Our Projects

Testimonials by Nepali Communities

RAMESH KAJI- Principal of Shree Setidevi Panchakanya Primary School, Jambu
The first time IICS students visited Panchakanya in 2011, I saw that the way they were teaching our students was very effective. We saw that was even more the case during their second visit. We’re fortunate that we could finally begin dedicated teacher training to learn more. You can see how excited the students are when they are learning in a fun way. And it makes it more enjoyable for the teacher when students are engaged. It was interesting to learn these concepts like we were the students in a classroom. We got to see it from the student’s point of view. I can honestly say that after seeing student volunteers teaching and after attending the teacher training IICS started, after twenty years I am just now learning what it truly means to be a teacher. This has inspired me and my colleagues.

BAHADUR BASNET- Regional Superintendant for 53 Schools
We have really seen Panchakanya Primary School developing over the years thanks to outreach from Himalayan Voluntourism and the schools they bring. We would love to see this school continue as a resource for teacher training. I would also like to see this kind of training at our other schools. The kinds of teaching techniques we did in the teacher training workshop are very creative and it is obvious how much it will help students explore their interests and motivate them to learn. This is an exciting learning environment. Children need that. I look forward to this kind of training expanding here.

SHANTA NEPAL- Teacher at Shree Jay Golma Primary School
I am thrilled to have access to this kind of training that gives us creative ways to teach. Although my school has very limited resources, I am eager to try these exercises in my classroom. It makes teaching and learning fun.


Himalayan Voluntourism and its partner schools have been profiled in international media, including IS (International Schools) Magazine, the official magazine of ECIS (European Council of International Schools). THe article here profiles the award of the ECIS Peter Ustinov Outreach Grant.

Testimonials by Volunteers

JENNIFER- Istanbul International Community School coordinator of Nepal Voluntourism school trips
I have taken high school students to our partner school in Jambu three times now since 2011. Each group has come back thrilled, exhausted, and amazed at how much they could do, how much fun they had doing it, and how much it positively impacted our Nepali partner community. Now our students know how easy it is and how good it feels to be a hands-on part of positive change in the world... And they made a new Nepali family in doing so. Prabin and the HV team make every trip a safe, endearing, engaging experience.

STEPHANIE—Wellington College coordinator for Nepal Voluntourism school trips- 2013
We had such a good trip! Our students said it was the best school trip they had ever been on, and several want to come back next year. I would agree that it was very special. There were so many aspects I appreciated - your hospitality, your attention to safety, the patience, helpfulness, energy and endearing personalities of your team; your flexibility and willingness to accommodate the Valley School visit, friends for dinner, David's trips off to other locations, shopping for particular things, our trip to the cave, cooking lunch for the school, just to name the obvious. I thought the guide at Patan Square was excellent. Deurali Primary was welcoming, and now that we have a better idea of the situation we might think about more specific contributions, like another classroom, and/or a computer for Shambhu's Learning Center. We might try and do a longer trip and combine some time at a school alongside an ecology project. I am eager to bring another Wellington group and work with you, so thank you for your invitation.

JUDY- Parent of an IICS Student -2013 Trip
I really want to thank you for giving my son the amazing opportunity to work on the Nepal Project with you and your team. He arrived home exhausted but exhilarated and I was very content to listen to him recount his experiences. I don't think that he expected to come back feeling profoundly affected, but indeed that seems to be the result. For this I am truly grateful to you! It isn't often that our kids get the chance to really be part of something bigger than themselves and to have a glimpse into the reality of the world beyond their privileged lives. I have rarely seen him so contemplative or moved...this was very meaningful to me as a parent. If there is anything that I can do to help all of your efforts in the future, please, please just let me know.

DANIEL - IICS Student- 2013 Trip
There are so many things I got out of this trip, I can’t even begin. At first, all I expected was the ordinary Community and Service trip, but as we taught day after day, I became more aware of what those kids had to do and what they go through in terms of their living situation, conditions, and so on. The fact that children who have so little still come to school thrilled to learn shocked me. I’d expect such children, with all the possible struggles they face, that school would be the last item on their mind. In addition, I learnt more about myself and how I want to use my passion (film) to show the world my experiences, because people everywhere should get to feel what I felt in a sense, even if they are not able to go on a trip like this. 
--Do not be intimidated! These children do not expect a college professor teaching them. As long as you have a good plan and a fallback option, you’ll do great. 
--This isn’t only for the kids, it is for you. You may think you’re only teaching the kids, but on top of that, I’ve learnt more about myself than ever in terms of how privileged I am, what I would pursue in the future, and so on. 
--It isn’t all about teaching. You will have fun and experience a totally different culture. 

MARIA- IICS Student- 2013 Trip
After this trip I now know these things: 
--I have a second family. Never before have I felt so close to a number of individuals in such a short amount of time. 10 days and I already feel like I love almost all of them. Even though I have so much to learn about them, their goodness, passion, and love is contagious. 
--I fell in love with humanitarianism. I discovered that I love offering people what I have learnt and will continue to learn. It is so rewarding seeing the smiles and appreciation on the surface and knowing that inside these people are probably growing out of their comfort zones. 
--Now I know that no matter what, I will always be able to offer something to the world, no matter what school I end up at.
I have decided that materialism is unnecessary. We weren’t staying in poor conditions during our trip, but we certainly weren’t living the way we were used to. And that was perfectly fine. I actually felt happier. Somehow the impact was worth so much more than the hot shower. The interactions with our team were so much more exciting than the internet at home. So… I have decided to earn my own money for a trip to Nepal 6 months from now. 

JASPER- an independent student volunteer- 2011
My six weeks in Nepal were the most impressive experience I have ever made. It really challenged me and showed me the world in a way I had never understood it. I was confronted with poverty, political and educational difficulties, kids with a rear chance of a different future and many other difficulties. I can say that I got really down to earth and understood to appreciate the luxury I have in Germany. However I would have never been able to actually help the kids in Nepal and my self by understanding these things without the help of Prabin, AngKami and of course all his helpers that became really good friends to me. They made sure that my stay in Nepal would become a Win Win situation for the kids at the learning center in Bandipur and me. After my month stay in Bandipur, Prabin, AngKami, and their friends helped me to plan a little trip through some parts of Nepal and which made my stay in Nepal to an unforgettable experience that will be remembered by many decisions that I will have to make in my life.

GLYNNIS- Parent of IICS Student- 2013 Trip
My heartfelt thanks for making this trip possible. This remarkable adventure was truly an awakening on so many levels for our children. It truly was an extraordinary experience 

LOUIS - IICS Student- 2013 TripI got to see the real value of learning and education amongst children. When your education is just handed to you and you really don’t need to work for it, you begin to take it for granted. These children want nothing more than to learn and partake in school activities. After participating on this trip and witnessing learning from another perspective, it made me value it much more and not take it for granted so much. I also want to thank and express my utmost respect to the staff of this trip for keeping it so close to their hearts and keeping the project running for so long.

EREN A. - IICS Student- 2013 TripThis experience also helped me realize how happy people can be with very little and that it is not a necessity to have more in order to be happy. 

LARA - IICS Student- 2013 Trip
Deciding to come on this trip was probably the greatest thing to decide because I’ve just been inspired. I’ve gotten to experience new things and gained a new perspective. This trip wasn’t like other trips because it didn’t feel like a school trip. It was more fun and more challenging, especially for me. 

MICHAEL- an independent student volunteer
Volunteering in Nepal opened my eyes to the obstacles people face daily in developing nations. For the first time I witnessed a teacher beat a student with a stick for making noise in class. For the first time I experienced what it feels to live with the comforts that I have taken for granted: having electricity for the entire day; taking a hot shower; living in a house where I don’t hit my head every other day because the ceiling is so low. Nepal is an extremely poor country. However, despite the obvious negative side of growing up in a poor environment, I learned a lot from the kids that I helped at the Learning Center and at the primary school in Bandipur. The students that I encountered live without commodities that millions of people around the world take for granted, yet they never do anything without a smile on their faces. All of the kids that I taught and tutored showed a tenacious desire to learn. They always wanted to do their best and they tried to learn as much they could every moment of everyday.

As I look back on my experiences in Bandipur, I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to help with the education of the children of Bandipur. All of the kids that I met there are very special. Being around the youth of Bandipur and the people that I met in Nepal gave me a new sense of urgency to become the very best that I can become and not take for granted the opportunities available to me. Looking at the optimism in the eyes of each child every morning, experiencing the students doing their best every day at school to understand what I was teaching them in English or math class; it is impossible for experiences such as this not to change you. I thank everyone who gave me this opportunity to volunteer at Bandipur. I want to personally thank Peter Dalglish and Prabin for arranging my entire volunteering experience; Prabin for taking care of me in Kathmandu and introducing me to Nepal; Shambhu for being there for me in Bandipur; my host family for submersing me in the culture of Nepal; the teachers at ENKA for helping me contact Mr. Dalglish; and finally the dozens of kids that I met in Bandipur who gave me the most exciting and unique experience of my life.

JONG HO - IICS Student- 2013 TripThis trip helped me choose my dreams. I now think I want to be a teacher. Teaching students was wonderful. Best experience that a student can have. On this trip I learnt a new life motto: Environment might make you uncomfortable but it does not make you unhappy. Happiness depends on what I think, feel, and behave.Nepal is a wonderful place (not as harsh as they think). Fraternity, good people. Also a great place to stay and have a trip. This trip makes you think back. Gives wonderful thoughts of how we have lived and what we should be.

DANIELA - IICS Student- 2013 TripI developed relationships with local people who do everything from teach “untouchables”, lead treks to Everest base camp, to doing environmental conservation work. I learned about Buddhist and Hindu cultures through guides and partaking in festival ceremonies. This knowledge will broaden my worldview and influence my future artwork. I learned how to teach a range of ages and adjust an activity or lesson accordingly or based on an ability. I now feel incredibly interested and passionate about education and how its effect (especially in developing regions) can make a wide impact than simply providing food or water to these communities. 

EREN I. - IICS Student- 2013 Trip
This trip made me realize the reality of the condition these children (3rd world societies) live in. Before the trip it was always just preconceptions, facts, videos, and pictures. It made me appreciate how privileged I am but it also showed me I could be happy without them (as I saw the children were all incredibly happy). Staying at Borderlands made me realize that none of the commodities I enjoy daily are necessary and it’s really easy living without them. It’s not just about helping people and rappelling. It’s also a lot of time to chill out in a new and completely different environment and it’s incredibly fun. 

EREN- IICS Student- 2012 Trip
Everything passed by in the blink of an eye--from the moment little Bikram put a flower garland around my neck on the first day to him running after our departing truck on the last day. It is definitely an experience I will bear within myself my whole life and never forget. Looking into the eyes of the children and seeing them happy and thankful despite their obviously poor conditions is not something that can be easily explained. This trip made me a different individual physically, mentally, and emotionally. I was able to see the happy community and the fascinating culture of a developing country and experience an unforgettable service component. I cannot stress how thankful I am to Prabin and his team for this rewarding, teaching, relaxing, life changing experience that I will keep in my memory every day. I simply cannot imagine a better way to have spent my spring break. 

DAFNA- IICS Student- 2012 Trip
I can easily say that these 10 days were the best days of my life. Coming to a country --that two years ago I had no idea existed—has changed my life. This was my first time in a country visiting a country that’s in such horrible condition. To be able to help only 50 students has changed the way I see the world. I know I made a huge change in both their lives and definitely in mine. Laxmi’s brother Bikram has a backpack he never takes off. On the third day, I noticed that someone wrote “I love Dafana” on the bag. When I saw that I felt so emotional that I almost cried. With the help of a translator I asked him who wrote that on the bag but he was so shy that he couldn’t answer. He said the Dafana was the bag’s name. On the last day just before the closing ceremony, Laxmi sat next to me with her brother’s bag and held my hand. She told me that she wrote “I love Dafana” on his bag. That’s when I started crying tears of happiness. I knew that she will never forget me and that I had made an impact on her life. Laxmi might have been more connected to me than the others but I loved them all with all my heart and I will never forget this experience since it gave me a broader perspective of the world.

CENK- IICS Student- 2012 Trip
The weeklong service trip in Nepal was an amazing even magical experience that I think everyone should get the chance to experience. In plain words, it was filled with great fun, great people, and amazing, eye-opening experiences. The love and gratitude that the people had for us was clearly visible and showed in the kids we interacted with. One little boy I waved goodbye to grabbed my hand and walked with me to the truck that would take us back to Borderlands for the night. That really hit me in a soft spot and made me feel happy and sad in the best of ways. I just want to thank everybody involved in the project and thanks especially to our facilitators for helping create this amazing experience.

ZEYNEP- IICS Student- 2012 Trip
These kids showed up on their summer holiday just to be with us, to be able to learn. Their eager faces made it a little more pressuring but their smiles made it all the more worthwhile putting work into the lessons. The struggles we faced coming up with more material and games was hard but even if our ideas were not exactly as planned, the children seemed to enjoy anything they could do with us. Always smiling, always laughing, and always willing to learn. They changed how I perceive happiness, joy, and how it isn’t how much you have, but what take most from what you have.

ELIS- IICS Student- 2012 Trip
The HV group welcomed us with warm hospitality and kindness. The touristic sites that we visited were very interesting and I enjoyed touring the city very much. Once we got to Borderlands I was in awe. I had no idea we would be going to a place that was so beautiful and peaceful. I loved the absolute family feeling that the team had and if there were any problems I could talk to them and they would cheer me up. Visiting the school and teaching these kids those subjects has made me aware that if you have your basic necessities you can still be happy. I noticed that all the people were so happy. It made me realize you don’t have to have a lot to be happy. It made me appreciate what I have and how privileged I am. Overall, I could not imagine a better way to spend my spring break. This has been my best experience of all time. I will cherish every memory I have and I hope to visit Nepal again someday.

EDUARD- IICS Student- 2011 Trip
The landscape of Nepal’s rural areas is simply jaw-dropping. The sheer size of the mountains made me feel tiny and insignificant in a way that I had never felt. Along with the rivers, waterfalls, and terraces that cover these hills, only one word comes to mind: beauty.

BUM KYU- IICS Student- 2011 Trip
I can definitely say that Nepali people are the kindest I have ever met before. This trip went too quickly because of the people who were with us. They were really good people and our trip was so successful because of their support every day.

NATALIE- IICS Student- 2011 Trip
Nepal, known as a city of spiritual pilgrims and for its outstanding landscapes of the Himalayas turned out to be more than just a service trip, but a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget. Visiting Nepal when living in Istanbul only made me realize that life is not all about money and its value, but to be content with what you have and rejoice in the way things are.

DENIZ- IICS Student- 2011 Trip
I believe this trip made me more aware of the community outside of what tourists usually see on their vacations. Landing in Kathmandu we saw dirt and poverty. However, there was something about the people that made me realize no matter how bad their living conditions, the people seemed genuinely happy and were always willing to lend a hand. The place we stayed, three hours north of Kathmandu, was amazingly beautiful, full of adventures, but also very peaceful. I realized I hadn’t expected it to be so beautiful. In my opinion, the team of people who helped us through our trip really made our trip so successful. They knew how to take their work seriously and get things done but they also knew how to have a lot of fun. Because of the schools we visited and taught at, the people we interacted with, and the experiences we had, I have become more aware of the problems around the world and will strive to make more of a difference in the world. Meeting Peter Dalglish had the most impact on me. What he has done and is doing is what I want to be doing in life. He has really inspired me.


You can click on 'By Organization' to view galleries of each participating group. Below is the 2013 trip of Wellington College, UK. {AG}2013-Wellington{/AG}

Grants & Awards

The Teacher Training Project begun by Istanbul International Community School and facilitated by Himalayan Voluntourism was awarded the ECIS Peter Ustinov Outreach Grant in 2012/2013 and the TIECare International Community Service Award in 2013 for the April 2013 Inquiry Based Teacher Training held at Shree Setidevi Panchakanya Primary School. Click here to see the training.


In October 2014 Himalayan Voluntourism won an international grant from a private donor to take teachers from Bandipur, Nargakot, and Jambu to Istanbul, Turkey for an extensive teacher training hosted and organized by IICS and extending to ENKA school, Sisli Terakki School, and Istanbul TED Koleji. 

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Himalayan Voluntourism (HV) is a social enterprise dedicated to the socio-economic development of rural Nepal through the spirit of volunteerism. We believe in the power of transformation through voluntourism.Tourism is popular in Nepal and supports the Nepalese economy as an important revenue generator. Many tourists come to Nepal every year to experience its unique culture, adventure opportunities and the abundant nature. Combining tourism with social outreach provides a cultural experience that engages the participant in the local community… And it is transformative.


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Watch this touching student-made video by high school volunteers from Enka Schools in Istanbul that characterizes what so many student groups feel when they visit...