Immerse yourself in the fascinating culture that both these regions offer, indulge in exotic cuisines and explore the breath-taking Himalayas and stunning Kerala beaches as you volunteer on critical childcare initiatives.
On this multi country project you will volunteer with children and adults, providing important assistance in care, supporting education and child development, while working in various care centres and local schools.
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 with children from poor and difficult backgrounds by working in a local care centre or children’s home, depending on your skills and local needs at the time. During this time, you will be staying with a local host family, giving you the opportunity to experience Nepalese traditions which have remained largely unchanged for centuries.
In India, you will be volunteering alongside local teachers supporting children but also work on specific education of adults in the Southern state of Kerala, famed for its tropical greenery and beautiful backwaters. You will spend the majority of your time volunteering at local schools, which supports low income families, or support other community based efforts with education where needed. Your support will help ensure that their basic needs are met, providing much needed educational assistance to the local teachers as well as making a valuable contribution to schools.
Please note travel between Nepal and India is not included, but please speak to your Country Expert who will be able to advise you on your options and costs involved.
Experience the vibrant cultures and traditions of Nepal and India; take part in local cooking lessons; explore the amazing local environments; indulge your inner adrenaline junkie in Nepal; explore the world’s tallest mountain range; relax on the gorgeous Kerala beaches; meet volunteers from all over the world; make a genuine contribution to the care of disadvantaged children members; learn new skills and feel safe in the knowledge that you will be making a serious and measurable impact in the communities of Kerala and Pokhara.
"Officially I am told at 54 I am ‘mature volunteer’, this is my first visit to Nepal with GVI. I came for 1 month and worked in all 4 current childcare projects supported by the GVI team.
Nepal is a beautiful country with extraordinary contrasts and warm- hearted people. Working with the children in the different projects has been life enriching experience. Many of these children come from families where opportunities are limited and some don’t have families at all. The work can be emotional and in term of limited resources, quite challenging at times.
GVI’s motto is ‘you are the difference’ – I hope I did make a difference for the children I came to work with. They certainly made a lasting difference to me"
What's Not Included
From Monday to Friday you will volunteering in your placement care centre where you will spend the majority of your time playing sports, creating art projects and leading games and activities with the children. Evenings will be time for you to relax and to get to know your fellow volunteers.
Accommodation will be shared bedrooms and bathrooms with a local family near to your volunteer placement, giving you the perfect opportunity to experience life inside a Nepalese community. During your stay, you will also enjoy home cooked meals, prepared in the traditional Nepalese way, for breakfast and evening meals.
On weekends, you are encouraged to explore the area and take part in one of the various optional side trips the location has to offer such as trekking through some of the best hiking trails in the world, water-water rafting, or bungee jumping. If it is adventure you are looking for – Nepal is the perfect place to get your adrenaline fix!
During your time in India, you will be working on planning, evaluating, supporting or if confident, lead teaching classes, curriculums and trainings from Monday to Friday. Focus depends much on the needs of the partners and can be broad, ranging from English language to life-skills. You are encouraged to add your unique touch by incorporating art, sports and games into your lessons. Although evenings are usually free, some volunteers are eager to use this time to prepare even more for the next day’s activities.
Accommodation will be shared in the centre of town with electricity, running water and flush toilets. Lunch will be provided in the local style and dinners are prepared together on base. On the weekends, you will be free to explore the stunning surrounding area, sample local cuisine, shop in exotic spice markets or simply relax in your base town of Kochi.
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, many children end up on the streets when their families can no longer afford to support them. With volunteer fees being almost the only source of funds, we are able to provide critical teaching support and are able to create a safe, nurturing and positive environment for these children.
In India, education is the basis for much of the work, wether 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.
How this project makes a difference
With high rates of children being abandoned or found in horrible working conditions, without these care centres to turn to, many of Nepal’s children would not receive an education or have other crucial basic needs met. GVI keeps numerous care centres operating in Nepal by providing much needed funding and volunteer aide.
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.
What's Not Included
Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate in 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 and India!
Optional Side Trips
In Nepal, you are in a true adventure region. Don’t worry if you forget to pack your adrenalin, with these options, there are ample opportunities to top it up!
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.
Further Travelling Opportunities
There are 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…
For those with a little more time on their hands, you may want to consider some of the following. 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.
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.