Nepal

Placement at a glance

Age 18yrs+
Volunteer options Choose from play and care work at childrens home or village teaching.
Support Pre-departure helpdesk, in-country coordinating team and 24hr emergency support
Project location Tropical village not far from large town with all basic facilities. Although it is possible to get into the town of Bharatpur, most volunteers spend their midweek with their hosts.
Accommodation Family home stay or shared volunteer accommodation. All meals available for £15 per week
Working hours Full time
Minimum stay 1 week
Project operates All year round
When to apply Spaces limited. Apply as early as possible.
Costs £145 per week (weeks 1 -2) extra weeks £85 & £125 (Registration to join OV which provides a year of volunteering without registering again)

Accommodation info

  • Shop 15 minutes Shop 15 minutes
  • Bars 15 minutes Bars 15 minutes
  • Chemist 20 minutes Chemist 20 minutes
  • Bus 5 minutes Bus 5 minutes
  • Taxis 5 minutes Taxis 5 minutes
  • Cash machine In town Cash machine In town
  • Bank In town Bank In town
  • Phone Booth 15 minutes Phone Booth 15 minutes
  • Internet 20 minutes Internet 20 minutes
  • Laundry provided with your stay small fee Laundry provided with your stay small fee

Basics, what to take?

  • Adaptor
  • Toiletries

More info

Volunteers are grouped together in Chitwan at one of two locations.

A small tourist resort and farm and at a children’s home, pictures below. Both are just about within walking distance of each other so volunteers can meet each day. Both sites are comfortable by Nepali standards but should still be considered basic. Meals are also available for all volunteers and is £15 per week, payable to your hosts.

Meet the project team

The team – Nepal

Your volunteer coordinator has over 12 years experience is working with hundreds of volunteers from all over the world each year.

Through the volunteer programme projects and community centres are supported all over Nepal. Not wanting to be left out of hands on project work, he and his wife manage a children’s home of their own. This is the starting point for most volunteers on arrival before heading off to their project.

The coordinator is supported by a team of 8 staff who collect volunteers at the airport, provide introductions, language lessons, organise and place volunteers around Nepal, make visits to volunteers at their placements and organising free time activities from treks to elephant rides.

The benefits of your local in-country team

What is a volunteer coordinator?

Every project has a volunteer coordinator. This is the person responsible for organising your volunteering and looking after your welfare needs during your stay and they are all English speaking.

What experience do volunteer coordinators have?

All our coordinators are local people with knowledge and experience gained over many years of supporting volunteers. They have a deep knowledge of their local community, providing an invaluable source of information.

9 in 10 coordinators at our destinations have between 5 – 7 years experience and 7 in 10 of our coordinators have supported more than a thousand volunteers each (current as of August 2013).

If they don’t know where to buy Parmesan cheese when the shops are shut, no one will!

Who are volunteer coordinators?

At some destinations the volunteer coordinator will also be the manager/director of the project you are volunteering if you are based in one location. Examples of manager/coordinator projects will be Kenya-Mombasa/Peru/Cambodia/South Africa/Argentina/Uganda/India.

Some destinations require an independent volunteer coordinator because there are many projects volunteers go to. Independent coordinators will organise a variety of placements at many different projects in the local community throughout your visit. He/she will liaise with all the projects/schools/hospitals on your behalf to organise schedules for your volunteer group. Examples of volunteer programmes are: Morocco/Ghana/Tanzania/Kenya-Masai/Malawi/Mexico-Merida/Ecuador.

Thailand and Nepal offer a mix of both.

Is there only one volunteer coordinator?

Coordinators have other staff supporting them, from drivers to housekeepers, and cooks and assistant coordinators.

Support team size varies between project type and time of year. The typical size of any support team will be 5 – 7. There may also be a long stay volunteer helping out

The Uganda school project had at last count 15 local staff supporting volunteers which ranged from security to water carriers!

What do coordinators do?

Airport pick up

Your in-country coordinator will organise your pick up and make sure you get to the volunteer house as smoothly as possible. If your coordinator does not meet volunteers from the airport, their trusted regular driver will be sent to meet you.

Liaise with local projects

If you are on a mixed volunteer programme (Morocco/Ghana/Tanzania/Kenya-Masai/Malawi/Mexico-Merida/Ecuador) your coordinator will be regularly liaising with the projects you will be going to today, this week and next, organising suitable times and communicating schedules to the volunteer group.

Help organise specific placements

Coordinators will also ensure that volunteers with special preferences eg. medical/building can get involved as fully as possible in their preferred area of work.

Show you around and help you to locate things

Need a Sim card? Want to buy some paintbrushes for an art session tomorrow? Speak to your coordinator – they will advise on where, how to get there and prices.

Provide an orientation on arrival

Your coordinator or their local team will provide an orientation on arrival of what’s where and how to get started. This may take the form of a more formal meeting for all new arrivals by your coordinator or through informal advice for new arrivals from staff, long stay volunteers, handouts, information on the noticeboard as per needs dictate.

This will usually include any important cultural awareness if this may affect your stay. For example bare tummies should be covered in Ghana for example otherwise the children won’t stop giggling!

Help you when things go wrong

We are often asked what happens when things go wrong. Your local team are the experts on getting you the help you need immediately. They have seen it all before (in a nice way) and are well experienced in looking after hundreds of volunteers each year with all the usual niggles from sunburn to upset tummies. Whether you need a doctor in the night for sickness or you want to try out a new project or move bedroom or volunteer house.

If you have remembered to print off your project contact details and leave them with family (these are sent before travel to all volunteers) – your family can also contact the coordinator directly. Or they can call us and we can put them in touch.

But if you need further assistance or advice we are here to help you. Contact us straightaway and we might be able to make the niggly issues go away.

For any country related crises which may occur which would require volunteers to return home, your coordinator and their team will ensure everyone is safely escorted to the airport or Embassy as per the advice provided by each volunteer’s government together with any additional support that may be required.

Help you when you feel unwell

Coordinators are the first port of call if you think you may need medical assistance. They will organise an escort to the local clinic/hospital and make sure you are well treated. They can also contact home and will be happy to speak to parents to explain how you are. If you are volunteering alone, they may also stay with you in the hospital or request that a member of their staff and a volunteer keep you company as it can be quite daunting to be in a foreign hospital, even if it is only an infected mosquito bite!

Most health problems are minor and with a day or two’s bed rest either at the volunteer house or the local hospital and plenty of water, most volunteers are back to their normal selves again.

While on the subject of hospitals – make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance to cover local medical bills and repatriation. In developing countries and where medical care is mostly private, it is not uncommon to be admitted into a private room for something which would be treated as an out-patient back home. Without insurance, hospital fees can be as much as £200 per day.

For doctors appointments when you only need a prescription, your coordinator will help you to locate the nearest doctor/clinic. For these it is often easier to pay on the spot and not claim on the insurance. Expect to pay approx. £5 – £15 per consultation and £5 – £20 for basic medication.

Organise excursions

Your coordinator knows all the best trips and best prices which volunteers over the years have participated on and recommended. If the options are not posted on a notice board ask your coordinator what is available and how to book. Typical prices across all destinations as a very rough guide: £30 – £40 for a day’s activity, £200 – £400 for a trek/budget safari for 3 – 5 days. Most volunteers go together in a group for more fun and get discounts. Additional trip discounts for volunteers are available in Ghana and Tanzania.

Return transfer back to the airport

Your coordinator can organise the return trip back to the airport for you, simply ask a few days before your flight. This is not automatically organised as many volunteers will have made friends and may leave the project a day or two earlier to sightsee before flying home, want to go shopping right up to the last minute or forget that the transfer was booked and have already jumped in a taxi!

Placement map

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Nepal placement details

Here’s everything you need to know about our volunteering placements in Nepal including how to get there, visa advice and what to do in your free time.


About the project

Nepal

Sublime, tropical scenery is what awaits you when you volunteer in Nepal. Volunteers here will be at the heart and soul of a small community and can really immerse themselves in the local way of life. Care for the children and organise activities at small, friendly childrens homes or teach English and organise activities at community centres.

Stay in awe-inspiring locations from the steamy tropical Chitwan region, to the grassy plains to the Himalayas. Volunteers spend free weekends to go on treks, elephant rides in the jungle or explore the tributaries via canoe. These can all easily be set up and booked for you by your co-ordinator.

 

 

Where is the project?

In Chitwan volunteers are placed at either the eco-lodge community school or the children’s home which are within easy reach of each other. Both experiences are equally engaging and offer ample opportunities to enhance the children’s experiences and memories.

What will I be doing?

At the children’s home, the children are aged between 6 and 13 years old. In the morning volunteers help the children get ready for school, getting bags ready and often walking with them or taking them to the bus stop. Whilst the children are at school there is plenty to do from keeping the garden and home tidy, weeding and watering the plants, mending clothes and planning free time activities with the children.

The children usually only attend school for half day so there is time after school to supervise homework and organise lessons of your choice and interest or outdoor activities in the large garden at the rear.

Volunteers at the eco-lodge close by teach at the little community school and focus on teaching simple English and basic Maths (adding up, taking away and basic words and phrases).

Even the most shy volunteers find their confidence grows quickly within a couple of days and often start helping new volunteers the best ways to teach the children from their own experience which is great to add to your skill set or CV.

We consider this project ideal if you…

  • Want a homely friendly placement off the beaten tourist track.
  • Want to care for, help with daily chores and play with children rather than just teach and organise. (For village volunteers – want an informal community teaching placement where anything goes!)


Do I need a visa?

No visa is required for British passport holders before arrival, this can be obtained on arrival at the airport in Kathmandu. Other nationalities should check with their nearest Nepalese Embassy/Consulate for requirements.

What happens on arrival?

Airport pick-up is provided from Kathmandu airport to where you will be staying for your first night’s stay in Kathmandu. 9 in 10 volunteers will be assisted on their way the following day to Chitwan (allow about £6 for the bus) unless you have told us beforehand you would like to volunteer elsewhere in Nepal.

Depending on your length of stay and level of confidence; informal training and orientation will be provided in Kathmandu, which may last for an afternoon or day or two.

Your hosts in Chitwan will help you organise a return transfer back to Kathmandu.

Are meals provided?

Meals can be provided at all locations for approximately £15 per week, this saves you having to worry about shopping and preparing meals.

It is possible to eat out, however previous volunteers have remarked that the meals are exactly the same if you eat out but you need to travel so it makes sense to eat with your hosts. Meals can be paid for after arrival on a weekly basis.

tab-nepal03

Some local people in Chitwan still use the river for getting around.

What is the accommodation like?

Accommodation is provided and arranged for you in Nepal. Volunteers usually live together, sharing dorm-style 2 to 4 sharing. If you are lucky you may have a room to yourself.

Facilities vary and may be very basic with cold water bucket style showers so bring any home comforts from home. Many volunteers take their own bedding and a pillow. Most basics that you cannot take with you from home can be bought in the local town of Bharatpur.

Will I have free time?

At the weekend, volunteers usually take excursions and sightseeing tours. The elephant centre and Chitwan National Park are on your doorstep. Other classic Nepal excursions are best added on before you leave Nepal and booked in Kathmandu with local adventure agencies or through the local support team. 

Will I be on my own?

We can Buddy you up with another volunteer going around the same time, just let us know at the time of booking. Also, you may like to create a profile on the travel buddy list and leave a comment on our main Facebook page too for others who may be thinking about a trip but have not yet booked, to contact you directly.

What happens if I book with a friend?

Let us know when you book if you are travelling with a friend so we can place you both at the same placement as spaces are limited in Chitwan.

Will there be other volunteers at the time of my visit?

Although some volunteers travel with friends, the bigger majority travel alone. Once in Nepal you will never truly be alone as you will be living alongside local people at both locations (childrens home and community school) who are always nearby and have looked after many volunteers over the years.

tab-nepal02

Volunteers and children at the childrens home in Chitwan

tab-nepal04

Children watch TV after school when they have finished their homework and volunteer activities

How can I protect my health in Nepal?

Malaria tablets are essential for a stay in Chitwan and need to be taken before, during and after travel to ensure adequate protection. You will also need to use a strong repellent and cover up at sunrise and sunset when the mosquitoes are more active. You may also need to have some boosters. Check with your GP or a travel health clinic for further advice or consult the NHS website FitForTravel which provides comprehensive advice.

At most placements, there is a doctor close by and a hospital should you need the use of one, your host family will help you with your transfer there.

What do I need to take for my stay?

You will need to take a summer weight sleeping bag for Chitwan placements, a mosquito net, and comfortable summer clothes with sandals or trainers suitable for walking and taking the children to and from school.

Some volunteers have recommended crocs or similar which dry out quickly (the grass can be wet in the morning and after the sun sets) and can be worn with socks on chilly mornings.

What do I need to take for volunteering?

For volunteers wishing to teach English it is a good idea to buy and bring some teaching books with ideas for activities in and any items you would like to use to teach English with.

Flash cards, pre-prepared number and alphabet bingo cards and anything else that may come in useful or be entertaining i.e. inflatable globe, alphabet posters, simple songs to sing along with on your i-pod (don’t forget to take speakers with you).

If you are new to teaching and don’t know where to start, check out our easy to follow guide on how to teach English, essential reading for budding TEFL teachers new to this exciting area of work.

Do I need to speak Nepalese?

No language skills are needed to be a successful volunteer in Nepal. It is preferable for the children that volunteers only speak in English to improve their language skills. A Nepalese phrasebook is a good idea for touring around in your free time and should provide you with all the basics you need.

If you are touring after your volunteering you may like to practice with the local support staff at the children’s home and community project when you can, they will love to hear their foreign guest speaking in their own language.

Is Nepal a safe country to visit?

Nepal is a friendly, small country. With less people and a still-dominant small scale agricultural economy it does not suffer the extreme challenges of its neighbour India to the south. It is not too large to be able to travel from tropical steaming jungle to the Himalayas within a couple of days. Nearly all volunteers stay in the South of the country in a region called Chitwan where there is a slower pace of life, in part due to the warmer climate where and everyone knows one another. Few visitors experience any problems and will feel at home here.

Will it be safe where I am staying?

Our volunteer programme places volunteers in a small community just outside of Bharatpur at either a community school or a childrens home which are within walking of each other. Both locations are experienced in looking after volunteers and will provide you with all the assistance you may need during your stay. However if you travel away at the weekends take sensible precautions, keep your belongings close, back up money hidden and handy and avoid flashing your wealth as many Nepalese still live on the poverty line.

The support team in Kathmandu can be easily reached by telephone at any time and for longer stay volunteers will often make visits to you at some point during your stay. If you choose a live – in placement the local staff will be your main source of support, and always around to help and give advice.


Free time in Nepal

Because volunteering takes place only when the children are not at school during the week and all other time is free, there is plenty of time and no excuses to see and experience more in Nepal!

Let us know before travel if there is anything you had in mind and we can let the local team know in advance.

nepal-freetime01

OV volunteer on elephant in Chitwan National Park. The national park and elephant centre is only a walk away from the project.

Chitwan National Park

Package £100

An organised tour into Chitwan National Park is an essential excursion for anyone visiting Nepal.
Situated in the southernmost region of Nepal, in a subtropical zone bordering India, it boasts 544 species of birds and 68 species of mammals. It is especially renowned for its rhinos, Bengal tigers and crocodiles.

A 3 day programme is available which includes elephant ride, canoe trip, Tharu tribe dance, jungle walk and elephant baby centre. Allow £100. Getting there: by bus, 2 hours, or shared taxi £15, 1 hour. Speak to your coordinator on arrival about organising a group visit.

Complete package £100.


nepal-freetime02

Paragliding in Pokhara. A great way to take in the scenery. Although only 1 in 5 volunteers make a weekend trip everyone recommends.

Weekend paragliding and trekking in Pokhara

Price £4

When you have Chitwan National Park under your belt, spend a weekend up in Pokhara (5 hours by bus, £3) and take advantage of the local sport paragliding.

Beginners welcome, fly with a guide in tandem. Average cost £45 per flight. Hotels in Pokhara £4. Combines well with an overnight trek in the area, approx £20.
Speak to your coordinator on arrival to help organise for you.

Price including bus to Pokhara £48.


nepal-freetime03

Devghat, a centre for Nepalese ritual retreat. Make a day trip few tourists will.

A unique glimpse of Nepal

Price from £1.30

Hidden away in the forest, Devghat is a fork in the river where elderly high-caste Nepalis come to spend their later years of life. Foreign visitors are rare, but those who come will enjoy the calm contemplative atmosphere. From 10 am observe Pilgrims from all over Nepal take part in ritual bathing, wedding rituals and Hindu cremetions.

Suitable for a day visit only as no lodging. There are a few snack stalls at the suspension bridge. Bus 1.5 hours, £1.30.


nepal-freetime04

Plenty of fun on your doorstep.

 

 

Closer to home

Price from £5

You do not need to travel far to experience the best of Chitwan. Within 25 minutes walk of your volunteer base, you can reach the river for Rapti for boat rides but watch out for the crocodiles! See elephants at Gadgai and reach the jungle’s edge.

Or why not hire a bicycle and go to the 20,000 Lake locally Bish Hazari). It is not a series of lakes but rather one large oxbow lake system of dense forests and wetlands, a perfect sanctuary for critically endangered species. Cost approx £5. 



What happens after you have booked?

  • As soon as you have booked with the once-only £125 registration fee (this covers one or more projects within a year), you will receive a welcome email confirming your booking and explaining in more detail how to get organised for you trip.
  • We will Buddy you up with another volunteer going to the volunteer programme in Nepal arriving around the same time so you should have a good chance to travel together if you wish to

Below is an example timeline for a volunteer travelling in July 2017 

  • At anytime : As soon as you have registered with us and received your confirmation email you can get return flights to Kathmandu. There are no fixed start dates but an arrival between Monday and Wednesday is recommended to settle in before the weekend. If you are travelling overland we will put you in touch with the local team to arrange a suitable meeting point/pick up. Skyscanner.net is the preferred flight search engine which you can also buy your flights from. There is no particular good time of day to arrive although it is nice to arrive during daylight hours to get a sense of your surroundings. Most volunteers stay their first night in Kathmandu with the programme director and his family before moving on to Chitwan the next morning on one of the earlier buses to beat the traffic. Occasionally a volunteer arriving on a super early flight before 7am may choose to take the bus the same day down to the project. This decision can be left until arrival to see how you feel after your flight.
  • Add yourself to the Buddy List to meet other volunteers, travel together or simply find a familiar face when you arrive.
  • Join the volunteer community on Facebook to see recent pictures from projects and other interesting stories and updates
  • April: contact your travel nurse or travel clinic to make appointments for jabs and boosters (for more information on what is typically recommended please refer to the NHS website fitfortravel). Anti- malarials are advised as most volunteers are placed in Chitwan in the subtropical south: http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/asia-%28east%29/nepal/nepal-malaria-map.aspx
  • June : Arrange suitable travel insurance – further advice is provided in your emailed welcome pack
  • No visa is required before travel for Nepal for UK passport holders, this is obtained on arrival at the airport in Kathmandu. If you require a visa – contact us if you require letters of introduction which we can prepare for you.
  • At anytime : pay for your weekly programme fees – we will send you an invoice by email to pay online – don’t worry we will send you a reminder if you forget!
  • We will organise your pick up and transfer from the airport automatically when we receive your flights.

Nepal at a glance

Nepal is home to both Everest and the breathtaking Himalayan Mountains aswell as steamy tropical jungles where this placement is based. The world’s highest (and still growing) peaks are twice the height of the Alps and dominate this small country and it’s way of life. Most Nepalese live far from a road and must travel by foot or mule to carry out their business. Here you will receive a smile and the greeting “Namaste!” from everyone you pass on the path.

Nepal has a rich culture and still has a king. Wherever you go in the country you will see evidence of Hinduism and Buddhism. There are monasteries, shrines, prayer flags and temples everywhere. An astounding diversity of animal life can also be found in Nepal, ranging from the Bengal tiger to rhinoceros and elephant. A weekend of activities can include jungle safaries, sightseeing tours of monasteries and temples, treks and even bungee jumping!

Climate

Climate: Nepal’s climate varies due to high altitude regions with tropical jungle regions where it is warm all year and where most volunteers are placed.

Time difference from UK: GMT +5.45hrs.

Nepal specific questions

Is experience needed?
No experience is needed to be a successful volunteer other than energy and enthusiasm to give anything a go and make friends with local people.

Where will I be staying?
Volunteers are placed in small village community on the edge of Bharatpur in the tropical Chitwan region south of Kathmandu. There are two locations in the village, a friendly childrens home and a little resort which provides a community school to local children. Volunteers are placed at one of the two centres which are about 20 minutes walk from each other.

What are the facilities like?
By Nepali standards, facilities at both locations are reasonable comfortable.

Are there any excursions available?
Your coordinating team can organise trekking throughout Nepal and elephant safaris for all volunteers, simply ask on arrival for the complete list of options.

What’s the typical length of stay?
Most volunteers will stay two weeks followed by independent backpacking or an organised trek. Shorter and longer stays also possible.

Will I need a visa?
Yes. Visas for UK/European passport holders are obtained on arrival at Kathmandu airport.

What are the start dates?
All volunteers are met on arrival regardless of your day and time of arrival although Mon to Wed is recommended so you can settle straight in. Most volunteers on arrival stay overnight in Kathmandu to receive an orientation and briefing before you head off to Chitwan. This is organised for you.

Can I stay with my friend?
Everyone is placed together.

I am worried about travelling on my own – can I buddy up with someone?
We can help you find someone to travel together – use our Buddy List or pop us a message on the main Facebook Group and we’ll add you to our weekly round up of travel buddies.

Will I need any jabs?
You will require some jabs and boosters. Malaria tablets essential for the Chitwan region. We advise to consult your trained travel health nurse a few weeks before travel for up to date advice (Taken from the nhs website fitfortravel 21/08/13).

Do I need to bring anything for the children?
Sports equipment and art and craft materials will be much appreciated whether based at the community school or at the childrens home.

Should I bring anything for me?
Bring a mix of holiday clothes and smart casual clothes. Cargo pants/loose trousers/long skirt and t-shirt. Volunteers staying for a few weeks often feel comfortable wearing Nepalese clothes when they are in Chitwan, always a good sign you have settled in!

How can I keep in touch with home?
Internet access is available in Bharatpur which can be easily reached.


Contact us for specific questions

We are always happy to answer any questions you may have. We pride ourselves in the vast knowledge of our projects and are always willing to share. Give us a call for a quick chat on 01603 859822 or email [email protected] to get the answers you need!

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