Press release

Saga people making a different overseas

Friday 24 August 2007

  • Saga Expands Volunteer Travel program to include Nepal

Saga Holidays has extended its volunteer travel offering to include two projects in Nepal, which not only give people the opportunity to visit this stunning country, but also gives willing volunteers the chance to assist in making a difference to the welfare of disadvantaged children living there.

The "Saga Volunteer Travel programme, which started last year in South Africa, offers its first trips to the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, from 2008. The four week assignments will see Saga volunteers working with local children at either the Naxal Orphanage, caring for over 50 babies and toddlers, or the Semata School, an educational lifeline for over 3,500 children living nearby. No experience or qualifications are required to attend these trips, but organisers are particularly seeking people with a skills set and experience in teaching, child counselling, child nutrition, nursery nursing, play therapy and paediatrics.

The placements are carefully planned to ensure that volunteers will be making a lasting impact through transferring their skills so that they do not leave a void when they return home. Volunteers are also 'matched' in the UK to ensure that they and their chosen project are well suited. Those volunteering through the Saga scheme tend to have more knowledge, qualifications and experience than perhaps traditional volunteers, who tend to be gap year students.

Semata School, Kathmandu

This school gives the only chance of education to 3,500 children who are listed as domestic or factory labour. The parents of these children are too poor to look after them and they have been left to work in other people's homes and factories in exchange for board and lodging. Many also rely on the school for a handful of rice at lunchtime, it also provides them with basic medical care. The school concentrates on teaching the children the most important skills they will need for life, both educational such as English and spiritual such as honesty and harmony. Volunteers at this project help with training teachers as well as teaching the children. Other skills sought after include child counsellors in a variety of subjects, nutritionists, paediatric and school nurses.

Naxal Orphanage, Kathmandu

Naxal is one of three orphanages run by the Organisation for Community, Child and Environment Development (OCCED), which has been established to care for Nepal’s most vulnerable children. OCCED works to provide shelter, education and training for children whilst trying to find them new homes. Naxal currently cares for nearly 50 children aged between a few months and 16 years. Many of these children are babies and toddlers either left on the doorstep by family or found wandering the streets. The children live in clean, but messy and noisy dormitories. A variety of different volunteers are sought to help in the orphanage in areas such as residential childcare management, nursery nursing, play therapy and paediatric health care.

Andrew Goodsell, Chief Executive, Saga Group, commented: "It was our customers' interest in the places they visit and their desire to help that inspired us to launch Saga Volunteer Travel. These life-changing trips were so popular both with the host communities in Africa and our customers that we decided to support additional projects in Nepal and we continue to look for more in other countries."

Not just an opportunity to put useful skills into practise, these unforgettable 'Saga Volunteer Travel' programs also offer the chance to experience the ambience of the fabled city of Kathmandu, with its traditional old city and fascinating Buddhist and Hindu culture, combined with the undeniable beauty of Nepal, and its landmark Mount Everest. Prices for the four week trips start from 2,599, inclusive of all flights, transfers food and accommodation. The cost includes a donation to the project and local management so the volunteer is looked after.

For further information call Saga Holidays: 0800 056 5880 or visit

www.sagaholidays.co.uk

-ENDS-

Editors Notes:

*About the Saga Charitable Trust

* The Saga Charitable Trust is funded by the Saga Group Ltd, Saga customers and staff. In addition, the Saga Group Ltd covers all overheads and administrative costs so that 100% of all donations we receive go to the projects we support.

* Saga holidays are exclusively for people aged 50 and over, a travelling companion may be aged 40 or over.

* Saga holidays are only available direct and not through travel agents.

For further press information please contact the Saga Press Office on: 01303 771118.

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