View the experiences of an entire school here. You will see why we say this is life-changing !
Farm work is being outside. Using your body like it longs to be used. Being with the land, your world, this wondrous place that gives you life every single moment. It is receiving beautiful gifts in gratitude as you work long, your hands and the earth meeting over and over again, falling in love with each other. It is experiencing connectedness. It is understanding how deeply integrated you are with all that is. With that, there is no need to look any further for meaning. Or for happiness.
Monica 2013 volunteer at Her Farm
I want to start by saying, I've never considered teaching as something that interests me. However, in the last few weeks, I have been helping teach an ESL class in Mankhu Nepal, and have learned exactly "why" people want to be teachers in the first place. The excitement the kids have, just to come to our classes, is something to be admired. Many of them are so absolutely inquisitive, and have a sort of brilliance that only children could possess. Teaching them is such a joy, and I'm ever so thankful I was given this wonderful opportunity. I don't want to become a teacher now, I'm just glad I am allowed this little bit of insight into the reasons behind teaching.
Alia 2013 volunteer
I just got back from almost 3 weeks in Nepal, part of which I spent with Mountain Fund volunteering my medical expertise. I am an ER doctor and, thanks to the organizers of Mountain Fund, I was able to bring basic medical care to 2 villages outside Kathmandu where there are no healthcare providers. First, Mountain Fund facilitated my meeting with a local doctor at a hospital in Kathmandu so that I could learn about the disease processes that are most commonly found in that region and determine what medications would be most useful to bring with me into the villages. I was given a tour of the small city hospital and it was interesting for me to watch the local doctor at work. In the villages, I was challenged by the lack of laboratory and radiology and I really got to use my clinical skills. My translator was a young Nepali woman currently in nursing school and it was fun to teach her a few clinical pearls while she taught me a wealth of cultural information about the patients. My greatest impact was probably just treating the majority of patients for worms; however, there were two children under 5 who likely had pneumonia and I was able to give them the antibiotics they needed. The experience I had in the villages was humbling and rewarding and gave me a renewed energy and love for my profession! I am thankful to Scott and Sunita, the organizers of Mountain Fund, for providing me with that opportunity and taking care of all of the logistics. They also took me out to the village of Mankhu to see Her Farm, a self-sustainable and safe place where women can live and work and have their children cared for and schooled. Eventually, there will also be a health clinic (run by the above-mentioned nursing student once she completes her degree!). I cannot say enough about the wonders of Her Farm! I spent 3 days there and wished it could've been more. Besides the obvious value of this project (i.e., allowing women in a country with limited women's rights to regain their dignity and independence and remain with their children) there is the gorgeous scenery, the fresh air, the stars like I have never seen, the just-picked guavas, the animals, the children, and the camaraderie of the volunteers and Mountain Fund staff. It was a mini-vacation all in itself. Had I not asked Scott to organize a trek for me and my niece (which he did, taking care of all the details before we left the US and accompanying us to the trekking company in Thamel to confirm arrangements), I would have stayed at Her Farm longer and helped out with the farm work and/or building projects (like my niece did after our trek). All in all, I have only glowing things to say about Mountain Fund, Scott, Sunita and all the young women in their support staff. I was made to feel welcome immediately and in a very short time felt almost like part of their family. The food that was prepared was delicious (especially the Nepalese dishes!) and the room/facilites were always clean. I am excited to follow this organization to see their progress and what new projects they come up with next. Some day I hope to return to Nepal and volunteer my time at Her Farm's health clinic!
- Jane 2013 volunteer
As a young, recent college graduate, I was a bit skeptical to be traveling to a country, of which I knew very little about, spoke none of the language and was headed on this adventure all alone...The individuals running this program reached out to me, offered individualized support and provided invaluable information about everything from the best treks to do, schools to work at and types of medications to pack. I was greeted as soon as I arrived in Nepal, by two generous, welcoming, and knowledgable local women, whom eventually became dear dear friends. This organization provides housing, great meals, and consistent support for the duration of your time abroad. The women running this house made things happen. I expressed interest in organizing a trek for the group and within 12 hours, they'd called a company, haggled a screaming deal, and arranged for our transportation to and from our final destination. If you want something to happen, all you have to do is speak up and communicate your needs. The hosts will do all that is within their power to make your stay a memorable one, full of culture and adventure! I give The Mountain Fund, Nepal, the highest of my recommendations!
- Allison 2013 volunteer
This an incredible program! I wake up and am eager to spend as much time as possible in the hospital because the experience you receive is like none other in the world. I've seen hundreds of patients come through with every condition imaginable! I've seen people with chest pains/congestion, poisoning, kidney- and gallstones, and severe infections, just to start the list.. Also with this program you'll have the opportunity to sit front row for many complex surgeries. I try to sit in for as many surgeries as possible. Part of what makes this program so effective is the ability to literally see as much as you want, there are no constraints to the amount of time you spend or what you see in the hospital. And the Nepali people are strong, but they have so little. They come to Helping Hands because it is affordable and they are so grateful for the opportunity. Most come smiling and laughing even with whatever ailment brought them. Really I can't say enough how happy I am to be a part of this!!
- Dusk Gosney
Before my junior year of college, I decided that I needed to take a year off from school because I wasn't sure about my decision to pursue medicine. I came across the Mountain Fund completely by accident, and I am so glad that I did! I was able to do a medical internship at a local community hospital in the afternoons, and volunteer at a local daycare in the mornings. I got to meet the most amazing people (both local and foreign) and gain a new perspective on everything. I formed some incredible friendships on that trip, and I was even able to take some time away from volunteering to really experience Nepal and the Himalayas through trekking. The hours were very flexible, and the organization itself is very genuine. I would definitely recommend the Mountain Fund!!
- Sara Choi, USA, Medical Internship/Daycare (2008)
Coming here was the best decision I have made. Before I made this choice, I was searching through countless websites looking at other countries and their programs but I am thankful to have chosen Mountain Fund. This was my very first time traveling out of the country so I was afraid and didn't know what to expect. When I arrived the staff was so friendly and over time we had a relationship of close friends, instead of just staff to volunteer. The living situation is by far better than I had expected. Going to a developing country, I wasn't expecting to live in such luxury. The location of the houses are great and convenient for going to stores and most importantly I felt safe. My experience at the Hospital was fantastic. The doctor's there are awesome. I learned so much and observed countless surgeries over my two month stay. Besides that, you will have free time to explore the cities and eat many yummy foods. Oh goodness, the food there was great. A whole meal would be around 2-3 USD. But the staffs cooking were also delicious :D Overall if you're thinking about any other programs, don't. The price that you pay for this program is the best out there and the experiences that you will learn will be priceless. When I become a Medical Student and have a chance to go back, I will definitely do so and make a bigger difference. Also be sure to e-mail Scott about the medical trek up to the mountains. note: bring bug spray :D So in conclusion, I had a blast. I do not regret taking a year off before applying for Medical School. I've made close friends that I miss, and left behind other important people. But we all have to get back to our paths sometimes. Be sure to bring lots of tissues because leaving here will be the saddest thing. I sure needed them.
- Justin Chuang, USA, Medical Internship (2010)
Nepal was the most amazing adventure I have ever been on. It inspired me to travel more and experience the world, which I am continuing to this day. The Nepali people were the most welcoming of any, and we both thoroughly enjoyed each others company. As for the Mt Fund, their hospitality and genuine heartfelt belief in what they do made the trip special on so many levels. It was/is inspiring to see people so devoted to what they love. Scott's passion is contagious, so watch out; you will fall in love with Nepal! Sunita, Scott and their children are warm, friendly and passionate, the staff at the house prepare delicious food, and of course Jamyang and Dipak will look after you like no one else in Nepal can! I simply cannot recommend enough (can you tell?) If you would like to know more about what 10 Aussies did in Nepal, feel free to DM me Reece.
- Reece Treloar, Australia (2009)
Very well-run program, providing volunteers with a vast expanse of knowledge in areas of interest whether it be cultural (strong understanding of Nepali lifestyle/culture), organizational (how NGO's work/are run), political (international and local politics) or economic (understanding how government/NGOs fund programs/public goods at the local level and state level). Experience was definitely meaningful and the organization is very responsive. As a young woman traveling solo from the US, I was worried about accommodations, getting around, safety, etc but mtnfund was really good about answering questions and making sure (on logistical level) no major snafus. They are great at setting volunteers up with programs matching skillset and interest, but also at giving volunteers the time and space to do what they want (outside of the program). Program is like a cultural exchange/tourism/camping/volunteering program in one. What I really liked about the program is you can see first hand where every dollar they get goes to and the fact they keep their overhead low as to maximize every charitable dollar given. I think the accountability they give their donors and volunteers is quite commendable.
- Susan Au, USA, Medical Clinic (2007)
I had so many unbelievable experiences in Nepal, but it is the people I met that really made the time so wonderful. It was so interesting to hear the different attitudes and perspectives of those on the other side of the world, but at the same time, so empowering to learn that some aspects of human nature and human experience are universal. Despite all of our differences, we all need and strive for the same basic things, we all have the capacity for great accomplishments, and we all value kindness, hard work, generosity, and friendship. To all volunteers: enjoy your time there. You are in great hands at the Mountain Fund and at whichever organization they are connected to. Grab hold of your opportunity and make connections with people. Make friends with the other volunteers, with everyone at the house, and with whoever you are working with. They will teach you so much!
- Colin Matheson, Canada, Medical Internship (2009)
Executive Director Scott MacLennan is awarded the
Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal.