Volunteering refers to an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services to another person, group or organization for no financial or social gain. Volunteering not only promotes goodness but also helps to develop skills to improve human quality of life. Volunteering may have positive benefits for the volunteer as well as for the person or community served. Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work, such as medicine, education, or emergency rescue. In many countries such as USA, many schools on all education levels offer service-learning programs, which allow students to serve the community through volunteering while earning educational credit.
There are different types of volunteering programs. Skills-based volunteering is leveraging the specialized skills and the talents of individuals to strengthen the infrastructure of nonprofits, helping them build and sustain their capacity to successfully achieve their missions. An increasingly popular form of volunteering among young people is to travel to communities in the developing world to work on projects with local organizations. Activities include teaching English, working in orphanages, conservation, assisting non-governmental organizations and medical work.
International volunteering often aims to give participants valuable skills and knowledge in addition to benefits to the host community and organization. Environmental volunteering refers to the volunteers who contribute towards environmental management or conservation. Volunteers conduct a range of activities including environmental monitoring, ecological restoration such as re-vegetation and weed removal, protecting endangered animals, and educating others about the natural environment. Volunteering often plays a pivotal role in the recovery effort following natural disasters, such as tsunamis, floods, droughts, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Volunteering in schools can be an additional teaching guide for the students and help to fill the gap of local teachers. Cultural and language exchange during teaching and other school activities can be the most essential learning experience for both students and volunteers.
Community volunteering refers globally to those who work to improve their local community. This activity commonly occurs through not for profit organizations, local governments and churches; but also encompasses ad-hoc or informal groups such as recreational sports teams. Consider honestly how your skill set may best benefit an organization and community, choose a cause that you are passionate about and do some research to ensure your potential organization is reputable and transparent. Think realistically about how much time you can devote to the project.
Hundreds of travelers volunteer in Nepal every year, working on an incredible range of development and conservation projects, covering everything from volunteering with street children in Kathmandu to counting the tracks of endangered animals in the high Himalaya. The potential for personal growth and the opportunity to forge a connection with a local community can give a profoundly deeper significance to the notion of travel. A number of trekking and tour agencies use the proceeds from their trips to support charitable projects around Nepal, and many travelers also undertake sponsored treks and climbing expeditions in Nepal to raise money for specific charities and projects such as the one Black Diamond Expedition does via Child Environment Nepal (CEN).
When looking for a volunteer placement, it is essential to investigate what your chosen organization does and, more importantly, how it goes about it. If the focus is not primarily on your skills, and how these can be applied to help local people, then this should ring alarm bells. Any organization that promises to let you do any kind of work, wherever you like, for as long as you like, is unlikely to be putting the needs of local people first.
As one of the poorest nations on earth, Nepal has few public services provided by government, and access to even basic essentials such as health care, sanitation and education is limited, particularly in rural areas, leaving many local people in a desperate position. The 2015 earthquake has only worsened the plight of Nepal's poor, with many families still living in temporary accommodation over two years after the earthquake. Dozens of Nepali and international organizations are working in areas as diverse as installing water pumps and reuniting trafficked children with their families, and almost all rely on support from donations as well as funding from international governments.