Heaven Hill Academy
Company (0-10 employees)
Hello, my name is Shamser. I am the principal of a Primary school as well as being a chair person for a local NGO (Pearl Nepal) in Lamjung, Nepal. My family has a homestay located in a beautiful part of North-western Nepal on the top of a hill with stunning views of Annapurna, Fishtail, Manaslu, Peak 29 and Lamjung. My village is called Gaunshahar and is the original abode of the royal family of Nepal, which later relocated to Kathmandu. The small palace and courtyard still hosts traditional festivals that attract hundreds, sometimes thousands of people from all around at many intervals during the calendar year.
When it comes to the location of Gaunshahar, it is just 4km from the nearest town called Besisahar. That town, which is in the valley below Gauanshahar, is also a starting point of the famous Annapurna Circuit trek (note that you can also get your trekking permits from Besisahar).
Our homestay includes four shared guest rooms inside my family home, which can accommodate 2/3 people in each room and a traditional Nepali eco roundhouse made from stone and a straw roof, that accommodates 6 people. These accommodations include western style bathroom, cold shower, wifi and plenty of blankets. Our food is sourced almost entirely from local ingredients and we can accommodate vegetarian diets as well. Other than that we can teach volunteers to cook Nepali food; such as Dal Baht and organic local curry for breakfast or dinner.
Whilst staying with my family, we welcome any help you can give. Previously our volunteers have started a library class project, a teacher training initiative as well as building a clay cob oven, a chimney, and bringing ideas for our vegetable garden. In the past our volunteers also helped to design, plan, and transport rocks and material for the construction of the school.
At the moment the main tasks for volunteers include running creative arts and library classes with small groups of students, assisting the Nepalese teachers in teaching English classes (this can include taking the whole class or running interactive activities at the beginning or end of the class to support the children´s learning) and teaching English to the Nepalese teachers. Other tasks include supporting the nursery teacher, cleaning the classrooms at the start of the day, and experienced volunteers are invited to run teacher training workshops about modern teaching methods with the Nepalese teachers. Overall, the aim is to maintain our traditional Nepali customs yet bring in new modern methods of teaching. We ask volunteers to give about four hours help a day in any way you can. The rest of the day is yours!
Now we are also collecting the materials for the new library. We will ask you here to help moving rocks from the road to next to school to build a library, so if you like to do manual work, please ask Shamser.
Other than the school we have many projects for the future and we welcome any new ideas that the volunteers can bring. Don’t worry if you think you might not have any relevant skills, there are many ways to help in the school and the children will appreciate your efforts and support.
Our school currently welcomes 72 students, aged 3-10, and the school consists of 5 classrooms; Pre-school, Lower Kindergarten, Upper Kindergarten, Grade 1 and grade 2. At present we have 3 children with special needs in the school so it would be really appreciated if volunteers with knowledge or experience in this field would kindly help us. All students from the village are welcomed irrespective of caste, and we try to help those children, whose parents are unable to pay for school fees, uniforms, books, stationery and meals.
During your time here you will get a strong sense of Nepali village life, and there are many activities you can engage in such as hiking, short walks in the nearby villages, or taking tea with the locals. If you enjoy yoga or meditation the surrounding mountains and the tranquillity of our village create a perfect setting for this. If you want to do a few day treks around Lamjung, we can organize this for you, too. If you like we can also give you some Nepali lessons, so that that you can be acquainted with Nepali culture, history and language, which can be also be useful on any subsequent treks that you may be planning. Sometimes we have campfires, and I can give you a tour of the village where you can try our local wine.
We ask volunteers to pay a small sum of 5 US dollars a day to stay here. This cost includes two meals, tea, cold shower and wifi. Please also note that the served food is basic, however you are able to stock up on extra items from Besisahar. In addition, we have a local shop, if you want to buy snacks, drinks and other items (such as toilet paper and water).
If you like, I can also give each volunteer a certificate at the end of your stay, to use for future volunteering or when searching for a job.
There are several ways to come to Gaunshahar;
If you are coming from Kathmandu, the quickest and easiest way to get here is by microbus from the small Gongabu bus station (next to the New Bus Station) in Kathmandu to Besisahar. There are both local micro and tourist buses running from Kathmandu to Besisashar daily, but local buses are cheaper. Please try to take the earlier micro bus around 6 or 6.30am. The journey will take about 6 hours, but will stop once for local food and a toilet break on the way. Its best to set off no later than 6.30 in order to catch the village pink and white (numbered 161) from Besisahar to our village, Gaunshahar.
This pink and white bus runs once a day from opposite the Tukuche Peak Hotel and leaves around 2pm (note there is no bus on Saturday). When you get on the bus in either Kathmandu or Pokhara, please tell the driver to get off in front of Hotel Tukuche other wise you will be dropped off the other end of Besisahar. Watch out for it on the left as you enter Besisahar.
If you are coming from Pokhara, you can take either a tourist bus or a direct micro bus to Besisahar. There are several buses to choose from and the bus ride takes between 4 to 5 hours.
The bus from Kathmandu to Besisahar costs around 500 NPR (5 dollars) and the bus from Pokhara to Besisahar costs around 400 NPR (4 dollars). The connecting bus from Besisahar to Guanshahar costs 100 Rupees. If you have your heavy luggage you will need to pay around 100 rupees extra for the Gaunshahar bus.
If you miss the bus from Besisahar to my village (Gaunshahar) you can either walk yourself (there are many people on route, who will be able to point you in the right direction...it will take around 1.5 hours and is around 4km uphill) or we can arrange a porter to assist with your bags. Porter charge is 1000 rupees. Alternatively, we can arrange a jeep to pick you up at the cost of 3000 rupees.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask, or if you have any problems in Besisahar please just give me a call from your mobile or from Hotel Tukuche. I will manage everything for you. Don't worry.
Overall, you can stay with us for as long as you like, and we look forward to meeting you!
Now we have school materials so please if possible We would like to ask you to help materials ( bricks, cement, metal for roof, windows, bookshelf,doors, laptops, iPad, tv,) for the new libraray which one we are going to build very soon. We should start building mid of March 2017. In case if we could not to complete these building materials until March we cannot build libraray and students will be so sad.