Community Volunteering in Rural Nepal

People & Places

Volunteering in Langtang

I meet Harikrishna Devkota in Kathmandu one afternoon to make arrangements for my community volunteering in rural Nepal, the Langtang district. A few days later we take a 5 hour bus ride and a one hour walk up the mountain slope before we arrive to his family home in Jibjibe village. I should better say - family shelter, as his home was destroyed by the earthquake last year, along with most of the other houses in the area.

family house in rural Nepal
Hari is a devoted community member and has dedicated himself to the improvement of local people's livelihood. He runs a charitable organization High Himalayan Community Project Nepal which is contributing to sustainable environmental management, increasing economic security and creating income opportunities for the rural poor.
This area of Nepal has suffered gravely from the disastrous quake of 2015. Entire villages were buried under mud and ice, hundreds of people have lost their lives, leaving thousands homeless and destitute. After giving the community an immediate support by supplying tents, tarps, cooking essentials and rice, Hari and his organization have identified long-term projects designed to help the recovery of the local community. Among those projects were a few I got to witness firsthand during my stay in Jibjibe village.

Through his organization Hari sponsors school education of 137 poorest children of the district. I have to say, local kids are truly motivated to study and are very hardworking! Some of them have to trek up or down the mountain slope for a few hours to get to school every morning. The importance of access to the education can not be stressed enough when you find out that the illiteracy rate within the local community amounts to 85%, growing even higher in the remote areas. By educating the children there is a hope to break the poverty cycle families find themselves in. There are 3 schools in Jibjibe but that is still not enough to teach all the kids in the area.


Hari is building a new school 5 km away from Jibjibe, where a school building was destroyed by the earthquake and its pupils are occupying a temporary corrugated iron structure that looks more like a warehouse than a school. The school will be finished by 2017, it will be an earthquake resistant building able to provide education for a few hundred students. 

In his projects, Hari pays special attention to their sustainability, working hand-in-hand with the local community. One of such projects is called ''Give a Gift that Grows'' and provides families with goats or pigs, insuring a generated income and acquired skills. There is also a Bamboo Greenhouse project, a sanitation project, a micro-saving project and others.
Rural life of Nepal is not an easy one and there are too many factors contributing to it. Remoteness - some areas are only accessible by several day trekking; natural disasters, including floods, landslides and earthquakes; illiteracy and poverty are only a few things making life difficult for the local Nepali's. 

Hari's story :

''When I was 6 years old, I started going to school, even though my parents did not want to send me there and could not afford to pay for it. One of the school teachers found out I was eager to learn and agreed to support my education. I went to live with him during my school education, returning home only for holidays. I was very lucky! One day my father came to pick me up from school and took me home. He had bought a new shirt and a pair of shoes for me. The next day was my wedding ceremony. It was an arranged marriage and I had no choice. I was 14 years old. My wife was 12 and I had never seen her before the day of our marriage. Two days later I returned to school and have not come back home for the next 6 years. I never told my friends at school about my marriage. Following the Nepali traditions, my wife came to live with my parents and began helping them on the farm. Later I moved to Kathmandu to study at a University. I have worked as a porter and a trekking guide to support myself through studies.''

Hari's parents, wife, 3 kids, 2 buffaloes and 5 goats live all together in Jibjibe, while he works in Kathmandu and returns to the village every few weeks. The kids wake up around 5am, help out around the house and the farm, finish the homework and trek 20 minutes downhill to get to school 6 days a week. Most of the work on the farm is done by Hari's wife and cooking is mainly the responsibility of Hari's mother.


Trekking business

To support his family and sponsor his charity Hari runs The Hight Himalayan Trekking business in Kathmandu. 
His agency offers the travelers many options for cultural tours, hiking, water rafting or jungle safari across Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and India. If you are planning to trek in Nepal and are looking for a guide, try contacting Hari and, I am sure, you will be persuaded by his love for his country, passion for adventure and sustainable approach! He will be happy to introduce you to the local traditions and help you discover the beauty of Nepali nature.