This AidCamp was held in conjunction with our partner organisation Rural Community Development Programme (RCDP) in the rural village of Nipani in the Chitwan valley region of Nepal.
This project provided an extension to the primary school in Nipani, doubling the size of the school, which previously had only three classrooms for the over 140 children in the classes from pre-school up to grade 3, and no capacity at all for older primary students, forcing them to attend schools outside of the community.
The major construction was completed by local labourers, paid for by the AidCamp, before the group arrived. The volunteers set the floor and plastered, painted and decorated the building.
The volunteers were also taken on visits to see other projects in the area, as well as on several local and regional sightseeing trips, and got to experience Holi, the Hindu festival of colours.
The following report about the AidCamp was written by Kate, one of the volunteers:
"Voluntary work, Nepal, building a primary school, 3 weeks. The AidCamps website made it sound just what I was looking for so I signed up with considerable anticipation, an open mind, and some apprehension of exactly what would be involved and the people I would be sharing this experience with.
Arrival day dawned. My fellow volunteers and I arrived in Nepal from various routes, the UK, Canada, overland from India. Straightaway there was a real buzz about the group as we started to get to know each other and chatted about our forthcoming adventure.
For the next 3 weeks, AidCamps and their partner in Nepal, RCDP, had organised the project work and cultural experiences that simply went hand in hand together to give us the most perfect taste of real life in Nepal. This was not the stuff of tourist brochures, this was reality. We were embraced in the life of our local village wholeheartedly, we were inspired by them, and we were privileged to spend so much time with them in every aspect of their day to day lives. We all gained a truer appreciation of the things that we take so much for granted.
Every morning we set off to our project; building a primary school with 3 classrooms. The core structure was built when we arrived, so we all threw ourselves into the quite daunting task ahead with an enthusiasm and team camaraderie which was fabulous to be part of. Over the next 3 weeks we plastered walls, constructed floors, whitewashed walls & ceilings, primed doors and windows, passed cement along chain gangs with the local ladies and painted murals on every wall.
Every morning the children ran to greet us. We had our very own escorts wherever we went. They were keen to try their English and with our newly learned Nepali phrases we had just the best 'conversations'. The most important part of our communications was not the words, it was the smiles, the expressions, the gestures, and the genuine warmth between the local people and ourselves.
Alongside the project work, we also had the opportunity to experience other aspects of Nepal and glean an understanding of the beauty of this captivating country. We spent an afternoon with children at an orphanage from a previous project, which left every single one of us moved beyond words.
At weekends, we visited holy pilgrimage sites, had an amazing weekend in the Royal Chitwan National Park where we discovered rhinos from atop magnificent elephants, and even bathed with the elephants - unbelievable!
Our final day on the project culminated with the opening ceremony for the school, which was simply breath taking. As we sat outside our completed project with our friends from the village, the feeling of anticipation for the future of the school and the education of the children was palpable. We had all played our part and it felt brilliant.
Since we have returned, our group has been exchanging emails with such phrases as 'words can't describe the experience we've just shared', 'I can't think of a greater bunch of people to have shared it with', and 'full of amazing memories and thoughts'. It has been one of the most rewarding, exciting, thought provoking and amazing experiences of my life. I hope that the memories, the happiness on the faces of the local children and the friends I made in Nepal will stay with me forever."
"It was an experience to show that different cultures have so much in common"
"With an AidCamps project to start your Gap Year, you will feel ready to take on the world!"
"He did notice the rhinos tearing down the beach"
"It was so much more than I ever could have imagined. My life is forever changed."
"Great experience, fantastic mix of people, satisfying work. The sense of achievement and the emotional journey were the highlights. Keep it up"
"This has probably been one of my best experiences ever, my memories of the AidCamp and the people in Nepal will stay with me forever. It was wicked fun too!"
"A very worthwhile way to spend a holiday - I feel I got more out then I put in"
"A true experience of the heart, mind and spirit..."
"It was a wonderful way to get to know a new country & something I will never forget"
"The experience has been a growth process for me as a first time traveller to Nepal."
"I can't explain in words how I feel, it has been a life changing experience for me and I felt so much genuine love for the people in Nepal, it's just amazing. I will never forget this. Thank you."