower young boys and girls, work with teachers on special education, work in sensory therapy rooms or to convince people of the importance of women's equality, education is the key. By increasing the educational support available we support schools and teachers, motivate children to stay in school, empower self help groups and sometimes just give people the individual attention they deserve.
In Laos, as a result of an increase in tourism, there is a high demand for English teachers, particularly in after school learning centres and tutoring centres. We aim to provide additional support and assistance to the teachers in these centres in order to provide the children with the attention and assistance they need to excel.
How this project makes a difference
In Nepal, children are often abandoned or transferred from terrible working conditions to care centres. Without these care centres, they wouldn’t receive an education and other crucial basic needs. Through the provision of education, you provide a service that would otherwise be out of the children’s reach by equipping them with the tools needed to have a better future.
In Kerala, many schools providing education opportunities to students from lower-income areas have limited resources and capacity. Individual attention for students and extra-curricular activities can go a long way towards improving children's education. Teachers and self-help group members are very motivated to pick up new skills and welcome the mere opportunity to practicing their English conversational skills. By developing diverse skills and creating awareness in both children and adults, children as well as adults stay motivated and inspire future generations.
Laos faces many problems when it comes to education, with little government funding going through the school system. There are often not enough teachers for the number of students, leaving classes overcrowded and preventing students from receiving the assistance and attention they deserve. GVI works closely with local partners to provide the much needed volunteer support and funding in order to increase the overall quality of education for the local community as a whole.
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 the programme.
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, India and Laos!
Optional Side Trips
In Nepal, you are in a true adventure region. From a two day rafting or kayaking trip on the white-water of the Trisuli or Seti Rivers, to paragliding over the 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 elephant 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.
Kerala offers a variety of different adventure trips from trekking to rafting, kayaking and even diving in some of the most beautiful locations that India has to offer. Close to base in Fort Kochi, the 14th century Chinese fishing nets, St Francis Church and an amazing array of boutique art galleries, cafes and restaurants make for an amazing cultural experience.
One of Kerala’s finest attractions popular with our volunteers is the backwaters tour, an experience of breath-taking beauty and serenity as you snake through the incredible landscape on a houseboat. You can stay overnight, eat amazing local cuisine, and gaze at the sunset: a perfect weekend getaway.
The Periyar Forest and National Park offer safari outings and a chance to spot elephants, monkeys and tigers if you’re lucky, combined with some spectacular scenery along the way. For the more active, you can get even closer to it all with a number of trekking options.
Kerala can boast some incredible beaches within reasonable distances from your base. Marari is a short 40-minute drive to beautiful sandy beaches lined with coconut trees, while Varkala is a little further with restaurants and cafés perched spectacularly on cliffs offering incredible views of the ocean.
On your weekends or while off project, the following short trips are popular with our volunteers and should definitely be checked out! Swim in the crystal clear water of the Kuang Si waterfall, enjoy the cascades and walk to the top of the falls to enjoy the beautiful view of the course of the water below. Take a ride on the Mekong River to visit the historical Pak Ou Caves that hold thousands of Buddha images. Visit the “Jar Maker” and a short ride out of town, you can kayak on the Nam Khan River, discovering village life, beautiful countryside and lush green mountains along the way; visit the Royal Palace Museum and the beautiful temples of Wat Xieng Thong and Wat Mai; discover the Tad Sae waterfall, a multi-level limestone formation that creates numerous cascading pools; cycle through the Luang Prabang valley and experience the daily life of the local people, passing temple ruins and handicraft villages.
Further Travelling Opportunities
There is 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 centre of Janakpur, and so many other options that will leave you wondering why you didn’t give yourself more time…
The Taj Mahal will be top of most India bucket lists, but beyond this famous landmark; the quaint hill stations in Darjeeling; the Ganges at Varanasi; the desert and fort palaces of Jaisalmer and Udaipur; safari at Kanha National Park (home of Kipling’s ‘Jungle Book’); the lively nightlife of Mumbai; or the laid back atmosphere of Goa will leave you with an everlasting experience of India.
If you have the time and budget, there are a number of opportunities for exploring Laos further. These could include visiting the World Heritage-listed ancient temple of Wat Phu Champasak, the nature reserve of Nam Ha Npa, the elephants and villages of Hongsa, the dramatic Mekong River, the travellers adventure hotspot of Vang Vieng, and many more.
Even further afield, the likes of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand all border Laos and are a traveller's dream with an endless list of possibilities and activities.
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.