What does an Israeli Internet entrepreneur have in common with an Education student from England or an American photographer have in common with a Spanish sociologist? They were all 2011 volunteers with Himanchal Education Foundation.

Volunteers from America to Singapore spent anywhere from two weeks to four months giving their time and expertise to HEF’s network of projects. The individual projects included teaching at the school such diverse topics as English, rugby and dodge ball sports, photography, drama, flute music, writing, computer science and website building.

In addition; Miguel, from Spain, researched and helped development a business plan for the new trekking enterprise; Colin, from England, was able to conduct required university research examining how cultural changes impact the local Shamans, who are spiritual healers and advisers; a family of six from Singapore built a solar electric system for the new medical and dental clinics.

Mark, a university student from England, had this to say about his experience:

I set out with the intention of teaching a UK sport, Rugby, to the Nepali children to introduce them to a not so world widely known sport and also the sport encourages teamwork and healthy lifestyle so I thought I would try to implement this as a fun and healthy change for the children… I had to write up a report of my findings and ended up writing about whether gender inequalities still existed in Nepali culture, with regards to education.”

He summed up the sentiments of many former volunteers:

“Everyone is so kind, welcoming and funny and are so eager to help you learn their customs as well as ask us about ours.”

He also offered a few words of advice and encouragement:

My advice to other volunteers would be to make sure you have a clear objective of what you want to achieve before you get out there and also to have a few sips of Dutch courage before getting on the jeep to go to Nangi from Beni!”

HEF welcomes volunteers with a diversity of skills. The only requirement is to be 21 years of age or have at least two years of college or university studies completed. Contact Dr. Leonard Skov skovl@unk.edu for an application or Dr. Debra Stoner debra@himanchal.org for more information.

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