NGO Support Placement

Role and Routine

Join one of our two month volunteering programmes where you will be based in the Umbrella community in Kathmandu, Nepal. As a volunteer, your role will be to provide assistance to our small but dedicated Nepali and International team while also organising structured extra-curricular activities for the children and youth. Be prepared to muck in!

We’re aware that applicants come from a variety of backgrounds and, knowingly or not, have much to offer staff, youth and children. Therefore, we welcome people with specific skill-sets to conduct training workshops and ongoing mentoring in their field of expertise whether its English language, computer skills, budgeting, child protection, report-writing, health, social work, HR etc. By transferring your knowledge, it helps long-term capacity-building on a local level and is a great way to make a long-lasting contribution! There are plenty of things to get involved in but your duties may include some of the following:

Role Responsibilities
Volunteer Coordinator Liaising between volunteers and staff, chairing weekly meetings, providing induction support and organising activities.
Sponsorship Coordinator Collecting data, compiling information packs, updating profiles and supporting email correspondence.
Media Coordinator Taking photos for marketing and profiling purposes, writing articles for the newsletter and updating social media and the blog.
‘First Steps’ Assistant Designing and coordinating independence-building activities for older children, administering and analysing life skills assessments.
‘Girls Education and Empowerment’ Coordinator Organising regular awareness workshops on girls’ rights, health, social and personal education, developing the related curriculum, arranging guest speakers and outings.

Learning Opportunities

It is very important to us that volunteers gain an understanding of Umbrella’s background and projects, the context of development in Nepal and become aware of the need for responsible volunteering practices. This will not only enrich your experience but will ensure your contribution is ethical and worthwhile. Therefore, learning opportunities are facilitated before, during and after a volunteer’s placement. In preparation for their stay, detailed information packs are sent to volunteers and, on arrival, they receive a comprehensive induction on the work of The Umbrella Foundation as well as the culture, customs and language of Nepal.

Throughout their placements, volunteers are encouraged to visit Umbrella’s rural projects where they can see our great reintegration work with our children’s communities of origin and gain an understanding of their diverse backgrounds and cultures. You will also be invited to visit other organisations, attend presentations and meet other development workers to get a broader perspective of development in Nepal.

Daily routine

Every volunteers daily routine will be different based on the skills they bring and Umbrella’s needs at the time.

To ensure the well-being of volunteers, you must take at least one day off a week on Sundays. Your health is very important to us and you are no good to anyone if you are tired or sick!

Volunteers' Testimonials

  • “… I felt at home and part of the family.”

    I had just finished University and wanted to experience something completely different. My sister who had volunteered with the Umbrella Foundation and who brings Irish students for a two week volunteering summer program advised me that if I wanted a life changing experience then I should go to The Umbrella Foundation. From the minute I arrived in Umbrella I knew it was where I should be as soon as I was placed in the Sagarmartha house of 23 girls. On my first day I remembered walking to the house and all I could hear was laughing, chatting and singing I thought this sounds like fun. From that moment I felt at home and part of the family. Each girl was so individual, each with their own special personality. I became a big sister to the most amazing group of girls in the world and I fell in love with all my little sisters, their country and of course their beautiful culture. I do believe that volunteering with The Umbrella Foundation was the best thing I have ever done. The volunteers that I met were also incredible people. I would consider them as great friends and will be in contact with them for the rest of my life. I will never forget the girls of Sagarmartha they are imbedded in my heart and the most difficult task was saying goodbye which is why I am planning to come back for a year as soon as possible. Read Dolores' article about her volunteer experience in the Donegal Democrat.
  • “A truly humbling, unforgettable experience.”

    As a volunteer during my time in Nepal, I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the real Nepal and meet some wonderful children at the Umbrella Foundation in Swayambhu. I was a volunteer in a children’s home – children who had been rescued from corrupt and abusive  homes and were being reunited with their families. It was incredible to be a part of that – a truly humbling, unforgettable experience. To describe it is beyond my descriptive prowess but I’ll try. It was amazing. I did not waste a single second. The kids are incredible - they are so full of life, determination and happiness. These kids have been through pain I can’t even imagine, some have lost their families, been trafficked, abandoned, left to starve, sold into slavery, run away from abuse and forced labour but despite all this, they carry on with a surprisingly positive attitude and unbeatable spirit. The only thing these kids want to know is that someone cares about them, that they are not forgotten and that the people they care about are looked after and have a normal life. They are incredibly grateful for what little they have and they don't dwell on the pain in their past. They inspire happiness in others - whenever I felt a touch of home sickness or in any way down, I'd be told “Brother, don't be sad, be happy”. Read Mikey's article about his volunteer experience for The Nationalist.
  • “… A very powerful experience.”

    My name is Maya and I am from Denmark. I volunteered at the Umbrella Foundation from September to November in 2012 at the age of 19. I worked in Kathmandu while living in the Volunteer House. I volunteered in the Gauri Shankar house which is the biggest of the five children homes. The best memories are the ones where I was just sitting and talking with the girls for hours about their hopes and dreams. Experiencing how some of them have the most vivid imaginations, amazing curiosity and zest for life have been both surprising and educational for me. But even besides the amazing children I got to meet so many interesting people both inside and outside of the Volunteer House. When not with the children it is important to have someone to hang out and share your thoughts with. Luckily, I found many such people down there. Nepal is so different from Denmark, and because I travelled alone it was also a very powerful experience. The people are kind and gentle and after a few weeks I found a daily rhythm. The air is much polluted though, so the trips to the mountains made you really appreciate clean air. Unclean air and horrible traffic was not big favorites when going outside and the street kids begging on the streets can be quite a harsh reality to face. But from every experience and every challenge I learned something new and I gained a new perspective on life. I would definitely recommend volunteering for the Umbrella Foundation.

Practical Information

NGO Support Placement Map
Situated in a safe and (relatively!) quiet area at Swayambhu, we are next to the Monkey Temple, a famous world heritage site. This western suburb of Kathmandu is abundant with shops, restaurants, cyber cafes and street vendors. It also borders the Ring Road which circles the city, making it easily accessible by local bus and only 10 minutes by taxi to the bustling inner-city tourist hub of Thamel.
As the workload of the team doesn’t stop all year round, volunteers are welcome to join at any time. That said, our programme fills up rapidly so we ask that applications be sent as early as possible in order to avoid disappointment and to allow adequate planning and preparation for your placement.
There is no fixed end-date, rather just a two-month minimum stay (8 weeks) which we feel offers a stable, consistent environment and allows you to get a good understanding of our charity, the local culture and ideas of development in Nepal. We are very happy to have you stay beyond your initial commitment should you wish.
Depending on availability and your preference, you will be housed in a guest house or homestay in the locality of our central office in Kim Dole, Swayambhu. A local homestay, with a trusted host family, will offer basic but clean living conditions in keeping with Nepali standards. It will usually include a private/shared room, Nepali toilet/bathing facilities, access to gas-stove cooking facilities and electricity. Meals are cooked for guests 2/3 times daily. Living with a Nepali family will allow you to learn a great deal about typical Nepali life. Your host family will do their best to make you feel welcome, but you are also encouraged to interact with them and participate in household tasks. Internet access is widely available in wifi hotspots, cyber cafes and by using a mobile data plans. The guesthouse option will offer the same basic, clean conditions, with electricity and usually access to Western toileting/bathing facilities and wifi.
Umbrella is financed entirely by donations, child sponsors and fundraisers hosted all over the world. We ask volunteers to fundraise a minimum of €1,500 before coming to Umbrella. This covers your expenses while on the programme – your accommodation, two meals a day and running costs – and also finances the cost of caring for one child for an entire year! We appreciate that as a volunteer you will be giving of your valuable time, but we also ask that you fundraise so as to raise awareness of our work internationally and provide much-needed funds to sustain our projects.
What’s included:
Upon arrival, you will receive an induction which includes a detailed introduction to Umbrella, local culture and customs, an overview of ‘orphanages & voluntourism’, basic Nepali language classes and a tour around the area.
The Communications Director is the link between the office, the house staff and the volunteers, and is available regarding any problems throughout the placement, or to address any basic questions you might have. Umbrella has an open-door policy, so you are also more than welcome to come to the international staff with serious issues or concerns.
In addition to your time in Kathmandu, you will be encouraged to visit our rural projects to see the reintegration work we are doing with our children’s communities of origin and gain an understanding of their diverse backgrounds and cultures. You will also be invited to visit related organisations and attend presentations to get a broader perspective of development in Nepal.
Age minimum of 20 years at time of programme
Show evidence of good character – Provision of clean police background check
Health / Travel Insurance
Agree to Umbrella’s Code of Conduct
Agree to fundraise €1,500

Apply Now to Volunteer

  1. Please read the Terms and Conditions and Comhlamh’s Volunteer Charter before applying.
  2. Fill out the application form below, giving as much detail as possible to allow us assess your background and find a suitable placement for you. Qualities such as motivation, enthusiasm, flexibility, patience and kindness are most important. It is okay if you do not have much experience: we still want to hear from you.
  3. Your application will be reviewed as soon as possible and you will receive an email notification acknowledging receipt of your application.
  4. Once you have confirmed your interest, you will be prompted to take various steps in order to reserve your placement.
  5. To confirm this reservation, we require a deposit to be made at least a month before the date of commencement.
  • Note: If you have any difficulty submitting your online application form, please send an email to for an email application form. Apologies for any inconvenience!
  • Note: For applicants from Nepal, we kindly request that you contact the Programme Director of our Nepali Staff, Mr. Tsewang Lama ( In your email to Tsewang, please attach your CV and a cover letter, outlining why you would like to get involved with Umbrella.
Personal Information


Work Experience

Professional Reference

Character Reference