Role and Routine

Introduction

The majority of children from Nepal’s villages and cities are unable to access good education, due to a lack of financial and physical resources as well as the remote mountainous geography of the country. Umbrella strives to improve rural education standards and thereby reduce the resulting risk of trafficking. We work with schools in 4 districts: Kathmandu, Nuwakot, Sindhupalchok and Rasuwa, as they are the origin of many children in our care and considered to be high-risk for trafficking.

Teaching Nepali children is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. No matter what you believe your skill level to be, you have something to offer. Having a native speaker is a massive advantage as you can teach conversational English and oral language skills to both students and staff alike.

The Volunteer’s Routine

The Nepali school week is Sunday to Thursday 10 am – 4 pm and Friday 10 am – 1 pm, but you are expected to teach Monday to Friday only. Volunteers are not there to replace local teachers, but rather to work alongside them and plan complementary activities.  You will be volunteering in primary and lower secondary schools where the children will be between the ages of 4 and 16 years of age. You are only asked to teach English, however you may support other subject areas that you are comfortable with. Assistance with school administration duties like exam supervision would be appreciated, and you are also welcome to help organise extra-curricular activities (talent shows, sports competitions) and school clubs (homework, music, dance, sports and art clubs). Your weekends can be used to explore Nepal, be a tourist, plan activities/lessons or just relax!

Preparation

In getting ready for your placement, you are encouraged to ask a local school for permission to observe classes and show you some teaching ideas. You should also understand that resources are extremely limited in the institutions you will be working. Therefore, any supplies you can bring relevant to your particular programme will be very appreciated by the local people and staff. We will provide suggestions during our correspondence.

Additional Projects

Many volunteers come with specific skill sets and look to use their experience and skills towards projects or ideas they have in mind. It is great that people have this motivation and energy for the programme, however sometimes it is impractical to give volunteers responsibility for projects that will not be completed during their time here. If you have a certain mission or project in mind, you are encouraged to please contact the office in advance to discuss its feasablity.

Managing Your Time

Volunteers are expected to take weekends off. You are no good to us, or to the children, if you are tired or sick. Your health and well-being is very important to us!

Volunteers' Testimonials

  • “… special to see the children back where they belong …”

    Arriving in Kathmandu was like stepping into a completely alien environment, but after about five minutes with the Gauri Shankar girls it was like I had instantly found a new family. My house-mother’s warm welcome included her showing me where the Irish tea bags were in the kitchen and telling me to treat the home like my own. There were so many highlights during my time with Umbrella, one of which was spending a couple of weeks in the stunning district of Rasuwa helping the schoolteachers at Gatlang village where some of our children had been recently reunited with their families. Entering this small farming community is like stepping back in time. The welcome you get is overwhelming, and it is pretty special to see the children back where they belong and happy with their own families. My three months with Umbrella just seemed to fly by. Saying goodbye and leaving everyone behind was very difficult, but I know I will definitely be back soon to visit. Read Aideen's interview about volunteering abroad for Go Overseas.

Practical Information

Rural School Placement Map
Where:

Umbrella works with rural schools in these districts, the origin of many children in our care and considered high-risk areas for trafficking. While volunteers may state their location of preference, you are placed subject to availability.

When:
Induction of new volunteers takes place on the 1st of every month. This allows volunteers from around the world to come at the same time and join as a team. You are asked to arrive a day or so in advance. Dates are subject to change based on school holidays.
Duration:
There is no fixed end-date, rather just a guideline duration. We are happy to have you stay beyond your initial commitment should you wish. Individual placements can be tailored to suit volunteer’s and the school’s availability.
Accommodation:
You will live in a local homestay with a trusted host family. Due to its rural and authentic nature, you should expect basic but clean living conditions. 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, and homestays are located just a few minutes walk from schools. Living in such a close-knit community 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. Meeting local people will equally give you a greater insight into the culture and customs of the community. Although internet can be found in the nearby main towns, there is usually none in the village (although network coverage is available for phones).
Cost:
Umbrella is financed by donations, child sponsors and fundraisers hosted all over the world. We ask volunteers to fundraise a minimum of  €1,500 (8 weeks) before coming to Nepal. This covers your expenses while living with us – accommodation in homestays, two meals a day and programme-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, basic Nepali language and a tour around the area. For those without teaching experience, there is a workshop to prepare for the classroom, as well as plenty of ideas on how to engage with the children and energise their lessons.
The volunteer coordinator is the link between the office, the house staff and the volunteers, and is available regarding problems in the volunteer house, 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.
You will also be invited to visit related organisations to get a broader perspective of development in Nepal.
Requirements:
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 volunteers@umbrellanepal.org 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 (tsewang@umbrellanepal.org). In your email to Tsewang, please attach your CV and a cover letter, outlining why you would like to get involved with Umbrella.
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