Posts Tagged ‘Bhutan’

Adventure Center Volunteer Vacations

As temperatures warm (oh please, temperatures, warm already, wouldya?), booking vacation moves up on the priority list. If you’re thinking about a volunteer vacation, there are more options every day. For the past 35 years, the Adventure Center has prided itself on creating affordable active travel experiences around the world. There is a huge range of opportunities from tall ship sailing to African safaris, Antarctica voyages, cycling excursions, and a great bundle of volunteer vacation options.

I’m a bit obsessed with Nepal and Bhutan right now, so I love the two Nepal trekking trips coming up where, in addition to being immersed in and exploring the culture of rural villages as well as big city Kathmandu, you will help improve and expand a school for hearing and speech impaired children. A Brazilian trip includes helping at a day care center…or restoration and teaching at a school in Thailand that had been struck by the 2004 tsunami…or assisting with a wildlife research excursion in the bush of South Africa, helping a science team track elephants, rhinos, lions, and more…sea turtles in Costa Rica…building fuel and energy efficient stoves in the Peruvian Andes…maintenance projects in a Vietnam rehabilitation center for children…vegetable gardens and wildlife conservation education along the Zambezi River…I want to do them all. Since all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, there is a balance with the volunteer efforts and great fun adventures with hiking and snorkeling and zip-lining and river rafting and cultural excursions and exploratory tours as the group moves through a destination, working not only deep, but wide as well.

Sign me up!

READ Global

READ Global is a pretty amazing organization that started by building and stocking libraries in remote rural villages of the world, and has expanded with the times to really personalize community services in the locations where they work. Places like Bhutan, India, and Nepal—Himalayan villages where education never had a fair shake, but is growing as a priority for the youth as materials and opportunities are provided where there parents and grandparents never had access.

Rather than digest their carefully explained mission and goals, I’ll let their website text speak for itself–you’ll be inspired (hopefully to support them with a donation or with your volunteer work–perhaps even travel to and visit a READ Global project).

Our Approach

Every month, 5 million people flee the poverty of rural villages and head for the city – to find work, to feed their families. The resulting urban overpopulation and squalor impacts all of us—through increased pollution and diminishing resources, the spread of disease, lack of clean water and safe food, and drained economic resources. These problems don’t know borders; they threaten the health of the global community and the strength of the global economy.

Today we face a rural imperative: the urgent need to make rural villages places where families can thrive.

The READ Global Solution

The READ model partners for-profit business enterprises with non-profit Community Library and Resource Centers (READ Centers).  This unique approach allows the local community to sustain the operations of the READ Center over the long-run while creating local jobs.
How READ Works
Enterprise: READ Global works with community members to seed for-profit business enterprises that meet local needs, provide job opportunities and generate sustaining revenues for the READ Center.

Education: READ Global works with communities to fund and build READ Centers that meet the unique needs of each village.  These Centers provide access to books, computers, educational materials, job training, health services and workshops on leadership and conflict resolution. With these resources, individuals and families can learn, grow and reach their full potential.

Prosperity: With a strong emphasis on both education and enterprise, the READ Global solution brings communities together to share ideas and build relationships that enable families and children to stay and thrive in their own communities.

Key to READ’s Success
The READ model enhances rural capabilities, it does not replace them. We work closely and respectfully with local villagers to leverage their assets and talents to meet their specific educational, community, and employment needs.  Villages contribute between 15%-40% of the total cost of the project along with land and labor and READ makes up the rest.  This local ownership of such a community solution is essential to long-term success.

Women’s Humanitourism

Susan L. Eckert ASMP/AdventureWomen Inc

Susan L. Eckert ASMP/AdventureWomen Inc

It’s the world’s oldest adventure travel company for active women over 30, and it is providing unprecedented cultural access to a still little known destination. AdventureWomen, Inc. has created a custom, women-only excursion to Bhutan that includes hiking the Himalayas, cultural exploration, and jaw-dropping sightseeing. Most significant is the element of giving back that is built into the itinerary. There are three humanitarian projects for participants: blanket and clothing donations to Buddhist nunneries and monasteries, sponsoring and attending a special ceremony at a sacred temple, and donating reading glasses to women weavers to help in their work.

Part of the trip description is : “Throughout this Bhutan journey, travelers are immersed in the culture, history, and Buddhist practices of this amazing country. Participants visit the friendly Bhutanese people in their traditional pastoral hamlets; walk to spectacular ancient dzongs, monasteries and Buddhist temples; and ogle at sweeping vistas of scenic valleys and the snow-capped Himalayas. Culturally and spiritually, this modern-day “Shangri-La” is a profoundly rich country where human relations and Buddhist beliefs outweigh economic indicators—where “gross national happiness” is promoted by the King of Bhutan as a measure of his enchanting country’s progress.”

Dates are October 17-30. I’m desperate to go to Bhutan, and doing it in a way that also makes a contribution to the local communities seems dreamy to me. I would SO do this trip if I were able. Have fun!