THREE Coffs Coast locals will next month lead a team of 25 students from Australian universities to spend three weeks providing health care to some of the world's most vulnerable people, in the foothills of Nepal.
Benita Morris and Calida and Neville Neal have travelled to Nepal multiple times over the past five years to work in impoverished villages.
The volunteer program is organised by a small not-for-profit Coffs Harbour-based organisation Student Volunteer Placements International that enables university students to spend two to three weeks in a part of the world not many people get to see.
SVPI works in conjunction with a local Nepalese charity, Children's Welfare Organisation of Nepal, which is run by a local man Keshab Khanal who, after working his way out of a disadvantaged background, has committed himself to helping others in his community.
For five years Coffs Harbour teams have been travelling to Nepal and participating in a range of health promotion programs in villages around the Chitwan region.
The locals and Australian volunteers participate in forums in which information about hygiene, general health, first-aid and women's health are exchanged.
The most exciting days are one-day health camps held in various villages during which hundreds of villagers had their health checked and were provided with treatment.
This year, the program will be even more adventurous.
The volunteer team will hike for hours up into the Chepang foothills to a remote village called Jinglawo and provide health information and treatment to the village residents.
In this remote part of the world, it is unlikely that most locals have ever seen a doctor, let alone had their eyes tested. Many people will walk 4-5 hours up and down mountains to take advantage of the free health care.
For more information about SVPI's work please visit: www.svpi.org .au or email info @svpi.org.au.