Frequently Asked Questions
If you are energetic, motivated, and wish to provide a helping hand to needy rural children, youth, and community people, your initial interest in volunteering abroad will quickly be followed by a number of questions and doubts. We hope to answer most of these initial questions in this prospectus. We assure you, volunteering in Nepal through the Volunteer Society Nepal is an investment for life and one that will impact all the decisions you make in the future. We also encourage you to compare our small (permanent staff is less than 8 people), locally created, and operated NGO with all other volunteering opportunities in Nepal. Our goals, education, peace, understanding, and truly sustainable development, are reflected in our ethos as well as our low fees. Helping those in need is a job bigger than one country, so we invite all volunteers to join us in our efforts: Can you afford not to give your mind and body for a relatively short time in exchange for limitless life-changing experiences?
We offer a broad range of placements to match your skills and interest.
EFN Nepal provides programs from two weeks to ten months.
You can start as soon as you like, but it is far better if you confirm that you are coming at least two weeks before you arrive in Nepal. This allows us time to prepare necessary accommodations, training and placement.
EFN is very flexible on when volunteers can start the program, and it’s possible to start any day of the year. It just depends on your availability.
Everest Foundation Nepal welcomes individuals, couples, families, small and large groups, students and experts, as well as senior and young professionals. We have placed 20 volunteers in one village before and often get requests from smaller groups too. We will do everything we can to place people together if that is what you would like. For groups of 4 or more, please contact us directly to discuss options.
We are always looking to develop ongoing relationships with organisations and schools abroad. The chance to set up cultural exchanges is a great way of developing understanding from both sides. If you are interested then please contact us by email directly
First stop is to check out our Volunteer Community pages where you can read about people’s experiences, look at their photos and get in touch with them directly. You can also contact us directly to get the email addresses of our previous and current volunteers for a particular project. They will be happy to discuss their experiences with you and answer any further questions.
If you are enthusiastic, initiative taking and motivated to help needy people, especially school children, youth and women, you are perfect and exactly what we are looking for. We also believe that to have the best experience, you have to have an open mind and learn to expect the unexpected! The culture, lifestyle, conditions and best-laid-plans in Nepal do not resemble what you are likely used to in your own country. When you are volunteering In Nepal, it’s best to enjoy the experiences and the gorgeous sites, and just go with the flow! From our experience, it’s a great adventure full of things you never expected.
No, but if you do have some then we can find a placement that will put them to good use. For legal experience we can get you advising women on their legal rights, for subject specific teaching we can get you teaching direct or teaching teachers, or for health expertise we have a range of placements to suit your level. We also organize sufficient in-country training programs for all selected volunteers to enable them to work effectively with target groups.
No, not at all. We recruit local Nepali people to work alongside our overseas volunteers as their counterparts. This gives them a chance to work with foreign/English speaking people and gives them valuable exposure to other cultures.
It is important that you speak some English, but it is perfectly acceptable if you speak English as your second language. When you arrive in Nepal you will be placed into a training program that includes an intensive language course on basic Nepali phrases that you may need while volunteering which will also help you settle in.
No, you can come and volunteer with us from any country. The majority of our volunteers come from the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia. Every year we have 250 to 350 overseas volunteers from more than 21 different countries.
Volunteering is a very rewarding experience, however it can be challenging. Volunteering in Nepal requires patience, flexibility and adaptability and volunteers need to be motivated, creative, self-starters.
You are in a different country and community, as a guest. Though you will most likely be making a difference in the lives and futures of disadvantaged communities, you will also hopefully be open to learning a lot. Applicants should only consider volunteering if they genuinely respect the Nepali culture and the Nepali people.
Things to Consider:
- Are you open enough to accept and respect a culture no matter how different it is from your first culture?
- Are you flexible? Developing countries, and Nepal in particular, are not as obsessed with time as the US or Europe. Often, schedules are ignored or appointments begin later than arranged. You may also encounter corruption in government officials and local administrators.
- Are you comfortable with yourself? At times you may feel isolated, particularly if you chose to work in a remote village and knowing no one.
- Are you hungry to learn? You'll learn a new language, a new culture, a new way of life.
- Can you handle culture shock? The moment you step off the plane you will be in a world where very little is familiar.
- If you decide to volunteer in Nepal, you are opening the door to the possibility for a personally enriching and life-changing experience.
- Can you live without modern plumbing, hot water and electricity especially if you chose to volunteer in remote areas?
- Are you aware that most volunteers experience illness at some point during their stay.
Everest Foundation Nepal tries to keep costs as low as possible. EFN volunteering programs in Nepal are the most affordable in Nepal. Volunteers have to pay for their food and accommodation, training, sponsoring Nepali children, the costs for their Nepali counterparts, and travel; all of which is included in the overall fee.
We go into detailed breakdowns of where your money goes in the Fees section of the website.
We find lots of our volunteers raise additional funds to their program fee before coming out. This means they can see where their money goes to. We can provide you with lots of fund-raising tips and advice as well as a fundraising pack that will give you all the information you may need to pass onto potential sponsors.
- All Food and Accommodation from the day you land to the end of the placement
- Transfer to and from your placement
- Nepali language lessons
- Cultural Induction of up to a week incl. guided tours of key UNESCO world heritage sites of Kathmandu
24hr support from the EFN team throughout your placement
- Fundraising support if requested
- Costs of moving placements if reason deemed appropriate
- Access to EFN office for internet usage when in Kathmandu
- Flights: To Kathmandu from home country or if the volunteer chooses to fly to their placement
- Visa: $30 USD for the first two months and $30 USD per month thereafter
- Immunizations: consult your GP for exact requirements
- Travel Insurance. Previous volunteers recommend Insure and Go
- It is also helpful to have a weekly budget of approximately US $60. This can cater for all your personal expenses like extra bottled water, toothpaste, personal hygiene products, beverages and entertainment
Booking and Payment
EFN does not have complex process for making reservations
. You can complete the form online on our Apply Now page or if you prefer you can send us a cover letter mentioning your program of interest, a small sized picture, a short resume, your tentative arrival date and the duration of time you will be volunteering to Dinesh / Ajamber/ by email and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Once you have received your acceptance letter you can secure your place with a 40% of total fees by transferring to our bank account. As soon as your Reservation Fee
has been received by EFN, you will be provided with all the information and support you need to prepare for your upcoming volunteer program.
Once the volunteer makes their decision and pays for the program fee, upon receipt of invoice, EFN Volunteer Program does not refund any program fee under any circumstances. However, if the volunteer has unavoidable circumstances (such as illness, death in the family, etc) they may request to leave the program, and EFN will consider returning 25% of the host family cost (if the volunteer is registered for more than 30 days program). No refund will be made for programs lasting less than 30 days, or if the volunteer chooses to leave the program on their own.
As with any overseas traveling, health insurance is recommended. Please obtain necessary health and travel insurance before coming to Nepal. Make sure you look into the details of the policy. Find out if it covers airfare in case of a medical emergency.
Previous volunteers recommend Insure and Go.
You do. You will need to organize your trip to and from Nepal, but we can help you to find affordable flights. Previous volunteers have recommended DialAFlight.
You will need a tourist Visa for your visit to Nepal. These can be obtained for up to 3 months on entry and extended to a maximum of 150 days within a year whilst you are here. The current fee $30 USD for the first two months and $30 USD per month thereafter.
Up to date information can be found at: http://www.immi.gov.np/touristvisa
Most of our volunteers obtain visa upon arrival at the Kathmandu airport, which is very easy. You just need to bring a passport size photo with you and payment as per the above.
We suggest that you consult a travel doctor from your country four weeks before your departure as it will depend greatly on what country you are traveling from. However, you should consider the following vaccinations.
- Hepatitis A & B
- Yellow fever
- Malaria tablets (depending on placement area)
Kathmandu has the only international airport in Nepal, so all international flights arrive and depart from there. Our representative will meet you at the airport. On your first day you will be staying near the EFN HQ in a suburb called Pepsi-Cola in Eastern Kathmandu. This is only about 15 min drive from the airport.
Feeling a bit daunted about coming to volunteer in Nepal? Read on for what to bring, what to expect and what you need to know before getting on the plane
Firstly, thanks for your decision to come out here and help. You are the life blood of our organisation and every volunteer means a huge amount to us. Secondly, you are probably thinking about what you need to bring and what preparations need to be made. Hopefully this page will give you a lot of the information you need.Please click here: Pre-departure-information-for-volunteers
Fundraising support and ideas:
To make the most of your time in Nepal then why not raise some funds for our projects before you arrive? Remember everything from clothes, books, games, education resources, medical supplies to house hold items are very cheap over here in Nepal. The smallest amounts of money raised will go a long way out here. For tips about fund raising see the separate page here: Fundraising
Arrival and Cultural Induction
Yes, our volunteer representative will be at the airport to meet you on arrival.
There will be plenty of time for you to explore the Kathmandu Valley during orientation. We offer full day guided tours of Kathmandu valley as a part of the language program, but you can request free time if you prefer.
Nowadays, there are ATM services in most of Nepal’s cities, which will be open during the day. There are also several banks and money exchange services. You can bring Mastercard/Visa card, cash $/ Euro or travelers checks, these all are accepted. Solo, Cirrus and Maestro debit cards are rarely accepted in ATMs.
Please refer to the Food and Accommodation section for more information on what to expect. We have shown photos and in depth descriptions so you know what to expect. In Nepal you are provided with accommodations as part of your volunteer fee from the day you land to the day you finish your placement. For the volunteers who arrive earlier or who want to stay longer, it is not possible to offer accommodations, but we will help you find a quality, inexpensive place to stay.
During induction: During initial language training and cultural induction, you will stay at, or very near, the EFN office in Kathmandu with other volunteers. This initial training may also involve spending time in a local village with a Nepali family, to practice what you have learned. While you are there, you will be housed and fed by the local people who are compensated by EFN as part of your program fee.
On placement: Your style of accommodation will vary according to where you choose to volunteer. If you are working in Kathmandu then you will be in a home-stay in a modern house with electricity, WI-Fi internet, gas/solar heated shower, and Western toilet. However, when volunteering in a rural areas you may be living in much more basic accommodation. Either way Nepal is a developing country and you should not expect Western style luxury.
At least two meals a day are provided for you while volunteering. The usual meal times are 10am and 6pm. You can expect the national staple of Daal Bhaat Tarkari which is a tasty and filling plate of rice, vegetable curry, lentils and pickles. This may be supplemented occasionally by noodles, eggs and other snacks dependent on your host family and placement. If this is not enough food for you then snacks will be available in the local area for very little cost (under $2 for a large plate of food).
Your home-stay will provide you with filtered water during your meal times. You are advised to buy your own bottled water once you arrive in Nepal, and only drink filtered/boiled water during your home-stay.
With ample time to make arrangements this isn’t a problem. Specific allergies to staples of rice and pulses may make it difficult in rural placements to eat well and an urban placement may be a better option.
It is not compulsory for you to bring a gift for the family but it is a welcome gesture. You could bring gifts like a t-shirt, key-chain, toys for the kids, books, chocolate etc. Something specific to your home country is a good choice.
EFN is very flexible, and we consider any requests from our volunteers for changes in their work-places seriously. It is possible to change the working areas to meet the expectation of volunteers. We cannot change position frequently, however, without genuine reasons.
This all depends on your placement. Every placement has access to a phone, and almost all will have access to a Post Office. If you are in a city, there are many places in which you can use a phone and have access to e-mail regularly. On arrival we make sure you are able to send an email home as soon as possible. We advise you to bring a mobile phone with you. You can buy Nepali Sim card for nominal price by which you can make international calls and surf internet in your mobile phone.
Of course! The majority of our long term volunteers take a break during their stay with EFN for various trekking expeditions. EFN supports and encourages any volunteer wishing to take a leave of absence from their duties to explore the natural beauty of Nepal. We simply ask that any major projects you are overseeing to be managed appropriately prior to your departure.
We advise female volunteers not to wear short skirts & wide opened neck t-shirts. Nepalese people dress modestly and girls cover most of their body; it is the Nepalese tradition. Men in roles of authority such as teaching should wear a collared shirt if possible when they are in front of the class.
Nepal is not always as cold as people think. The country is geographically divided into three parts. The Himalayan region of Nepal is at high altitude and will get to minus temperatures at night and in winter. The mid-hill region (Kathmandu and Pokhara) is over 20 degrees C all year around during the day but gets cold at night and out of the sun in winter. The mid-terai region (Chitwan) areas of Nepal are the lowest altitude and therefore the warmest, even in winter it won’t get below 10 degrees C at night here. In general the weather is cold from December to March, but warm in Spring and Fall and moderately hot during the summer. The Fall is the best time for trekking in Nepal because the skies are the clearest. Please bring your winter clothes (think layers!) if you are coming in Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb and bring summer clothes for the rest of the months. Please note that Nepali houses don’t generally have heating so a sleeping bag might be a good idea for winter nights. Nepal does have a monsoon season from August to September which can bring heavy rain.
Health & Safety
It is very safe to volunteer in Nepal. Some foreign embassies have had warnings in place about traveling to Nepal for over 13 years, but in this time not a single tourist has been attacked and the tourist trade continues to thrive with 555,000 visiting in 2008. EFN always ensures our volunteers are placed in safe environments. We are proud that despite having had more than 100 volunteers every year, we have had no mention of any of them feeling unsafe.
We always do all we can to ensure that all food and water during training and placement is safe and clean. EFN Nepal trains the host families regarding the safety of their water and food and all of them have experience accommodating past volunteers. They will always give you boiled water and well cooked food. However, there is still a chance of contracting illnesses like diarrhea or guardia in Nepal so you need to be very aware of personal hygiene like washing hands thoroughly.
Nepal offers basic medical services but there are several International standard hospitals in Kathmandu for emergency medical treatment. EFN generally refers to the CIWEC Clinic and the Nepal International Clinic.
However, if you are taking any prescription medicine, we suggest that you bring an ample supply from your home country.
Yes, it is important you speak basic English, but it is perfectly acceptable if it is your second language. When you arrive in Nepal you will be placed into a training program that includes an intensive language course on basic Nepal phrases that will also help you while volunteering.
Many people in Nepal understand English, but speaking a few sentences in Nepali will make your life easier. Your orientation will include a week of intensive introduction to Nepali language and culture, and you most volunteers learn the Nepali language quickly. It helps if you are able to speak basic Nepali, and great fun as well. Volunteers on our short-term (2-3 week programs) will only have very basic teaching but this still helps. We can send you a few lessons of our course book in advance upon request.
Why Choose Nepal?
Volunteering will help you to see the world from a different perspective, which enables you to develop your critical thinking and cross-cultural skills. In addition, by leaving the familiar behind to go encounter new people and places, you will gain a better understanding of yourself and the world around you. Experiencing another way of life firsthand will enhance your independence, understanding, education and self-awareness. These life-skills are all invaluable.
Above all, the rural children, youth, schools and communities need your help. You may know that 97 out of 100 children and adolescents still live in villages, and that 31% of all Nepali people live under the poverty line. The education and health facilities in rural areas are insufficient; and the rural schools lack trained teachers, as well as a sufficient number of teachers in general. Every year, hundreds of children leave their villages to arrive in small and big cities in search of work. Most of these children are deprived of educational and other opportunities, so after coming into the cities they work as child laborers in restaurants, hotels, and factories. In such a messy situation, the small efforts from volunteers can bring hope for greater change in all rural communities. Ask your heart whether or not it is your responsibility to help the needy people of developing countries, as a member of this global village?
There is need for help in both and so it depends which suits you. Traditionally aid has been focussed on the rural areas. However, due to increasing urbanisation, people from the villages of Nepal are flooding to Kathmandu where they have nothing and are in dire need of support. Some people want an experience of staying in a remote mountain village with minimal Western comforts in which case one of our placements in Solukhumbu would be perfect. However, if you want to help without sacrificing the regular email contact with home, a warm shower and comforts of a city then we have multiple opportunities in Kathmandu in health, teaching, environmental or orphanage work.
VSN is a registered travel and tour company in Nepal which provides excellent services for those interested in trekking or touring in Nepal. Several of our previous and current volunteers have utilized their services with great success. If you are considering a mix of volunteering and traveling then contact us about our Volunteer and Trek in Nepal packages.