Thursday, 13 October 2011 8:38 AM
Whether you are planning a full gap year, a short stint overseas or are simply looking for a holiday spent giving something back, voluntary work in Nepal can be an amazing choice.
This fascinating country is home to some incredible natural sites and fascinating cities, but there is also much poverty - and many of its residents lead challenging lives, struggling to forge better futures for their youngsters.
So, if you are keen to volunteer overseas, this is a destination where you can really make a difference. There are a variety of projects you can get involved with, from building schools to teaching English.
Of course, in addition to the rewarding nature of the initiatives themselves, volunteering can really unlock your chosen destination for you in a way that other forms of travel cannot. Indeed, by working among local people, you can get to know their way of life and immerse yourself in their culture.
So, what kinds of community development work can you undertake in Nepal? If you are eager to work with youngsters, you might want to help out at child protection homes in Kathmandu. These serve as safe places for kids who would otherwise be forced to live on the streets - and you could assist in taking care of them and organise fun activities to help them learn.
While the children are at school, you will be free to explore Nepal's capital city, or take part in exciting activities, such as white water rafting, trekking and safaris.
Alternatively, you might like to help communities rebuild their schools. In doing so, you can contribute to creating a better learning environment for children. Among the tasks you might be entrusted with include classroom decoration, plastering walls and ground levelling.
Working from Monday to Friday, you can enjoy amazing trips at the weekend, including elephant rides in Chitwan National Park, as well as rhino watching and the chance to see crocodiles. Or, you could head off on a memorable trek in the Himalayas.
Giving you a chance to teach willing and well-behaved pupils, Buddhist monasteries are another place you can volunteer. Here, you will help youngsters get to grips with the English language as part of the monasteries' plans to ensure future generations are well-grounded in standard education - as well as Buddhism.
During your time at the monastery, you will be expected to dress conservatively. This will include not exposing too much flesh, as well as concealing any tattoos and hiding or removing any piercings you may have.
You will spend two hours a day teaching, with the rest of your time free for you to do with as you please. You will have full responsibility for planning your lessons, so bear in mind some of your time will be taken up with this.
When you are not teaching or organising your upcoming classes, you can plan a variety of activities. Your base near the hills presents the ideal opportunity for trekking - a chance that anyone keen to really explore Nepal won't want to miss out on.
Alternatively, there are many attractions in Kathmandu, including the excellent architecture in Durban Square. There are also numerous bars and restaurants to relax in if you simply feel like unwinding or meeting fellow travellers.
For rewarding, unforgettable trips overseas, volunteering in Nepal is an excellent choice.