My friends at home were surprised to hear about my travel plans to Nepal. Most of my friends had heard about negative news of Nepal and were thinking that Nepal is a dangerous place to visit because of the political situations there. I also didn’t know what to expect from this trip as I was going there not only as a tourist but also as a volunteer about to get myself involved in doing volunteer work. Anyways I had always wanted to travel Nepal. Nepali Host Family staff also helped me clear doubts about the safety in Nepal.
After landing at the Kathmandu airport, I spoke with some other tourists there who were in queue with me to get visa. Some of them were visiting Nepal for first time and some said that they visit Nepal every year. I got quite positive feed backs about traveling in Nepal from those frequent travelers. I was traveling alone and had to make sure that Nepal would be a safe place for me.
I was in Nepal for ten days traveling as well as volunteering. I traveled to Pokhara and few other places in Kathmandu valley. Kathmandu is full of chaotic traffic and pollution. But to my surprise, everything seemed so safe and peaceful to me. I could walk freely on the streets without much worries. I would go to Boudhanath stupa often as it is peaceful place.
Although I volunteered in Kathmandu for few days, I would never forget the warm welcome of the children at my placement where I worked. I would recommend to see Pokhara, Bhaktapur and Boudhanath to everyone. The local people are friendly and would help you if you are lost or need help. I found Nepal to be safe destination for traveling and for volunteering after my trip.
It was in September this year when Mr. Holger Neumann from Netherlands arrived in Nepal. He was actually traveling to Nepal for the first time. He came to Nepal with an interest to work for disadvantaged children. Mr. Neumann was volunteering with Nepali Host Family for three weeks. He is an employee at IKEA in Groningen, Netherlands and together with him he brought gifts for the less privileged children of Nepal.
There were Solar powered lamps, Solar powered radios and torch lights. These things came as a donation from IKEA Groningen Store Manager, Mr. Jelle Visser. The solar lamp from IKEA works with a rechargeable battery which can be charged by keeping under sun. The solar radio from IKEA works with a rechargeable battery which can also be charged through solar energy. The radio also works with a dynamo and has got a flash light too. These products are definitely going to be very useful in Nepal because there is a big problem of electricity cuts in Nepal. Many villages in Nepal still do not have proper electricity.
We donated some of the lamps and radios to an Orphanage in Jorpati village development committee in Kathmandu district. Our organization then also handed over some lamps and radios to Erik, an independent volunteer who has been involved in various social works in Lamjung district of Nepal. Erik took the donated lamps and radios to the remote western district of Lamjung and handed it to the local villagers who didn’t have electricity in their houses.
Nepali Host Family team would like to thank Mr. Jelle Visser and Mr. Holger Neumann from The Netherlands for providing the donations for the children in Nepal. Please visit the blog of Mr. Holger Neumann here: http://kidsatnepalnl.blogspot.nl/
Our team appreciates the work Erik has done for the schools and orphanages in Lamjung, Nepal. Erik came to Nepal in September 2011. He is from The United States. While doing a trek in Pokhara, he was motivated to volunteer in a local school. After spending some time at the school and orphanage at Besisahar in Lamjung, he decided to stay there longer and help the disadvantaged children. He left his banking job to stay in Nepal for longer period.
Me and my friend chose to do Internships work abroad. It was not a paid internship but a requirement from our university. We are a Nursing and Healthcare students and choosing the right Internship for Students like us was important. We chose Nepal because we had heard a lot about the country not only the beautiful locations but the Internships opportunities as well. We found an Affordable Internship program offered by Nepali Host Family organization and decided to join them. We did the Internship in Summer. After spending a month with the organization, I am well satisfied. Here is what we did in Nepal.
We worked as an Intern in old age home in the first week. Because the center had old people who were old and uneducated so they could not speak English, we worked through gestures there and some other staff helped a bit in translating. Although we couldn’t speak but we helped the old people in many ways. We cleaned the center, we gave therapy to the old people and it was so satisfying to see smiles on their faces. Their appreciation and warmth would encourage us to help them even more. On the last day, we took a lot of gifts for them. They were very thankful. I also celebrated my birthday with them by cutting a cake. It was a happy moment.
After that we worked as an Intern in Rehabilitation center. It is a school for mentally retarded children. I was very happy that we had the chance to change the Placement. The work with the children and adults was very rewarding. We learned about disabilities in Nepal and how the center is helping those mentally retarded children and adults. All the members of the school have been very welcoming. We volunteered at this placement for 3 weeks and the days there had passed very fast. We cleaned the classrooms, decorated the classrooms and did our best to make the children happy. I would recommend everybody to volunteer there.
Besides our Internship in Nepal, we also had opportunities to travel around Nepal and visit places like Pokhara, Chitwan and lots of other interesting places in Kathmandu. We also had chance to take part in cultural tour organized by the organization along with other volunteer. I wanted to learn more about the country, the culture and the people. I met a lot of people and lived with them, and saw what the everyday life looks like in Nepal. This kind of International Internships for students is worth the time and money. Now only few days left in Nepal and I am very sad to leave. I have learned a lot from my Internship abroad experience.
I have volunteered in Nepal for the last three years and the time spent there has honestly made Nepal into my second home. Each time I visit Nepal I discover even more reasons why I know I will definitely be returning again and again. A major reason towards making me feeling comfortable in Nepal is from my time spent with a local organization, Nepali Host Family. The first thing which attracted me to this organization was that it is a Non-profit and offers affordable volunteer programs. After actually volunteering with the organization where your money goes is completely transparent. Furthermore the money you actually spend with Nepali host family is a fraction of the cost compared to other expensive for-profit international volunteer organizations!
The second reason to choose Nepali Host Family is the wide variety of volunteer placements where you can volunteer freely and use your ideas and efforts. Personally since my primary area of expertise is working in the education sector, with Nepali Host Family I had the opportunity to do volunteer work with children in 3 completely different places. The first placement was working in a private school with children between the ages of 3 – 14. This volunteer placement really gave me the opportunity to meet some amazing teachers, a fantastic principal and some really talented and friendly students. There I was able to teach from the curriculum, play games, or just spent the time listening to intellectual ideas the students had about many topics.
My second volunteering placement was a Rehabilitation center for mentally challenged children and adults. This was a truly life changing experience because it was my first time volunteering, or working in such a place. There we were able to play with the students and decorated the rooms with posters we made from things we bought from a local supermarket. My last day at the Rehabilitation center ended with many festivities as the students decided to play instruments, sung songs and did some spectacular dancing. As much as it was an emotional time it was celebratory at the same time.
My last placement was volunteering with children in an orphanage. The first thing which immediately struck me about the orphanage was the great amount of respect the children have for visitors. Predominantly from this respect it made the placement a very warm environment to be in. What can be done in the orphanage really depends upon what the volunteers want to do. So activities can range from, organizing talent shows, arts and crafts, playing soccer, or even just tutoring the children will definitely be highly appreciated.
Another benefit of volunteering with Nepali Host Family is the volunteer accommodation where you will be living is really accessible to the placements. The volunteer hostel itself is a clean and comfortable place, with the organization staff which really goes out of their way to solve your any problems! The hostel is also very accessible to main public transportation area where there are buses which could take you to different places throughout Nepal. Nepali Host family staff plans many interesting trips to intriguing places which is good for the volunteers. I had the opportunity to visit a cultural site called Manakamana during my volunteer projects in Nepal this year in 2012. It was a nice trip and gave me the opportunity to make friends from around the world.
In sum the volunteer work experience, friends and memories will definitely stay with me forever and I know that for sure I will be back to Nepal again in the near future!
Located an easy 30 min walk from the volunteer hostel, the orphanage was one of my favourite parts of my experience. My first volunteer abroad experience and the orphanage kids are extremely friendly and outgoing, a real pleasure to spend time with. We usually head there around 3:30-4 and get there at the time they’re all getting home from school. We’d help them with their homework, hang-out, chat, play football, make bracelet’s, play games on the iphone and occasionally watch a movie. There isn’t too much structure but there’s always something to do, it helps to bring some things to play with, such as electronics (that you’re not too attached to!) or art supplies. You really won’t want to leave when the day’s done because you end up having so much fun.
After breakfast at the house I usually leave around 9:15 so I arrive at the school at 10:00. We’d teach 4 classes (until 1) and then have lunch at the school and head back for a break before the orphanage volunteering. We ended up teaching grade 7/8, 6 &9, I found it much easier to teach the older grades, as the younger students can’t really speak English so it’s difficult to tell them what to do and get them to listen to you. We taught two English classes and two science classes. The kids are generally really good but they won’t often tell you when they don’t understand something so you have to keep asking and they’ll talk Nepali to each other and try to share answers. It’s a little difficult when you’re trying to assign exercises and the books are wrong or don’t make sense, I would have to make my own corrections to the grammar books English. If you have a laptop that plays movies I would suggest getting short English videos and getting them to do English questions on the video, we couldn’t do this but really wanted to as it would be more fun for them then just doing grammar. They also don’t usually do the homework if you assign it to them, but I think that’s because they have homework officially assigned from other teachers and know they can get away with neglecting what you assign them.
Everest Base Camp Trekking in Nepal
Before starting to volunteer in Nepal, we did the trek up to Everest Base Camp (EBC). We went in late May and the weather was perfect all the way through the hike, we did it in about 13 days and although it was difficult I managed to pull through even though I’m far from the fittest person. We got a guide and I’d definitely suggest getting one because I think it’d be quite easy to get lost. However I think trying to get a porter/guide would be a better bang for your buck as carrying a heavy backpack was too much work for me! We ended up getting stuck in Lukla for 8 days and having to pay for a helicopter out, just be careful when you go trekking in Nepal, that you have extra time available or money to pay for a helicopter.
Volunteer accommodation in Nepal
We stayed in a house near Boudhanath Stupa. It’s a nice area with some good restaurants (I would recommend G Café) and a nice grocery store right across from the Hyatt hotel that has yummy ice cream. We had a double room, it’s quite big with lots of windows but mosquitoes get in at night so now I’m covered in bites. We eat two meals there: breakfast and dinner, they’re usually vegetarian Nepali food, simple but good. However because we discovered G Café which has awesome meals so we often eat there to get some variety.
Power cuts in Nepal
There are often power outages in Nepal which can be annoying, so bring a flash light if you have one and the internet is not very strong but you can do the basic things like check facebook and email. (the internet in Nepal will cut out for hours sometimes when there are power cuts).