Himalayan Education Lifeline Programme
94% Rating
(8 Reviews)

Himalayan Education Lifeline Programme

Welcome to the Himalayan Education Lifeline Programme, or HELP for short. We are a limited company registered as a charity (No. 1117646) with the Charity Commission of England and Wales.

As our name suggests, we provide support to young people in poor communities in the Himalayas to give them a chance to complete their education and so improve their employment prospects when they leave school or college. In so doing, we hope in the longer term to have an impact not only on their own living standards, but also on those of their extended families and of the wider communities they come from.

Most Recent Program Reviews

Default avatar
Lynne
Female
57 years old
Philadelphia
Cornell University

A Family Experience

9/10

My husband and I took our 2 teenage children to Ladakh and volunteered at the Lamdon School. It was an amazing experience. We lived in the home of the school nurse who was so very kind and welcoming. I became her "sister" and my family was her's. We went to many local events with her, and her family -- and had the opportunity to really experience life within her community as best as we were able. She cooked for us each night, and I had the opportunity to cook with her. Our teaching experience was not great but that was likely because we are not experienced teachers and did not have the breadth of skills that would have been useful. But even with that we enjoyed the opportunity to interact with the other teachers, administration and the students. I also broke my ankle 10 days into out 7 week stay... so that limited my and our ability to interact as fully as I would have liked. We felt so very fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel and live in Ladakh. We appreciated all the information that we received from HELP, and the placement in the home of the nurse. HELP did not provide an extensive orientation but that was perfect for us. We had lots of information ahead of time, had the ability to write to others who had lived in Ladakh and so had some idea of what to bring, and how to prepare for our time. We were fairly independent once we arrived, but that was fine and suited our family.

How can this program be improved?

More support in our teaching assignment would have been helpful

Default avatar
David
Male
57 years old
Bend, OR
Evergreen State College

Lamdon School Volunteer-Ladakh, India

10/10

I spent one month at Lamdon School in Ladakh, India teaching Chemistry and Biology and living in a homestay. This was a wonderful experience and I would recommend it to anyone. For more information please read my Blog: Smulldog In The Himalayas: smulldog.blogspot.com

How can this program be improved?

Nothing really

Default avatar
Michael
Male
42 years old
Los Angeles, CA
Other

Life changing experience that I will never forget

10/10

Not sure what I expected, but feel so lucky to have found HELP, Jim (the founder) and the amazingly giving and compassionate host family I stayed with - I feel like I've left family behind. Besides teaching English, connecting with local teachers, and traveling, my host family shared their home, meals and life with me.

Mornings started with a type of chai tea and breakfast (I ate vegetarian except egg and never missed meat till I got back to US), walking down mountain paths where school children waited for each other and we walked down to the school.

I taught 4 classes of English to 1st - 6th grade. Having not taught children before, and not having a lot of practice outside the required certificate training, this was difficult at times. Generally, I'm very good at English usage and grammar, but to teach someone that this is the correct way - especially if they've been taught wrongly in the past - is to me, a great responsibility and honor. These little people (for the most part) trust you and look to you for answers - it feels a gift to me to be able to help them. Yes, you need to be confident and stern at times as there's always those that rather play than learn, but you have to remember that you're the substitute teacher and practice great patience at times. I feel I actually made an impact on a few of the children in that short time and I ache for the day I can go back again.

As my teaching day was short, I would head back up the mountain to the house for lunch with Mrs Durga, a lovely woman who helped me with Nepalese while I helped her with English. Usually, the grandparents were home tending to evening meal preparation or the fields or cows. Mr Durga would come home after teaching a full day (he's a local that met Jim as a boy 30 years ago), and we talk about our days, go for a walk visiting other villagers, and so on.

Weekends, I frequently got a van or walked to the nearest town and stayed over night. My hosts always included me in everything, even their religious evenings with music and singing, but I felt better giving them a little space and exploring other places at the weekend.

Again, can't say how lucky I feel to have landed where I did, but am so grateful to Jim, his wife and my host family for giving me the single greatest experience of my life...so far :)

How can this program be improved?

If there is a way to improve it, I can not imagine how. What it needs is more volunteers and funding. Their work is so important. It's not going to change the world over night, but one by one, children who learn English and can advance to higher education are returning home to help others in their communities.

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Liam
Male
24 years old
Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

HELP; Kalimpong, Darjeeling

10/10

I chose to volunteer at a school a few miles outside of Kalimpong in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal and I feel it was a very good choice for me. I will be doing my own fundraising for the school I was volunteering at and returning to teach again. I found the staff at this school to be very good and better qualified than most teachers in similar sized schools and larger ones too. Eager to learn what they could and teach me about themselves,their language and their customs I felt very welcomed. The children ranging from nursery (approx 3 yrs) to class 5 were well behaved especially compared to their Western counter parts. The climate was very nice even during the monsoon, and I didn't see or hear of anyone getting malaria in that part of India.

The host family is was very accommodating and very much like the teachers. The principals wife cooked some of the most delicious food I have been so fortunate to have eaten. If I needed something in the market I couldn't find or somewhere they were very keen to help me. I made very good friends with the principal and his wife. I tried to be involved in the community by participating in pujas when I could and other such community gatherings ( I was invited to a wedding while there too). This I found help me deal with the culture shock and keep myself occupied.

I was done teaching by 2pm everyday and would walk back to the house for lunch at about noon. After I was finished teaching the day was mine. Dinner wasn't usually until 8 or 9. I would go to the market quite often to practice my Nepali. When I was teaching English I was amazed at how similar it is to English and is very easy to pick up. I wish I had hired a tutor while there. In July is a 2 week summer holiday and I didn't plan on going too far, so I asked the Executive Director at the time if there was any work that needed to be done in the area. It just so happened another school close by had applied to HELP for assistance but needed someone to go to conduct an initial survey, so I ended up doing so and visited many times as a result.

Highlights would be the people and community, the food, and the language. I found it very rewarding and as my first time traveling abroad and alone this place was a gentle transition to a country like that. I found the people to be a lot more liberal than in other parts of India especially with regards to women. Keep in mind there is an 'agitation' happening now in the District for a separate state of Gorkaland. Most people of the hill region are ethnically Nepali and are oppressed by the state government of the Bengali majority. Kalimpong is situated on a crest between two hills and each hill has a division of the Indian Army on it. There were many times in the market where soldiers would wander about with riot gear, assault rifles, grenade launchers, and tear gas launchers however I never felt threatened as it was very calm at the time.

How dependent you are on your work book was very difficult to deal with. The books are not usually very quality and come on a first come first serve basis for the private schools in this area. When teaching you have to keep in mind that when you leave they do have exams and that their mark ultimately depends on that number grade. The teachers need to be able to test what you have taught too.

How can this program be improved?

When I got to the school I arrived at 4pm after a day of traveling across India and was teaching the next day. I ended up doing grammar classes for grades 1-5 and there was not much direction with what was needed.

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Taryn
Female
42 years old
Morgantown, WV
West Virginia University

HELP Pokhara Nepal

6/10

The Program through HELP in Pokhara was a great experience due to the staff of Help. The Social Public School does forget sometimes about the education of the children and sometimes more about the money that can gain from having such visitors as myself or others.

Response from Himalayan Education Lifeline Programme

We have decided not to continue sending volunteers to this school. I am encouraged to see that Taryn remains very positive about HELP itself.

Program Listings

India

Himalayan Education Lifeline Programme
As our name suggests, the Himalayan Education Lifeline Programme (HELP for short) supports young people in poor communities i...

Nepal

Himalayan Education Lifeline Programme
As our name suggests (Himalayan Education Lifeline Programme), we provide support to young people in poor communities in the...