Barauli Community Homestay
Barauli, home to the Tharu people, is a small indigenous community near the Chitwan National Park in Nepal. The park is a popular tourism attraction that is well known for its wildlife but less known for the cultural value that it has to offer travellers. Due to its distance from the typical tourism hotspots in the park, the Tharu residents have never been able to access the economic benefits of tourism. Limited opportunities for community members have led to engagement in illegal activities like poaching and deforestation in the park as a means of income diversification.
The community homestay program was developed by Royal Mountain Travel, our ground partner, to connect travellers coming for park’s wildlife with the rich culture of the Tharu people. The village started with 14 individual cottages that are part of the homestay program, plus a community dining hall. In 2015, Nepal was hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. G Adventures immediately responded to this earthquake and launched a campaign that would raise over $200,000 CAD for long-term redevelopment of the tourism industry in Nepal. These funds helped rebuild the homes of over 150 porters, local guides, resource poor women in the tourism industry’s homes, and the remaining helped purchase seven solar panels and hot water tanks to provide electricity and hot water to the community for the first time.
G Adventures travellers visit the Barauli Community Homestay while they are in the Chitwan region, learning about the traditions of the Tharu people. The homestay project is completely run by women, providing women with diversified income in the region. Several different activities and livelihoods have been built out of this homestay program for the women — and women work as waitresses and cooks, host cooking classes within their own kitchens, and act as local guides, escorting visitors on village walks and bike rides. With funds raised through tourism, the Barauli community has invested in cleanliness programs, funded a teacher at a local school, improved agricultural techniques and added new guest houses for tourists.