Intercultural Study Trip to Nepal
07.09. - 19.09.2016
What’s awaiting you
Have you ever wished to explore the land of Buddha and the Himalayas? Are you curious to learn Nepal’s socio-economic, political status and diverse cultural and traditional practices? Have you ever lived with the people who are considered ‘untouchables’? Do you want to eat the food touched by ‘untouchables’? Would you be excited to go off track and learn about Nepal’s beautiful countryside and the lives of farmers? This trip gives you the opportunity to see many aspects of Nepal and a chance to meet people who can tell you countless interesting political and economic facts about Nepal from an insider’s perspective.
The Study Trip starts in Nepal’s capital city Kathmandu, a melting pot of dozens of different ethnical cultures and multiple different religions. It then leads us to a community where the Dalit community lives. Members of the Dalit community are considered ‘untouchables’ by the ‘higher cast’ people. We will be the first to come from the outside world and eat the food cooked by them. IFIL’s partner, the local organization “Hands-On Institute” has initiated a project called ‘TOUCHABILITY’ to raise self-esteem as well as socio-economic wellbeing of Dalits by making them a part of Nepal’s responsible tourism system through community based homestays. We then explore Nepal’s countryside and nature learning about organic farming. As part of an ’Organic Living’ Agritourism Initiative,as well initiated by local partner organizations, you will see the essence of Nepali life, culture and natural beauty. We will get a chance to leave the “normal” tourist tracks behind and get to know Nepal from a local perspective. We will also visit Nepal’s second largest city Pokhara as well as Chitwan with beautiful views towards the Himalayas.
Visit historical places like Patan, Bhaktapur and Kathmandu Durbar Square and Pashupatinath (all of them UNESCO World Heritage Sites) but also lesser known hidden gems of the bustling capital
- Learn about Nepal’s diverse cultures and religions
- Live, eat and touch with ‘untouchables’
- Meet with different political and economic representatives
- Explore the Buddhist part of Kathmandu around Bouddhanath Stupa as well as visiting Swayabunath Stupa (both UNESCO World Heritage Sites)
- Enjoy hiking in Nepal’s beautiful nature with stunning views on the Himalayas
- Learn about organic farming in Nepal’s beautiful but remote countryside
- Listen to Nepali live music in bars at the lakeside in Pokhara
- Enjoy Nepal’s simple but exquisite cuisine
Meet the Organizers
Tulsi is an entrepreneur from Nepal working in the sector of organic agriculture and agritourism. He co-organized an IFIL Study Trip to Nepal in 2009 and the one of last year. He has travelled and lived in Switzerland few times, therefore he is very familiar with the country. He has experiences of hosting international group travels in Nepal and help building up several local NGOs in his home country. He studied Sociology & Anthropology and also has participated in different international short courses on the issues of sustainability.
Bijaya, an Anthropologist and development practitioner, has a decade of experience working with community and youth especially focusing on peace-building. Bijaya received his Master’s degree in Anthropology from Tribhuwan University. Bijay served at Association of Youth Organizations Nepal (AYON) – a national network of youth-led organizations. He represented Nepal in UNESCO Youth Forum in Korea, Rio Summit in Brazil and led a youth team to Scotland. Bijaya co-organized last year’s IFIL Study Trip to Nepal, together with Tulsi and Rebekka. He is the co-founder of Hands-On Institute. Hands-On Institute designs and executes educational travel programs in Nepal for academic institution and organizations around the world.
- Introduction, program briefing and orientation, Q&A
- Explore Patan Darbar Square (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
- Visit Samata Foundation and learn how they are working for the rights of marginalized people in Nepal
- Welcome Dinner and ‘Know Nepal Session’ with Anil Chitrakar, Ashoka Fellow and Founder of environmental camps for conservation awareness (ECCA) & co-founder Himalayan Climate Initiative. During the session Chitrakar will talk about the overall Socio-political situation and history of Nepal.
- Visit NITI Foundation and learn about how Niti Foundation is working in policy advocacy in Nepal. NITI Foundation is a policy think-tank in Nepal. They will focus on hydropower projects in Nepal and economic status of Nepal.
- Visiting World Heritage Site: Pashupatinath Temple (Pashupatinath Temple is a most important Hindu temple. We will get to see Sadhus and devotees of God Shiva flock to Pashupatinath from across the subcontinent and cremation on the banks of the holy river) and Bouddha
- Visit a NGO working in democracy and political issues or meet an political analyst and learn about Nepal’s political and democratization process
- Travel to Dalit community in Aap Bhanjyang, Tanahun. (5 Hours bus ride and 1.5 hours walking)(Dalits (untouchables) are the lowest strata of hindu-based Nepali society. The dalits because of their ‘untouchability status’ in the society has been denied the right to earn a livelihood in the form of running business of their own interest i.e. tea-shop, dairy, small hotels, trading animal milk produced amongst others.) During our stay the participants will help the community to improve their home-stay. The team will help their host family in cleaning or making it more tourists friendly. Some member of the trip could also help documenting their traditional skills, culture etc.
- Reach Community and Transfer to Home-stays: Welcome by community, introduction and transfer to homes. All the participants will spend the rest of the day with their host families.
- Evening Reflection
- Helping host family: We will work to help our host family to improve their home-stay. Also, the documentation team will continue their work.
- Village tour: During the day time we will visit around the village in a group or with our host family.
- Learning traditional Skills and Cooking Nepali Meal: In the evening and morning we will learn cooking Nepali meal, help family in milking cow, feeding chicks or goats. Also, we will learn/observe their traditional skilled work. Most Dalit groups employ their own traditional occupational skills such as sewing, iron work at hearth, agriculture tools manufacturing, bamboo work, mason, basket weaving, messenger work, leather collection and processing, musical instrument making, musical instrument playing, manufacturing and mending shoe, mending sewing machine, piercing nose and ears, playing musical instrument, preparing coal for hearth etc.
- Cultural Evening and Interaction with community members in group: After the dinner, all the members of the community will gather and perform musical program. We will also interact and express our thoughts during this time.
- Travel to Pokhara and reach Tulsi’s Organic Farm (220 KM West of Kathmandu)
- Visit Tibetan Refugee Camp in Hemja
- Stay in Tent at the farm
- Morning Yoga at Farm
- Participants’ decided DAY. They will decide what to do (swimming at the river, visiting village, playing football with kids??)
- Evening barbeque at the farm
- Trek to Australian Camp through Dhampus: It will take about 5-6 hours to reach Australian Camp. Australian Camp (Altitude : 2100m), also known locally as Thulakharka, provides great Jungle scenery and similar panoramic views as Poonhill like Annapurna South, Fishtial, Mt Dhaulagiri,Tukuche peak,Dhampus Peak,Nilgiri and Himchuli.
- Overnight at the Camp and Enjoy the natural beauty
- Walk down to Lumle and Travel Back to Pokhara by bus
- Free Day at Pokhara (Boating, sightseeing, paragliding, shopping?)
- Session on ‘Empowering Women in Nepal’, listening to the work and story of Lucky Chettri, Ashoka fellow and entrepreneur
- Travel Back to Kathmandu from Pokhara
- Exploring Kathmandu: (Visit Pashupatinath Temple and Bhaktapur- UNESCO World Heritage Sites) (Pashupatinath Temple is a most important Hindu temple. We will get to see Sadhus and devotees of God Shiva flock to Pashupatinath from across the subcontinent and cremation on the banks of the holy river. And Bhaktapur is one of 3 Royal cities in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal and considered a cultural gem, rich with a fascinating history, fascinating architectural beauty, and filled with ancient Hindu and Buddhist religious sites.
- Free day after visits
- Visit Swiss Embassy in Kathmandu or HELVATAS
- Visit Soyambhu (Monkey Temple), UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Visit One World and meet Peter Effenberger, founder, and learn how he is working in Nepal in bio-dynamic farming.
- Walking Colloquium with Nepali youth representing different sectors. We will pair with one Nepali participant and send them for city tour in public vehicles. After they come back they will share their thoughts.
- Goodbye Dinner at Bouddhanath
- Closing of the Program
- Free day before departure
- Goodbye and See you again!