Volunteering can be an enriching, life-changing experience – our co-founder Nicki started out as a volunteer and now lives and works in Nepal full-time. Of course, you are not expected to end up living in Nepal too, but we do want to make sure your volunteering experience is a rewarding one for you.
HFHK therefore welcomes and very much appreciates your decision to volunteer with us and to be part of the team that helps orphaned and abandoned Nepalese children. We hope that the following information will help make your volunteering experience with HFHK the best it possibly can be.
Where You can join the HFHK team in Pokhara, Nepal, for a few months to help by:
Teaching the kids (and house staff) English;
Conducting small, skills-based projects with the kids; or
Assisting the HFHK Nepal office with IT, databases and admin.
You can still volunteer even if you are not coming to Nepal - you can join the HFHK team in Australia and help with admin and fundraising and even become a formal member of the HFHK organization.
Time If your plan is to come to Nepal and volunteer with the HFHK Nepal team in Pokhara, we would really appreciate it if you could try to set aside at least 5 weeks to be with us. Although we do accept volunteers for shorter time periods, we would generally require those volunteers to have a specific skill which can easily be passed on to either the kids or our staff (for example first aid or IT experience). We believe, and our previous volunteers agree, that anything less is simply not long enough.
If you only have a few days to spare, then you are most welcome to come and visit us in the office for a briefing and if there is time you will be given a tour of one or more of the homes. Unfortunately, you will not be able to volunteer for such a short period as it is too disruptive for the kids.
What to Expect We encourage volunteers who are coming for 5 weeks or more and wanting to work with the kids to consider a placement at the local school where all our kids go. This way you can spend time with the HFHK kids whilst also helping out other kids, plus you would be assisting the school’s teachers with their English lessons. School runs from Sunday to Friday lunchtime. You can still spend free time with the HFHK kids if you wish to do more. Please be aware that if you are considering coming over close to exam time (generally March, August & December) you will have less time with the kids – as you can imagine their study is of maximum importance!
If you prefer to help out the HFHK Nepal office staff, you will be asked to discuss with us in advance the type of work you’d like to do, but you will be welcome at any time of the year!
Making it Worthwhile If you are considering volunteering with us in Nepal, we want your experience to be a worthwhile and memorable one for both you and for the kids. This means that the more time you spend thinking about what you will do before you get here, the better it will be, especially if you are here for less than 5 weeks and will not be teaching in the local school. So please do have a think about the types of activities you’d like to do and what the learning outcomes from those activities might be for the kids (or the staff!). Craft and games are fun that’s for sure – but try to come up with something that’s educational too. The kids will appreciate it if you’ve put some effort into it and you will in the long run too!
Getting to Nepal If you haven’t been to Nepal before, it’s best to get a guide book such as the Lonely Planet (http://www.lonelyplanet.com) to get a better idea of the culture, climate, customs and cost of living. There is a major international airport in Kathmandu (Tribhuvan International Airport) which is about 7 hours by bus from Pokhara. Tourist Visas for 3 months (extendable to 5 months in any calendar year) can be applied for at your country’s Nepal Consulate or can be obtained on arrival at the Tribhuvan Airport. You can travel from Kathmandu to Pokhara by tourist bus (7 hours) or by air (25 minutes).
Costs We do not ask nor expect our volunteers to pay any money to come and spend time with us. This means that your trip can be suited to your own budget and timetable – but it also means that you will be responsible for all of your own travel, accommodation, meals and living costs. The good news is that the cost of living in Nepal is dramatically cheaper than in western countries and in Pokhara you can live comfortably on as little as $10-$15 a day.
When in Pokhara The Lakeside district of Pokhara has many lodges, guest houses and hotels with a variety of tariffs to suit any budget and which can easily be booked in advance or on arrival. There is a lot to see and do whilst in Pokhara, so make sure you leave some time for sightseeing in your itinerary as well. The climate in Nepal varies quite a lot throughout the year from very cold in winter to hot and very wet during the monsoon. Make sure you check which season you are planning on coming so you can bring appropriate clothing. See your guide for more detailed information.
Who to Contact If you are considering volunteering with us please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org outlining where you'd like to help out and what you'd like to do.
Lastly, if you are coming to Nepal, please try to give us plenty of notice so we can work with you to make sure your time with us is worthwhile and memorable.