The study find that the Nepalese standards. So when 17 Australian school children and teachers arrived by 4WD to undertake a massive working-bee; they were welcomed like local heroes. The high school students from Canberra Grammar School gave up their holidays to fly 10,000 kilometres to embark on a ‘humanitourism’ project; under the auspices of Australian charity REACH for Nepal.
The Nepalese standards
Over four days they received a crash course in bricklaying and masonry, as they built extra rooms at the school; constructed stone steps, and repaired damage from Nepal’s 2015 earthquake. School principal Lalu Maya Rana said four years on the memories of the earthquake still haunted her village. “Our school with old classrooms suffered a lot of damage;” Ms Rana said.
“Unfortunately; we didn’t have enough rooms so we had to continue teaching in the classrooms. “During the rain; the roof would leak. They were always afraid that rain would wash away the rooms, or if the next earthquake happened; it might crush the children.” She said when REACH for Nepal arrived each year with its working party of Australian schoolkids, the village was overjoyed.
The Canberra students lived under tents during their stay, eating meals like the national dish; dal bhat (rice and curried vegetables), and marvelling at the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas in the distance. During work breaks, they bonded with their Nepalese school hosts, joining them in games of cricket and volleyball. And; while they had come to donate their time and muscle, the Australian kids said they had gained something quite unexpected in return.
“It’s been really fun, being able to help out the community. But it’s not just having fun on this trip; it’s also about the greater satisfaction we’re getting from helping out this community,” 14-year-old Calvin Pickering said. Nepal is a popular tourist destination for young Australians, who flock to the Himalayas on adventurous trekking holidays.
Popular trekking regions
Most of them spend their time and money in the popular trekking regions around Mt Everest and the Annapurna Ranges. But increasingly, not-for-profit organisations like REACH for Nepal are taking tourists well off the regular trekking routes, and spreading wealth through remote regions giving back to impoverished villages that they visit.
Nepal’s average per capita income only recently passed the meagre benchmark of US $1,000 (AUD $1,433), and most of the country’s wealth is concentrated around the Kathmandu Valley. So many isolated villages, like Banethok, struggle with the provision of basic services like sanitation, healthcare and education, and are often overlooked by government aid programs. Canberra Grammar student Neve Hawkins, 17, said while she had come to Nepal to help out, she underestimated the benefits of the cultural exchange.