Empowering Communities through Responsible Travel

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.

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 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 main stream tourism to reduce the impact of rural poverty in marginalized and unprivileged populations by empowering communities through participation and education. The main positive impacts include benefit sharing among the community members, community participation, community control, empowerment and conservation.

Empowering Communities Project aims to provide a platform to volunteers 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 volunteers 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 andcan 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.

Similarly, people of rural communities are dependent upon agriculture for their daily life. However, commercial agriculture is still in the promotional phase. Participant can be involved in ploughing, seeding, weeding, and harvesting, and are encouraged to educate the local farmers innovative farming techniques while being mindful to traditional methods. This perspective approach allows for relevant development in communities and for smooth integration with local lifestyles. In this program you will be placed with the local Nepali Family in a village homestay and your main role will be to assist in Agro Farm, learn new ways of farming and possibly even impart some of your own knowledge of agriculture to the locals.

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.

This is a program designed to make real differences at a grassroots level in needy Communities of Nepal.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • You need to remember that your stay in the community is the first step of empowering them. This is a perfect program for the people who want to travel, know real Nepal and be a part of community empowerment.
  • Orientation about Nepali Culture and Nepali Language class.
  • Get to know Nepal from the words of expert. You will also have chance to visit various organization 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.
  • Visit various UNESCO Heritage Site of Kathmandu.
  • Choose between four community development sectors where your work makes a real and lasting difference and if you have any other expertise, you can contact us so that we can explore the possibility.
  • Enjoy the experience of a practical volunteer project which produces long term results you can be proud of later.
  • Community development involves many different things, from empowering women to become self-sufficient, to helping to promote the traditional culture of, there is something to suit all participants.
  • No experience is needed to join these affordable and well-organized projects, just a kind heart and willing hands.
  • This is a program where you will see Nepal from the eyes of “local”-specially the marginalized and unprivileged community.

Program Schedule

Airport Transfer:

Volunteers are picked up from the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu by a member of the local coordinating staff. Those volunteers who will be already in Nepal will be met by the staff at a designated meeting point decided beforehand.

Orientation Program:

To know about country culture is the first step of building 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.

 Know Nepal:

This session will be taken by some renowned expert on the overall queries raised by the participants.

Know your Issue:

Depending upon the program you choose, you will be visiting various organization and government bodies to understand about the current situation, imitation taken, further plan, challenges on the issue. This is also chance for you to gather more idea from the development professional on the program you are going to be engaged with.

Kathmandu City Tour

You will have an opportunity to visit few UNESCO heritage site 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.

Travel to your Homestay:

After three days intensive orientation and information-based session you will be placed in a village homestay. There are some rural community who had taken homestay training from government and are trying to establish home stay. Our organization is helping them with the management and facilitation. These community 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”. Homestay is a unique experience for those travelers interested a more meaningful and a closer look into Nepal rural life. Such experiences are intended to provide cultural immersion in village lifestyles, allowing visitors to see how real Nepali families live, try the taste of firewood cooked food, learn enriched culture, language.

Orientation at Village:

Villagers will welcome you with their own local and unique style. There will be orientation about the history, present situation, problems existing in the village and also about your program. This orientation will be given by the local leaders of the village.

Beginning of Volunteering:

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 idea with the village people.

Free time:

You can go for a short hike, trek, visit near cities in your free time.

What to expect:

Accommodation

During the orientation you will be staying in the guest house of Kathmandu. After that we will be heading towards your respective community. Please be prepared that your accommodation will be of a Nepali standard, and will not have the same facilities and utilities as you may be used to, such as a western style toilet or a hot shower. Although your accommodation will be basic, it will be clean.

Meals

2 or 3 Nepalese meals will be provided to you depending on your work schedule. Typical meals provided include Dal (Lentils), Rice, Vegetables etc.The staple meal for most Nepalese people is dal bhat, which consists of lentil soup (dal), rice (bhat) and vegetables in curry (tarkari).There might be some local food which your host family might offer you. If you have any strict dietary, you can inform us earlier.

WIFI:

WiFi not available in the volunteer accommodation for this project participants but if you do need to stay connected then a local SIM card with data can be used in unlocked phones. Please note this project is located in remote villages of Nepal, so participants can expect the villages to be very remote and have extremely basic facilities.

Language:

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 few people who can communicate with you in English language in your program. ​ Nepali language orientation classes will be given at the beginning of the program in order to help you to deal with language barrier.

Program Requirements

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 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.

Frequently asked Questions:

How is your village selected?

We do need assessment of the project area before we place you in any village. The placement will be done by matching the interest of participants and need of the village.However, we try to select the community who are in need of financial support and have enthusiasm to join hand with us.

Is Program available all-time year and What is the capacity?

Program is Available all around the year except Dashain & Tihar Festival.  We can receive 8 to 12 participants at a time and these projects are located in a rural part of Nepal.

What is the transportation availability?

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 which will be jeep or bus depending upon the landscape. One of our staff will be with you for the entire program.