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Volunteering in Nepal

Nepal is located in the Himalayan mountain range. Here you will find the fertile tropical lowland Tarai, the central highland with pastures and the Himalayas with some of the world’s highest peaks.

Volunteering in Nepal

EXIS arranges volunteer work stays in Nepal. Volunteering is a unique way to discover a country, its culture and people while doing a meaningful job. To participate, you must be at least 18 years old, independent and outgoing, and have a desire to work as a volunteer.

Voluntary work is possible all year round.

Start dates

Language and culture courses, preceding volunteer work, start every 2st and 4rd Monday of the month. You will be picked-up at the Kathmandu airport. Arrivals areon Sunday, prior to program start. The language and culture program starts with a short introduction to the voluntary work program, host family stay, climate, facilities in the villages and other useful information.

Volunteer Options

After the first week introduction course, you will start your volunteer work. Accommodation depends on where you will work. It can be either with a Nepalese host family, at the aparment for volunteers or at the working place itself.

Many working places (schools, monasteries and other) close during the Dashain and Tihar festivals.

Projects in Nepal

Introduction week

Prior to the volunteering you will participate in a week’s introduction to the country, the cultre etc. This will prepare you to the work stay itself.

1 day
At 10.00 o’clock a briefing about volunteer work, with a short introduction to the voluntary work program, host family stay, climate, facilities in the villages and other useful information.
From 4.00 to 6.00 Nepali lessons.
Welcome part in the evening.

2, 3, and 4th day
Nepali lessons continue.

5th day
An excursion with guide to the most important cultural and religious monuments in the Kathmandu valley.
Afternoon free to go exploring.

6th day
Nepali lessons continue.

7th day Evaluation of the first week and preparations for departure to the volunteer work place. No teaching during the afternoon.

Employees are always available with tips about interesting places to visit during free time.

Teaching English

There are over 50 schools in Kathmandu, Chitwan and Pokhara. If you choose “English teaching” as volunteer work, you will teach children between 4 and 16 years old, in classes with 15 to 25 pupils. As a teaching volunteer, you will teach English or other subjects at schools, 4 to 6 hours a day.

Playing and drawing with the children as well as helping to organize sport and creative activities are also part of daily tasks.

Your work area depends on the season, as schools in Kathmandu close for holidays during winter, whereas holidays in the Chitwan province are in summer. Teaching placements are available in both public schools and private boarding schools.

Dashain and Tihar festivals mean that schools are closed from the 10th to the 19th April and from the 25th. September to the 9th. October and from the 24th. to the 28th. October. These dates change every year. So check up with EXIS when exactly these festivals take place.

During these periods volunteers will either have other work, or go on excursions.

Volunteers live with host families located within walking distance from the schools.

School teaching in the countryside

Would you like to get completely away from hectic life in big cities, experience the beautiful, rural Nepal and teach English and or other subjects of interest? Schools in small villages are in need of volunteers. You will experience the local population and share their living conditions. It will probably mean housing without shower, toilet without flush and washing at the well. There will most likely not be any Internet connection in the village, so it will be necessary to go to one of the neighboring larger cities from time to time.

The people are very hospitable and the children love to learn. You will receive tips for teaching English before departure and text books and help from the school teacher on the spot, but still need a great deal of imagination. There is special need for help with oral English.

Accommodation with full board is with a local family.

Teaching at a Monastery

As a volunteer in “Monk Teaching Project”, you will primarily work as an English instructor. You will teach English to young monks aged 4 to 16, around 1 hour a day.

In addition to English teaching, volunteers will arrange games and sports, drawing, singing, dancing, and other creative education and extracurricular activities.

This project allows you to immerse yourself in Buddhist religion and lifestyle. You will be surrounded by meditation, rituals, prayers and songs. I you want teach for more than 1 hour, it is possible to do so at an orphanage or school.
Most of the monasteries in Nepal have 15 to 30 children aged of 5 to 16.

Accommodation is in the house for volunteers, as the getting up each day at 5 o’clock and following the strict rules at the monasteries is not very popular.

During the month of January the monastery is closed for holidays. You can teach at other projects during this period.

Health care internship in Nepal

This internship program is for students with relevant medical backgrounds only.

Activities are

  • Assisting doctors and nurses
  • Helping patients
  • Distribution of medicine
  • Checking up on patients, blood pressure, taking temperatures, etc.
  • Learning about local diseases

Orphanages

Every year, thousands of children go to Kathmandu, searching for jobs and a better future. What they find is often worse than what they left. Many of these children end up working 14-hour days in industry, hotels or restaurants.

Most of the orphanages in Nepal have 20 to 30 children age 4 to 12. When you work with the orphans of Kathmandu you give them a new perspective, new experiences, hope and fun.

Some orphanages are less structured and basically function as informal education training centers. Some placements allow the volunteer to live within the orphanage; however volunteers can also choose to be placed with local host families located within walking distance of the orphanage.

We place volunteers in many different orphanages.

Volunteer tasks

  • Teaching English to children in small groups
  • Teaching hygiene and sanitation
  • Helping with food distribution
  • Playing with and caring for the children
  • Teaching art and creative activities
  • Teaching music and songs
  • Helping with homework
  • Administrative tasks

Orphanage in Pokhara

In Pokhara, approximately 200 km. from Kathmandu, EXIS works with an orphanage for disadvantaged, abandoned, poor and underprivileged children in need.

The home provides free education, shelter and healthcare for about 50 children, girls and boys, aged 3 to 18.

All the children attend school, and a full time teacher at the orphanage assists the children in adjusting to school life. She also teaches them basic skills like social behaviour, personal hygiene, gardening and cleaning.

As a volunteer you can help the children with their homework, teach English and help with daily tasks. If you have any special skills and experience you are welcome to propose other activities.

You will be accommodated in a single room at the home, where you will also be served breakfast, lunch and a light snack in the evening.

Prioners Assistance Home

This NGO takes care of children, whose parents are in jail. There is one home in Kathmandu and another in Sankhu on the countryside. The children are at risk becoming both physically and mentally traumatised, if they are with their parents in prison. But as families should not be separated the NGO ensures, that children regularly can come and visit to their imprisoned parent.

Another aim is to ensure reintegration of children in the village they come from. In the home in Kathmandu there are approximately 60 children, aged 5 to 18 years. The children are provided education, food, water and medical care, counselling and are encouraged to visit their parents. Children can freely talk about their experiences and feelings. Volunteers help with homework and weekend activities.

The NGO also supports children and their families when they are released from prison. They receive training, temporary accommodation and help to find a permanent home and work. The second home is located 2 kilometres outside Sankhu, about 45 minutes from Kathmandu.

Here there is room for about 100 children. At this home the children and staff can be more physically active, living in a more traditional Nepali way and preserve their cultural traditions.

The home is a traditional Nepali House and is located on a hillside, surrounded by agricultural land. Volunteers in the countryside will also be involved in helping with agriculture. You can make your decision about which home you’ll be working at, during the introduction course, in the first week in Nepal.

Photo/Journalism in Nepal

If you consider a break from studying photography/journalism or consider a career in photojournalism, this option is a good opportunity to explore the country, culture and its people as an intern.

An internship is an excellent way to gain relevant experience and improve your CV. During the first introduction week in Kathmandu, you will learn some Nepali, get information about the city and discuss your upcoming tasks with the specific professional coordinator.

There are three types of tasks:

  • Write a report about a unique and interesting topic, which requires focusing on a problem, its consequences and solutions
  • A specific theme with relevant text to the images
  • Local events
  • Each task usually takes about 1,5 week, including all preparations and implementations
  • Participants who are interested in investigating reports should sign up for a longer period (4 weeks or more)

You will cooperate with a journalist and experience how information is being processed in a completely different country. Your work may be published in for example nationwide daily- weekly or monthly magazines.

Working hours are typically from Sunday to Friday, 5 to 7 hours per day, depending on the type of work and tasks.
Tasks are highly dependent on prior experience.

If you are a trained photographer or have obtained a certain level of education, you can go into the field as a reporter to cover stories, take pictures all over the country or work on news issues as an assistant reporter. If you have no or limited experience, you should expect more basic tasks.

Participants should bring their own photo equipment. A laptop is not required, but recommended. There is no particular risk associated with bringing equipment into Nepal.

Do not expect that your pictures will be used in Nepalese media if you have no relevant experience.

Social Work Projects

Weeks Fees
2 €908
3 €1.018
4 €1.129
5 €1.240
6 €1.350
7 €1.461
8 €1.571
9 €1.682
10 €1.792
11 €1.903
12 €2.013

Health Projects

Weeks Fees
3 €1.320
4 €1.430
5 €1.541
6 €1.702
7 €1.863
8 €2.023
9 €2.184
10 €2.345
11 €2.506
12 €2.667

Photojournalism or orphanage in Pokhara

Weeks Fees
4 €1.094
5 €1.219
6 €1.345
7 €1.471
8 €1.596
9 €1.722
10 €1.848
11 €1.973
12 €2.099

Please note
It is not allowed to drink alcohol during your work stay and you may not smoke in school classes.

All fees include

Voluntary Work in Nepal

Food and accommodation during your entire stay. During volunteering, you will stay with a host family or at your workplace. During the first week you will share rooms with other volunteers at the coordinator’s apartment in Kathmandu

Support of local coordinator during your entire stay

One week language and cultural immersion

N

Teaching material

Personal donation to your work place (except photojournalism)

Pre-departure handbook about Nepal

The following is not included in the fee:

  • Airfare to and from Nepal
  • Insurance
  • Any entrance fee during sightseeing and travel
  • Transport from and to accommodation during volunteering (cost $3-$4/day)
  • Laundry
  • Telephone
  • Visa fee

The Country

Nepal is a narrow sliver of land squeezed between India to the south and the vast Tibetan plateau to the north. Nepal rises from plain to plain, valley to valley, and mountain to mountain – a precipitous staircase that ends at the roof of the world, the Abode of Snows. Eight of the world’s 10 highest summits, including Mt. Everest, lie within her borders.

Nepal was a monarchy until 15th January 2008, when the king lost most of his authority. A newly elected parliament declared Nepal a republic on 28th May.

Nepal is an agricultural society – about 90 % work in this sector. Crops include rice and other grains, sugarcane, tobacco, and jute. Herds of cattle, oxen and buffalo, are also an important resource.

The great variations in climate divide the land into 3 areas, the fertile tropical lowland Tarai, the central highland with grasslands and forests, and the Himalaya Mountain range with several of the world’s highest peaks.

There is a rich animal life, especially in the jungle and marsh regions, where tigers, leopards, bears, wolves, elephants and the very rare Indian rhinoceros roam.

Klimaet i Nepal

Den store variation i klimaet opdeler landet i 3 områder, det frugtbare og tropiske lavland Tarai, det centrale højland med græsgange og skove, samt Himalayabjergene med nogle af verdens højeste tinder.

Language

The official language in Nepal is Nepali.

EXIS in Nepal

You will find the most of our projects in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

Population

Nepal is also a land of variety from a religious viewpoint. 90 % of the population is Hindu, but there are Buddhist, Christian and Muslim minorities. The many ethnic groups live side by side in relative peace.

The official language is Nepali, but it is spoken by only half the population. The many ethnic and cultural groups in the country have their own languages. Educated people in Kathmandu usually speak and understand English,especially the younger generation. People in rural areas and the older generation do not understand English.

This is one of the world’s poorest countries, unemployment is high and around 80 % of the population is without a regular income. Even today, a large part of the population is unable to read or write. The law dictates that children go to school until they are at least 11 years old, but most never go because their families need to help in the fields or simply because the nearest school is too far away.

You will see beggars, poor people and children who live in the streets of Kathmandu and other large cities.

General information – Worth knowing from A to Z

Activities
Many tourists choose Nepal for its excellent trekking routes, but the country has much more to offer. White water rafting is very popular, especially on the Trisuli River near Kathmandu.
You can go on safari in Terai, the southern lowland, and mountain biking in the Kathmandu valley. If you are looking for more spiritual activities, there is a wide choice of yoga and meditation lessons etc.

Airport
You will be picked up at the airport and taken to the place where you will spend the night. Please remember to send us you arrival date and time as well as the number of your flight.

Attractions
10 monuments and areas in Nepal are on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The protected natural areas of the Everest National park and Chitwan National Park are 2 World Heritage sites. Others include Lumbini, birthplace of the Buddha, as well as seven other Buddhist and Hindu temples and monuments in the Kathmandu valley. The impressive architectural monuments in the ancient cities, Patan, Kathmandu and Bhaktapur express Kathmandu valley’s religious, political and cultural life.

Climate
Nepal has diverse climates. Summer is normally hot, humid and rainy. Winter is cold in the morning and warm during the daytime. Temperatures drop during winter nights. Volunteers should bring appropriate clothing according to the season and activities. Fall and spring are wonderful.

Cost
Nepal is a very cheap country for living and travelling. 15 $ per day is enough if you stick to cheap hotels and local food. Please note that you get accommodation and food during the entire stay – all you need to bring is a little pocket money.

Cultural events
There are lots of cultural events all year round in Nepal. All local groups have their own festivals that they celebrate in temples or in other public spaces. These festivals are very important and many people participate.

Economy
Nepal is amongst the poorest and least developed countries. Most people live as their ancestors did, without running water, electricity, telephone, doctors or paved roads. Agriculture is the most important source of income in Nepal. It provides food and income to 80 % of the population. Rice is the most important crop, with corn, wheat, sugar cane, jute etc. Even though the government has tried to make economic reforms to improve the economy, it has been difficult to realise projects, because of political instability (5 different governments in the last 5 years).

Electricity
Electricity: 220 volt. Supplies are often cut off during the evening, so remember to bring a flashlight.

Environmental problems
Because of a lack of agricultural land and a dense population, many people have begun to deforest. The lack of trees causes erosion and water pollution. Vital agricultural earth is torn away by the monsoon and transported by the rivers to the sea. The rural population in Nepal depends entirely on the remaining land.

Flora and fauna
There are more than 6500 species of trees and flowers in Nepal. Wildlife is very varied with more than 800 bird species and such exotic animals as the Bengal tiger, snow leopard, elephant, bears, monkeys and jackals.

Food
Nepali meals are mostly composed of rice, vegetables with curry, lentil soup, and sometimes meat (no beef, since cows are sacred animals). The food is not very spicy. In large cities like Kathmandu, international food is available. Do not eat food that has not been cooked or fried or cannot be peeled. Locals usually drink mild tea. Bottled water is available everywhere. Never drink tap water.

Geography
Nepal is divided in three different regions.
The Himalaya region, covered with snow all year round. The mountain region with a subtropical climate. This region covers more than 64% of the country. The Terai region, the southern lowland that covers around 17% of the country. The climate is tropical, but in December and January temperatures drop to 1-5 degrees.

How to dress
Climate varies in Nepal. Bring light winter clothes for trekking, even if you come during summertime.
Female participants may not wear short skirts or shirts without sleeves; women must cover most of the body. Roads are unpaved so it is important to bring good hiking shoes.

Insurance
European insurances do not cover you outside Europe. Travel insurance is compulsory.

Internet
The use of Internet is more and more common in larger cities. In Kathmandu, there is a large number of internet cafés, where you can send and receive your emails and use the Internet at reasonable fees. In rural areas, it is often not possible to use phones. In the Chitwan region, where most volunteers work, possibilities are numerous. You will stay at our coordinator’s hostel during the first week and here you can use the Internet for a small fee.

Mail
The Nepali postal system is incredibly slow. It can take months to receive a letter or a postcard. Streets do not have names. It is not safe to send or receive packages. They are often opened and valuable objects tend to disappear. If you have to send or receive anything, use private companies, DHL, UPS or other. Use the coordinator’s address if you want to receive important packages or letters.

Money
Nepal has modern banks and in larger hotels, stores and restaurants credit cards are usually accepted. You can change money in banks, larger hotels and at the airport. Travellers checks can be changed everywhere. US dollars and British pounds are accepted in most places. Try to change notes as often as possible, as many small stores, transports etc. often are unable to give money back.

Population
The 23 million inhabitants of Nepal are divided into 11 different peoples or tribes. The country is so varied that a traveller can experience everything from “stone age” in the west and in the mountains, to jet set in Kathmandu. Nepal is in every way a fusion of extremes, especially in urban areas.

Religion
Religion is very important to the Nepalese. Around 90% think of themselves as Hindu, but in reality, it is very difficult to make a difference between Hindu and Buddhism as they share many sacred beliefs. The rest of the population is Christian or Muslim. Unlike our western culture, religion is very important in every day life and in the mornings, people gather in the temples to pray.

Telephone
Long distance calls can be made from several small stores in Kathmandu and other large cities. However, it is rather expensive. Internet is progressing fast and permits cheap calls. Do not expect to find phones in small villages.

Tips
In better restaurants in Kathmandu, a tip of 10% is expected if service is satisfying. It is not necessary to tip taxi drivers or waiters in cheap restaurants. On the trekking tour, you are expected to tip the carriers 100 rupees per day.

Transport
The road and rail network is not very developed in Nepal. In rural areas, there are only paths and unpaved roads.

Travel fees
Travel fees are not included in the program fees.

Trekking
The best season for trekking is between September and December, but March and April are popular months as well. On the Annapurna trail, you will spend the night in places at more than 14 763 feet, so it is important to bring a warm sleeping bag. Please note that trekkers are the main cause of environmental problems in Nepal, so do not throw away any waste during your trekking tour.

Vaccinations
Vaccinations against typhus, diphtheria, hepatitis A, Japanese encephalitis and meningitis. Malaria pills are highly recommended.

Visa
You can get a visa upon arrival at Kathmandu airport. A tourist visa costs 50 $ and is valid for 60 days. After that, you can extend by 30 or 60 more days for a fee of 50$. Long-term visas are valid up to 150 days. Remember to bring two passport photos. On the application form, you must state that you enter Nepal as a TOURIST. You can download application forms from a Nepalese embassy in your home country. More details will be sent after enrolment.

What to bring
Mosquito repellent (those available in Nepal are often not very efficient)
Sun Tan/Sun Screen Lotion (the sun is very strong)
Shoes that can be washed (unpaved roads in rural areas get very muddy when it rains)
Comfortable clothes for working
Gloves
A hat to protect you from the sun
Mosquito net
Camera and film (or batteries for digital camera)
Flashlight
For the Anna Purna trekking:
Sleeping bag
Good, comfortable hiking shoes
Raincoat
Light clothing that allows you to put on/take off a layer depending on the weather.
It is a good idea to bring pictures of your family, friends and home country. One of the easiest ways to start a conversation for host families is to ask about your family at home. You can also bring gifts like toys, pens or other small objects for the children.

Before you go

It is a great challenge to live and work in a poor country. It requires courage and adaptability. Especially in the beginning it can seem overwhelming to adapt to new and foreign conditions and speak a new language.

Things are nothing like they are where you come from and people do not react as you would expect. The climate, the food, the atmosphere – everything is different. At your volunteer workplace you will be confronted with a harsh social reality and experience things a tourist could not imagine.
Participation in a volunteer work program demands maturity, flexibility, independence and a real desire to do volunteer social work. At the same time it is your chance to do a meaningful job and experience the adventure of your life.

Note
EXIS always strives to deliver the best service, also in Nepal, but do not expect European standards. The work is not planned as in Europe, with weekly charts and schedules. Your personal efforts are required to make everything function smoothly.

Useful reading
The Kathmandu Valley by Kerry Moran.
Mount Everest National Park: Sagarmatha Mother of the Universe by Margaret Jefferies.
The Royal Chitwan National Park by Margaret Jefferies and Hemanta Mishra.
Trekking in the Everest Region by Jamie McGuinness.
Trekking in the Annapurna Region by Bryn Thomas.
Insight Guides: Nepal by Hans Hofer.

Links
The official tourism website for Nepal: www.welcomenepal.com
A link to a video, made by one of our French volunteers who worked at an orphanage: http://www.dailymotion.com/

Extra excursions
Nepal is known for its many tourist attractions. We warmly advice you to take the time to join some of the following excursions organized by the local coordinator.

Chitwan Safari: 3 days – EURO 146
Annapurna Trekking: 7 days – EURO 486
Everest Trekking: 14 days – EURO 1360
Tibet tour: 8 days – EURO 1652 (subject to change!)
Pokhara trip: 4 days – EURO 155

You can also book excursions after arrival.
Fees are subject to change.
Ask [email protected] about detailed descriptions of excursions.

Sponsoring
EXIS sponsors an orphanage in Pokhara. This orphanage, run by a former trekking guide and his wife, lies on a hilltop in Sarangkot. The building is simply a shed, and yet there are 14 of the happiest children aged 2 to 15, who either are orphans or are from very poor families in remote mountainous areas in Nepal. According to the still prevailing caste system they all belong to the Dalit (lowest) caste.

You will be able to read more about this orphanage in the handbook you will receive after enrolment.

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