FAQ About Volunteering in Nepal

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 wifi and all the many other things that are needed to support you as a volunteer including the utility bills, linens, beds, furniture and etc.

Q. Where does my money get applied?

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 language, how to navigate the transportation 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 in Nepal with The Mountain Fund at Her Farm?

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.

Q. Do you require CV's and TEFL certificates for teaching?

No, we do not. One of our Nepali staff is always there to guide you. Most of the time your teaching is more tutoring one-on-one with students to help them catch up with, or keep at grade level. That said, we do suggest some TEFL training to make it easier for you. 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?

The program is located in a rural village called Mankhu, in the Dhading District.

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. How do I get to the program location?

Local bus service is available to very near to Her Farm and our all woman staff will help you with that. From the end of the line, it is an hour walk uphill. Pack light and use a backpack. If you have medical limitations that prevent you from walking up, we will work with you to bring you up in a car. Another option is to get a private car and driver to bring you directly from Kathmandu to the farm.

Q. I want to know more about accommodation arrangements?

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 3 Nepali meals a day (breakfast, lunch, 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, omelets, spaghetti, etc. Great care is taken to be certain the food is prepared hygienically and with the best ingredients possible.

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 personal expenses such as traveling, telephone, internet outside the home, 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 ATMs 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. /p>

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 smartphones.

Q. Are we able to do any sightseeing or traveling on 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.

That said, it's really not practical to travel to Kathmandu for a day off. It will take anywhere from 3 hours upwards to reach Kathmandu by local bus.

Q. What visa do I need to get, will I get any help?

You can easily get a 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 a visa on arrival at Kathmandu International Airport or apply online (see URL). We will provide the information needed to complete the visa as part of your pre-departure packet.

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.

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. 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!) and games to be played in the classroom or in the playground. Feel free to ask (email at info@mountainfund.org) if you want to bring something else that you have in your mind.

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. 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 listed here, what can I do?

Please send an e-mail to info@mountainfund.org, and we will answer it ASAP!