Navigation Menu

Kathmandu is a myriad of experiences: it’s dusty and beautiful, chaotic and serene, all at once. But one thing is definite: you’ll never discover all of it if you head here as just a tourist.

Come as an international volunteer, however, and you’ll get to discover the city’s secrets, learn its culture, and experience something so much more than a holiday.

Hannah, from Perth, Australia, is two months into a three-month research volunteer opportunity with UK-based charity Street Child, and she can’t believe how quickly her time in Nepal’s capital city has flown by.

Take on a Role with Street Child and Visit a Country as More Than Just a Tourist!

Volunteers’ backgrounds and ages vary – but they all share the same desire to take on a new, meaningful challenge.

An Interview With Hannah

‘It can take a little while to settle into Kathmandu life, the dust and chaotic nature of the city can be a bit much at first,’ Hannah told us.

‘But you’ll quickly find that there is a lot to love here, from spending weekends exploring the temples of Kathmandu Valley, to enjoying an after-work sunset with a Gorkha [Nepali beer] in hand on a rooftop in Patan.

‘Plus, having the opportunity to escape the city and head for a short trek in the Annapurna Massif mountain range was incredible, and something I would encourage everyone to do.’

Working With Street Child

Before applying to work with Street Child, Hannah already had experience working on content creation and small-scale research projects with human rights organisations in Australia and Kenya.

But, with an academic background in Sociology and International Relations,  she was looking to apply her skills to a larger international context.

‘I chose to volunteer with Street Child as they offered just that, a chance to contribute to meaningful and interesting work, collaborate with a local team and gain valuable insight into the development sector from the ground,’ she adds.

Hannah has been working alongside local staff on a large-scale research project investigating the education opportunities currently available for Musahar communities in the Terai region.

Hannah has been working alongside local staff on a large-scale research project

Why Volunteer?

Musahars are the most politically-marginalised, economically-exploited and socially-ostracised people in Nepal.

As such, their access to education is severely restricted. Street Child is conducting this research to work with the community to develop a better alternative.

‘Being involved in this project has been truly fascinating, humbling and, at times, incredibly challenging,’ adds Hannah.

‘Spending time in the extremely hot and humid, but beautiful, Terai region was all of these things at once. Work in the field is full of surprises, and changing conditions mean you need to be prepared and adaptable.

‘As a foreign volunteer you are sometimes limited in your capacity to communicate, and having to rely on a translator can seem like a constraint. But it is all part of the experience and coming up with creative ways to work around barriers is part of the fun.

‘I feel really fortunate to have contributed to this project throughout its various stages. Working alongside the local team and getting to them is the process has been a huge bonus and definitely a highlight of my experience!’

Take on a Role with Street Child and Visit a Country as More Than Just a Tourist!

Volunteer in Other Countries

Nepal isn’t the only country you can visit with Street Child. You can also make a valuable contribution in Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone or Liberia. As well as research opportunities, there are openings for teaching, communications, projects, enterprise and governance.

Volunteers’ backgrounds and ages vary – but they all share the same desire to take on a new, meaningful challenge.

Find out how to join them in a role that’s perfect for you at www.street-child.co.uk/international-volunteering, or email IntVol@street-child.co.uk for more information.

Click to Learn More About Street Child

Street Child is a UK charity that believes every child deserves access to an education that will give them the power to realise a new, hopeful future for themselves.

Set up in 2008, the charity has grown exponentially and now runs projects in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Nepal and Sri Lanka, working alongside local partners.

It focuses on developing a solution that is long-term and sustainable, so people who benefit from the projects are being given a helping hand to take control of their own lives.

Following the devastating earthquakes in Nepal in 2015, Street Child began working in a post-emergency capacity as one of the lead education organisations, helping to rebuild schools that were destroyed and train teachers in disaster preparedness.

Two years on, Street Child is now working on several other projects that focus on delivering schooling that is life-saving, fair, inclusive and sustainable, to some of the country’s most marginalised communities.

In West Africa, after Ebola swept through the region in 2014 and 2015, Street Child began working to ensure the epidemic’s legacy wouldn’t be a generation of children with no education and no future.

Among other projects in Sierra Leone and Liberia, the charity runs a Livelihoods Scheme that offers grants and training to help parents start and run their own businesses – allowing them to make enough money to keep their children in education.

The most recent country that Street Child has begun working in is Sri Lanka, where the focus is on designing and implementing projects that will enable out-of-school children to access education.

Check Their Projects

PRODUCTS TO REDUCE YOUR IMPACT OVERSEAS: CLICK PHOTO↓

 

Powerfly Solar Powered Backpack

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

CamelBak Chute 1L Water Bottle

SPREAD THE WORD! PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS ↓

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

If you enjoy getting social, you can follow their journey on FacebookTwitterYouTubePinterest and Instagram.

    24 Comments

  1. Hi Meg,

    I like this idea.

    In Kathmandu itself – not outside of town – I saw quite a bit of street kids getting high off of whiffing spray cans. I felt for them, and then, got a little annoyed when one of them bit my arm. But I did ultimately have compassion for the young man after the incident.

    Helping folks from a place of empowerment rocks. Good energy for all people involved.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Ryan

    • Hi Ryan, oh wow, sorry to hear that you were bitten in Kathmandu – yikes how scary! But it’s so good to hear that you could find compassion for the child after the incident.

      We really do have the potential and the ability to help improve their living conditions, and their standard of life, and it’s definitely tough to face the reality of impoverished communities, but I agree, there’s definitely a good energy for all people involved 🙂

  2. Street Child sound like a wonderful organization. Hannah sounds like she’s having a great time. I’m sure working/living through a translator is probably a big adjustment, but worth all the wok. Plus, like she said, the mountains are there for a getaway! Good luck on your last month, Hannah!

    • Absolutely Paige – she’s been raving about the experience, so we had to interview her for the blog! Definitely an adjustment working through a tarnslator, but I do find that when you’re thrown into a new setting like this, you tend to pick up the language a lot quicker than you think you would.

      Can highly recommend Street Child if you’re thinking about volunteering too 🙂

  3. Would really love to do such work in future sometime. Im sure the memories would be priceless, not to mention the good work you’d get to put in.

    • Absolutely Sreekar – it’s a very valuable experience for everyone involved. Can definitely recommend Street Child if you’re looking to get involved with a project soon 🙂

  4. I think it takes a lot of character strength to volunteer on a longer term basis like this but I can see that the flipside to that is a hugely rewarding experience because of the opportunity to truly help, and to take on board new skills and experiences too.

    • Absolutely Kavita – especially if it’s your first time as an international volunteer – perhaps a lot of learning curves and new things to take in. But it’s such an incredible opportunity to grow yourself while giving back and contributing. I’ve found that you definitely do pick up new skills throughout your experience too 🙂

  5. This is truly inspiring. Travel with a purpose. We need to highlight these kinds of travel stories a bit more. It shows that you can travel, but also make a positive contribution to the charity or organization of your choice.

    I can gather that this is a great experience for Hannah and that everyone associated with this charity will benefit, including the charity itself and especially the children.

    • So glad to hear that you’re inspired by traveling with a purpose Simon – I agree that we should be highlighting these stories more often, it’s a great opportunity to make a difference and seek out a more culturally immersive experience yourself.

      Definitely consider a project with street child if you’re thinking about giving back in the future 🙂

  6. What an interesting experience. My daughter went on a student exchange but I know her company also does volunteer exchanges. Street Child sounds like a great program, I’ll hand it on to her to look at as I know she’s interested in a gap year once she turns 18. Hannah sounds like she is having a fascinating time. How does Gorkha differ from other beers in terms of taste? And it must be great for her to be able to apply her sociology skills in such a diverse context.

    • Volunteering overseas is a great way to spend a gap year – sounds like she’s been bitten with quite the travel bug since having done a student exchange!

      Not sure on the Gorkha, but I’ll ask and let you know! And absolutely, the great thing about volunteering internationally these days is that there are projects available to suit almost every interest / skill set, so you can really put your expertise to good use, and gain invaluable experiences you wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to in your home country. Mutually beneficial for everyone involved 🙂

  7. What a great organization and kudos to people like Hannah who volunteer in places like Katmandu. I’ve heard stories of the chaos of the city, so I can only imagine the difficulty of adjusting to life in Katmandu while also dedicating time and energy to Street Child. It is quite inspirational to see people taking the time to help others. Thanks for sharing Hannah’s story!

    • It’s definitely a whole different world in Katmandu! I think most people experience a short culture shock in adjusting, especially when you’re spending extended time and not just passing through. But that’s part of the adventure of travel right!

      Glad you enjoyed reading about Hannah’s experiences volunteering – if you’re ever thinking about same, Street Child offers programs in a range of different places, not just Katmandu 🙂

  8. I believe that being a volunteer abroad is an experience that everyone should live in their life and especially for such a kind cause. A friend of mine visited Nepal recently and was surprised of the beauty of the landscapes and the friendliness of the people. The only thing that would haven given me second thoughts about this initiative is how hard it would be for me to live under such harsh conditions..

    • I totally agree with you – I think that if everyone volunteered overseas at least once in their life, it would go a very long way to not only improving poverty, but breaking down cultural barriers and stereotypes which seems to be the root of so much hate.

      It’s definitely an adjustment, or culture shock if you like, when you land in a totally foreign country, totally foreign environment, and commit to work and live alongside a new community for a while. But it’s all part of an incredible learning process, and everyone I know who has volunteered has agreed that overall it is the most rewarding experience.

      Can highly recommend it – happy to answer any questions if you have reservations 🙂

  9. What a wonderful interview. It is so awesome to read about people, like Hannah, who are out there making a different for those communities that have been forgotten. I particularly love that she is involved in research in an area she is skilled in. Also I had never heard of Street Child before this so it’d interesting to look into it further. More specifically to understand if all the volunteer programs they offer are actually helpful to the communities they are involved in. I have read much too often in the past few months of the negativity and debate behind “voluntourism”. So it’d be amazing to know of organisations like this that are really in for the good of the people.

    • Thanks Elisa! So glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Absolutely – I think there are so many great opportunities out there where you can really put your established skill set and expertise to good use, and not only do local communities in desperate need of assistance benefit, but the experiences benefit you in return, whether that’s life experience, or resume building, everyone wins 🙂

      Totally hear you on the negatives of “vouluntourism” – it’s really sad that a market has sprung up to profit off the good intentions of those trying to make a difference in the world. Which is why we do our best to promote ethical volunteering, and support projects which have a long term, sustainable impact on a grass roots level, from companies with altruistic values.

      I looked into Street Child before I decided to interview Hannah so I knew I was promoting an ethical company – from what I can see, they appear to be very involved with local communities, and focus on sustainable projects which have long term goals 🙂

  10. What a fascinating story. How is it possible that in the 21st century there are still people with access to education severely restricted? Good that there are people like Hannah and the association behind that try to help somehow. And it is also good that people like you use her little virtual space to tell us about it.

    • Isn’t it! I love talking to people like Hannah who are doing incredible things – and I know, it breaks my heart that more than half the world today lives in extreme poverty or has what we take for granted as human rights, restricted by circumstance or government.

      I hope that in sharing the stories of the work people like Hannah are doing, it will encourage more people to get involved 🙂

  11. Good to read!

    • Thanks Juliana 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the post.

  12. Wonderful interview with a great organization and kudos to people like Hannah.

    Nepal must be pretty amazing if you have some feelings over it.

    • Glad you enjoyed the interview Sebastian 🙂 Yes, Nepal is an incredible country, and a lot of opportunities to make an impact if you have some time to volunteer 🙂

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share34
Tweet103
Pin39
Flip
Stumble1
+1