By becoming a HELP volunteer in India or Nepal you will be able to make a direct, personal contribution to the education of young Himalayan people. In so doing, you will be having an unforgettable experience in a new and fascinating world.

I didn’t really appreciate how great HELP was until I got the chance to talk to some other teachers in Kalimpong. I met at least four or five others who were teaching and all of them seemed to say their placements were unorganized and boring. Some also paid as much as 6 times the amount I paid and they didn’t know where any of the money went. HELP gave me the opportunity to work very independently with the comfort of having a number of reliable contacts in and out of my placement. I can’t say enough how glad I am to have chosen this organization over some of the other available opportunities.

Justin Bradley, Bright Life Academy

(I)…had the most fascinating time in my life teaching the loveliest kids on earth!

Barbara Zeus, DPCA

Volunteering with HELP offers all the good things of working with a small, personal organisation: in-depth local knowledge from the HELP organisers, and the feeling that one is doing something for the first time.

Dan Cook, Algarah School

We think the thing you do is a great idea, that you do it very well, that your fees are volunteer-friendly (unlike those of other organisations), that you know the region very well and can give the volunteers a realistic picture of it before going, and that you have a wonderful contact in Kalimpong…

Nikola Capla and Petra Cvancarova, Everest Boarding School

I want to let you know that I have looked at a lot of volunteer organizations since I did your program and you have (as far as I can tell) one of the best. I really like how much you personally care about each volunteer and each school.

Anne Gilliland, Denjong Pema Choling Academy

Volunteering with HELP

HELP is looking for idealistic and competent people willing to give up some of their time to do something positive for the children of the Indian and Nepalese Himalayas. In the process of contributing to their educational needs, you are likely to find that your own need for self-development is met. Most of our volunteers have an amazing, life-enhancing experience.

Skills

Most, but not all, of our volunteers serve as classroom teachers. The greatest need is for teachers of English as a foreign language (TEFL). If you don’t have any experience in this field, don’t worry. We can point you in the direction of a basic TEFL course, and we will supply you with a starter pack of TEFL materials that will help you get through the first couple of weeks.

Other subjects needing assistance from our volunteers include Maths, Science and IT.

In addition to teachers, we are looking for medical staff: doctors, dentists and nurses for a clinic in the western region of Nepal.

Culture shock!

Living and teaching in a remote Himalayan community is not for everyone, and is certainly not something to be taken on lightly. In deciding whether or not you should volunteer, you should carefully consider the following facts, and ask yourself whether you could cope:

  • If you are in a home-stay, you must be willing to share much of your life with other members of the household. Can you cope with the lack of privacy?
  •  Can you live with people whose values and beliefs you may disagree with, or even despise?
  •  Can you live without recreational drugs or alcohol?
  •  Can you cope without any of the familiar props of your own culture?
  •  Can you manage without your favourite products?
  •  Toilet facilities may be in an out-house, and you may need to wash at a communal tap. How important are your creature comforts to you?
  •  The terrain is, naturally, mountainous and you may need to walk long distances. You must therefore be fit.
  •  It is essential that you declare any outstanding medical conditions that may affect your well-being. Do not consider applying if you have an on-going heart condition.
  • The typical Himalayan diet is basic and monotonous, typically consisting of rice, lentils and vegetable curry. It is healthy, but it is not haute cuisine!
  • Some of your fellow teachers may see you as a threat, particularly if they teach English or use English to teach their subject. After all, your English is likely to be better than theirs.  You will need to work out a way of reassuring them that you are there to supplement their work, not to replace them.

Is this you?

It follows that, in addition to having a useful skill, the qualities you will need to make a useful contribution to your school are: resilience and adaptability, an open mind and an interest in other cultures, good mental and physical health, and tact and diplomacy.

Because these opportunities are best suited to mature people, our volunteers are likely to be (but not exclusively) from one of the following categories:

  • working people taking a career break.
  • retired people who are not yet ready to put their feet up!
  • graduates wanting to have an adventure before starting their careers.
  • students aged at least 19.

If you are still reading this, and feel you have what it takes, please read on!


The recruitment process

STEP 1 STEP 2 STEP 3 STEP 4
After we receive your on-line application (see below), we will make an initial assessment, and then in most cases we will Skype you so that we can find out more about each other, and decide together whether volunteering with HELP will be in your best interests, and in the interests of the Himalayan community. If both you and we decide to proceed with your application, we will then contact two referees nominated by you. One should be a past employer, while the other should be someone who knows you well in a personal capacity (not a member of your family). Provided we receive two positive references, we will make you an offer. As soon as you have signed up, we will send you briefing materials, and connect you with past volunteers where appropriate.

Your commitments

Volunteer teachers must be able to commit themselves to an attachment of 8 weeks (an exception can be made for practising teachers who are fitting their volunteering into their summer vacation). Medical volunteers are accepted for two or three week assignments. All volunteers need to be able to meet all their expenses. The school or clinic will provide accommodation and all meals.

The cost of the programme includes:

  • a fee payable to HELP to cover your placement, pre-departure briefing materials and advice, as well as the services of a local HELP representative and our administration expenses. Receipt of this fee secures your placement.
  • a monthly payment to your host family for board and accommodation
  • a donation to further HELP‘s work in supporting schools and children. The amount you pay depends on your status (see the table below).
Administration fee UK£180
[]
Donation
(voluntary for applicants from India and Nepal)
Non-student Student
UK£300
[]
UK£150
[]
Full board and accommodation
MONTHLY PAYMENT PER VOLUNTEER
Nepal: 15,000 Nepalese Rupees (NPR) []

or India (excluding Ladakh): 9,300 Indian Rupees (INR) []
or Ladakh: 13,000 Indian Rupees (INR) []

NB Special rates for couples

Please note that no-one is exempt from the payment of the above-mentioned fees, and there are no paid positions in HELP.

You will be able to take part of your donation to your school. The rest goes into HELP‘s donations fund. For information about how this fund is used, visit our donations page.

In addition to our fees, you will need to meet the following costs:

  • International and domestic airfares
  • Immunisations
  • Visas
  • Every day expenses such as snacks/drinks/email contact (approx. £35/month) []
  • Medical/Evacuation Insurance

How to volunteer

  1. Simply choose either Assignments in India or Assignments in Nepal
  2. Select the region you are interested in volunteering in, and send us the completed application form.
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By becoming a HELP volunteer in India or Nepal you will be able to make a direct, personal contribution to the education of young Himalayan people. In so doing, you will be having an unforgettable experience in a new and fascinating world.
Nikola Capla and Petra CvancarovaEverest Boarding School