Some quick answers to common questions about volunteering in Nepal.
Do I need teaching experience?
No. Teaching or tutoring experience is helpful but not required. You do need an open mind, lots of patience, and a healthy sense of humor.
What will I do as a volunteer in Nepal?
Volunteers teach beginner’s English and reading to our students, who range in age from 5 to 13. Typically, the children are most interested in hearing stories and learning different rhymes and songs.
Apart from English instruction, volunteers are welcome to lead other activities, such as arts and dance. Previous volunteers have come to Nepal with ideas for hands-on activities that make learning fun, like Apple Day and lessons about brushing teeth and cleaning up the community.
You should expect to be at school for 4 to 5 hours each day, 5 days a week. (School’s actually in session 6 days a week.) The rest of the day is yours. In the past, volunteers have enjoyed learning the routines of village life.
What will I eat? Where will I sleep?
You will live with a local family in the village, who will prepare your meals. The typical meal consists of rice, lentils, fried egg, spinach and/or cauliflower; when there is meat it comes with bones. Sometimes, you will also be provided with chapati and vegetable curry. In some places, you will also get milk, curd and other milk products. There will be plenty of opportunities to drink tea.
During breakfast and tiffin, you will be generally provided with tea, biscuits or noodles. You will be provided with a room to sleep by the host family.
What’s it like in a village?
Most of the villages are small. To reach there, you have to do some hiking after taking public transportation like buses. Although dirt roads might have connected the villages with nearby towns or major highways, there might not be the facility of regular transportation. In some ways, life there can be kind of like camping—there’s no hot water for bathing, for instance. Mostly, you will find running water in shared community taps. The toilets are simple ceramic basins set in the ground. (Bring your own TP!)
However, despite their poverty, the people in the villages are very generous and exceedingly friendly. Everyone will make you feel welcome. In particular, the children will be excited to learn English. And the villages are a safe place to stay.
When is the best time to volunteer in Nepal?
You are welcome to visit our schools and help us any time you would like, but the best time would be April and May and then September through December.
Schools in Nepal are closed from mid March to mid April for the end of the academic year, and then again from mid June to early August for the rainy season. Even during that time, you could act like a holiday teacher and engage with the students.
How much does it cost to volunteer in Nepal?
Our only charge to volunteers is $350 a month for meals and accommodation. You will sleep in a house of a local family, and eat all your meals with that family, too. Volunteers are expected to eat the food prepared by the host family; no separate arrangement will be made.
Volunteers pay for their own travel to Nepal and the costs associated with staying in Kathmandu until being sent to a school in the village and after returning from there.
What about health concerns? Is there malaria there?
Before you leave for Nepal, you should be up to date with all the necessary immunizations (including Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, tetanus, polio). Malaria is present in some parts of Nepal. You should consult a health care professional for more detailed information about malaria and travel vaccines.
Animals and pets
Almost all the households in the villages have reared animals like buffaloes, goats and hens for family consumption. They are housed close to homes – goats and hens can be kept inside the homes during night. Dogs are also commonly found in the villages.
The village routine is somewhat similar for all round the year. People wake up at dawn. They feed their livestocks. They have tea and start preparing meals for the day and have a first major meal at around 9 am. Then they go to work in the fields. After working for some time, they have tiffin at around 2 pm. They finish up the day’s work and return to their homes. Then they prepare food, have it and go to bed at around 8 pm. There is little leisure activities during the night.
Most villages have access to electricity. Some villages might have internet connection but they might have low bandwidth and can be a bit slow compared to the connections found in the city.
Cost of staying in Kathmandu, traveling around
The fee we charge the volunteers does not cover the cost of staying in Kathmandu or traveling around. We expect the cost of staying at a budget hotel in Kathmandu and eating in restaurants around to be around US$ 25-30 per day. Traveling around for other leisure activities is cheaper if you travel in a bus.