1. When should I arrive in Nepal?
You should be in Kathmandu at least 1 day before the program starts, depending on ‘ jet lag’ or ‘ culture shock’ we advise to arrive just a couple more days in advance.
2. Why do I have to pay to be a volunteer?
We are a non profit organisation, all payments are used to provide you with accommodation/food and placements, to organise the introduction period and to pay for our local costs. All other money is used to support our projects. The majority of charge you pay for service (except logistics) will go to our community programs including Sponsor a Grandparent project and Elderly Literacy Classes.
3. How do I make my payment?
When you decide to apply, 15% of your fee has to be paid in advance. You can transfer the money to our bank accounts here. The rest will have to be paid in Nepali Rupees once in Nepal.
4. What happens if I want to leave the program earlier than planned?
Once you have started the actual program here in Nepal, no refunds can be made. Of course, depending on every specific situation some sort of a deal can always be made! In case of an emergency (illness, death of a family member) you are allowed to leave the program early.
5. Do I need a visa for Nepal?
Yes. All foreigners need a visa for Nepal. Except for members of SAARC countries. Visa can be obtained upon arrival at Kathmandu airport. You need to pay in cash Dollars and bring 2 (two) passport sized photos. Have a look at the website of the Nepali embassy in your country. Remember that your passport has to be valid for at least 6 months AFTER you leave Nepal. (note: visa fees are NOT included in your program costs)
6. Do I need travel insurance?
You are obligated to get a good travel insurance. Make sure it covers Nepal and repatriation in case of a heavy illness or accident. Ask your insurance agent or look around on the internet. Without proper insurance, we can not guarantee we can help you out in such cases. ( note: insurance is NOT included in your program costs)
7. What do I need to bring with me?
Bring some clothing depending on the season. During May- August it can be very warm and humid with occasional rainfall. During September- March, the weather is mostly dry and sunny. With temperatures around 15-20 degrees during the day, keep in mind that the nights can be very cold. Not all buildings in Nepal have heating or good insulation. All clothing items you can imagine are available in the shops in Thamel, Kathamndu. The prices are low. Don’t carry around too much stuff. You can buy most of the stuffs here upon arrival. Bring your camera, Nepal is beautiful! We also advise to bring medication you need and a travel pharmacy (fist aid kit). Because of the weather, jet lag and air pollution, it is wise to bring some: anti-biotics, painkillers, diarrhea medication. Also, these items can be bought easily in Kathmandu but rare in rural areas.
The rest is up to you! Bring personal items, but remember that valuable items are not always safe while traveling
8. How can my family get in touch with me?
In Kathmandu, there are plenty of international calling agencies and almost every places in Kathmandu have internet services. All very cheap. You will get a Nepali SIM card from us and make international calls with that (of course you will have to top up yourself When you are in a remote area, most of the villages have network coverage. Sometime, because of the poor infrastructure, it can take a couple of hours to get in touch if necessary. Our team will always look after you and make sure you can get in touch with family if needed.
9. Will Reaping Hope be around all the time?
We will be available 24/7 via phone support in case of emergency. If your placement is in Kathmandu itself, we will have plenty face-to-face contact. If outside, a local contact of ours will look after you. We will contact you often enough to find out if everything is ok. Halfway the volunteering program, there will be a evaluation session in Kathmandu.
10. Do I speak enough English?
This, of course, is up to you to decide. To stay in Nepal and communicate with the locals, you should speak English on a reasonable level. To learn English, you can prepare with some textbooks or TOEFL material (Test Of English as a Foreign Language). People who speak little, or don’t speak any English at all might have a little hard time to catch up. Besides, we will provide you with basic Nepali language and terms during our introductory orientation as well.
11. How much money should I bring?
Depends on your needs, and the time you want to spend after or before our program. When you want to live very basic, you will need around 15 $ a day extra. Most volunteers spend around 10$ to 15$ a day extra. During your volunteering days, you will need to pay for extra expenses like snacks, drinks, visa and other extras like trekking, mountain biking, bungee jumping. Not included in your stay: airplane-ticket, visa, vaccinations, insurance, drinks and leisure activities. Always bring cash Dollars/ Euros, a VISA or Master card and your own bank card. Most banks in Kathmandu accept foreign bankcards. Make some photocopies of all your cards/ passport in case you lose them. Renew your bankcard in advance since the magnetic strip is liable to wearing off.
12. Is there something I can bring for Reaping Hope?
If you wish to, you can organize a fundraiser for RH community programs like Sponsor a Grandparent project and Elderly Literacy Program before coming to Nepal. This will be of great help for the destitute elderly. If you wish to donate at your placement, please consider discussing it with us in advance as frequent donations to placements can make them expect more and more every time new volunteers arrive. Old clothing, shoes and other items can be brought for orphanages and Old Age homes. If you have an old laptop it would be good, some schools have nothing! Don’t bring too much stuff with you, and also second hand stuff should still be usable.
13. What vaccinations/ medical preparation should I take?
DTP, Hepatitis A and B, Typhus, Rabies and tuberculosis. Malaria is not necessary in Nepal, unless spending much time in the utter South near India. Bring a travel kit with basic medication and first -aid stuff. Have a check up at your doctor and dentist before you leave.Your doctor or local health department can advise you with all important information on traveling disease-free to Nepal.
Important: ONLY DRINK BOTTLED MINERAL WATER IN NEPAL. Make sure also that your food is hot (in restaurants), don’t eat or drink raw vegetables, milk products, or ice cubes. Lots of restaurants in Kathmandu are safe, but in the rural areas diseases are on the look-out. Look around on the internet for tips on traveling, eating, drinking and behaving safely in Nepal!!
14. What makes you a good volunteer?
We don’t ask you for any special qualities, unless being very motivated.
We will always take your profession or special knowledge into account. If you have any questions, ask us! Knowledge of the English language is a must! To volunteer in general: patience, self- control, motivation, independency, culturally aware, sense of humor, troubleshooter.
But just be yourself under all circumstances!