When it came to actually implementing the program, other locations were considered as well. Nepal was chosen for the following reasons:
1. There is great need in Nepal.
2. Many Israelis and Jewish backpackers visit Nepal, making it a natural place for them to volunteer.
3. Nepal is an extremely safe and non-violent nation that is open and welcoming to Westerners.
4. Operational costs are low in Nepal allowing the organization to utilize the majority of its funds to the benefit of the communities with which it works.
In 2014 Tevel expanded to Africa, where we began working in Burundi, an extremely small and poor country in East Africa, adjacent to Rwanda, due to the great need there.
Tevel uses an in-house model that is led by our local staff who stay in communities for 3-4 years and ensures the quality and sustainability of the projects. Our international volunteers supplement the work of the local staff with their enthusiasm and special skills. For example, a local youth worker is in charge of every youth group. It is that person who creates the ongoing rapport with the children and maintains the framework for weekly meetings for the duration of our intervention in the community. When a volunteer with a special skill, for example a photographer, comes in, he or she may lead the youth in several sessions on photography. However when he or she leaves, the youth group continues to meet and move forward in the long-term plan led by the local staff member.
This method allows each volunteer to utilize his or her skills and be part of the big picture of what Tevel is trying to achieve in the community. The community itself enjoys the interaction and the skills of the volunteers without the detrimental dynamic of volunteers starting projects only to have them fall apart after they leave.
Likewise, our local staff will be with you at all volunteer activities and help translate and facilitate your interaction with the community members.
Lastly, not all communication is verbal. Remember to smile!
The Tevel Fellowship targets young professionals, ages 25-35 who have a degree and/or significant professional experience in one of the following fields: agriculture, health, education or media. Applicants should be in good health, and extremely committed.
If you are working in education, you might spend a day doing teacher’s training, or helping the the school set up an early childhood classroom appropriate for the needs of that age group. If you are working in agriculture, you might participate in a training session where farmers learn new agriculture techniques, and then help individual farmers implement those techniques on their own land. If you are working with women’s groups you might help the local staff prepare and run a program on nutrition or family planning.
Since there is no electricity, days usually start and end early with the sunrise and sunset…..
Volunteers who commit for a longer period of time and are more qualified, for example on the Tevel Fellowship program, or agriculture experts on the Tevel Community program, receive a higher subsidy that covers the majority of their costs. The participants in other programs usually pay for their flights, visa, health insurance, and any incidental personal expenses during the course of the program. Volunteers are also responsible for their own recreational traveling. Tevel covers the cost of the training and educational programs, the local staff and other related expenses. For specific details about what is and isn’t included in each program, visit the program page.
This division allows us to keep costs to the volunteers comparatively low, but still leaves significant organizational funding to invest in infrastructure in the communities where we work.
Excellent western hospitals exist in the capital cities, where volunteers can get medical care when necessary. As a rule, various physical hazards do exist so it is critical that volunteers abide by the organization’s instructions on medical safety matters such as safe water and travel.
Most volunteers do have stomach problems while volunteering, but while uncomfortable, they aren’t life threatening and are part of life in the developing world.
* The Tevel Fellowship has a vacation once during the year in which participants can travel.
We suggest that you contact the Tevel staff who can recommend alternative accommodations and help you and your family plan their visit in the optimal way.