Volunteer in Nepal
Only projects serving poor communities are selected for assistance. We steer clear of major tourist centres which are over-run with so-called ‘voluntourists’.
Geo-politics in Nepal
Nepal still has a long way to go to pick itself up after the 2015 earthquake destroyed so many buildings, particularly the older brick houses and ancient monuments. But the tourist trade has recovered and most areas of the country are now safe to visit.
After nearly a decade of wrangling, a new constitution was established in 2015. Although there is some unrest from communities that feel they may lose out, this historic agreement will, hopefully, lead to a reduction in strikes and protests on the streets in the long term. Nepal remains one of the poorest countries in the world.
(Updated 4th July 2017) Check geopolitical news for more background.
In addition to teaching, we are looking for doctors and dentists for clinics in the western region of Nepal. Shorter assignments of two to three weeks can be considered for these non-teaching posts.
To volunteer in Nepal, click on a region that interests you under “Locations”.
The School Year
Because the school years in India and Nepal differ, it is possible to teach at a HELP sponsored school through the year.
In Nepal the school year normally starts at the end of April and finishes at the end of March. There are, typically, 10 days of summer holidays in June, and another 10 days of winter holiday in January (except in the Western Nepal schools). However, there are variations to this general pattern depending on the individual school.
In addition to the holidays mentioned above, the school programme in both Nepal and India is interrupted first in early October by the major annual Hindu festival of Dussehra (or ‘Dasain’), and then 21 days later by the festival of lights called Diwali. These festivals add up to roughly two weeks of holiday. Therefore, at this time of year, preference is given to volunteers who can commit themselves to three months. The weather is usually wonderful in these autumn months, so the holidays provide a great opportunity to trek or travel, or to wander around and observe the many religious activities taking place.
From the schools’ point of view, the best times for volunteers are from May to September, and from December to April, but other times are possible.
Kathmandu Valley (Nepal)
The Kathmandu Valley, which is the cultural and political centre of Nepal, covers an area of 360 square kilometres at an altitude of 1336 metres above sea level in central Nepal. It is home to three fabulous cities : Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, Lalitpur (or Patan), and Bhaktapur.
The valley, a roughly oval bowl measuring 24 km east-west and 19 km north-south, is encircled by a range of green terraced hills and dotted by compact clusters of red tiled-roofed houses. Most of Nepal’s ethnic groups can be found there, but Newars are the indigenous inhabitants and the creators of the valley’s splendid civilization.
Legend has it that the valley was once covered by a lake until the Bodhisattva Manjushri raised his sword of wisdom and sliced a passage through the mountain walls, so draining the water. Modern geology suggests that it was indeed once a lake.
The Valley has become densely populated and polluted, and Kathmandu in particular has seen rapid growth in the last three decades.
Western Region – Dhawalagiri and Gandaki Zones (Nepal)
This is an administrative region of Nepal which includes the northern zones of Dhaulagiri and Gandaki, and, in the south, the Lumbini zone. It is in this region where the famous treks to the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges take place, with Pokhara as the base. In the extreme north of this region lies the district of Manang where the projects we support are located.
We currently support three village schools, and,in one of these villages, a medical clinic. These are remote assignments, and require some hiking to reach them. We are looking for doctors and dentists for the clinic and to travel with mobile clinics. Shorter assignments of two to three weeks are accepted from medically qualified staff.