We are excited to get your placement under way where you will:
Just choose a project and apply:
Do you have a warm heart for children and a desire to impact their lives? Then our Nepal Children’s Homes program is just what you’re looking for. Located within a 90 minute bus ride from the heart of Kathmandu, your main role is to be a ‘big brother’ or ‘big sister’ to the children.
When the children return from school, you’ll be busy encouraging them with their homework, organizing games, playing with the children, and just ‘hanging out’ together. You could also help the older children to develop skills that would help them in later life such as paper making, sewing, or maintenance work.
While the children are at school, there are a range of other activities that you can be involved in - these will be introduced to you during the training process in Nepal.
Within Nepal, it is becoming much more of a requirement for job placement, educational advancement, and future success to have English skills and a good, overall education. If you have a good command of written and spoken English, plenty of initiative, determination, motivation and patience then you can be instrumental in teaching to those keen to learn. (You don’t need any formal teaching qualifications for this program.)
You could be teaching community members, kids in children’s homes and/or in a classroom. Teaching / Education volunteers must commit to a minimum 6 week programme, although the longer you are able to give the greater the impact you will have and the more your students will benefit. For placements outside of the Kathmandu Valley, priority will be given to those with the longest placement commitment.
This is an opportunity to help in a wide range of practical village-based projects. The projects volunteers work on are usually for unskilled labour, unless volunteers come with specific skill sets. It can be a whole load of humping, dumping and digging! All work is completed 'Nepali style' - which means by hand! - with basic Nepali tools.
Projects are usually decided upon in consultation with local communities, but you can use your initiative to suggest projects of your own. Projects are usually partly funded by the communities and partly by our partner organisation and/or volunteer contributions. It is essential that you are sensitive to the needs and wishes of the local community.
Please note that this work has minimal supervision, and we encourage all volunteers to help out on these projects. Often you'll also work alongside villagers, learning about traditional methods of building and working.
Example projects include; school repair and decoration, toilet building, drinking water projects, road drainage projects, recycling projects, stove building, and construction work on our partner organization’s own children's home.
If you are interested, you can also take more of an environmental education focus by informing children about appropriate waste disposal, recycling, composting, and creating vegetable and flower gardens in the children’s homes.
Our cultural exchange programme is for those who don’t want to be tied to anyone programme, but want to experience Nepal in a deeper and more meaningful way than just coming for a holiday. It will be up to you to get whatever it is you want from your exchange. Each and every person who signs up for this programme does so for very different reasons, and that is why we let you explore in the way that best suits you.
As a cultural exchange volunteer you will live with a Nepali family, living as they do to the beat of Nepali time. You will have the opportunity to explore and get to know the community you are living with, engage with them in their day to day lives, help out in the house and fields, celebrate their festivals and get a first hand understanding of life here in Nepal.
Given that this is a cultural exchange, you will also be expected to share a little of your culture and customs, enabling both sides to see how different lives can be lived in a non judgmental way and that each should be cherished for what they give, as they are just two different lifestyles in a world of differences, no one better than the other. You will also be able should you wish, to get involved in our other programmes, as long as your presence doesn’t impact on incumbent volunteers.
Home stay programs can be arranged for two or four weeks only, with the most culturally rich time for this programme is during the months of September – November when Nepal’s two greatest festivals are celebrated, Dashain and Tihar.
For many of us Nepal conjures up images of immense snow-capped mountains. Indeed, eight of the world's eight-thousanders lie in Nepal, making it a mountaineers dream. Bordered by the majestic Himalayas, Nepal is a land of spectacular scenery, time-worn temples, and some of the best walking trails on earth. The country is sandwiched between India to the south and Tibet to the north. Until recently it was the only Hindu Kingdom in the world, Nepal has now moved into a new era of democracy and a secular society.
Nepal has more to offer though, than just the high Himalayas. Small as the country may be, the land is diverse geographically as well as ethnically. You will find rich cultures and vibrant traditions, exquisite temples and monuments as well as fast flowing rivers and tropical jungles teeming with wildlife, making your trip an unforgettable one. It is a country where people of different races and religions live in relative harmony.
Nepal is a developing country emerging from a decade-long conflict and is considered one of the poorest countries in the world. Very few westerners, apart from explorers and climbers, ever visited Nepal until the 1970s. Although there are parts of the capital and the larger cities that appear modern, most of Nepal is a very traditional society that depends on subsistence farming, although tourism provides significant income in some areas.
Development in the country is difficult largely due to an unstable government; however mountainous terrain and the growing population are also contributing factors. Almost half the population lives in poverty with nearly three quarters being illiterate. The life expectancy is approximately 63 years of age. This is due mainly to the limited health services available in the country.
Volunteers provide greatly needed assistance to disadvantaged socio-economic groups within Nepali communities, focusing primarily on displaced, destitute, and orphaned children.
As a volunteer in Nepal you can provide love, affection, education and support to orphaned children. You will help to improve their living facilities allowing them to be self sufficient and providing a safe and secure environment in which they can flourish. You and also provide education, inter-cultural exchange and understanding in Nepalese communities.
Visitors to Nepal will be amazed by the variety of sights and activities available – there’s something for everyone.
Visit Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, a palace in the traditional heart of the old town, or the Swayambhunath stupa `Monkey Temple,' try to catch a glimpse of a rhino or tiger in Chitwan National Park or take the opportunity to trek some of the most beautiful mountain ranges on earth. Hiking the Annapurna Circuit offers striking scenery while the Everest Base Camp trek offers a fantastic personal challenge.
If your application is successful you will accepted and we will then get to work organizing your placement. You don't have to pay us anything at this stage. (We are the only volunteer organization which begins preparation for your placement before any funds are paid). It is an honor for us to do this as you have chosen GVN and the communities we serve for your volunteer work and after you have chosen to "Join Us" we will send further detail on your placement with information on how to prepare for your trip abroad, including:
Placements longer than 8 weeks are available, please contact us or apply online for details.
*Based on an 8 week placement
Flights, insurance, visas, vaccinations, dinner for three nights during orientation, as well as any food or accommodation when taking a break from your host family.
We recommend you allow a weekly budget of at least US$ 20 for your other expenses like bottled water, personal items, beverages, and entertainment. Living in a village is relatively inexpensive compared to most western countries.
Apply now for the Nepal Program:
Start Date: 2 start dates per month (usually the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month, but this varies depending on public holidays and other factors).
Length: From 2 weeks – 5 months
During this time, there are alternative initiatives volunteers can be involved in, including:
Festivals: September - November
We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions which we receive at the GVN inbox. This is a great place to start if you have questions about Global Volunteer Network and our placement process. This information should answer the majority of questions you may have.
For many of us Nepal conjures up images of snow-capped mountains. Indeed, eight of the world's 14 eight-thousands lie in Nepal, making it a mountaineer's dream. Bordered by the magnificent Himalayas, Nepal is a land of spectacular scenery, time-worn temples, and some of the best walking trails on earth. The country is sandwiched between India to the south and Tibet to the north. Until recently it was the only Hindu Kingdom in the world, Nepal has now moved into a new era of democracy and a secular society.
But Nepal has more to offer than just the high Himalayas. Small as the country may be, the land is diverse geographically as well as ethnically. You will find rich cultures and vibrant traditions, exquisite temples and monuments as well as fast flowing rivers and tropical jungles teeming with wildlife, making your trip an unforgettable one. It is a country where people of different races and religions live in relative harmony. For more information we suggest you purchase the Lonely Planet's guide to Nepal.
Nepal's climate is typically monsoonal with a wet and dry season. The dry season runs from October through to May with the monsoon season lasting the rest of the year. April through to the start of June is the hottest time of the year and the temperature in Kathmandu often reaches into the high 30s (Celcius). During the winter temperatures can still be as high as 20C in the sun, but beware of near freezing conditions once night falls. Even though Nepal is well known for the snow capped Himalayan mountain range it rarely actually snows in the Kathmandu Valley. Having said this, during February 2007 snow fell in the Valley for the first time in 62 years! You should be aware that if you are trekking at altitude you may experience very cold temperatures even during the summer months. We suggest you conduct thorough research into temperatures at altitude and the risks involved with trekking at altitude. For climate statistics, please refer to the following link: http://www.worldclimate.com.
Volunteering opportunities in the Nepal program are in teaching English, children's homes (orphanages), community maintenance, and homestays/cultural exchanges.
Placements are determined during your training under consultation with the program manager so that requests and specific needs can be met with regards to both the volunteer and the needs of the community. As the situation in the country is constantly changing and placement opportunities also change, it is best to discuss your placement preferences during your training period. Specific information regarding placements in each childrens' home will only be discussed once your training has begun. Please note that this information cannot be given prior to training.
Depending on where in Nepal you will be visiting you may require different vaccinations. Currently placements are only inside Kathmandu Valley. Make sure you consult a travel doctor as they will be able to advise you on what vaccinations you require for your travels. They will also be able to advise which vaccinations are suitable if you are pregnant of have allergies (we do not recommend volunteering during pregnancy). Another good source of information is the CIWEC travel clinic in Nepal: http://www.ciwec-clinic.com
Listed below are vaccinations recommended for your Nepal experience. It is important to get on to this as soon as possible as some injections need to be done with a certain amount of time prior to leaving home.
Accommodation during training and whilst on placement is covered by your program fee. Days one and two of training will be in a local guesthouse which is located in Thamel. All of the rooms have 'western style' toilets and hot water showers. A telephone is available in reception, a safe is available to keep valuables secure, and meals are available from the dining room. Depending on availability, during training you will either have a single room or you may have to share a room with a same-sex volunteer.
For phase two of training the volunteer group will move to a local village to provide volunteers with an orientation into Nepali village life. Volunteers are placed individually into local host families, unless they specifically request to be placed with another volunteer.
During your placement you will live with local host families near to where you will work.
Generally, during training and placement you will have access to electricity and running water. Morning tea and lunch are provided during the first phase of training. During phase two of training and your placement two main meals per day, a snack and tea are provided. When living with a host family you will also be provided with filtered or boiled drinking water.
You are encouraged to take breaks during your volunteer stay, however be aware that our partner organisation has strict rules which must be adhered to in order to ensure sustainability and continuity to the programs.
Volunteers wishing to take a break during placement must inform a member of VSN staff of their plans at least 10 days before the start date of their requested break period. Once finalised, volunteers must complete their leave request form and hand it in to a member of staff. This will ensure enough time to organise for another volunteer to cover your placement, if necessary, while you are away.
Volunteers also have the option of not paying their host family for their room while they are on a break. If the host family is not paid during the break, volunteers will be able to extend their length of placement by the amount of time they take off (ie if the volunteer takes 3 weeks off and elects to not pay the host family, they can extend their placement by 3 weeks at no additional cost). If the host family is not to be paid, then the volunteer will need to remove all their belongings from the home.
If you are a short term volunteer (6 weeks or less), given the above information, it is advisable that you schedule any trips you intend to take whilst in Nepal either prior to training (on the 1st of the month) or at the end of your placement.
Long term volunteers (6 weeks or more) should plan to be in placement for at least two weeks before scheduling in a break.
It is expected that volunteers take into consideration the situation within their placements when deciding on dates for taking a break (ie there may not be another volunteer available to cover your placement whilst on an extended break or children may need extra help with exams, homework, etc). Our priority is continuity of all programs and care of the children.
Volunteers will need to purchase a visa at the airport as well as have funds for snacks and other personal expenses. If on a tight budget volunteers can limit their entertainment spending and live simply but comfortably on US$100 per month (on top of the money paid for their in-country fee).
Volunteer safety is our primary concern. Please rest assured that if our partner in Nepal, at any time thought it unsafe for volunteers to be in Nepal they would close down their operation until such time as it was deemed safe for volunteers to return. The situation in Nepal does change on a daily basis and we can put you in touch with current volunteers once you have been accepted into the program.
As with any country we recommend that you do not travel alone late at night. We strongly recommend that you avoid political gatherings, demonstrations, and protests.
We highly recommend that you register with your Embassy or Consulate prior to travelling. This can be done online or in person.
You will be given a volunteer identity card and emergency contact numbers during training, it is a good idea to carry these with you at all times. Program staff will be available via mobile phone 24 hours a day for genuine emergencies.
On 21 April 2006, following weeks of nationwide violent street demonstrations by the political parties and the Maoists, the King handed over power to the political parties. The Parliament convened on 28 August 2006 and a new Prime Minister, G P Koirala was sworn in to office on 30 April 2006. The 18th of May 2006 was the historic day when the House of Representatives declared the people as sovereign and the sole source of state authority forever. History has been changed. Nepal is no longer a Hindu Kingdom but a secular state, with the fate of the monarchy in the hands of the people. The Cabinet appointed the army chief and the Royal Nepalese Army is now the Nepal Army.
The Government of Nepal and the Maoists signed a peace agreement on 21 November 2006, thereby officially ending 11 years of conflict in the country. Both sides have agreed to a UN monitored permanent ceasefire. The situation in Kathmandu and elsewhere in Nepal has improved. However, it is too early to say how the peace agreement will affect the security situation in the country.
Mostly peaceful demonstrations continue to occur, but you should be aware that some demonstrations have suddenly turned violent. You are therefore strongly advised to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings and remain vigilant at all times.
We recommend that you research the situation further. Up to date information is available at Nepalnews.com
This depends on how many people volunteer at any one time. Usually there are between 5 and 10 volunteers starting training together, however, it is common for volunteers who started with the program in previous months to still be in placement when you arrive, so there could be as many as 20 volunteers in country in any one month. Please note that due to variation in volunteer numbers, we are unable to confirm the number of volunteers until closer to your placement start date.
Teaching resources are limited in all teaching placements, so if you have your own that you think may be appropriate, discuss this with our partner via email to see if you should bring them. Most likely anything you have will be of help.
Our partner is a non-profit, non-government organisation (NGO). They are registered with the District Administration Office of Lalitpur (Registration Number: 151.061.062) and the Social Welfare Council (Affiliation Number: 17478). They have been operating since March 2003.
They work with Nepali communities to ensure the overall welfare of Nepali children through an international volunteer program. The primary issues they address through volunteering include English literacy, community maintenance, health education and disease prevention, sanitation issues, and the overall welfare of displaced, destitute and orphaned children.
Their mission statement is: To work within communities to empower them and to make them self sufficient for their brighter future.
Depending on how long you are volunteering for, training can run for a maximum of 5 days in length. It is broken into two phases with phase one being based in Thamel and the second phase based in a local village. You will at all times in the training be with other volunteers in the same position as yourself. Training topics include:
Training ends at approximately 3:00pm during phase one, leaving you with free time in which you may wish to explore your surroundings, go shopping, or meet up with current volunteers. Please note that training days can be exhausting, especially if you only arrive the day before it starts.
Volunteers are welcome to join a program with their partners, children, siblings, and friends. To do so will entail all persons formally joining the program. Those who wish to be located in the same placement will need to be flexible about which program they do. As placements vary from month to month it cannot be guaranteed you will be placed in the program of your choice if you want to be placed with another person in particular.
You can purchase your visa (US$25 for the first 15 days, US$40 for a 30 day visa and US$100 for a 90 day visa) at Tribhuvan International Airport when you arrive in Nepal, if you have not already purchased it from a Nepalese Embassy in your own country. Tourist visa extensions are US$30 for 15 days. You can stay for a total maximum of 150 days per calendar year in Nepal.
All GVN Volunteers must have insurance. You are free to take out insurance cover through any provider of your choice. However, as some policies do not cover volunteering, we recommend you check you are covered during your volunteer placement.
For your convenience we have arranged a comprehensive package specially designed for volunteering. It includes excellent medical and accident coverage as well as “loss of deposits” cover which covers fees paid to GVN, airlines etc. If you would like to learn more just follow this link: http://www.globalvolunteernetwork.org/insurance/
Each GVN program has different criteria depending on our partner's requirements. Every application is reviewed to ensure that the minimum requirements (as set out on the program page) are met. Next we look to see what skills or experience you have that relate specifically to the program. We are also interested in any previous volunteer experience you may have (either local or international), travel experience, and your particular interest in the program.
After reviewing your application, should we require any further information from you, we will email you to request this.
You can volunteer at any time of the year in Nepal. The Teaching English Program can be disrupted at various times throughout the year as schools close due to festivals, exams, holidays and strikes. We ask that volunteers in the Teaching English Program have a second choice of program for these times or consider combining two programs. For instance you, may be based in a local children's home but also teach at a nearby school when classes are running. You may also like to consider teaching in an informal setting within the Children's Home Program, many children need additional assistance with school work.
During school holidays, you are able to initiate activities (optional), such as:
There are many festivals throughout the year which can interrupt all programs however, festivals are also a wonderful opportunity to see a special part of the Nepali culture.
Your program fee is payable to Global Volunteer Network 10 weeks prior to the 1st of the month you wish to volunteer. Please note, your placement is not confirmed (ie secured) until your program fee has been received. Please note that all charges incurred by the payment of the program fee are at the volunteer’s expense, e.g. if a bank transfer incurs a bank fee at the point of origin, that is at the expense of the volunteer. Seventy percent (70%) of the program fee is refundable until two calendar months before the 1st of the month you are due to begin your program. For example a volunteer with 15 July 2012 as their start date would need to submit their refund request form by the last day of April 2012 to be eligible for a refund. Refer to GVN's legal terms of service for full details.
Yes, all volunteers in this program will be required to provide a police clearance document. This is because volunteers will be working closely with children and other vulnerable individuals. To obtain a police clearance you will need to contact your local police station to find out what their procedure is. Normally, you will be asked to complete an application form authorizing the check to be done, pay a fee and a few weeks later the check will arrive in the mail. A copy of your police clearance will need to be sent to GVN before your placement begins and you will need to take the original with you when you volunteer.
Saturday, October 13th, 2012
This is my first journal entry and today I’m dealing with some serious first-world problems, such as how many scarves to pack and should I take my laptop to Nepal… hmmm, let’s put this into perspective. I am involved with GVN or Global Volunteer Network, and have signed up for a four week health [click here to read more]
Sunday, July 31st, 2011
Hey, Not long left now, last day. On Friday me and bree got up and went to the orphanage and helped the kids with there homework and played with them then served them dhall batt and walked them to the bus, then went back to our host families for dhall batt, then at around 10am [click here to read more]
Thursday, July 28th, 2011
Hey, On Tuesday we set off back to the orphanage after breakfast but the place where we change buses is actually called patan where the 3rd durbar square I located, we’d been to the one at bhaktapur and thamel so decided we’d go there so went there and looked around the amazingly beautiful temples and [click here to read more]
Please visit journals.globalvolunteernetwork.org for more journals and feedback from past volunteers
Volunteers for this program must:
Training takes place during the first 5 days of the month, with volunteers being placed on the 6th. It will be divided into two phases, two days for the first phase and three days for the second phase which is held at a local village.
Phase One: The first two days will be spent with other volunteers in accommodation in Kathmandu area. During this time volunteers will be provided with six hours of training per day. The training will include:
Phase Two - This is an orientation into Nepali village life to prepare volunteers for their placement. The volunteer group will move to a local village and during this phase, each volunteer will stay with a host family while continuing their Nepali language classes, observing the village culture and getting a general feel for the village lifestyle and the local food.
Upon completion of both phases of training, and once you have been given and settled into your placement, long term volunteers have to option of having a break. During this time volunteers are encouraged to take advantage of Nepal's natural beauty by going trekking, rafting, visiting wildlife parks etc. There are basic rules our partner organisation asks you to adhere to when it comes to breaks in the volunteer program, but if volunteers wish to take time away from their placement at any stage, this can be arranged. For short term volunteers (6 weeks or less) we ask that you arrange your sightseeing time either before or after your volunteering time.
When volunteers return from their break they go directly back to their placement.
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"Hello, Colin, I just came back from my placement in Chitwan, I am in Kathmandu organizing my holidays in Tibet.
Chitwan was great, an incredible experience, the family was amazing."
"I spent two weeks in Nepal and came back 2/3 weeks ago - I had a great time thank you, I was extremely sorry to leave!"
“GVN was amazing in their level of attention to my needs. Each volunteer coordinator that I dealt with was knowledgeable, friendly, considerate, helpful and calming.”
Just writing to say, I've been here a week and am loving it. The orientation is great, and from what the other voluunteers have said Bistachat is the most peacefull village they have been to.
Thanks for the great suggestion,
"It feels like it was all a dream. Then I look back on the pictures taken from my time there and still can't believe that I did all that. My experience of the journey in Nepal was amazing. Something that I'll always remember and actually am considering doing volunteer service of this nature on an annual basis. It was the people, the children and [the] staff that made my experience an incredible one. Also, I want to take this opportunity to thank you and your team for all your assistance as well. I look forward to our next journey to make the world a better place for humanity."
Many volunteers return home after their placement with fond memories, stories of adventure and an armful of souvenirs. Astrid Charra from Geneva however says she returned home with the greatest treasure of all - a husband! On 28th May 2008, Astrid Charra and Ed Carr, GVN Nepal Volunteers, tied the knot at Manakamana Temple in Bistachaap,...
I recently spent six weeks volunteering at a Children's Home in Nepal. It was something that I had wanted to do years and after a friend had a very inspirational experience in a Children's Home in Rwanda, I felt it was my time to take the plunge. I had no idea what to expect from the volunteer experience or the country and the message from the...
She never imagined she would have a hand in knitting over 700 beanies for children she would never meet. But once Carol Pringle started, she just couldn't stop! Carol Pringle is the New Zealand woman leading an army of knitters who are dedicated to providing children in need with warm woollies for winter. GVN's Lauren McMahon interviewed Ms...
There are plenty of options in the world of ‘voluntourism’, as it is often called, that can have a profound impact on a young volunteers life. Pro Bono Australia journalist, Ryan Witcombe writes about his year of volunteering in developing countries. In 2005 I did something that had a profound...
My roommate Krishna and I got out of our cab into a quickly darkening street in a smallish town just outside the city. I stood and looked around at the shabby-looking concrete buildings while he leaned in through a window and paid our driver, who had seemingly decided to renegotiate his price after delivering us. When that business was...
As the rains finally disappear from the sky and the days are clear and hot, Nepal is slowly getting back to normal after its greatest festival Dashain, which involves 10 days of feasting and celebration with friends and family, and worshiping the Godess Durga and the triumph of good over evil. It is Nepal’s equivalent of Christmas with new clothes for everyone, special food and an excuse to go back to the village and spend time with the ones you love and rarely get to see.
Having said that, the festival season isn’t over yet, with Tihar or the Festival of Lights just ahead of us (also known as Diwali), which results in the country being transformed into a twinkling spectacle, as each evening every household lights up their premises either with fairy lights or candles. The locals also indulge in a form of carol singing, as they go from house to house, singing and dancing in return for money and treats. This is a truly joyous and magical time in Nepal and an amazing opportunity to immerse oneself in the culture and join the people of Nepal in their celebrations.
So other than feasting, celebrating and generally having fun, what else is happening over here at the moment?
Well our Children’s Homes volunteers are being kept extremely busy entertaining the children in their placements while they enjoy a months holiday from school. Activities galore are being planned and implemented, with everything from talent shows, to long walks, visiting friends, learning to ride new bicycles, craft activities, kite flying, ping swinging (a ping is a traditional Dashain swing made from bamboo and rope), badminton and endless games of football. Where they get their energy from (both children and volunteers) is a mystery, but much fun is had by all. VSN is currently working with four children’s homes, all in the Kathmandu Valley. Our own two, Brighter Future and Shining Stars Children’s Homes, both located in rural settings about 20km from central Kathmandu and then two in Kathmandu itself, Paradise, home to 12 beautiful and spirited children and also a new home to VSN, known affectionately as Samakushi from its location, as its proper name is long and complicated, which has about 10 tiny weenies aged from approximately 18 months upwards.
Our Community Maintenance volunteers have been doing an amazing job working on the external landscaping of our new Shining Stars home. The old store shed now has a new temporary roof, the painting of the front gate is almost finished; holes have been dug, posts concreted and new fencing panels erected for the missing sections of the boundary fence and the drive outside the property, levelled and concreted in order that it doesn’t turn into a quagmire during the rainy season. There are still lots of small jobs needing completing before we can say the home is finally finished, and up and coming CM volunteers will continue to work on these until they are completed.
Our Teaching English volunteer has had a well earned rest over the holiday period as all her students have returned home or gone to visit friends and family over the festival season. But as soon as Tihar is over, it’ll be back to the blackboard at the Thendup Adult Literacy Centre in Boudha on the outskirts of the city. Our new home in Samakushi also offers teaching opportunities in a nursery school run from the home, as well as in the ladies adult literacy classes it holds. The current volunteers are really looking forward to doing creative learning with the children as well as helping the ladies in the adult class improve their English skills once things get back to normal.
As for our Health Education volunteers. They have been working with the children at the homes they have been placed at, ensuring basic health and hygiene practices are being maintained. They have also had the opportunity to hang out with our Nepali doctor, Dr Bipin and see first hand what goes on day to day in a Nepali hospital (certainly a big eye opener!) as well as working with him on the monthly health checks that are performed at all of the homes we support each month. On top of this they are also working with our Health & Volunteer Coordinator to develop the health programme further with a view to rolling out a series of basic health and hygiene and simple first aid workshops to different community groups. There is also great scope with the new Samakushi home to create and run health fun days for the kids, teaching them best practice in order to keep them healthy and happy.
So as you can see, there is no rest for the wicked over here with something happening all the time! Even once the kids are back at school and the old routines running like clockwork once again, there is still a massive requirement for volunteers to support our projects over here, to help improve the lives of the children we support and to spread that help to other communities where there is also a desperate need.
All of our projects are based within the KTM Valley, some in rural locations some urban, but each, regardless of which, will give you an amazing insight into the real Nepal, enable you to connect with the people in a way that tourists just cant and most important of all, give you the opportunity to touch the lives of those must less privileged than yourself and to give back in a positive and productive way. By volunteering with us in Nepal, you will be helping us to fulfil our mission statement by "Helping Others to Help Themselves".
When I read up on Nepal in the months leading up to my stint as a volunteer, I discovered a swamp of cliché-riddled travel literature. Travel agency websites promised pristine mountain air, books promised a land of colorful cultures living in harmony, and bloggers promised cities where every step felt like a journey through time. As great as each of those things seemed, the reality is significantly more nuanced, and more beautifully complex than the brochures let on.
Nepal is in many ways like a small boat trying to traverse the raging sea of history and politics. The cultural influence of India is so ubiquitous as to appear invisible, while the political climate speaks of aspirations to China's revolutionary successes. But as a volunteer these were not necessarily the sorts of things which were first apparent for me, and even today they are often overshadowed by the "small wonders" that are to be found at every corner.
The beautifully misspelt sign on a drinks factory which urges oblivious passers-by to "quench your thrust with trust." The newspaper's business page which lists, instead of various stocks, the price of fruits and vegetables for the day. The stray dogs who nap in every available gutter and nook. The stray cows who back up traffic while they cross the road at their unhurried pace. The expensive stores in the shopping mall which hang limes and peppers above their door as a traditional ward against theft. The cinema with its intermission, during which theatre employees circulate with menus to take orders for food for the second half. The numerous misunderstandings at restaurants, like receiving mayonnaise instead of Marinara sauce, or pizzas piled high with carrot, cauliflower, rice, and drowned in ketchup. The more fundamental misunderstandings of purpose that lead to unique restaurants themselves: the food court where one is seated, brought menus from each stall, and waited on, springs to mind.
But these small wonders are just fodder for cute anecdotes when you arrive home. The real rewards are in engaging with Nepal, and Nepali people as a volunteer. I spent some time at the children's homes, playing and dancing during festival time, talking to the kids, learning about their lives, and answering their questions about my own home. Most of my time was spent in the Kathmandu suburb of Boudha, where I was placed to teach English. Here too, there are rich social and cultural rewards for volunteerism. A myriad of different people come to learn English for a dozen different reasons, and they are all amazing to talk to. I even made friends with some of the monks who attended my class, and there is nothing quite like visiting monasteries, other holy sites and even a driving range with my maroon-robed friends. Even besides my students, I have become friends with shop-keepers and shoe-shiners, and found myself embedded in a social network of Nepali men and women who go for tea every afternoon.
Air in the city is never fresh. The harmony between the colorful cultures of Nepal has been exaggerated. History fades into the background more and more with every footfall. But even so, I realize that the travel agencies did not lie: they simply failed to betray the most exciting reality of all. Nepal, with all of its complexities, contradictions, and confusion, is a real place filled with real people who have real problems. People can come here, and make new friends, and as a volunteer they can make their small-but-significant contribution toward the solution of some of Nepal's problems.
But I guess if you put all of that on a brochure, there wouldn't be much room for pictures!
Dec 10 – Feb 11
At GVN we align with the idea of 'local solutions to local problems', so we work with local community organisations in each country. What this means for our volunteers is that they receive a unique and genuine cultural experience whilst being immersed in a local community.
Volunteering abroad could be the very thing for YOU!
If you're looking for something worthwhile to do volunteering will give you the opportunity to travel whilst making a difference in the community you are based in.
Did you know taking a Gap Year can improve your college admission chances and success rate during your studies?
"Harvard College encourages admitted students to defer enrolment for one year to travel, pursue a special project or activity, work, or spend time in another meaningful way" – Harvard College Office of Admissions, 2010.
International volunteering is a great way to gain experience living in a developing country, learning about another culture and experiencing a different way of life. It is a fantastic way to grow as a person, to develop life skills, self-confidence and self-esteem, and is a tool for self discovery and identity formation.
Other personal benefits include, developing international friendships and networks, social awareness, and building independence.
Volunteering can increase your employability, help you to gain valuable work experience and enhance your CV/resume.
"Going to a foreign country for a volunteer experience is a huge boost on a resume. Employers love to see a person that can think outside the box and work past their comfort zone. The added benefits of teamwork, foreign language knowledge, and plain old hard work also add polish to the volunteer candidate. Since business now happens on a global scale, the volunteer is armed with useful, and potentially actionable, information." – USA Today, 2010.
The Global Volunteer Network (GVN) is a New Zealand Charitable Trust (non-profit NGO) based in Wellington, New Zealand. Our Charitable incorporation number is: CC46460. GVN has been verified and approved by Idealist (the largest volunteer portal on the internet. GVN is also a member of the World Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (WANGO), and our ‘sister’ organization the GVN Foundation has been granted special consultative status on the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Prestigious web sites such as Lonely Planet and Goabroad.com have placed web links to us. Additionally, when you apply, we can provide you with contact information for previous volunteers if you wish. GVN is also an approved member of the Site Trust Network and you can view our verification page.
Bill Gates personally recommended GVN by stating "I'd love to see more young people taking action to help the poor and disadvantaged. Two places to get started are Network for Good and Global Volunteer Network." Newsweek Web
To give you peace of mind, GVN has over eight years experience and has placed 13,500+ volunteers since 2002. Read volunteer's journals and testimonials or speak to a returned volunteer directly about their experience abroad through GVN.
GVN’s specialist staff provide personal support to volunteers, assisting not only with preparation for your placement, but whilst in-country, and follow-up on return home. GVN provides comprehensive Program Guides, project resources (eg teaching resources).
GVN aligns with the idea of 'local solutions to local problems', therefore we work with local community organisations in each country. We believe that local communities are in the best position to determine their needs, and we provide volunteers to help them achieve their goals.
CNN listed the Global Volunteer Network as one of 10 organizations that can help you to make a positive impact on the world around you. CNN encourages you to visit our website to get more details on how you too can Be The Change.
GVN offer an insurance package tailored specifically for volunteers. Partner's staff are always available (24hr/7days), along with this GVN also has a 24hr/7day emergency hotline.
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