Firstly, thanks for taking the time to read this and taking a step forward towards providing extremely beneficial services to an amazingly warm community whilst having an amazingly unique and eye opening experience. Your involvement in our project will have far reaching outcomes to the children of the school, the community as a whole and the generations of Begha inhabitants of the future. Something you can hold close to your heart for long into the future.
Visitors are welcomed in Begha and at the Sunrise Academy with open arms and loving hearts! How you contribute to our program can come in many forms, ALL of which we are grateful! As a visitor you will be housed in a local’s home nearby to the school with all meals provided. Any allergies, dislikes etc can be worked with. You will be required to pay a small fee of Rs 200 (AU$3-4) per week to assist the family in covering your costs. No further payment is required (unlike other 'volunteer' experiences) however if you would like to undertake some fundraising prior to your arrival this will massively assist in school funding and development for the future, not to mention you will feel great in doing it. Further information about this can be obtained after your application including what things cost and how your input will brighten lives. By no means however should you feel obliged to do so, it's just another way you can have a good time whilst helping others.
What we ask of our visitors? That you speak English, enjoy interacting with children, are positive, fit and healthy and are open to an incredibly amazing adventure. We are so confident that this experience will brighten your life therefore consider yourself fortunate to have come across this unique experience with a community filled with light and love all for FREE! The team of Sunrise Academy are very grateful to be able to work towards such a great cause to benefit such a special community - and we can't wait to share it with you!
Please note all service costs are approximate only.
Life in and around Begha
Begha is a very small village with a small shop whereby snacks, soaps and necessities are available and extremely cheap (Biscuits Rs 5, drinks Rs 20, soap Rs 10). It is mostly a Buddhist community, however there is also Hindu and Christians in the village, and the people are very warm, friendly and peaceful. There is little crime and a very big community feel. “Everybody is here to help everybody” they say. The nearby larger village of Dentam (5km, accessible by jeep early morning Rs 15, taxi Rs 150, or walking 1hr) has a range of food outlets, clothes stores, a phone facility, a monastery and a Sunday market. Also nearby is Pelling (20km, one morning jeep Rs 50 or more jeeps from Dentam) a more touristy place in Sikkim where internet and all other amenities are available. Although these places are relatively close, due to the steep and windy roads it takes a little longer than expected to get to them.
Timings and government regulations
Visitors are welcomed all year around, although teaching can only be undertaken between mid February and mid December for a maximum period of 2 months (as per government tourist regulations). Upon entering Sikkim you will need to obtain a permit which lasts 15 days and you will have to renew this at Pelling before its expiry. This visa does not cost anything to obtain or renew at any point.
If you would like to visit throughout holidays, you can contribute towards brightening the school through painting, building or whatever else you see fit. Any contribution is a good contribution!
School life for a visitor
School begins at 9:30am and finishes at 3pm. As a visitor you have the opportunity to teach a range of subjects for year 3 students upwards. Alongside the normal subjects i.e. Maths, Science, English and Nepali the school educates the children in areas such as environment studies, world history, conversational skills and geography.
Other activities in & around Begha
Other activities available for visitors are:
- Bersay, Rhododendron Sanctuary (3 hour walk) – beautiful in March/April and Sept/Oct with views of Kanchendzonga mountain, the third largest in mountain in the world
- Visit the local monks and Lama - A local monastery in Begha (20 minute walk) or Utteray (1 hour walk)
- Changay Waterfall - A beautiful 15m waterfall (3 hour walk on the way to Pelling)
- A handloom centre - carpet weaving centre from sheep’s wool
- Sunday market at Dentam - clothes and fresh produce (1 hour walk)
- Alpine Cheese Factory – very popular in Sikkim and makes delicious cheese.
With the exception of the above, Begha is a very remote and tranquil village, where electricity is erratic, the mountains and nature are beautiful and life is very simple!
The school has been provided with an internet connection that is for the school's and community's use. You will also be able to utilise this resource during your stay at designated times. A mobile phone to make local calls is available at the school and you can also use this to text internationally. For international calls you will need to go to Dentam or Pelling.
If you are interested in this visitor’s program we would love to hear from you. Please visit our contact page, complete the form and we will get back to you ASAP with further information about travelling into Sikkim and what to expect.
Many thanks and much love from all of us at the Sunrise Academy. We can't wait to have you!
*Please note holiday periods for 2011 below when teaching resources will not be required:
1) Half yearly exam / Summer holidays 18th June to 7th July 2012
2) Durga Puja 21st - 28th October 2012.
3) Laxmi puja (Diwali) 11th - 18th November 2012
4) Annual exam / Winter holidays 28th November 2012 - 10th February 2013.