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Nepal Govt. Regd. No. 1224/064, SWC Affiliation No. 22612
Schools in Arupokhari and neighboring regions have constantly faced the administrative challenge of affording quality teachers. Besides the lack of availability of qualified teachers, the inability to provide decent salaries has been a point of major concern. As a result the education sector in the village has trailed behind.
Some schools are facing the problem of over-crowdedness while others are losing student population as a result of the disparity in the quality of education provided by the schools. Neither is a good sign of the overall situation of education. Though the physical infrastructure of the schools has improved to a considerable extent over the years, a lack of qualified teachers still undermines the quality of education provided to the students. The schools are unable to pay decent salaries to those qualified. Hence the imbalance of human capital and a lack of funds has created a void in what may soon sour children’s motivation to attend school.
After our initial evaluation and interviews with the school authorities as well as the students’ guardians, Sambhav Nepal has proposed the plan of enrolling volunteers to teach in the schools. The volunteers are not restricted only to teaching but a myriad of activities, including awareness campaigns and health-related services.
As the only NGO operating in the region, Sambhav Nepal had the opportunity to assess the situation and has come up with a concept that could minimize, if not eliminate, the problem. The organization’s field team sought the possibility of establishing a volunteer center in an ideal location in Arughat Municipality. Given the success of foreign and domestic volunteers elsewhere in the nation, this plan garners much support from the community and other concerned parties as well. The preliminary research and analysis we conducted clearly indicates that the project is feasible.
The volunteer center will operate under the field direction of Sambhav Nepal with the collaboration of Ace the Hiamalya and Ace Holidays, including the local community. The school management committees will closely coordinate with Sambhav Nepal to designate the volunteers as their teaching personnel based on several criteria such as level of expertise to teach a subject to various grades, and the volunteer’s physical ability to walk several miles to reach respective schools. The head office of Sambhav Nepal in Kathmandu is conveniently located in Thamel, one of the most touristic places in the country.
We plan to accept foreign as well as domestic volunteers based on their educational qualifications. The committee will make routine evaluations to ensure that the volunteers are not having any problems during their stay. The volunteers are allowed to stay up to three months (or more in extenuating circumstances); the expected average stay will be about one month. The peak point of volunteering will be the summer time (May to August) during the time which special provisions of accommodation will be made. We will make the point to assure that the facility is not crowded by excessive number of volunteers – should there be any such case, the volunteers will be referred to a host family (which has been the method so far). In total, we plan to enroll no more than 50 volunteers in the program per month.
The volunteer center will be structured in a rather unconventional manner. This cost includes meals, local bus transportation to and from villages and some adventure package such as mountain biking, hiking, fishing, working in farm, etc. We will publish the package minimum one week to maximum six months upon completion of the volunteer center. The fees will be used to cover the administrative and the maintenance expense of the volunteer center as well. This is not merely an incentive to attract more members, but more importantly our expression of gratitude to the volunteers for investing their precious time and resources in serving the underprivileged of this struggling Himalayan village.
A trained cook will be assigned as the incharge of the food services in the volunter center. Besides the traditional Nepali dish (rice, lentils, potato, spinach, pickle and so forth), a wide variety of dish, ex. tea, egg and toast, will be available. In the afternoon, either black tea or milk tea (cow or buffalo milk) is served. The materials for food and beverages is locally produced. Popcorn, wheat, millet and corn breads is available for snacks at around 3pm in the day. If you want, you can cook the food in the kitchen. If you are a non-vegetarian you can easily find local chicken and lambs in village. If you are a vegetarian or have any special dietary need, please let us know in advance.
We plan to build the volunteer house in typical style offering most of the basic facility. The Volunteer Center will be built in the cottage style with nice garden and in very quite location. You will be able to see the sunrise and mountain from the center.
We have calculated the cost of creating the volunteer center from scratch is roughly at USD 150,000. This will cover the cost of acquisition of land, construction of volunteer house, installation of necessary amenities (furniture, kitchen equipment and biogas for cooking, water supply, toilets and so on). We are seeking the most cost-effective means of the best possible materials to materialize our plan of creating a high-grade facility. We are consulting with engineers, laborers and vendors to prepare a detailed and accurate estimate of costs required for the functioning of the volunteering program.
The ownership of the land and the volunteer centre will belong to the community and Bhairabi Primary School in Ratmate village. We will form a Board to monitor and look after the volunteer centre and the Board will chosen from the local villagers.
We plan to create an extended network of partners with foreign and domestic volunteering organizations. An online portal will be a crucial tool in publicizing our program and reaching out to interested members throughout the world. It will be equally important in creating awareness in the international community about the dire situation in Gorkha and Nepal altogether. Online application will ease and expedite the process of registration of members. The website will also allow for real-time communication between the potential volunteers and the management team.
Gorkha’s remote location and a lack of modern facilities would make it an ideal volunteer location for any interested members. Its problems apart, Gorkha sports a rugged landscape laden with high hills and majestic mountains – a mecca for hikers and adventure-seekers. The tourists who have visited the location have expressed their concern and are willing to investment in the development of the region. Nonetheless, the help we have received so far has only been of an ad hoc volunteer tourism nature. We want to make the volunteering system more organized and provide essential facilities to the interested members. In fact, Sambhav Nepal itself is the brainchild of Mr. Prem K Khatry, a trekking guide who hails from the same village, and his clients, namely Allan Walden from Australia. What started as a business relationship became a bond of friendship that has helped bring smiles to countless faces in Arupokhari through Sambhav Nepal’s developmental efforts.
Thus far, the volunteer center remains our vision, a concept written only on paper, but our resolve is strong and we are determined to bring it into operation in the nearest future. Your support of any magnitude – monetary, logistical or otherwise – is paramount in contributing to the timely and successful completion of the volunteer center. We are confident that the volunteer center will give a head start in opening greater opportunities for the innocent, neglected and misfortunate children for whom a quality education is only a dream, a luxury at best.