- What We Do
- Little Princes
The majority of children from Nepal’s villages and cities are unable to access a good educational system. This is due to a lack of financial and physical resources as well as the remote mountain geography of the country. Volunteers participating in the Umbrella Education Support programme will teach English at a Nepali public school in one of our two rural locations; Gurje and Rasuwa.
Teaching Nepalese children is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. No matter what you believe your skill level to be, you have something to offer. Volunteers can also assist with creating low-cost teaching materials for the school and help organize extracurricular activates for the children after school hours. Volunteers can teach English in the mornings before arranging sports, drama and song in the afternoon. The schools that you will be volunteering in are primary and lower secondary schools where the children will be between the ages of 4 and 15 years of age.
Local teachers are often very capable at providing their students with a good structural knowledge of English - the grammar and the vocabulary - but, having had very little conversational English practice themselves, they often lack the confidence to get the children speaking English. That is where a volunteer can prove invaluable as through interacting with you that will enable them to break down this barrier, and you will find that students and teachers alike will be able to make rapid progress.
Our volunteers are providing an important skill for the students they teach, that of conversational English. Having a native English speaker is a massive advantage and very helpful to the schools in which they teach. Both students and staff members alike fully appreciate the language skills and enthusiasm our teaching volunteers bring to their classes. The students also use the opportunity of having a foreign teacher to learn about the customs and practices of the West.
Why Volunteer with Umbrella?
- Umbrella have been running in Nepal for 8 years now and during that time we have taken in almost 320 children into our homes in Swayambhu;
- 80 of these children have been re-integrated back with their families in various communities around Nepal, where we have continued to monitor their progress and development;
- We have children in re-integration homes in remote areas of Rasuwa (north of Kathmandu) and Humla (North West Nepal), so that children, originally from those areas, can have access to their families without placing the full burden of responsibility back on the families;
- We support 8 schools in Kathmandu, Rasuwa and Gurje with food for education programmes (for the children’s families), stationary support and teacher training courses;
- The Umbrella Foundation is not a volunteer agency. Rather, we are an Irish registered not-for profit organisation that welcomes volunteers’ help with our projects. We have a small number of international staff in Ireland and Nepal however, we directly employ local Nepalese staff working within the local communities for their benefit. Many volunteer agencies offering volunteer teaching placements serve as an intermediary between you and a local NGO, thereby significantly decreasing amount going to local development;
- The Umbrella Foundation has been lucky to have some great volunteers since its inception and they have continued to support our work after their time here, back in their own countries. Due to our small size, the volunteers can make a real and significant difference to the local communities in with they help; and
- While, the international team in Nepal is quite small (there are two of us!), we live here in Nepal and we know the area and the country well so we are always on hand for any questions that you may have before, during and even after your time with us. Also, we have a Nepalese staff of almost 50 including field officers, who are continuously monitoring our work in the rural communities to ensure that they are running effectively.
The Volunteer's Role
On average, a class has around 30 pupils, and a volunteer will normally be in charge of half a class, the other half being taken either by another volunteer or a local teacher. Most of our Teaching placements require you to work up to four to six hours per day from Monday to Friday. You will have holidays on the weekends which you can use to explore Nepal!
Volunteers DO NOT need to be a qualified or experienced teacher but must have a strong command of the English language. The only skills required for volunteering for this Program are a willingness to learn and an open mind. The main resources you will have in your classroom are a blackboard and a piece of chalk. Despite this, the enthusiasm of the children and the appreciation of your colleagues are sure to make voluntary Teaching in Nepal a highly rewarding experience.
Although your main role will be to teach English you may find that you also want to help out by coaching the football team or setting up an art club at lunchtimes. Your skills and abilities in other areas will make you even more popular within the school, and you should be sure to let us know about them on application, so we can match you to the most suitable placement.
You will receive an orientation upon your arrival in Nepal that will include a detailed introduction to Umbrella, Nepali culture and customs, a tour around the capital of Kathmandu and Nepali language classes. For those without previous teaching experience, you will also receive a teaching work shop to give you ideas on what to expect within the class room and what will be expected of you. We will also give you plenty of ideas on how to engage with the children and energise thier lessons!
During your placement you will also receive ongoing Nepali language classes in the villages and you will also travel back to Kathmandu for teaching workshops and debriefing sessions.
Before arriving in Nepal volunteers should understand that resources are extremely limited in the institutions they will be working. Therefore, any supplies volunteers can bring, appropriate to their particular program are always very appreciated by the local people and staff. We will provide some ideas of good supplies to bring relevant to your particular program in the second information pack.
Start and Duration of Programmes
The start dates for the programmes are the 1st of each month and you can choose to volunteer for periods of five weeks to nine weeks.
(Please arrive at least one day before your program is due to start. Do not arrive on the morning of the day that the orientation starts).
Location of Education Support Placements
As well as working with our five children’s homes in Kathmandu, The Umbrella Foundation are actively involved in helping the local communities from which these children came. These include;
The Umbrella Foundation has also developed a community project within Gurje Village, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, aimed at improving the education standards in the community. We have hired additional staff for the nearby school, and gives the impoverished children a meal to encourage them to attend school every day. The Umbrella Foundation also finance a rural health post in the area, and we constructed a local Hydro electrical plant and installed Solar power panels in the local schools to generate power for the community.
This district is almost 3 hours from Kathmandu city, located on the far side of the Kathmandu valley. It is a small mountainous community within which Umbrella are helping five government schools. These schools cover classes 1-8 (ages 4 - 13).
Rasuwa is a remote rural area under the shadow of the Langtang Himalayan range that hugs the Tibetan border. It is 8-10 hours by bus from Kathmandu and can be a popular hiking destination due to its spectacular views of the Himalayas. The Umbrella Foundation has over 60 children within their care who are all form the area of Rasuwa. Then in 2011, we brought them home! Roughly 30 of the children were returned directly to their parent’s care and the remaining children were moved to a seventh Umbrella home that acted as a transition home for a year until they all returned home in April 2012! For full information on the Rasuwa project see here....
The Umrbella Foundation provides assitance to two of the local schools. These schools cover classes 1-8 (ages 4 -13).
Volunteers will stay with a local host family, and on the teaching project, they are likely to find themselves living very close to the school they teach at, possibly even with a teacher. Living in such a close-knit community will allow you to learn a great deal about typical Nepali life. By meeting local people and eat local food, this will greatly enhance your experience of the country and you will feel like an integrated part of the local community.
Living conditions in Nepal are not luxurious although the majority of our home stays do have electricity and running water. Host families are educated and well respected in their communities. Also, while bedding is provided, it is recommended that volunteers bring their own sleeping bag and mosquito net if they wish to travel away.
Due to the rural and authentic nature of the home stays volunteers need to expect basic but clean living conditions. Your host family will do their best to make you feel welcome but it is also encouraged to do your best to interact with the family as they will not disturb you if you stay in your bedroom.
Toilet and bathroom facilities in all home stays regardless of town are often located outside so best to bring a torch for night time. There are no western toilets for the most part in Nepal! Also, hot water can be scarce in these home stays so do not expect long hot showers like at home that is just not the reality in Nepal. Despite this volunteers love their experience so bring an open mind and adaptability.
The Cost of the Programme
Umbrella is financed entirely by donations, child sponsors and fundraisers hosted all over the world. We hope that the programme would not cost the volunteer anything; instead we are asking the volunteer to raise €1,000 for the five week programme or €1,500 for the 9 week programme before coming to Nepal. This money will cover the volunteers expenses, the running costs of the programme, and it will make a very valuable contribution to the local rural community and The Umbrella Foundation.
The Umbrella Foundation has always relied on the generosity of individuals around the world to run our homes and various projects as we do not receive any corporate sponsorship or government support. Therefore, the volunteers contribution is a vital and greatly appreciated income for Umbrella. We know that fund raising can be difficult for some but we will try offer our support where ever we can, with fund raising advice being provided at a later stage of your application. It has been our experience, and the experience of the past volunteers, that with one or two well planned activities and with peoples generous nature, it won’t seem such a daunting task once you have started.
Due to Umbrella’s financial insecurity we work tirelessly to ensure every penny/cent/rupee donated is put to the best possible use to care for these children. We have had volunteers in the past go beyond the initial fundraising target and it was hugely appreciated! It will all go towards the children that you will be working with in in Nepal and to ensure their bright future.
Code of Conduct and Goverance
The Umbrella Volunteer Code of Conduct sets out eight principles that aim to encourage responsible, responsive volunteers. All successful applicants will be sent the code of conduct prior to departure so they can confirm that they will respect the code and work with Umbrella towards its overall ethos. The eight principles outlined in code of conduct include, money, dress, professionalism, consumption of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, photography, personal information, reltionsips amongst staff and boundaries with the children. Volunteers are also encouraged to visit Comhlamh's Volunteering Options website and read the Volunteers Charter to further assess whether overseas volunteering is really for them.
A Code of Good Practice for Sending Organisations has been developed by Comhlámh, in consultation with Irish sending organisations. This Code sets out the responsibilities of Irish-based organisations that arrange volunteer placements, including some of the steps they take to support the Volunteer Charter. As signatories to Comhlámh's Code of Practice, Umbrella shows that it supports its messages, and has agreed to work to implement the principles.
Child safety is paramount to this organization and we endeavor to protect the children in every aspect of their time here. For this reason it is important that volunteers who will be coming in contact with the children are familiar with our policies. Successful applicants will be provided with a copy of our child protection policy.
|The Umbrella Foundation - Volunteer Education Support Information Pack||215.11 KB|