Childcare Explorer in Nepal and India

Experience a cultural fusion when you volunteer in South Asia on critical childcare initiatives


Program Information

Travel to the mystical lands of South Asia and discover the rich culture and traditions that inhabit both India and Nepal. Join a team of international volunteers and contribute to valuable long-term childcare projects designed to assist the disadvantaged children of both regions by helping them receive a better education and having their basic needs met.

United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals

Overview

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.

Highlights

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.

Program Details

Program Type: Volunteering
Location: Asia - India - Kerala - Nepal - Pokhara

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Project Life

Nepal

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!

India

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.

Accommodation Upgrade

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.

Project Details

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.

Pokhara and Kerala’s short, mid, and long-term objectives:

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfill our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Learn about the long-term objectives you will be contributing to:

In Pokhara:

1. Support students to reach learning goals appropriate to their Age (under 5s) Grade level (5-18 year olds) or Individual Need (students with Special Needs)
2. Support students to expand their English vocabulary
3. Increase the knowedge and understanding of Healthcare in the community with an emphasis on prevention
4. Develop the skills of women in the community in order to improve their potential to generate income or to become more self sufficient
5. Support the local community with improved facilities with an emphasis on educational and health and safety needs
6. To minimize our environmental impact in Lakeside and raise awareness of environmental issues amongst volunteers and the students with whom we work

In India:

1. Increase women's opportunities in Kerala
2. Ensure healthy lives, well-being and promote opportunities and equality for those with special needs in Kerala
3. Enable the absolute development of children and young adults in Kerala by providing support and training in LSBE (life skills base education)

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 It like?

If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.

We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.

Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.

Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.


Our 10 Ethical Commitments

 

Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.


 

Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.


 

Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.


 

Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.


 

Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.


 

Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that ever participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.


 

Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.


 

Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conduct, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.


 

Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.


 

Child and Vulnerable adult policies

We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.


Continual Development

As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.


However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.


What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • A two day orientation, including an introduction to the Nepali language and culture
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Internal transportation - related to project work
  • Local cooking lessons
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Project equipment
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Training
  • Travel advice
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal items and toiletries
  • Police or background check
  • Visa costs (where necessary)

Exploration

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


 

Nepal

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.

India

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


 

Nepal

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…

India

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.

The Team

Shayle Havemann

Director of Programs
Meet Shayle, our innovative and driven director for all our projects around the world. She has two honours degrees, one in Industrial and Organisational Psycology, and another in Developmental and Education Psycology. Shayle also has over 10 years experience in setting up, managing and evaluating environmental and community programs across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

She is well-practiced in facilitating meaningful and effective intercultural engagement and this makes her the perfect person for overseeing our operations in the multicultural country of South Africa.

When not attending meetings or planning her next endeavour, Shayle can be found spending time with her family or taking part in some or other exciting outdoors activity!

Binita Gurung

Field Staff
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!

Jill Walker

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

Community Liason
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!”

Cheryl Martin

Project Manager
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.

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  • 2018
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  • 2020

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Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Herritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.

We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.

Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’

Parent Info Pack

Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:

Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.

live base updates

Follow GVI Pokhara's Facebook page for live updates straight from the field. Get an idea of the types of projects you might be involved in, meet our staff and participants, experience life on this GVI base, hear about free time activities, and learn about the local culture and environment.
 
GVINepalPokhara

Arrivals

When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.


As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile. This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.