Intercultural dialogue

Workcamp in Nepal

The project took place in:



Written by Charlie from United Kingdom

October 2015

I love asking young people what they want to be when they grow up because I’m still looking for ideas… However, when the opportunity to rebuild a school in Nepal caught my eye I told myself ‘I’ve found my calling’.

I, Charlie 31, live in London and work in a school which helps young people to reintegrate back in to education after they have experienced a mental health breakdown.

After the earthquake I felt completely hopeless and honestly didn’t even donate a penny because I have worries about who actually decides what to do with the money. Through careful consideration I decided that I was going to give up 2 weeks of my summer holidays and go and help in Nepal myself. Friends, family and my local church were exceptionally supportive and generously donated to my Just Giving page to help me pay for the flights and any school resources I felt would go to good use out in Nepal.

The project took me all the way to a small village called Panauti which is situated 32km south east of Kathmandu valley. When I arrived I was greeted by a local representative who gave me some shocking news which was that unfortunately I was the only volunteer for the summer. Thank goodness I’m an optimist as I didn’t let this affect me as I was here to do a job even if that means single handedly! Fortunately a private donor approached the school the next day making an awesome donation which enabled them to hire professionals and get the job completed quicker.

Seeing the local children for the first time was a morale booster and I knew it was onwards and upwards from this point on. Temporary classrooms were already in use and lessons were back to normal but the children deserved more. I was eager to teach English and some new games to the children with the resources bought to donate to the school. The children were fantastic and fully engaged in all my lessons including an interesting game of ultimate frisbee which saw the girls beat the boys with their eyes closed. I even learnt some Nepalese games too and all lessons in English were informative.

I was blown away by the local library which was fascinating to see bundles of children’s sandals outside. Of course the TV room was most popular but the bag of soft toys my work colleague donated was best suited for the children’s book room where children can read books with the teddies or even complete their homework knowing Minnie Mouse is helping them. It was exhilarating to observe a free space donated by the government for young people to complete homework, socialize with friends and even learn how to dance the traditional way going to good use! Schools and libraries are vital establishments within Nepal and are key to enable children to recover psychologically. Brave young children of the village always had a smile on their faces and I pray the new classrooms will inspire them to flourish and gain a good education which will give them the confidence to shape their future.

My grandma always used to say ‘don’t rest on your laurels-keep going’. Anyone reading this article and feels inspired just remember the way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.