Q. Why should I have to pay to volunteer?
A common question from those looking to volunteer in Nepal is, why do I have to pay to volunteer? It's a fair question and it deserves a fair answer. The reality is you aren't paying to volunteer. Our program costs, for example, pay for the house you will be living in, the food you will be eating, the staff support you have 24 hours a day 7 days a week, the wi fi and computers and all the many other things that are needed to support you as a volunteer including the utility bills, linens, beds, furniture and etc.
You are paying for the things you need to live in the country and for the expertise and assistance of people who know the country well and are dedicated to you and your goal of volunteering for their country. Think about it and try to imagine landing at the airport in Kathmandu, you don't know a soul, can't speak the language and have no idea how to find a good and honest place to go and volunteer. How much will a hotel and your restaurant meals cost? How much time will you spend trying to find a good program to give your time and talents to, if you can find one at all?
Volunteering on your own can easily cost you twice the amount of money and a lot of headaches as you try to find a good place to volunteer or just find your way around Kathmandu at all! With Mountain Volunteer, it's inexpensive and easy. You'll pay the least amount of money to live very well and be able to spend the maximum amount of time giving your talents to a good and honest NGO. It's a deal, it really is.
Q. Where does my money go to?
We are a charity supporting the programs where you will be volunteering so any "profit" after expenses are donated. The Mountain Fund keeps just 10% of the fees to support ourselves leaving 90% of the money in Nepal, helping Nepalis. We are providing you with virtually all-inclusive and around the clock support in Nepal. Safe, clean housing, breakfast and dinner everyday from locally sourced, tasty items prepared in less spicy version of authenic Nepali food (but you can add more spice if you want) Meals are vegetarian and prepared with care. Our all girl staff lives in the same housing as you, so you have 24/7 staff available to you. The girls will show you around, teach you the culture, the langauge, how to navigate the transporation system, where to go, what to do and are your constant guides while in Nepal. Your money is supporting them, their education and in some cases their families as well.
Q. Why volunteer with Mountain Volunteer Nepal?
The Mountain Fund received the coveted Sir Edmund Hillary Medal for our service in Nepal over the past decade. We are not a placement organization but rather a real, working NGO in Nepal, committed to improving life for all Nepali people. Since 2007 we’ve hosted hundreds of volunteers from more than 22 countries. Mountain Volunteer Nepal is highly selective about the programs we send our volunteers to work in. We require our partner programs to exhibit the highest standards of honesty, integrity and service.
We are not a traditional volunteer placement program. The places you will volunteer are our long-term partners that we financially support at The Mountain Fund. Unilke many volunteer placement programs, we are actual working partners with these programs.
Q. Why do you require CV's and TEFL certificates for teaching?
We have forged long-term, solid relationships with NGO's in Nepal based on providing quality volunteers who are fully prepared to meet the organizations needs. Coming here to teach after having completed TEFL training, which we offer at a discounted cost for our volunteers, means that you are prepared to enter the classroom and engage students. It's not enough to speak and read in English, you need to be able to teach others how to speak English and that's challenging work that you need to be well prepared to do.
Q. What are the Program locations in Nepal ?
Some volunteering programs are located in the capital city of Kathmandu and others take place at our own farm in rural Nepal called Her Farm. www.herfarmnepal.org
Q. When do I need to arrive in Nepal for my program?
We do not have fixed start dates each week. Make your best travel plans and we will work with it.
Q. What will happen once I arrive in Nepal ?
Volunteers are picked up from the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu by the local staff who are also a part of extended Mountain Fund family. Those volunteers who will be already in Nepal will be met by the staff at a designated meeting point decided beforehand. After you have been picked up ,you will be transferred to The Mountain Fund house. We have our own group housing in Nepal with shared rooms, 24/7 staff, wi fi and great food.
Q. When will I know specific details of my placement ?
Once you have reserved a place in a program and applied, we will send you details of your exact placement within that program usually within 10 working days. Remember, this isn't etched in granite, you can change programs or placements even once you are on the ground in Nepal. It's gotta be a good fit for everyone or it doesn't work.
Q. How do I get to the program location ?
Our experienced and friendly staff will take you to your placement the first day and introduce you to everyone after giving you a basic orientation about the program/city/culture etc. In subsequent days, you would need to commute between the placement and accommodation by taxis. In some cases, the placement would be located at a walking distance from the place of stay. We are on hand to support you, 24/7
Q. I want to know more about accommodation arrangements ?
We provide you with accommodation from your start date to the end of the program. Accommodation is provided on a shared basis in our own Mountain Volunteer home. The accommodations are neat and clean and provide a comfortable stay during your volunteering period in Nepal. We have 24/7 internet, including wireless, so feel free to bring your laptop. In rural communities you will stay in housing we own, or manage and be supported by our staff while in rural communities.
Q. What will be the food arrangement ?
All volunteers are provided with 2 Nepali meals depending on their work schedule. (breakfast and dinner) Our meals are normally vegetarian and we will advise you in advance of any meal containing meat. All meals are prepared with great care and our menu runs the gamut from local dishes prepared with fresh ingredients to western fare such as French toast, omlettes, tacos or spagheti. Great care is taken to be certain the food is prepared hygenically and with the best ingredients possbile.
Q. What is the age range to volunteer ?
Volunteers must be 18 years or older at the beginning of the program. There is no upper age limit. You must be fit to travel and work.
Q. Can couples or families join the volunteer program ?
Yes, couples and families are welcome to join our programs. We make special housing provisions for families joining our volunteering programs.
Q. What immunizations/vaccinations will I need ?
We recommend you speak to your doctor before coming or the CDC pages for Nepal.
Q. Are there more expenses once I arrive in Nepal ?
Your program fee covers you for food , accommodation and airport pick up. You will need to cover yourself for your personal expenses, such as traveling, telephone, internet, shopping, sightseeing etc. Traveling within Nepal is cheap; however, you should carry around $50 per week for your basic personal expenses.
Q. Do I need medical insurance to volunteer in Nepal?
Yes, we do require that you have medical insurance for your own safety and protection. The cost isn't that much and the peace of mind is priceless. You can arrange medical insurance by clicking here.
Q. Where can I change my money in Nepal ?
You can change money in any bank or at the airport by showing your passport .Money changers are available in plenty in Kathmandu as well.
Q. Are there ATM’s in Nepal ?
There are plenty of ATM's in Kathmandu especially in the Tourist areas. It's a wise idea to let your bank know you are going to be traveling to Nepal, just to make certain their system doesn't shut off your debit card as a measure to make sure it's really you that is traveling.
Q. Is there phone and Internet available on projects ?
We have wifi at the Kathmandu house and at Her Farm. . The Internet may or may not be available at the place you are working each day. Cell phone companies here also offer reasonable pay-as-you-go data plans for smart phones.
Q. What hours will I volunteer every day ?
Volunteers usually work for 4-5 hours a day depending on their program. You will be working from Sunday to Thursday and sometimes on Friday too. Saturday is the official day off in Nepal.
Q. Are we able to do any sightseeing or traveling in weekends ?
You will usually have 2 free days per week, you can utilize this time for anything you like. All costs are at the volunteer's expense.Volunteers go for short trips to Pokhara , Chitwan or Nagarkot to view the magnificent views of sunrise and sunset from the Himalayan range. We can make any travel arrangements for you from our house. Let's be clear, this is your trip, you can come and go as you please.
Q. What visa do I need to get, will I get any help?
You need to apply for a tourist visa. You can easily get tourist visa for Nepal in your home country. It usually takes about 7 working days to get a visa for Nepal. However you can get VISA ON ARRIVAL at Kathmandu International Airport as well. It is much easier to obtain. We will provide up to date information on this in your pre-departure briefing.
Q. Do I need travel Insurance ?
Yes, it's important protection to have in case of any health emergencies. Here is a link for where you can get travel insurance. Click here to visit the MEDEX site.
Q. I hear many people become sick from drinking water in Nepal. How can I prevent this?
All of the water in our home is filtered and safe. In the tourist parts of town you can easily obtain bottled water.
Q. My stomach has difficulties with spicy food, what is the culinary situation like?
Our cook tones down the food at our house to suit western tastes. You can always add more chili or spices if you'd like or ask to have the food prepared with less spice, that's not a problem.
Q. I have never been to Asia before, should I prepare myself?
Nepali people are very forgiving of our western ways. If you read books about Nepal prior to coming you may think that you need to adhere to a very strict code of conduct. Most of the rules that travel books have relate to behavior that Nepali's expect from each other. All you need to know to get along are these basic rules; Be polite, dress casually but conservatively, don't be loud or act in an aggressive manner. Ask before taking, using, etc. Behave as if your mom is watching you.
Q. I would like to bring things that the children might like or need. Can you give some examples?
Many people want to bring notebooks, pens or balloons. However, these are readily available in Nepal. It is better to bring educational toys or a book (in English!) on games to be played in the classroom or in the playground.
Q. What are some essential things to bring that I might miss and that I cannot find in Nepal?
If you have a sleeping bag; bring it in the winter months. Although all rooms have blankets, you will probably prefer your own bag. Besides, it is nice to have if you go on a weekend trip. A good flashlight is hard to find in Nepal, most seem to fail after a week or so. If you plan to do some trekking your own hiking boots are a must. Flip flops (and shoes in general) over size 9 or up are very difficult to find at the market. Bring some house slippers in the winter. It's customary to take your shoes off and wear either flip flops (summer) or slippers (winter) in the house.
Q. Will I have access to a toilet and a bathroom?
Our house has modern toilets and showers Away from our house the toilet facilities can be questionable. The places you are volunteering will be fine and in the tourist restaurants the toilets are always at least tolerable. Out trekking, it's a different story. Nepali's do not use toilet paper so if you are leaving the house, good idea to bring some along. We have it at our volunteer house.
Q. What type of electrical adapters will I need for my electronic devices?
Click here to learn about Electrical Plug/Outlet and Voltage Information for Nepal.
Q. Can I get the e-mail addresses of the people who have volunteered in the past to get an idea of what it is like?
We don't give out email addresses, however we have Mountain Fund and Mountain Volunteer sites on Facebook and anyone there will be happy to reply to your questions. In addition, we have Mountain Fund and Mountain Volunteer groups on facebook that you can join and connect with past volunteers. Check us out on facebook as well.
Q. My question is not here, what can I do?
Please send an e-mail to email@example.com and we will answer it asap!
Executive Director Scott MacLennan is awarded the
Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal.