The success of the Juniper Trust’s school rebuilding programme goes from strength to strength as work begins to rebuild three more primary schools in villages devastated by the 2015 earthquake. The schools, in the remote villages of Siruwa, Saraswati and Namuna, each have around 50 students still using temporary shelters for their education, two years on. The cost to rebuild all three schools is £30,000 and is being funded through fundraising by the Juniper Trust.
Situated in the remote villages in the foothills of the Mountain Everest Region, it’s over a four hour walk from the nearest roadhead. Each school will have new classrooms, furniture and AAN hopes to help raise £5000 to provide new uniforms and equipment for all the children. Work has started and is due to be completed just in time for the group to help with the finishing touches in November.
Nov 11th: Arrive at Kathmandu.
Transfers are included from the airport, irrespective of arrival date. We stay at the Hotel Marshyangdi in the popular Thamel district of Kathmandu which is bustling with cafes, shops and restaurants. You should plan to be at the hotel for the briefing at 6.00 pm where you will meet your guide and a few of the support staff who will travel with the group the next day. You will pick up your free AAN Kit-bag, AAN T-Shirt, Sleeping Bag and your Duvet Jacket (for Pikey Peak). We will also run through the list of equipment needed for the trek as you will have an hour or so for last minute shopping and to change money (see spending money requirements and tipping guidelines) if you have to. The group dinner will be in a in a restaurant close to the hotel.
Nov 12th: Drive to Garjynag School. Camp.
A 6.00 am breakfast for a 7.00 am start on the 9-hour drive to Garjyang Village as we need to ensure we arrive at the campsite in time to set up the tents and cook dinner. We will receive a warm welcome from the village and 200+ children as this is the school that was rebuilt in 2017 with uniforms and equipment provided by last year’s AAN group. In 2018, The Juniper Trust has provided funds to build an extra toilet block which should be finished by the time the group arrives and AAN are supplying extra uniforms and equipment for new pupils who have enrolled this year. There is likely to be a small ceremony the following morning to say thank you to this year’s group too.
Nov 13th: Trek to Bhandar via Deurali. Lodge.
It’s time to start the trek and our introduction involves walking mainly uphill for the first morning to a beautiful lunch spot by the river at the hill top village at Deurali (2800m) but we can expect a fantastic panoramic view from the top!. After a long relaxing lunch we descend on a steep trail for an hour to the relatively large village of Bhandar (2190m), where we stay in one of the many lodges.
Nov 14th: Trek to our base for Siruwa School. Camp.
The trekking crew will go ahead to set up a tented camp in Siruwa Village (1500m) before the group arrives. We have a more leisurely start today, leaving Bandhar, it’s just a 2 hour walk to down to the Likhu Khola (River) which we cross on a small suspension bridge. On the way, we visit Uma Kunda School which was built by the Juniper Trust in 2016 and we will deliver uniforms for new students and new books and equipment. Once across the river, it’s a short 15 mins of easy uphill to Siruwa School and our campsite. There is time for lunch and a rest before a small and short welcome ceremony after which we can start the volunteering programme to help paint the newly built school (don’t forget the painting clothes!)
Nov 15th: Volunteering Programme Siruwa School Camp.
We continue with the programme, splitting into small groups to work on different tasks which will also include help with furniture building. In the evening the support staff will prepare a traditional Nepali meal which we will have around a campfire.
Nov 16th: Volunteering Programme Siruwa School. Camp,
Some of the group will continue with the tasks whist others will engage with the children or go into one of the village houses to help prepare lunch for their group, the teachers and members of school committee. In the evening we hand out all of the uniforms and equipment provided by the groups fundraising.
Nov 17th: Volunteering Programme Siruwa & Saraswati Schools, Lodge Kinja.
This will be the last day at Siruwa School and we will hopefully have time to finish the painting, take part in a teaching class and play games with the children. For the ones who have yet to help with the cooking, they will help the villagers prepare a special farewell lunch for the volunteers to say their goodbyes. After lunch our trek to the second school at Saraswati, is less than a hour’s walk away. We have time to start the painting and furniture building before walking down for 45 mins to a traditional Nepalese lodge in the picturesque village of Kinja (1630m). We can bathe in the rock pools in the river before dinner.
Nov 18th: Volunteering Programme Saraswati School. Lodge Kinja.
After breakfast, it’s off to work we go again, walking back up the hill to the Saraswati School to continue with painting and furniture building, interact with the children and villagers. We return to our lodge in Kinja.
Nov 19th: Volunteering Programme Saraswati School. Lodge Kinja.
We head up to Saraswati School for the last time and spend the morning finishing off the painting before being taken to a small farm patch to help with the rice harvesting which will be supervised by a local farmer. We will join the farmers for a traditional workers lunch whilst we are helping. We aim to be finished by early afternoon to allow time to hand out the uniforms and equipment provided by the groups fundraising. We say our goodbyes to the children and walk back to our lodge at Kinja, clean up in the river and celebrate the end of the hard work with a barbecue.
Nov 20th: Visit Namuna School, trek to Sete. Lodge.
An early start today as it’s an hour’s walk to visit the third and most remote school to be rebuilt this year by the Juniper Trust. Unfortunately, we don’t have time to physically help out at this school but the rebuilding work will have already been completed and we can visit the children in their class to present their new uniforms and equipment. We can’t stay long as we need to be back to Kinja in time for lunch at the residence of Suraj Basnet, who has been the main coordinator for the construction of the schools since the earthquake on 2015. We say our goodbyes to everyone in Kinja and start the three-hour uphill walk in the late afternoon sun to our lodge in Sete Village (2575m), our first stop on our way to Pikey Peak.
Nov 21st: Trek to Pikey Peak Base. Lodge.
There is more uphill from the start but not as steeply as the previous day and the trail is through lush jungle to begin with and later, as we climb in altitude, alpine forests of Spruce and Juniper. We take a break for lunch at Goyam, a small and almost deserted ridge-top village where you can see closed and dilapidated lodges, a reminder of the more prosperous days when this was a popular trail to Everest before the airport was built in Lukla. In the afternoon, we break away from the main trail to the Lamjura Pass and walk up to a remote shepherd settlement known as Jasebhanjynag. We and stay in a basic lodge before our early morning walk up to the summit of Pikey Peak.
Nov 22nd: Early morning ascent of Pikey Peak for Everest Sunrise, trek to Junbesi. Lodge.
A super early start at 0430 am for the two hour walk up to the summit of Pikey Peak. It’s dark and cold when we set off and we will use our head torches for the first hour as we follow the winding trail to the top. The summit is marked by hundreds of prayer flags and we regroup to wait for the spectacular sunrise on Mountain Everest. As the sun climbs higher, the view opens up to reveal some of the highest mountains on earth, Kanchenjunga and Makalu included. After hugs and photos, we retrace our footsteps back to the lodge for breakfast after which we descend to the Lamjura Pass (3530m) and continue down on a long descent to the village of Junbesi (2680m). We are rewarded by a very nice lodge at the end of a great day.
Nov 23rd: Visit Junbesi Monastery, last day of trek to Phaplu. Lodge.
The Thupten Chholing Monastery is one of the best and biggest of the Everest region. We spend time at the monastery, taking in the atmosphere and reflecting on our trip before walking back down to the village for lunch. There are shops to buy souvenirs and an ambience in the village that has hardly changed since the first Everest trekkers came this was almost 50 years ago. In the afternoon we continue down the trail to Phaplu (2400m), a busy town with a small airport and bazaar. This is the road-head and sadly the end of the trek. We stay in a comfortable lodge with time to explore in the evening.
Nov 24th: Drive back to Kathmandu.
The drive back to Kathmandu will take approximately 8 hours but the road has recently been re-surfaced to supply the airport. We break the journey at Salleri bazaar and again for a final view of Mount Everest as the road crosses a pass at Pattalle. We reach Kathmandu in the early evening and check into our hotel before heading into town for dinner.
Nov 25th: Morning visit to Dhulikhel School and the PRAN centre for learning.
This morning we will head out to visit a school in Dulikhel, a small village on the ridge overlooking the Kathmandu Valley. The school has 400 students but supports 24 blind students who live in a hostel which was renovated by the Juniper Trust in 2017, following its collapse in the earthquake of 2015. On our way back to Kathmandu, we stop for a Nepali traditional lunch in the old part of town known as Kirtipur. The afternoon is free for last minute shopping before our final dinner in Thamel where we say our goodbyes to the support crew.
Nov 26th: International Flight out of Kathmandu.
For those that are leaving today, transfers are included to take you to the airport.
NEED TO KNOW
When do I have to pay
We ask for a non-refundable £100 admin fee when you book, 50% of your tour price is due 10 weeks before departure, the balance 4 weeks before.
Flights and Transfers
You will need to book your own flight to arrive by the arrival day of the itinerary, ideally in the morning or early afternoon to allow time for any last-minute shopping before leaving Kathmandu. You can spend extra time in Nepal if you want to. We will pick you up from the airport and take you back regardless of your arrival and departure date.
Passport & Visas
Check you have at least 6 months validity on your passport (at the completion of your trip). You will need a 30-day Visa for Nepal, its available on arrival in Kathmandu Airport – bring $40 cash and a passport photograph.
Check with your doctor to see which vaccinations you need before you go.
Travel Insurance is mandatory, we have organised a tailor-made policy with Campbell Irvine that will cover you for trekking in Nepal and your – click on the link for further information.
In Kathmandu, we use good quality hotels in the central Thamel district, plenty to do, shops, restaurants, cafes and bars – a lively place, great fun. On the trip and whilst volunteering, we will either camp in two-person tents or stay in basic but comfortable lodges.
Healthy and Plentiful, mainly vegetarian – the food is great! We can cater for special dietary requirements if we know in advance.
There is very little opportunity to spend money in the villages we stay whilst volunteering and on the trek. AAN will endeavour to provide everything you will need from the trip cost (beer and drinks, other than water, in hotels and lodges are not included). However, we do recommend that you change $130 (£100) in Kathmandu for spending money and tips. In Kathmandu there are many shops and you are likely to want to buy some souvenirs to take back with you. Most take cards and there are cash point facilities available.
You support crew will work hard to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable time and you will want to give them a tip after the trek. When you arrive, we will collect £30 (4,500 rupees) from everyone and this will be split and given to the staff and porters at the end of the trek before we drive back to Kathmandu.
What do you have to carry?
A small rucksack, with water, snacks (provided), spare layer of clothing, sun screen and anything you might require during the day.
What is carried for you?
We will give you an AAN Kit bag on arrival in Nepal – this will be carried by a porter for you during your trek, there is a 15kg weight limit including your sleeping bag which you will also collect in Kathmandu.
Four-wheel drive land cruisers to take us to the start point of the trek and private bus back to Kathmandu at the end.
Phones & Internet
No Wi-Fi is available other then in Kathmandu. Local 3G Sims for your phone can be purchased at reasonable prices on arrival.
This is a beautiful part of the world, we plan to take nothing but memories, leave nothing but hope is our moto. We will carry all our rubbish back to the roadhead.
We have set up a fundraising page through Just Giving for each group to raise money for the schools you will be visiting. Different ways to raise money can be found on the website.
Nothing is for free, even work sometimes! There are costs and we have tried to balance value and quality to make sure you have an affordable trip of a lifetime.
Support & Back Up
Abhishek and Sam will be with you as well as local guides, cooks, staff and porters to carry your AAN kit bag the whole way! The AAN team and its volunteers have decades of experience operating trips in Nepal, you are in good hands if something weren’t to go according to plan. A satellite phone will also be carried in case of emergencies (not available for personal use).
Kinja Village, the base for the volunteering, is in a beautiful setting at the confluence of the Likhu Khola and Kinja Khola (river). The altitude is around 1600m. The highest we sleep on the 4-day trek is at Pikey Base Lodge at 3600m with the walk to Pikey Peak Summit the next day at reaching 4065m, descending to Junbesi the same day which is at 2700m.
November is a great month to be in Nepal – it is usually warm and dry with blue Skies. Whilst volunteering in the villages, the temperatures will be around 20C-25C during the day and pleasantly cool in the evenings. For the night at Pikey Peak base, you can expect a frost and a cold start to the day but warming up nicely when the sun comes out.
Whilst volunteering you will need comfortable clothes suitable to wear around children…. You will be painting so bring some old clothes (and shoes) that you don’t mind getting dirty.
AAN will provide a Kit Bag, Sleeping bag and Cotton liner.
For the trekking days:
- A 25 Litre rucksack
- Comfortable trekking boots for rocky trails
- Clothing for both hot and cold weather, shorts and long trousers
- Warm Jacket and trousers for Pikey Peak – it will be cold first thing in the morning
- Sunhat, Sunglasses, Sun Cream, Lip balm
- Headtorch and spare batteries
- 2 x 1.5 litre water bottle