VSSN has got more than 100 positive reviews from our volunteers around the world.
1) If you're volunteering during the winter months, bring appropriate clothing. Days may be warm and sunny, but the nights can be bitterly cold. 2) When purchasing goods and services, be sure to mention that you're a volunteer. Many vendors will offer you an additional discount when you're negotiating a price. 3) If you're teaching English, come prepared with many lesson plans and educational games (for various ages). The schools are often lacking in structure and may look to you to create the lessons. Use different kinds of learning materials to make the lessons fun - music, maps, markers, poster-boards, etc. - most of these items can be purchased in Kathmandu. 4) Don't load your suitcase or backpack down with books from home. Kathmandu has numerous bookshops with all of the most popular titles in several languages, available in both new and used copies. Often times, you can sell back your books back for 50% of the purchase price.
Story /Advice from Aarthi Rao
To prospective volunteers,
I have spent the past two and a half months in Nepal and I’ve had a wonderful time. I have been volunteering with VSSN and have been based at of Chapagaun (about half hour south from Kathmandu). In the past few weeks I have got to know Chapagaun very well. I also assisted the health post with their yearly monitoring and evaluation survey and in this capacity came to interview almost 100 patients. There is no better way to know a place than to get to know its people. Although I was based in Chapagaun, I made for day visits to another health posts. I have been to Badharjhula in the southern Terai, Dhading and Ghale Gaun. Each of these trips has been unique and has helped me to meet a wide range of people. One of the advantages of volunteering is that you have the opportunity to visit isolated places (that are always interesting) that you would have never encountered as merely a t traveler. Also, I have been able to seamlessly incorporate my own travels into my trip. I have enjoyed the lake in Pokhara, ridden elephants in Sauraha, and rafted down the Trisoli river. I have had my share of obstacle and frustrations in Nepal but the longer I am here the easier it is to handle it all. Once I adjusted to the pace of life, I ran into very few problems.
All the good experiences I’ve had more than make up for anything negative. If you’re considering coming to Nepal at all I would strongly encourage it. In terms of advice most of my suggestions are closer to a packing list. As long as you are willing to keep all of your in country plans flexible you’ll have a good time. If you want more specific information feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to answer any questions that you might have.
A huge thank you for organizing my wonderful volunteering experience in Nepal! You are a very kind person and I couldn't have wished for a better leader to make sure I was safe, happy and comfortable 100% of my stay. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in both the hospital and getting the chance to travel around your beautiful country :)!
I do hope in the future me and Mayur will make a return visit together perhaps volunteering with your orphanage project. I wish you great sucess in all that you do, take care and thanks again!
Namaste my dear friend!
Hope all's well with you, your beautiful wife and comedian of a son! Haha!
I'm sorry I didn't write sooner, but it's taken me a full week to deal with the fact that I am no longer in Nepal... I miss your beautiful country sooooo much!!! I cannot thank you enough for giving me the fabulous opportunity to work with VSSN!!! From day one, I felt completely safe and well looked after by not only yourself.. but also Urmila, the lovely language instructor/tour guide, Raj and the boys at Millenium and Mr. Dev the trusty driver!!! Not to mention the hilarious Badri, who I will always remember as the 'lady landmark' guy. Haha.
I am missing my gorgeous Newari family, the Maharjans, in Chapagaun so much!!! I miss speaking Nepali with them.. and learning a bit of the Newari dialect too!!! They treated me like a real family member and they certainly kept me well-fed everyday!!! I have serious cravings for daal, bhaat and thakari!!! Oh and roti too! And veg momo! Oh my gosh and the chiya!!! I miss my cups of chiya daily... I couldn't have asked for a better family to stay with.. not only were they incredibly accommodating, but they were genuinely warm and interested in learning about my background and country, family etc. As far as I'm concerned, they are now a part of my extended family. They are my Nepali connection:)
As for the kids and teaching staff at Emerald English School.. I just don't know where to start. 'JB', the animated and wonderfully caring Principal at Emerald School is doing an amazing job with the school and I felt his passion for reaching out to the needy and teaching the young the necessary skills they'll need to survive in later life. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching English Literature and Grammar to all ages and levels.... all of the classes were super-active and always participated in our lessons:) They were so funny, charming and so engaging... that it's been hard coming back to my teaching job here in Japan, where some of the kids aren't half as active as the Nepali kids!!! I tell you what, these Japanese kids could learn A LOT from the beautiful wee souls in Nepal!!! The teachers were so friendly and extended a helping hand to me outside of school, which was greatly appreciated:) I got to try on the traditional Newari dress and had meals at various teacher's homes. They even bought me gifts, as I celebrated my birthday the day before I left Chapagaun. Please give them all my love next time you visit Emerald School! I will send them emails and photos asap too!!!
Getting to visit a local Orphanage was also a highlight of my time there. The sweet little kids who are learning there, were so adorable and I loved playing with them!!! Here's hoping they'll continue to do well with their studies there:)
All in all, my experiences as a Volunteer in Nepal were above and beyond anything I could've anticipated!!! My time in Chapagaun will forever remain in my heart as one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences ever!!! The warmth, genuine loving nature and unrivalled hospitality of the Nepali people whereever I went will always be appreciated and never be forgotten:)
DHANYABAAD a million times over to your superb professionalism Matrika, the fantastic team at VSSN, and related associations who contribute daily to improving the lives of the Nepali people!!!
NEPAL DHERAI MAN PARCHHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'll be back sooner than you think!!! Haha!
Thank you so much for all your help. You and your wonderful program VSSN have enabled me to experience such a beautiful country with such amazing people and fascinating history and culture. I do not know that I can ever thank you enough! I had an amazing time with Ram Krishna's family and also working at the clinic where learned from experiences, I couldn't have had anywhere else.
But it was truly your kindness and paternal help that made the experience so memorable. Thank you for introducing me to Pramila. She was so sweet and helpful (and smart!) not to mention loads of fun. I wish you all the best and I can't wait to see you when I come next time to Nepal (which) hope will be very soon :)! I will be in touch very soon sending pictures etc.
Love and thanks.
People are welcoming, friendly and hospitable and good. Every thing seemed to run like clockwork which is good in this programme. Very comfortable accommodation made most welcome. It's been a great opportunity to be a part of this scheme. We have learned to work together as a team in harmony and to appreciate the cultures and traditions of Nepal. It was a great privilege to visit Nepal and help with the project. I wish you much success in the future, carry on the good work. It was a great team building exercise. This experience will stay with us the rest of our life.
I am now back in Paris with my family but my mind is still in your beautiful country. Thank you for welcoming me and making my stay a pleasure. You organized everything very well and I appreciated it very much. The language lessons were extremely helpful, especially in the countryside. Even if I could not hold conversations, people were happy to hear me say a few words in Nepali. I enjoyed being with the children, in Pokhara, and helping them study for their exams. I hope they did well. You are doing great things to help these children!
Thank you and Namaste,
Hi Matrika, Just letting you know that I have arrived home safely and I would like to thank you for organizing my time in Nepal. I had really good time, both teaching and trekking, and it will surely be a trip that I remember for the rest of my life. Hopefully (maybe in a few years, once I've saved up some money!) I will be able to return to Nepal one day. If I do, I'll be sure to let you know. Finally, I would like to start making a monthly donation to the orphanage in Thecho. Can this be arranged? Best wishes,
Hi Matrika, How are you? Things are good on my end - busy with work but thinking back on my experience in Nepal a lot. I'm in the middle of logging my volunteer hours with VSSN. Could you send me some details that I can use to recognize those hours wiht my company and get a donation match situated? The info I will need are:
2. Best contact info for you
3. Government / Non-Profit ID #
Do you have these things? Also, can you put me in touch with your friend from Japan? I would like to get details of his volunteer org to figure out funding options for more support.
It feels so strange to be back in the United States! I miss Nepal already and can't wait to find an excuse to come back and visit again. My trip transcended all my initial expectations. Volunteer Service and Support Nepal (VSSN) is accommodating and incredibly organized. I got to see and do everything I wanted, and then some, all thanks to your help and support. The experiences that I had during my trip will never be forgotten. I hope your organization continues to thrive and attract even more friendly and dedicated volunteers. If you ever need someone to brag unashamedly about how amazing VSSN is, don't hesitate to contact me. Good Luck, and keep changing lives. Thanks.