Empowering Communities through responsible travel is a form of responsible tourism that supports local communities and people for improved livelihoods in rural and semi-rural part of Nepal. It is also an initiation to bring in front the hidden beauty of Nepal which are not explored through main stream tourism.
Empowering Communities is a program which shift the mindset of tourism from “seeing” to “experiencing”. Its core is to bring the communities who are out of the circle of mainstream tourism to reduce the impact of rural poverty in marginalized and unprivileged populations by empowering communities through participation and education. Empowering communities through responsible travel has major positive impacts on the locals, their controlling powers and conservation of the community. One of the main responsibilities of participant is to bring positive change in the community through their skills, experiences, learning etc.
You can be involved in school, field, community, youth club and can initiate or be involved in any program that helps in sustainable development of community, people, environment, culture etc. You can be involved in various awareness program on environment protection, livelihood opportunities, introduce best practices for waste management in rural communities in Nepal. As you will live with a local family and experience the wonders of Nepali life as you immerse yourself in the community and culture.
This is a program designed to make real differences at a grassroots level in needy Communities of Nepal.
Nepal is a home of 126 castes and ethnic groups speaking as many as 123 languages. 90 percent of these languages are spoken by Indigenous Peoples who have distinct cultures, languages and belief systems. Eighty-one percent of Nepali live in rural areas, including municipalities with rural characteristics, and 74 percent rely on agricultural land, forests, and fisheries for their livelihoods.
Empowering Communities is an opportunity to experience a rural life with these different ethnic group people who are spread all over the country with their unique lifestyle. The social structure of Nepal has left behind some of the caste and ethnic group, which are also regarded as “untouchables”. Our program focuses on empowering these communities of Nepal through participation in tourism field into remote village communities using sustainable tourism to touch the lives of many people and eradicate discrimination by promoting homestay in the remote region of Nepal.
Empowering Communities Project aims to provide a platform to travellers for experiencing the life of traditional Nepalese community and also help to raise awareness within the targeted community about dignity of labor and motivate them for participation and engagement.
The travellers will have an opportunity to see the real Nepal and meanwhile play vital role in the commencement of income generating enterprises, building capacity in various field within the communities in Nepal. It’s a two-way learning process where both volunteers and community people will be exchanging life time experience with each other.
There are wide spread issues where volunteers can be engaged in the community on the basis of their length of stay, group numbers, interest and experience.
One of the main responsibility of participant is to bring positive change in the community through their skills, experiences, learning etc. You can be involved in school, field, community, youth club and can initiate or be involved in any program that helps in sustainable development of community, people, environment, culture etc. You can be involved in various awareness program on environment protection, livelihood opportunities, introduce best practices for waste management in rural communities in Nepal. As you will live with a local family and experience the wonders of Nepali life as you immerse yourself in the community and culture.
Tourism is one of the main industries in Nepal and a strong command over the English language can land a decent pay job to anyone in the village. Volunteers can run English classes in the schools, community, women group, youth club etc. As many government schools of Nepal lack experience teachers in English language, as a result child are negligence towards the subject. Your participatory and creative approach on teaching English would add charm to learn the language among children too.
Starting with the basics of the language, the kids would be delighted if they are able to learn simple, short sentences, which enables them to understand English and express themselves in the same language. You’re also encouraged to arrange extra-curricular activities and games for the children after school to keep them engaged and provide a safe and supervised after-school environment while their parents are working.
Participant who have skill on facilitating awareness program, skill development training and are experienced in livelihood program can educate and aware women in the communities. If we see the rural society of Nepal, an overwhelming gender gaps in literacy, enrollment in educational enterprise is seen. Women are financially dependent upon male members of the family so they have very less decision-making power. Social, economic, and cultural factors exacerbate the situation and illustrate the need for a holistic response. Thus, volunteers can also assist women group of communities with various educational program.
Arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu and received by the airport pickup staff and transfer to the Hotel.
Meeting with the dedicated team staff. Orientation includes Nepali Culture and Nepali Language class and half day sightseeing in Kathmandu. Overnight at the hotel.
On the second day of orientation, you will be given briefing from the experts of the particular field. Half day sightseeing in Kathmandu.
This is the third day of the orientation. On this day, you will have the chance to visit various organizations and understand the issues on which you are going to work in the community. You will be given additional information on the specific sector you choose and get prepared for the village departure. Overnight at hotel.
Early morning departure to the village on private vehicle. 7-8 hours drive and some walk to reach the destination. Same day we will have an initial meeting with the locals.
Community Empowerment program continues from day 6 to day 12. You will get involved in the community activities during your program. Overnight at the homestay.
You will be spending rest of your days working in the specific program and helping your host family with the daily household chores.
Farewell Program by the locals in their own traditional way. Reviewing the impacts that you will be leaving to the community. Your experience of staying with the locals will be heard of. The locals will also share their experience of staying with you. Overnight at the homestay.
You will drive back to Kathmandu from the village and transferred to the hotel.
First Day: On your first day of volunteering, our staff will introduce you with the local community leader who will be briefing and helping you during your entire stay in the village.
Weekdays: While a volunteer’s daily schedule will vary depending on the specific program, a typical day is as follows:
Volunteers are picked up from the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu by the airport pickup staff. Our staff will coordinate with the volunteers who are already in Nepal and give the designated meeting point beforehand.
To know about Nepal’s culture is the first step of building the connection. You will have two days orientation on Nepali Culture, Tradition and Language to make your stay easy in Nepal. On this day, we will also ask you about your further queries so that we can have your answers in the expert session.
This session will be taken by the renowned expert on the overall queries raised by the participants about the history of Nepal.
Know your program better:
Depending upon the program you choose, you will be visiting various organizations and government bodies to understand about the current situation, initiation, further plans and challenges taken. This is also the chance for you to gather more ideas from the development professionals on the program you are going to be engaged with.
Kathmandu City Tour:
You will have an opportunity to visit few UNESCO heritage sites of Kathmandu. You will find many Buddhist monasteries and Hindu temples along with other historical and heritage sites. You can also see the beautiful pagodas and shrines. In this tour, we will cover Durbar Square, Temple of Kumari (Living Goddess) and Pashupatinath Temple.
During the orientation you will be staying in Hotel in Kathmandu. After that we will be heading towards your respective community. You will be staying in a rural area, so please note that you will have a Nepali standard accommodation where you will be provided with a basic facilities and utilities with the clean environment.
2 or 3 Nepalese meals will be provided to you depending on your work schedule. Typical meals provided include Dal (Lentils), Rice, and Vegetables etc. The staple meal for most Nepalese people is dal bhat, which consists of lentil soup (dal), rice (bhat) and vegetables (tarkari). There might be some local food, which your host family might offer you. If you have any strict dietary or if you are allergic to any food or ingredients, you can inform us earlier.
Since some villages still practice a traditional squat toilet without flush, you can expect one in your accommodation. You will also not be having hot shower facility at the village. Rather you will be using a bucket and mug for bathing. You can take your essential items that you use with you such as toothpaste, toothbrush, toilet papers, hand sanitizer and shampoos.
After three days intensive orientation and information-based session you will be placed in a village homestay. There are some rural communities who had taken homestay training from government and are trying to establish it. Our organization is helping them with the management and facilitation. These communities are usually from ethnic and under privileged group. Thus, you will be staying with family from such community where there is immense to “learn “and immense to “give”.
Orientation at Village:
Villagers will welcome you with their own local and unique style. There will be orientation about the history, present situation, and problems existing in the village and also about your program. The local leaders of the village will give this orientation.
You will be spending rest of your days working in the specific program and involving in daily chores with your host family. We will also be arranging weekly community meeting so that you can share your thoughts and ideas with the village people.
Participants must be 17 years or older at the time of joining the project. You need to have an open mind and a flexible attitude for working in a completely new and different environment. The participant should bring energy and enthusiasm to make a difference. Participants must be fit and healthy at the time of joining the program and consider that the whole program is under rural setting with very minimum facilities.
Depending on the needs of locals and the skills and enthusiasm of the volunteers, the activities are performed. Also the season and weather influences the daily activities to be done.
The activities volunteers will be performing are construction, farming and women and youth empowerment.
If you have any other ideas on how you can be more involved and support the community, you can freely discuss with our team before starting your program.
You will be picked up from the airport and all the transportation in Kathmandu will be provided in tourist vehicle. However, we will arrange the transportation to the rural area by jeep or bus depending upon the landscape. One of our staff will be with you for the entire program. Since there is no public transportation in the village area you will be staying, you will have to walk for 20 minutes to 1 hour depending on each of your program. But this is also an opportunity for you to witness the natural beauty of the village while walking that could not be experienced from the vehicle.
You can go for a short hike, trek, and visit the local areas nearby during your free time.
The need assessment will be conducted of the project area before we place you in any village. The placement will be selected by matching the interest of participants and need of the village. However, we try to select the community who are in actual need of financial support and have enthusiasm to join hand with us equally.
Program is available all around the year except Dashain & Tihar Festival, which is a main big festival celebrated in Nepal. The start date will always be the first and third Monday of every month. The group size is 8 to 12 participants at a time.
The majority of the villagers do not speak English so volunteers need to be creative in finding ways to overcome any language barriers. There will only be few people who can communicate with you in not so fluent English language in your program. Basic Nepali language orientation classes will be given at the beginning of the program in order to help you to deal with language barrier.
Wi-Fi might not be available in the volunteer accommodation for this project. But if you need to stay connected then a local SIM card with data can be used in unlocked phones, which you can buy in Kathmandu after your arrival.