Kathmandu, Nepal, November 2010

Nepal has been a busy country for site visits.  It isn’t surprising many organizations decide to invite volunteers to Nepal: it’s a safe, beautiful country full of hospitable people that treat their guests like gods – literally! Guests are seen as reincarnations from the heavens, so hosts spoil them rotten.

In addition, Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, with obstacles especially great for women and children.  The Maoist movement of 2005 further disturbed Nepal’s growth – scaring away tourists and disrupting the country’s infrastructure for several years.  It should be noted that tourists were never targeted during the disturbance.

With peace restored, there is great need in Nepal for teachers, aid workers and other volunteers willing to lend a hand.  There is no shortage of organizations to volunteer with, but if you are planning a volunteer trip to Nepal, make sure to choose your organization wisely.  There are many for-profit orphanages and other short-term projects set up specifically to target well-meaning tourists.  Choosing a reputable organization is essential to working towards sustainable change.

School children dancing during ceremony
I am working hard on this trip evaluating international organizations in order to encourage students to volunteer with projects that are contributing to real, meaningful improvements in their communities.  From teaching English to women’s empowerment to medical placements, this is a variety of programs on offer to the willing volunteer.  The warm Nepali friends you make during your travels will be ever thankful for your contribution!