Volunteer FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Any time of the year. We are very flexible in starting your training whenever you arrive. Let us know your preferred start date and program and let us organise your trip of a lifetime.
Yes, depending on your length of stay, you will receive between 2 to 10 days cultural and language training. The training will take place at our office near Thamel, Kathmandu. If your program is more than 12 weeks, you will receive a second phase of the training in the village to help prepare you for village life.
During the first phase of the training period in Kathmandu, you will either stay at the volunteer home or a hotel. Both locations have western standards facilities. We will pay for your hotel and basic food costs during your stay. When you return from your placement, we will pay for up to two nights accommodation. You will be responsible for the costs of accommodation and other expenses for the rest of your time in Nepal. During the second phase of training you will be moved to the placement, where you will stay with a traditional host family or dependent on your program, within the building complex of a Children’s Home or Buddhist monastery. We will organize the transportation to and from your placement and ensure that you arrive safely.
Yes, placements are decided based upon program vacancy and the volunteer’s skills. We do try however, to take into account any special preferences or needs of the volunteer. If you have any preferences, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can try our best to accommodate you. Your placement village will be finalised during your initial training. Placements are in the Kathmandu Valley, Kavre, Pokhara, Nawalparasi and Chitwan, all of which are near to a major city.
The best way is to keep in touch with the world is to buy a Nepali sim card so you will have internet and phone access when you need it, without getting stung with roaming charges. Depending on your particular placement, your host family may or may not have a telephone or WiFi. Most villages will have one phone that can accept incoming and outgoing international calls. In addition, most placements are within an hours travel to a major city with pretty much every hotel or restaurant having WiFi. In case of emergency, your family and friends can contact Raise Funds for Nepal. We will do our best to get a message out as quickly as possible. You must understand however, that the infrastructure in Nepal is not as reliable as in more developed countries. In some cases it may be hours or even a day before a message can get through to a volunteer.
A staff member will not be in your placement village throughout your stay. However, each village has a local ‘point person’ to assist the volunteer with any issues that may arise in the village. If there is a problem that he or she cannot resolve, then they will contact us to provide assistance. During the placement a staff person will provide site visits (the number determined by your length of stay), and will contact the volunteer via phone or email to provide regular ‘check-ins’.
Nepali people eat food with the family twice a day, around 9 o’clock in the morning and 7 o’clock in the evening. Both meals consist of rice with curry including vegetables and sometimes meat. Tea is served in the morning and in the afternoon. In some areas, it is possible to buy western food from shops or restaurants, but for placement meals it's unfortunately not possible to cater for volunteers with particular dietary requirements.
There's never a shortage of things to do, if in doubt, help out! Although there will be some set tasks to pitch in on, unless you put yourself forward or offer to help, you will find yourself sitting around a lot. Use your initiative – everyone appreciates a willing pair of hands – whether it’s for cleaning, cooking, gardening or entertaining!
This is a great way to enhance your Nepal experience. You can be in the jungle on day and a few days later be high in the Himalayas. We can tailor a value for money programme to match your plans.
You will be met outside the airport terminal by a local representative holding a placard with your name on it who will then escort you to the relevant location. Please provide us with your flight information as soon as possible so that a punctual pick-up can be assured.
Though petty theft is not as common in Nepal as in say, neighbouring India, it does still exist, with foreigners being the primary target. As such, it is important to exercise caution and travel sensibly. Bring a bag that you can wear crossed over your body, or if you have a backpack, bring a lock. Don’t flash around money or other valuables and keep an eye on your belongings – especially while taking public transportation. If you wish, you can give your passport or plane ticket to a staff member and they can keep them in the safe at our office. Generally, your room at your placement will have a lock on the door or a locked compartment. You should use it because the kids and your host family are likely to be curious about you and GO through your stuff. This is harmless, but can get annoying and can account for the occasional misplacement of items.
Although the cameras on smartphones have improved over the past few years, if you've got a decent digital camera it's worth bringing it with you to capture the best of your adventures in Nepal. You can also buy cameras quite affordably in Kathmandu or Pokhara. Nepali children all love being filmed and having their picture taken. It is a good idea to make sure you have a large memory card and extra batteries.
WiFi is now much more readily available in Nepal, but it might be more hassle than it's worth taking a laptop. I took my laptop on a recent trip to Nepal and I didn't take it out of my bag. A personal choice here I would say.
Budgets will vary according to the length of your stay in Nepal and if you include adventure add-ons. There are ATM’s in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan. You can also exchange your money into rupees at a number of locations in the main cities. If you’re in a pinch, there are Western Union facilities in both Kathmandu and Pokhara. Credit cards are generally only taken in mainstream hotels. That said, living in the village is very cheap, as you will not have to pay for your main food or accommodation and there is very little for you to spend your money on. Don’t forget to budget for program fees, visa fees and any extra activities.
We would be very grateful for educational books (grammar, TEFL, science, health, etc.,) illustrated books, English novels and children’s books. Also very much appreciated are donations of clothes, art supplies, and stationery. If you’re working with the children, bringing items such as a frisbee or props to assist in games and activities will be well received.
The Nepali people are very friendly, and giving gifts to the volunteer on the day of their departure is very common. If you would like to bring gifts for your family, we suggest you keep it simple. Whatever you decide to give your host family, please consider the next volunteer. Buying your family something elaborate or expensive will create an expectation in them to receive similar presents in the future. It is better to give them something sentimental (representative of your time with them or of your home country).
In Kathmandu, health care is relatively good – and also inexpensive. In your placement, however, the same cannot be said. Some placements are close to Kathmandu or Pokhara, but if you are in a village, there will be little to no access to health care. There probably won’t even be access to medication, so we recommend that you bring your own mini-pharmacy. Please consult your doctor regarding suitable travel vaccinations well in advance of your trip.
The registration fee of €149 is payable when you book your trip. The program fees are due in Nepal when your training commences and when you book adventure add-ons. We do not accept traveller’s cheques or credit cards. On your arrival in Nepal, we prefer payment in Euros, but can accept Nepalese Rupees as well. If you wish to extend your volunteering program you must let us know and pay the associated additional fees.
There is no insurance incorporated, so it's essential you arrange your own travel and medical insurance to protect yourself in case of accident, illness, or lost or damaged property.
Once your training starts (having paid the fee and received a receipt), we do not refund programme fees. However, if due to unavoidable circumstances (e.g. serious illness, family bereavement), we will consider a refund of 50% of the program fees, provided the volunteer is registered for a programme of more than 2 weeks. No refund will be offered for programmes of less than 2 weeks. The administration fee of €149 is payable when you book your trip and is non-refundable.