Volunteer in Nepal | Teaching programs in Kathmandu & Chitwan
- Volunteer in Nepal teaching English or other subjects (mathematics, social sciences etc) at a local educational institution, from primary level until tertiary level.
- Volunteers assist local teachers in managing their classes, organize games and other activities in the classroom, and help to improve the children’s listening and speaking skills. Generally, there is a mix of assisting the teacher with existing material and organising one’s own teaching material.
Volunteer in Nepal | Orphanage program in Kathmandu & Chitwan
- Volunteer in Nepal working on the orphanage programs work mostly in the mornings and evenings when the children are about to leave to school, or just arrive back. At times they walk with them to school and when they come back, often help with their homework.
- During the day volunteers also support orphanage personnel with administrative tasks and can help with cleaning around the orphanage and washing the children’s’ clothes, amongst other tasks. These tasks are generally done with local orphanage personnel.
- Other tasks include organising creative events and games with the children and teaching them about one’s local culture and background.
Volunteer in Nepal | Working on an organic farm in Kathmandu & Chitwan
- Volunteer in Nepal working on an organic farm, where you help to grow plants. Volunteers assist with weeding, digging, composting, watering and distribution of seeds.
- The work can be quite demanding when the weather is hot and so quite a healthy physique is definitely of added value.
- At the local farm, often they grow plants that are then transported to another area where it matures and is maintained.
Nepal program info
- Volunteers stay with a host family not too far from where they will be volunteering. Living conditions are very basic. Rooms generally have a bed, table and closet. Volunteers may share a room with either another volunteer or with a member of the host family. Especially in the rural placements the kitchen and toilet tends to be separate from the main house. Some of the houses don’t have tap water but rather a water pump.
- In most cases showers are not like the traditional showers one has in the West, but rather consist of pails and dippers, whereby people pour water over themselves with a pale to wash themselves.
- As you are living with a local family, the volunteers are also treated as family members. They, in a sense, have their brothers, sisters, mother and father in Nepal.
- No alcohol or drugs are allowed. It is not unlikely that one may have an alcoholic beverage, but this should be discussed with the family members before and should be taken in moderation.
- Most Nepali people are Hindu; cows are worshiped as goodness so please do not ask for beef.
- Nepali society is quite conservative and very unlike Western culture. Appropriate dressing should be respected and as a volunteer in Nepal, one should not engage in ‘romantic activities’ with local host family members.
- Host families offer Nepali food twice a day. Typical dishes are dal bhat thakari (it literally means “lentils, rice, vegetable curry”), and this can take different types of configurations based on season, region and household preferences.
- Breakfast tends to consist simply of tea, though volunteers often buy their own snacks to accompany the traditional morning tea.
- In Nepali culture, locals eat lots of snacks and these tend to consist of corn, fruits and cookies, amongst others.
What to see & do:
- Kathmandu is a city that combines both the ancient lifestyle with the modern day hectic ways. The city can be quite overwhelming at first, as it is very crowded and often quite dusty. It also has a particular charm and and some very interesting places to visit such as:
- Thamel: The center of the tourist industry, Thamel is an area full of narrow alleys and shops. Commonly sold goods include vegetables and fruits, food, pastries, DVDs, souvenirs, handicrafts, clothes and much more. It also has many restaurants, though these tend to be more expensive than in other areas in Kathmandu.
- Durbar Square. Durbar square is one of the Royal palace squares. It is filled with courtyards and temples. It also houses the Hanuman Dhoka Palace Complex, which was the royal Nepalese residence until the 19th century. Due to the heavy earthquake in 2015 there is a lot of reconstruction going on.
- Patan: This suburb of Kathmandu was once an independent kingdom. It’s a nice change from the hectic pace of life in Kathmandu and is a major artistic and cultural hub.
- Nagarkot: Much closer to kathmandu (about 2 hours’ drive), Nagarkot boasts some of the most spectacular views of the Himalayas. One can see Mount Everest as well as the valley of Kathmandu. At about 2000 meters it offers great hiking routes as well.
- Pokhara: An absolute must for any volunteer in Nepal that is planning to travel, Pokhara is just 200 km west of Kathmandu, yet approximately 6 hours’ drive along some very winding mud roads. It has about 200,000 inhabitants and some of the most spectacular natural beauty in South East Asia, boasting beautiful green hills and tranquil lakes. Though it is situated at an altitude of about 700 to 1000 meters, it is extremely near to three of the world’s largest mountains and is hence the base of many trekkers.
- Sagarmatha National Park: Sagarmatha National Park is as close as you can get to Mount Everest if not attempting a climb. It is also home to unique flora and fauna and especially to the rare Snow Leopard species. Sagarmatha is however quite far from Kathmandu.
- Patan, Bhaktapur, Chitwan national Park, Lumbini, Janakpur and Dharan are all very interesting destinations that have their personal charm either for the architectural charm or natural beauty,
- Volunteers tend to work 30 – 35 hours per week.
- For short term volunteers (those who volunteer for less than 5 months), it is suggested for them to also work on Saturdays as Saturdays are also working days in Nepal.
- For the teaching programs, classes start approximately at 10:00 a.m and volunteers give classes sporadically throughout the day. The local teachers tend to teach and volunteers are assistants, but depending on the volunteer, they can also take the lead role and be the sole teacher.
- On the orphanage programs, volunteers work mostly mornings and evenings but throughout the day they can support the orphanage personnel with administrative and other sporadic tasks.
- On the farming program, volunteers work approximately 30 – 35 hour weeks, working above all quite early in the morning and early evening with a fairly long pause during midday.
- Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal and is situated in the very heart of Kathmandu. The border of China is about 250 km North of Kathmandu and the Inidan border about 250 km South. At a height of approximately 1,400 meters above sea level, it doesn’t have extreme temperatures at any time of the year and the evenings cool off nicely even in the summer months.
- Kathmandu is quite near to other big Nepali cities like Lalitpur (approximately 2 hours’ South), Pokhara (about 6 hours West), and Bharatpur (about 6 hours West as well).
- Nearby popular flight destinations are Phokara (Nepal), Jaipur (India). Agra (India) and Lhasa (Tibet).
- Minimum 18 years old, show creativity & initiative, confidence in the classroom & effective time management skills.
- A good level of English
(Working at an orphanage)
- Minimum 18 years old,
- A resonable level of English
- Volunteers should like to work with children as well as have maturity and initiative.
- Furthermore, volunteers should be very patient, creative and active in this type of working environment.
- Minimum 18 years old.
- Volunteers must show eagerness & the ability to maintain motivation and reliability.
- For this project, experience is not necessary, but enthusiasm for hard work and to ‘get involved’ in our cause is.
- Volunteers also need to be fit and healthy and be able to rapidly adapt to the local situations.
- Food and accommodation in a Nepali host family
- Airport Pick up & Drop-off (Monday – Sunday)
- Ongoing support and supervision during the program.
- Visit to Host Placement(s) primarily with a program coordinator.
- Short introductory orientation (approximately 3 hours)
- For long term volunteers (language courses and a cultural excursion are included. Short term volunteers can also receive nepali language classes but must pay an extra fee for this.
What is not included?
- Medical / Travel Insurance.
- Penal certificate.
- (INTVS, and sometimes our partner, gives information on all the above provisions, but does not cover these expenses)
|Volunteer Period||Cost (USD)|
Please click here to convert the prices to your local currency.
- Volunteers that want to join the language program must pay $225. This price includes one week intensive language course and sightseeing around Kathmandu.
- Volunteers that want to join the excursion program during their second week must pay $275. This price includes 2 days on a village stay program, rafting and 3 days on the Chitwan national park program.
- Volunteers that want to join the trekking program must pay $450 for a 7 day trek (food costs are not included).
INTVS charges its own fee of 185€, regardless of the time that a volunteer stays abroad. This fee covers;
- Volunteer support prior to, during and after the volunteer experience (in English, French & Spanish)
- All necessary preparatory information including;
- Travel/Medical Insurance
- Police Check form
- The program (the site, schedule, role…)
- Local contacts & important numbers
- History, demographics & local norms
- What to bring
- Do’s and don’ts
- And much more.
- It also covers work and travel costs that INTVS staff incur to check up on and document the programs on a regular basis.
- The payments to the local organizations and INTVS are completely separate. We do NOT charge them a commission and 100% of the program cost goes to them.
Why did you decide to become a volunteer?
I was offered to volunteer in Colombia two years ago and it was such an amazing experience I wanted to now volunteer in Nepal. It opens your mind to new things, gives you a chance to learn a new language and culture while learning somethings about your own. it is a experience you have for life.
What did you find the most challenging?
The climate and the methods of discipline.
What did you find the most rewarding?
Seeing someone learn something from me.
What have you learnt from the experience?
How much I take for granted. Some words in a new language. things about my culture and the culture of other volunteers. How to make nepali food. And as a volunteer in Nepal…suspects of Buddhism and Hinduism.
What advice would you give to furure volunteers?
As a volunteer in Nepal, expect it to be hard at times, research into the culture know what to expect and enjoy yourself.
- Population: 28,98 million (2016)
- Currency: Nepalese rupee
- Capital City: Kathmandu
- Land area: 147,181 km²
- People living below poverty line: Approximately 25,2% of the population.
- Official language: Nepali
- Nepal is a multi cultural and very diverse but it generally blends influence from India and the west with Nepal’s own. The culture also varies according to different ethnic groups and religion, so they have different way of speaking, talking, thinking and interacting with the local people and their customs and culture. For instance, In the Indo- Aryan group, the status of women is comparatively lower than that of Tibeto-Burman group.
- There are differences in the attitude and lifestyle between different ethnic groups.
- Religion is deeply rooted amongst the Nepalese people. Hinduism, followed by Buddhism, constitutes the two major religions of Nepal. The majority of people follow Hindu. Buddhism has also an important place.
- Because Hinduism and Buddhism are closely connected, it would take a lifetime’s study to understand the complexities of the country’s religious life. These are co religionists bound together by a sense of fellow-feeling and bonhomie particularly displayed in their worship, common deities and joint celebration of many festivals belonging to either religion or culture.
- Muslims are the third largest religious group.
- The caste system, which segregates people according to the caste you are born in, is still practiced in Indo-Aryan group. The practice has now been banned in Nepal, but the abuses related with the caste system haven’t died out completely.
- Some basic rules of Nepalese culture are above all, flexibility, humility and open-mindedness. Affection between men and women is seldom expressed. Public kissing, hugging, and hand-holding are offensive to most Nepalese and a sign of low morals. But it is acceptable for two men to walk hand in hand.
- Anger is best not expressed openly.
- Bakshish is an extra payment (tips) for a service performed and is usually given to porters or laborers at the end of a job.
- Bargaining is to be expected. Don’t bargain if you’re not really interested. If your price is accepted, don’t try to back out, and don’t try to get an even lower price.
- Bathing in the hills is very conservative. Men should wear shorts; women should wear a lungi pulled up under the arms.
- Clothing is conservative. Men should not go bare-chested and shorts should be worn.
- Women should avoid bare shoulders, halter tops, and shorts.
- Ties and suits are not necessary except for special occasions.
- Conversations may have ‘dead’ patches. Nepalese people are not uncomfortable with that.
- Cows are sacred. They go and sleep where they want. Watch out for them while driving.
- Criticism should be given privately.
- Eating is done with the right hand. Only accept as much as you can eat. It is good manners to ask for ‘seconds’.
- Feet should never be pointed at anyone; drape something over them if you must stretch them out while sitting on the floor.
- Never step over anyone, and always move your feet to let people avoid stepping over you.
- Gifts are rarely given and seldom opened in front of the person who has given it.
- Heads are sacred and should be treated with respect. Never take a hat off a man’s head, even if it is well intended.
- Invitations often arrive at the last moment. Don’t be surprised or offended by this. If you’re busy, even a short appearance is enough.
- Jutho refers to food that is ritually polluted and therefore inedible. Any food which has come into contact, either directly or indirectly, with the mouth becomes jutho.
- Left hands are used for cleaning oneself after going to the toilet. It is never used to pass or accept things, whether food at the table or money with a shopkeeper.
- Namaste is both greeting and farewell, combined with a prayer-like gesture. As a volunteer in Nepal it is appreciated if you adapt to the customs.
- Payment after a social occasion is done by the person issuing the invitation. Nepalese people don’t divide the bill or go ‘Dutch’. It is expected that the other people will reciprocate at some later date.
- Rice is a religious object as well as a food of status. Brahmins will probably not eat the rice you serve them. Do not be offended and don’t try to force it on them.
- Shoes are considered filthy. Don’t ask others to handle your shoes. Most Nepalese take their shoes off at the door.
- Temples should always be walked around clockwise; the same goes for Buddhist monuments and stupas. Remove your shoes before going inside. Dress conservatively.
- Time is very flexible. A person may show up at 4 for a 3 o’clock appointment. In the hills, an appointment may be a day late or even later. As a foreign volunteer in Nepal, though, you will be expected to be punctual.
- Over 2,800 years ago, the initial history of Nepal was recorded when a kinfolk of Mongolian people—the Kiratis—arrived in the Himalayan territory, across the Tibetan plateau. The current tribes of Limbu and Rai are believed to be direct descendants of the Kiratis. From the Indu plains, the Buddhist Shakyas are credited with introducing Mahayana Buddhism to Nepal and it became the dominant religion.
- The Licchavis and the Guptas arrived to Nepal from the northern parts of India, around 300 B.C.E. The Guptas are thought to have introduced the caste system, essentially alien to the dominant cultural system, but it remained localized among the elite. The Licchavis ruled for three centuries and were displaced by the Thakuris around 600 B.C.E.
- Ansuvarman, the originator of the Thakuri dynasty, was a wise and wealthy king. In order to protect his northern borders from invasion by the Tibetan kings, he married his daughter to a Tibetan prince. Ansuvarman had affection for a valley in the eastern part of his kingdom and established his capital city there. It was from here in the 10th century that Kasthmandap (Holy Place of Wood) was founded, which has come to be known as Kathmandu. It is at the same the location as Ansuvarman’s palace, in Durbar Square, that the Nepalese monarch stayed until the more modern Narayanhity Palace was built.
- The Thakuri dynasty ruled Nepal for three centuries. The 12th century brought the Malla dynasty. Foremost of the Malla rulers, King Arideva’s reign was considered to be one of great wealth and prosperity for the Himalayan Kingdom. The Mallas, though Hindu, were tolerant of the other major religion, Buddhism, but were particularly strict on enforcing the caste system. However, the Malla dynasty lost control within a century over large parts of the country, which divided into small city-states, as many as 48 at one point. Partly responsible were the frequent invasions of India by Muslim armies from the northwest, which also invaded Nepal several times. It was nearly 100 years later when another Malla king took charge of the country. Meanwhile, two kingdoms began to gain power to challenge the Kathmandu valley, that of the Palpa and the Khas Kingdom.
- In 1372, Kathmandu’s king, Jayasthiti Malla, took over the neighbouring city-state of Patan, and, a decade later, the city-state of Bhaktapur. The present Kathmandu Valley kingdom expanded enormously during the reign of his successor, King Yaksha Malla. By the middle of the next century, Nepal’s borders extended southwards to the Ganga River, and north deep into Tibet. During this time, the caste system embedded as a smart method of social stability, ensuring the Malla reign. However, after his death in 1482, Nepal once again fragmented into many small states. This lasted for almost two centuries. In the 18th century, shah dynasty, came to power.
- Prithivi Narayan Shah, born in Gorkha came to power in the Gorkha Kingdom and set about to unify the many princely states in reaction to colonialism. He gradually extended his power until finally, in 1768, he conquered the Kathmandu Valley and established the modern nation of Nepal. Hardly 20 years later, war broke out between Nepal and China over Tibet. Lasting nearly a decade, the Nepalese were defeated and forced to sign a treaty that obligated them to pay annual homage to the Chinese. This tribute continued for over a century and ended only in 1912. In the meanwhile, Nepal also battled the British, who had been conquering territory in India throughout the 18th century. The British were fighting Nepal for control over the southern parts of Nepal and the Ganga plains. Once again, Nepal lost and conceded much of its territory to the British in the war of 1814-16.
- Throughout, the Shahs sustained to be the rulers of Nepal until 1846. They lost power to the powerful Rana family, gigantic landowners from the west. Jung Bahadur Rana, an upstart, plotted the infamous Kot massacre and assassinated all the court and political leaders of Nepal in a single swoop, proclaimed himself prime minister and took all the executive power from the monarchy, reducing the king to a mere figurehead. The position of prime minister became a hereditary one and the Rana family continued in power for over a century, with the Shah king’s virtual prisoners in the palace. After the Indian independence in 1947, Nepali Congress divisions in India launched trickery revolution to overthrow the Ranas. In 1950, King Tribhuvan absconded to India, and an armed revolt trailed. Under pressure from India, the Ranas were overthrowing and Tribhuvan Shah became absolute monarch again, but he passed away in 1955. His son, Mahendra, succeeded him.
- Nepal was not eager to return to a totalitarian monarchy. Bowing to pressure, King Mahendra instilled a constitutional parliamentary system. In 1959, for the first time – the elections were held under this system and Nepali Congress leader B.P. Koirala, became the first elected prime minister of Nepal.
- However, the honeymoon between the monarchy and democracy was short-lived and within a year the king dissolved the parliament, placed the entire cabinet under arrest and resumed total control. He then introduced a decentralized pseudo-democratic system, setting up the National Panchayat (or, councils). The king chose 16 members of the panchayat, while the other 19 were chosen through indirect elections. While political parties remained banned, the village panchayats nominated members for the district panchayats and which in turn sent members to the “Rashtriya Panchayat” (National Council). The system was rife with corruption and bad governance and not democratic in the least. Upon the death of King Mahendra in 1972, his son Birendra succeeded. Birendra’s lack of political reform drew sharp criticism; riots in 1979 forced the king to call for a national referendum to decide the fate of the panchayat system in favour of multiparty system. Held in May 1980, the referendum gave a narrow victory to the panchayat system, but many believed it to be rigged. The king carried out some promised minor reforms, but the system stayed largely the same.
- Nepal adopted a constitutional monarchy and multiple democracy system in 1991 after popular democratic interests. Nepali Congress, United Marxist Leninist (UML), Rastriya Prajatantra Party and Nepal Sadvabana Party are the major parties in parliament. In Nepal, UML and some small leftist parties believe in the multi-democracy system. But the Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) had been waging a war for communism in Nepal. Maoist problem started with the political conflict in Nepal in 1996 with the motto of establishing Communism so, they had been revolting against government since the period. Their main aim was to weaken the government; therefore, their target was government not the foreigners or volunteers.
- The Nepalese government and Maoist rebels have agreed a peace deal aimed at ending the 10 years revolution on the Nov 07, 2006. It is the beginning of New Era in Nepal. The Maoists entered into negotiations with the government after a popular uprising in April 2006 which forced King Gyanendra to end his direct rule and appoint a multi-party government. The Maoist party had made historic agreement with SPA for future of people and nation. Now Maoists are in the mainstream of the politics. So it seems a very confident political situation in Nepal at the moments.The royal Family
- The royal family is widely revered with many people believing the king to be the reincarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. The history of Nepal’s royal family goes back to 238 years ago when King Prithivi Narayan Shah united Nepal by defeating more than 50 small kingdoms. The royal family remains a very popular institution in Nepal, but Nepal plunged into crisis on June 1, 2001, when she lost most of the royal family under tragic, even horrific, circumstances.
- The gruesome killing of eight members of the royal family – King Birendra, Queen Aishwarya, the Prince, Princess, two of the King’s sisters, Princesses and the King’s cousin – occurred during a ritual royal dinner at the Narayanhiti Royal Palace. The report of the high investigation committee, which was ordered to investigate into the backgrounds of the massacre inside the royal palace, concluded that – following an argument with his parents over his desire to marry a girl of his choice – the crown prince committed the horrible act. He was under the influence of alcohol.
- On June 7, 2001, Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah, brother of the late king, was enthroned as king of Nepal. After his kingship, he became very unpopular king in Nepal. All the people were against his rule. He tried and tried until the great uprising of April in 2006 but became unsuccessful and ends his direct rule. Now, Nepal became a republican country.