There are many different projects that volunteers can get involved in at Himanchal School.
Teach in the school
Volunteers who wish to teach in the school will instruct “supplemental” classes which students can take in addition to their regular subjects. English is one of the most commonly taught classes, and is part of the curriculum for all students in Nangi from grades 1 – 11.
In the lower grade levels, participants can teach basic English through different types of nursery rhymes and stories, and in the higher-grade levels, they can teach vocabulary, sentence structures, grammar, writing, and verbal and oral communication skills. Participants can also instruct other subjects, such as science, math, computers, or visual arts, but may need to bring their own teaching materials, as resources in the village are limited.
Sports are very popular with girls and boys of all ages in the village. Participants can coach different types of athletics and games to the students, including coach
volleyball, basketball, soccer, karate, or other sports.
Work in the Forestry and Community Nursery Program
Nangi village has a community forest nursery that produces about 12,000 to 15,000 saplings of different varieties of trees each year. Some of the trees are planted annually in the community land and the rest are distributed to the neighboring villages. Participants can work in the nursery to produce the tree saplings.
The staff of the nursery have a thorough knowledge of the plants and herbs that are found in the region, and can guide the participants to learn about the natural environment and the conservation activities that take place in the village. Those who arrive in summer can also plant trees.
Volunteers can work with local health care providers to assist in the medical clinic, which was recently remodeled under the direction of a medical volunteer. Medical volunteers (doctors and nurses) will also have opportunities to teach health care providers in Nangi and neighboring villages.
Nangi has a public library with approximately 2,000 English and Nepali books. Participants can help the librarian organize the library, catalogue books, take students on “field trips” to the library, help students and teachers learn about effective ways to use the resources, and identify ways to improve the village’s collection.
Manual or Skilled Labor Service
Participants can work together with the villagers in manual work such as building construction and community tree planting. Participants also can provide skilled service such as masonry, furniture making, electrical wiring, and other areas of need.
In June 2012 a new project installing solar lightbulbs was started in Nangi by a volunteer family. Solar lightbulbs provide a free source of light at a nominal cost by using water, bleach, alcohol (which is needed to lower freezing temperature), empty liter water bottles and a few simple tools. There is a need for the bulbs to be installed all over the village. Simple instructions can be provided.
Income Raising Projects
At present, the high school is run with the financial support of individual donors abroad. One of the main efforts of the villagers is to make the high school self-reliant by developing viable and sustainable income producing programs. Participants can help with brainstorming projects such as eco-tourism programs, teaching handicrafts, helping villagers to market goods they have produced, or other activities. For example, this pond was built by villagers to raise fish to sell, and the school built a camping ground for visiting trekking groups to raise money for paying teachers’ salaries.
In addition to working in the nursery, volunteers can also assist with designing and implementing other types of environmental conservation activities, such as developing ecologically sound methods for sewage and garbage disposal, or maintaining clean water sources.
Assistance can be provided for those participants who want to do academic research in the region. Arrangements can be made for volunteers to travel to various sites to carry out projects they have developed or to collect data and gather information.
Depending upon the interest of the participants, programs such as tours of neighboring villages and schools can be organized. For example, participants can visit and a yak raising project, sponsored by Nangi and another school in the region, which is a two-day hike from the village at the foot of the Himalayas.
Whenever local festivals or social events such as a marriage ceremony, worshiping and village fairs are organized in the village, participants will be invited to participate. They will be considered as members of the community.
How to Design a Project
Thinking about a few basic questions before you go can help you begin the brainstorming process and can improve the quality of your work there. For example, it might be useful to ask yourself: How much time will you be in Nangi? What are your skills and interests? How do these skills and interests meet some of the goals of the village and volunteer program, mentioned earlier in this website? How would you go about teaching or working on your skills and interests in another culture?
Once you have completed an application to Himanchal Educational Foundation and been accepted as a volunteer then fill out a Volunteer Project Form. Contact Dr. Debra Stoner to begin a dialogue on your project. Complete the form and submit it to Dr. Debra Stoner at least six weeks before your intended arrival in Nangi. The form will be reviewed and recommendations will be made to help you achieve your goals.
A member of the school or village will be assigned to help you implement your project once you are in Nangi.
It is also highly advisable to contact former volunteers who can give you tips on what projects have been particularly successful and useful. To read stories, obtain contact information from previous volunteers and see examples of past projects, visit the former volunteers section of this site.