This AidCamp was held in conjunction with our partner organisation Rural Community Development Programme (RCDP) in the rural community of Gheghauli in the Chitwan valley region of Nepal.
This project provided a new classroom block for the primary school in Gheghauli, to replace a decrepit block that was unsafe. It also financed a toilet block, water tank, furniture, and a garden.
The major construction was completed by local labourers, paid for by the AidCamp, before the group arrived. The volunteers finished the floors and plastered, painted and decorated the extensions.
They were also taken on visits to see other projects in the area, as well as on several local and regional sightseeing trips.
The following report about the AidCamp was written by Lisa, one of the volunteers:
"As a very stressed out and busy self-employed person I have always wanted to do volunteer work, and the three-week AidCamp in Nepal was exactly what I was looking for. The group met in Kathmandu which we left full of anticipation and excitement, taking the windy road down to the Chitwan Valley.
We decamped in a small town called Tandi, loaded into open topped jeeps and took a surprise drive to the Gheghauli School. Our group was greeted by the children of the school, the wonderful teachers and parents, and by members of the local community. We were received like royalty and each and every one of us was dressed with a handmade garland and blessed with a tikka and a warm smile and many salutations of 'Namaste'.
It was a very humbling experience and in that moment in time, which I shall treasure always, I knew I was in the right place and I had made the right decision about volunteering along with the organisation I was working with. From that day forward we hit the ground running!
Every morning after a hearty breakfast we showed up for work at 8am. We were transported by jeep on a journey with a view to die for, with a backdrop of snow capped mountains. We snaked though lentil crops, paddy fields, and cornfields, and passed peoples' homes, some made of brick, some made of mud and straw, who always came out to wave at us on our journey to the school. It seemed everyone knew what we were up to!
We learnt new skills on site from hand mixing cement to plastering and liming walls with their local materials and tools. It was an eye opening experience. What we did have was exceptional teamwork and brilliant leadership. We all put our backs into what was requested with much gusto. We even had time for a tea break at 10am!
Our afternoons and evenings were a mixture of free time; sightseeing, cultural and educational studies, and we were given the opportunity to see other AidCamps International & RCDP projects. It was a real privileged to be working for such a worthy cause and a very switched on organisation. We were not only working, we were being fast-tracked into their culture and this helped us really understand life in Nepal very quickly.
We visited the other projects in the area early on in our trip. An orphanage, a school and home for mentally handicapped children. If you need half a reason why you should have a go at overseas volunteer work, let it be this. I've never in my life seen a set of happier faces with so much joy and energy. These children had nothing or so it seemed at the time. To witness first hand what previous 'AidCampers' had done made me realise what a privilege it was to be standing amongst these wonderful people and staff.
Our last week on site was hard graft. We didn't want to let our hosts down, and all of us pulled out the stops to finish on time. Finally, the opening ceremony fell upon us. We were treated to speeches, thanks giving, dancing and singing, and the school and its three classrooms and garden were officially opened. It was a momentous occasion and it was then that it really dawned on me that we would shortly be saying goodbye.
Personally I was moved completely by the whole day; it was very hard to say goodbye to 'my' teacher Mrs Sanjeev. She and the other teachers had great visions for their school, and you could see the excitement and pride on their faces as their toured their new classrooms. Alas we parted tearfully. I learnt something about myself that day that changed me forever.
We did something very special."
"This has been an unforgettable experience and I shall take home very fond memories of my time in Nepal and in particular
Chitwan. It was a pleasure to help out such a warm and friendly community."