Expedition Leaders has gained an excellent reputation for working with students as well as teachers and for their long lasting and beneficial impact on the village cultures they have assisted"
Devdan Sen, Author – Rough Guide to India
Involvement in Community Projects can provide tangible benefits to people in local Himalayan villages and lasting memories for Travellers who through this work develop a true understanding of local peoples and the challenges they face.
Whilst we sometimes re-visit old Projects, we aim to find new ways to support the fragile Himalayan communities that we visit.
Travellers have helped in Nurseries and Primary Schools in local villages – it’s a great way to get involved, build friendships and help local children. Activities have included teaching English, sports and computing. At the end of the day, Travellers often take the chance to reflect on their experiences with group members and discuss local history, culture, religion and language.
These types of Project often bring big positive changes for the local population: Students love rolling up their sleeves and getting involved too! Past Projects have included building water systems for drinking, washing and for irrigating local fields to grow crops. Making new footpaths, building community halls and school computer centres have also been valuable to local. These create long-term benefits.
These are valuable and rewarding Projects to be involved in. Travellers have previously helped organise and support events where Doctors give locals free medical consultation such as eye and dental check-ups, medicines and health awareness briefings.
The majority of communities in which we undertake Projects are extremely isolated and simple self-sufficiency is vital. Environmental Projects are diverse but support and help maintain the sustainability of these mountain communities. Past examples of where Travellers have helped include planting trees to stop landslides and floods; protecting crops from wild animals and planning agricultural infrastructure development.
Getting involved with local children in the games they play is a great way for Travellers and children to make a connection and develop friendships. Getting involved in traditional games such as Khatru, Khareban or traditional archery is a one way to ensure that these games don’t disappear from the Himalayas for ever.
Creative Projects such organising wall painting competitions for local children can help keep ancient traditions alive. Travellers have also been involved in learning handicrafts from local craftsmen, such as rope making, creating farming tools or bamboo basketry. By supporting this type of Project, the crafts are shared with local children who can carry the skills. Travellers can also help locals in developing wider markets for their products.
Travellers usually love to join in with local music and dance and it’s fascinating for them to understand the part this plays in traditional Himalayan culture. We have set up competitions for Himalayan drum and pipe playing.