Travelling to Nepal? Looking for a volunteer program?
Siurung Village Project offers you the chance to volunteer in nepal teaching English and getting to know the Gurung culture and traditions.
This remote little village is located on top of a hill overlooking the Himalayas, with a fantastic view of Manaslu, the eight highest peak in the world.
Do you like trekking? Siurung is also near the trail of the Annapurna Circuit.
Education in Nepal
Education is the key to driving economic, political and social development. The ability to speak English is an essential requirement for a job in the tourism industry, the biggest source of employment in Nepal aside from agriculture.
Unfortunately, the government schools in Nepal have low standards as many teachers are under-qualified, particularly in teaching English. Therefore, effective English tuition is only viable for children with wealthy backgrounds who can pay for private education.
Siurung is a remote village of the Lamjung region with approximately a thousand inhabitants. About 85 students attend Shree Lata Kunja Basic School, a governmental school that provides free education from classes 1 to 8 (6 to 14 years old). So, what options do Siurung’s children have to receive further education? The nearest schools are located in Khudi and Besisahar, reachable by jeep in about 3 hours from Siurung. The cost and time consuming of this journey means most children can’t study further than basic school as their parents can´t afford paying for a boarding school.
In addition, students must pass a series of exams to get qualified to study above class 8. As I was told by the teachers at Shree Lata Kunja, most kids failed at English and Maths, being unable to continuing their studies and reducing their job opportunities.
What can we do to help Siurung´s children?
At Siurung Village Project we are looking for volunteer English teachers to help the students improve their knowledge and confidence at the language. This will help them pass the exams to secondary school and to get a job in the tourism industry such a travel guide, hospitality, taxi drivers, etc…
Siurung children are very friendly and respectful to elders, so I found it very easy to run the classes despite the language barrier. They love playing games, sports, doing yoga, singing songs, dancing and being creative and participative in class.
Do I need to be a teacher to participate?
Previous experience is not required but, due to the student’s low level of English, being a patient and enthusiastic person is a must. The mere presence of an English speaker is invaluable at Siurung. As long as you are creative, determined and resourceful you can have a constructive impact on the development of these children’s education.
A typical day in Siurung
Our volunteers are welcome to teach English at Shree Lata Kunja Basic School from Sunday to Friday, from 10:00 until 16:00. Class sizes generally range from around 3 – 15 children with ages varying from six years old up to sixteen.
Wake up anytime and get a delicious cup of locally grown masala tea.
09:00 – 09:30 – Breakfast – typically rice or millet, dhal, curry and veggies
10:00 – 12:30 – Classes
12:30 – 13:00 – Lunch break – noodles, pancakes
13:00 – 16:00 – Classes
16:00 – 19:30 – Free time
19:30 – 20:30 – Dinner – typically rice or millet, dhal, curry and veggies
Where do I stay in Siurung?
Umar Gurung is the Principal of the School and him and his wife Kumari host a homestay in the village. They have a room with a double bed and a triple room to accommodate the guests.
The cost of the accommodation and all the meals and drinks are 1150 rupees a day, approximately 9 euros a day.
How can I get to Siurung?
From Kathmandu: 5-7 hour bus to Besisahar and a 3 hour jeep to Siurung.
From Pokhara – 4-5 hour bus to Besisahar and a 3 hour jeep to Siurung.
What can I do on my free time in Siurung?
Just walking around Siurung is such a captivating experience, walking around the stoned-pavement streets, roaming around the fields, learning about the Gurung’s traditions or visiting their Hindu and Buddhist temples.
There are also several short hikes from the village, such as the horse shoe picnic spot or the hot springs.
You can see the places mentioned above in this promotional musical video filmed in Siurung:
When is the best time to visit Siurung?
There are four seasons in Siurung:
Winter, from December until March, when temperatures lower to minus and the village gets covered in snow.
Spring, from March to June, with mild temperatures and clear skies. It is an ideal time to travel to the Annapurnas.
Summer, from June to September, is the monsoon season and the warmest. Please note the jeep road from Besisahar to Siurung was built 4 years ago and in the summer of 2018 was closed during the rainy season due to landslides that was fixed right after the rainy period ended. You can still travel to Siurung but have to consider that you might have to trek from Bubble to get there. It is a 4-hour hike and an altitude difference of approximately a thousand meters, so we will provide you help from locals to guide you and carry your belongings. That was the way I went to the village and was such a rewarding adventure!
Autumn, from September to November, the temperatures are mild with sunny days and cold nights as it approaches the winter season. An excellent time to visit Siurung and trek the Annapurnas.
What can I bring to Siurung?
There is absolutely no obligation of bringing any goods to the village. But, as most volunteers asked me what they can bring, this is my personal advice:
Gurungs are very traditional and have limited access to manufactured products. So it will be very useful to bring school material and children clothing, especially warm clothes.