A Classic Win-Win: Your Heart and Their Minds

Eat where the locals eat. Learn about the local people’s jobs, schools, hobbies. Get a peek into what it’s really like to live in a place you are visiting.

These are common yet elusive goals for many travelers.

In a recent post I highlighted a discussion featuring one way to experience local cuisine and culture in Italy. Today I’d like to point your attention to a thread in which caribkay offers another interesting idea that would almost certainly allow for a behind-the-scenes look at a slice of local life – donating school supplies.

My husband and I will be travelling to Nepal in September and we wanted to donate school supplies (books, pens, pencils, art and craft etc) to a school there. Is it possible to buy these items in Nepal and not have to travel with them?

The answer to the immediate question as to whether the supplies can be purchased upon arrival is “yes”. But perhaps more interesting is this advice from into-thin-air:

Great Idea and something that I have also been doing many for years


One Important thing though – Please don’t hand them out to children on the street / trail because this just encourages begging – If you give them to the school master, he / she will ensure that they are fairly distributed with the children most in need getting priority

Now, I have to admit I have never done this. But one might imagine that, should you show up at a school with 2-3 bags of supplies and ask nicely they would probably give you a tour of the school and the classrooms. And at a minimum you would get to look around a little as you find your way to the administration office.

It’s a sort of make-your-own-tour kind of tour, and could provide an enlightening glimpse into one aspect of everyday local life.

Have you donated supplies to schools during your travels? Have you toured schools? I understand school tours are a fairly common activity on organized group tours, but are there any privacy, or other, issues with a request such as the one I propose above?

Read the thread in its entirety: School supplies

Image: “Grade1, Shree Sahara Bal Primary School, Pokhara, Pokhara, Nepal” by Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. CC BY 2.0.

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