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Women’s Education and Empowerment

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In Nepal, the prevalence of violence against women remains alarmingly high. Extensive research conducted in Nepal has revealed that a staggering 66 percent of women have experienced verbal abuse, while 33 percent have endured emotional abuse. Shockingly, 77 percent of these acts of violence were perpetrated by family members (UNICEF 2001). Historically, the status of women in Nepal was deeply influenced by the patriarchal social system and cultural values. However, significant progress has been made in recent years to safeguard and promote women's rights through the implementation of state policies and dedicated initiatives for women's development. Both the government and various civil society organizations are actively engaged in combating this pervasive issue. Nevertheless, it is evident that there is still much work to be done in order to effectively eradicate violence against women.

Gender discrimination remains a significant issue in Nepal, primarily due to a lack of awareness and limited access to quality education. This problem is further exacerbated by deeply ingrained superstitious beliefs and the diminishing political vision of leaders. Unfortunately, the socio-economic status of women in Nepal is extremely poor, as they face discrimination in various aspects of society, including healthcare, education, income generation, decision-making, policy-making, and human rights. Disturbingly, Nepal has one of the lowest overall health rankings in Asia, with women experiencing even worse health outcomes than men. Shockingly, the life expectancy of women in Nepal is lower than that of men, making it one of the few countries in the world with such a disparity. Additionally, a concerning number of women are forced into early marriages between the ages of 15-19, leading to high rates of youth pregnancy and preventable deaths. These alarming statistics, including high birth rates, low life expectancy, and elevated rates of infant and maternal mortality, clearly indicate the dire state of women's health in Nepal. Furthermore, the representation of women in professional fields is severely lacking, with only a few able to pursue careers in law or other professions. Even in the bureaucratic sector, women are significantly underrepresented. While women do hold decision-making roles in certain areas such as crop management, domestic expenses, children's education, religious and social travel, and household maintenance, it is disheartening to note that their overall influence seems to have declined in recent years.

According to national data, the literacy rate among women in Nepal stands at a mere 30%, while male literacy has reached 66%. The enrollment of women in higher education is a mere 24.95%, and their participation in technical and vocational education lags behind that of men. These statistics are a reflection of the social norms and cultural beliefs that prevail, such as the perception in rural areas that girls are considered "paraya dhan" (others' property) and are therefore deprived of educational opportunities.

Volunteer Society Nepal (VSN) understands that women empowerment is an important step towards empowering families and communities, we believe that our efforts can contribute to enhancing the literacy rates of women in Nepal. Volunteer Society Nepal (VSN) has been conducting regular literacy classes for over 30 women, many of whom have never had access to formal education. VSN offers fundamental reading and writing lessons in English and Nepali, along with basic mathematics for simple accounting purposes.

  • Empower woman with education so they can help bring themselves and their families out of poverty
  • Teach a variety of subjects, particuarly English conversational skills
  • Help with English reading and writing skills, plus pronounciation and basic grammer
  • Work alongside a local teacher, to help inspire the women into gaining an education
  • Organize first aid training program
  • Organize fun activities

Tour Plan

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Arrival and Introduction

You will be met at the airport by one of our staff (Ishwor Shrestha or Anjila Joshi). Together with our driver, Binod, you will be taken to either the VSN Nepal office or a hotel. Here, you can drop your bags and relax. The VSN Nepal Manager, Bishal Shrestha, will come to meet you to clarify your program for the first few days. Depending on when you arrive, you will begin a Nepali language class or a sightseeing tour of some of the world heritage sights in the Kathmandu valley. In the evening, you will enjoy your first Nepali dinner.

Nepali lessons and local amenities and sightseeing

After a leisurely start and breakfast, so you can recover properly from your journey, you will start your Nepali language course at the VSN Nepal office. After meeting the entire VSN Nepal team, you will have two lessons from around 10.30 to 12.45 with our highly experienced language teachers. This will also give you a chance to meet any other volunteers who are joining at the same time. In the afternoon, one of our staff members will take you around the local area of Pepsi-Cola, where the office and homestays are for the induction period.
Later that afternoon, you will be driven around and shown where all relevant amenities are: the nearest bank, shopping center, internet café, food shops, and post office. You will also be shown the local buses that can take you to Kathmandu or Bhaktapur and where you can catch a taxi. You will also be told where to keep your valuables and general information about life in Nepal.
At the end of the afternoon, you will be driven by our guide to see some of Kathmandu’s famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of our guides, Gelu Sherpa, has over 15 years of experience taking foreigners around the ancient city and can answer any questions you have about ancient and contemporary Nepal. During your introduction, you can visit the famous Buddhist Boudanath and Swayambhunath stupas, as well as the Hindu temple complex of Pashupatinath. The Durbar Squares in Patan and Kathmandu are also essential visits. If you have other sites you are particularly interested in, then this may be integrated as well.

Nepali lessons and VSN Nepal’s projects

In the morning, we will continue the Nepali language training. Be aware that we are aiming for a basic understanding. For example, say ‘yes and no’ and introduce yourself. We do not expect you to speak the language fluently after the training. After the lesson, you are driven around some VSN Nepal’s projects in the Kathmandu Valley. This may include the new CBIA school, our women’s center, our orphanage in the Pepsi-Cola suburb, or a visit to the village of Sunakoti, where you will see new toilets, drinking water systems, and environmental projects that have all been recently implemented by volunteers and fundraising efforts.
In the afternoon, you can do more sightseeing with our guide in Kathmandu, or if you desire to take some time for yourself, that’s even more possible. This afternoon, it's also a good opportunity to stock up on anything you may have forgotten before heading up to a rural placement. The tourist hub of Thamel will be able to furnish you with anything from Marmite to an extra pair of Merino socks.

Introduction Host Family and Start Project

After about two days of language classes and sightseeing, you will be moved to the host family. They will be fully trained in hosting volunteers, and you won’t be left in the dark about anything: toilets, drinking water, bedding, how to work the shower, where to buy anything you need nearby, and basic etiquette. If you want an early night, then that is fine, but you will also be given the opportunity to ring home or send emails from the VSN Nepal office, so any parents or loved ones won’t be worrying about you.

It’s possible we already started this day on your project. If time appears to be short, we will start the next day in the morning. Our VSN Nepal director, Dinesh, will discuss and finalize your program upon arrival so you know what to expect during the first days in Nepal.

While you volunteer with VSN Nepal, you will be staying with a Nepali host family. Be part of a Nepali family. Eat together with the family. Play with the children. Experience the rich Nepali culture firsthand. Many volunteers tell us this unique insight into the culture of Nepal is a key part of why they come back again and again.

All our host families have conducted training regarding hosting volunteers adequately. They know how to ensure hygiene and provide security. They will treat you as a member of the family. To secure knowledge of Western culture and desires, we train our host families annually.

Although we do not experience it frequently, and it can be considered very rare, it could be possible that you are not satisfied with your host family. In that case, it’s possible to switch host families. We want to guarantee your happiness and secure a positive experience in Nepal. Hence, we remain in contact if anything runs properly with your host family during your stay.

When you arrive on placement, you will be introduced to your host family by the VSN Nepal representative and given a full tour of the premises. Many of our host families have children, and it seems many of our volunteers enjoy helping them with their English, learning to cook Nepali food, and mixing in with their lives. On the other hand, we experience volunteers learning a lot from the hosts and children regarding life in Nepal.

At the host families, you will stay with or without fellow volunteers. You can clarify your preference, and we will take that into account while arranging your host family. It is always possible to stay as a couple or group of friends in one host family. You should consider the host family as your temporary family in Nepal. As they will treat and value you as a family member. They can even teach you how to discover the neighborhood, advise on travel, and offer you warmth in times of homesickness.



You should not expect luxury during your stay in Nepal. Nepal is a developing country and may well be different from what you are used to at home. However, you will have your own room unless requested otherwise, and the rooms are always clean and comfortable. The quality of toilet and washing facilities varies significantly between placements. If you are based in Kathmandu, you may find a hot shower and a Western-style toilet in your homestay. However, if you are in a rural area, then it is more likely that you will have a traditional squat toilet and a cold shower. If you feel like having a hot shower and flushing the toilet is a priority, then make this clear when you are applying, and we will see if it is possible to find you one of our better-equipped host families.


The electricity supply in all areas is limited. Due to nationwide electricity shortages, the government imposes unexpected power cuts. In the cities, some houses have backup batteries that will run low-power bulbs in key rooms, but in rural areas, you can expect to use candles. A head torch is a very useful thing to bring.


On placement, you will usually eat with the family and share the same food as them. At least two meals a day are provided for you while volunteering. The usual meal times are between 9 and 10 a.m. and 6 and 8 p.m. You will usually be served the national staple of Dal Bhat Tarkari, which is a tasty and filling plate of rice, vegetable curry, lentils, and pickles. It may occasionally have meat, such as chicken or mutton, although if you are vegetarian, this can easily be explained. This may be supplemented occasionally by noodles, eggs, and other snacks, depending on your host family and placement.


Your host family will provide you with clean drinking water during your placement.

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