Volunteer your skills
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 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.
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.
It is important to understand that HELP is not engaged in the ‘voluntourism’ business. HELP is a non-profit organisation. Our volunteers are not tourists while they are with us. We take up references and we ask for usable skills. What’s more, we expect them to give us at least two months of their time.
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..
In addition to teachers, we are looking for medical staff: doctors, dentists and nurses for a clinic in the western region of Nepal.
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.
- 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!
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.|
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.
HELP is not government funded and so we must ask you to help us defray our costs in return for your placement and make a contribution to our schools support programme. Our fees range from £330 to £480 (depending on your status) which is payable to HELP in British pounds, In addition, you will need to pay your local hosts for your board and accommodation in local currency. For details, see the table below:
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 donation to further HELP‘s work in supporting schools and children. (We ask you to present £70 of this money directly to your school).
-The amount of your donation depends on your status.
-Special rates apply to couples
-Indian or Nepalese nationals are not expected to pay more than a £70 donation to their school
|Full board and accommodation|
A monthly payment to your host family for board and accommodation per volunteer (the exact rate depends on location and type of accommodation – home-stay or guest house. You will be able to discuss the options during the application process)
|Nepal: 15,000 – 36,000 Nepalese Rupees (NPR)  per month|
India: 10,000 – 15,000 Indian Rupees (INR)  per month
Please note that no-one is exempt from the payment of the above-mentioned fees, and there are no paid positions in HELP. We are all unpaid volunteers.
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
- Every day expenses such as snacks/drinks/email contact (approx. £35/month) 
- Medical/Evacuation Insurance