Hands for Help Nepal
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1.   What sort of volunteer work can be done?
Volunteer opportunities are available in the following areas: Teaching English, Environmental Awareness, Health and Sanitation issues, Home Stay Program, Cultural Exchange, and Primary Health Care. Your placement will be tailored according to your individual needs and interests.

2.   Do you have some information about Nepal?
For most of the people around the globe, the Himalayan Kingdom evokes images of snow-capped mountains and rolling green hills. Indeed, eight of the world’s 14 eight-thousanders lie in Nepal, making it a mountaineer’s dream. Nepal is also renowned as a brave warrior country. In 1st and 2nd world war, Nepalis fought as the brave Gurkhas. Nepal has more to offer than just the high Himalayas. Small as the country may be, the land is diverse geographically as well as ethnically. You will find rich cultures and vibrant traditions, exquisite temples and monuments as well as fast flowing rivers and tropical jungles teeming with wildlife; the scenery will make your trip an unforgettable one. It is a country where people of different races and religions live in harmony. For more information, we recommend referring to the Lonely Planet’s guide to Nepal.

3.   What is Hands for Help Nepal?
Hands for Help Nepal is a volunteer organization founded by former volunteers who worked with other international and local volunteer organizations here in Nepal. We found that volunteers can make a tremendous difference by helping local organizations achieve their goals. We spent time researching the different volunteer organizations around the world and were amazed at how expensive some programs were and how limiting many were in terms of volunteer options. Hands for Help Nepal was launched in 1996 with the aim of providing quality placements and service for volunteers. We are currently offering volunteer placements in various parts of Nepal.

4.   Do I have to be from a certain country to volunteer?
No, you can volunteer through Hands for Help Nepal from any where in the world.

5.   What age do I have to be to volunteer?
You must be at least 17 years old to volunteer; there is no upper limit. You should be in good health, however.

6.   Do you provide any financial support?
We unfortunately are not in a position to offer any financial support. You may want to consider enrolling in a later program to allow enough time to save the funds required.

7.   What immunizations/vaccines will I need?
This will depend greatly on what country you are from. You should always consult your doctor before purchasing any medication, as some may not be necessary. In many countries you may have already had some of the required vaccinations as a child. We can provide further details on vaccination requirements upon request.

8.   Do I need to speak English to become a volunteer?
Yes, it would be helpful if you speak English. If English is your second language, this will also be fine. 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.

9.   When should I arrive in Nepal?
You can arrive at any time! If you would like to arrive earlier to allow yourself adequate time to settle in before your training begins, accomadation can be arranged for you, but you will have to pay your own expenses for any time you spend in Nepal outside of training and volunteer time. Kathmandu has the only international airport in Nepal, so all international flights arrive and depart from there. You will be met at the airport by a representative from Hands for Help Nepal.

10.   What countries do most volunteers come from?
The majority of volunteers come from the United States, Canada, England and Australia. We also have smaller numbers of people from Italy, France, Austria, Germany, South Africa, Korea, Japan and New Zealand.

11.   Do you have any ideas for fundraising for my volunteer experience?
Yes. We have prepared a fundraising kit which will be helpful for fundraising ideas and will be provided upon request.

12.   What are the living arrangements when volunteering?
In Nepal you are provided with accommodations; they are covered by your volunteer program fee. During the training you will stay in a hotel in Kathmandu with other volunteers. Part of the training involves spending time in a local village or with a local Nepali family practicing what you have learned. While you are there, you will be housed and fed by the local people. When volunteering, you will be placed in a 'family' home in the village where you will be working. Please don’t expect a luxurious placement with cozy bed, hot showers and a Western style toilet. In Kathmandu, there is electricity but generally you will not find it out of major centers. Two meals a day are provided for you while training and volunteering as well as two snacks. You are advised to buy your own bottled water once you arrive in Nepal. We offer food and accommodations from the first day of the program to the last day. For the volunteers who arrive earlier or who want to stay longer, it is not possible to offer accommodations and food, but we will help volunteers to find a quality, inexpensive place to stay.

13.   Do I need travel insurance?
As with any overseas traveling, health insurance is recommended. Please obtain necessary health and travel insurance before coming to Nepal. Talk to your travel agent about this or check online to see what offers are available. Make sure you look into the details of the policy. You should make sure it covers airfare, in the case of a medical emergencies. We also suggest that volunteers consult a physician or an international travel clinic for recommendations on immunizations. You should certainly bring a small first aid kit. Nepal offers basic medical services and there are places for emergency medical services. If you are taking any medicine or medications, we suggest that you bring your prescriptions and other medications from home.

14.   Are there more expenses once I arrive?
No matter which of our programs you have chosen, you will need some extra spending money. However, Nepal is a very inexpensive place for shopping and for travel. The training and program costs cover accommodation and most meals. If you arrive early, or intend on staying on in Nepal for longer than you are volunteering, then you will need to have spare money for this time. Also, some money may be required for your days off. Other costs include buying bottled water, paying for your visa to enter Nepal, paying a departure tax and shopping for personal items.

Kathmandu provides many opportunities for purchasing gifts for your friends and family. You can change your major currencies and travelers checks in Kathmandu and at the airport. There are now 24 hour ATMs in Kathmandu, but traveler's cheques are still the best choice. It is possible to get $5-$10 hotel room per night in Kathmandu. Not included in the program cost is airfare, insurance, spending money and visas.

15.   How safe is it to volunteer in Nepal?
We work very hard to ensure you are placed in safe environments while volunteering. In Nepal, you may have heard about the Maoists rebels. Their aim is to change the way Nepal is run as a country. They are seen as no threat to foreigners, as they seek only the local support of the Nepali people.

16.   How many volunteers are there on site at the same time?
This depends on how many people volunteer at any one time. Usually there are between 3 and 10 volunteers at the training. If possible, you are placed with one other person in the local villages when you are volunteering.

17.   What resources are available for teaching when I'm volunteering? Do I need to bring my own?
If you have resources that you think may be appropriate, please discuss this with us via email to see if you should bring them. Most likely anything you have will be of help, as there will be limited resources. We are in the process of developing kits, but these will not be available until later in the year.

18.   What is the course content of the training?
Depending on how long you are volunteering, the training can run from just a few days or up to two weeks in length. It is broken into two stages with the first part being based in Kathmandu and the second stage based in a local village or with a local family. The majority of the training is largely spent learning the language of Nepal. You also will receive an introduction to the Nepali culture and information on how to teach English as a second language. In the second part of the course, when you are in a village or with a local family, you will be prepared for volunteering in a similar situation. The content of the training varies according to the type of volunteer work you choose and is proportionate to the length of your stay.

19.   How would my family members be accommodated while volunteering?
You will need to pay additional costs for accommodating your family members in Nepal. As some volunteer placements may not have available housing, you may be limited to the areas you can volunteer.

20.   How can I get in contact with previous volunteers?
You can contact us to get the email addressed of previous volunteers who have worked with us. Previous volunteers would be happy to discuss their experiences with you.

21.   Who organizes my flights?
You do. You will need to organize your trip to and from Nepal.

22.   Who organizes the visa for my volunteer placement?
Any traveler to Nepal is allowed to stay on a tourist visa for up to 5 months per each 12-month period. You can get a tourist visa at the Royal Nepalese Embassy or Diplomatic Mission in your country or at the Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu upon arrival (US $30 for the first two months). You can renew your visa when you are here if you wish to stay for more than two months- for an additional charge of US $30 per month. Non-tourist visas are difficult to obtain and are twice as expensive as the tourist visa. It is the responsibility of volunteers to manage their own tickets and visa. We suggest that volunteers not stay more than 5 months.

23.   How can I communicate with my family back home?
Email access is available in some small towns, however it is readily available in urban areas such as Kathmandu and Pokhara. International telephone service also is available in most cities. You will find specific information about these facilities when we arrange a placement for you. There is postal service throughout the country. We always advise volunteers to use our postal address in Kathmandu, especially when your friends or parents send parcels or important materials to you. You can pick up your mail from our office or else we will forward it to you.

24.   What are the school hours?
In Nepal, school is in session from Sunday through Friday, 10 am to 4 pm (time may differ depending on place and season) and volunteers typically receive a ˝ day on Friday and all day Saturday as vacation, in addition to local festivals and holidays. Your teaching load will vary depending on the headmaster of school. Please communicate with him/her when you begin. Most of the time volunteers teach 4-6 periods per day.

25.   What is the climate like and what clothes should I bring?
Nepal is not always as cold as people think. The country is geographically divided into three parts. The Himalayan region of Nepal is very cold in winter while the mid hill region and Terai region of Nepal have different climates in different seasons. The weather is cold from December to February but warm and moderately hot in the summer. The spring and fall are cool and very pleasant. Please bring your winter clothes (think layers!) if you are coming in November, December, January, or February. Please bring summer clothes for the rest of the months. If you are volunteering in the rainy season (July and August), please bring a light rain jacket and umbrella. We advise female volunteers not to wear sleeveless shirts, shorts, or short skirts in villages. Nepalese people dress modestly and girls cover most of their body; it is the Nepalese tradition. We can send you a detailed packing list upon request.

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