This is a primarily cultural and environmental placement for people who want to experience the lifestyle of rural Nepal, where the majority of people still farm using traditional methods. This project is very hard work and not for the faint-hearted, but it shows the reality of life in rural Nepal. This project involves working with local farmers that rely on their land to sustain themselves and their families. Volunteers live with the families and help work the land, feed the animals and make repairs to fields and structures.
You will live alongside a family and help them work in the nearby rice fields. Placements are available in several locations including the Terai of Chitwan in southern Nepal, and the foothills of the Himalayas near Gerkhu. By becoming a part of the family you will truly experience the real life of Nepal and its people. Depending on the season you will do many different jobs, from milking the buffalo to planting rice, or cutting grown rice and carrying to the house where it’s beaten by hand. There is always something to do on the farm, but you will have plenty of time to relax and chat with the locals and have the chance to experience the local community.
The project is available all-year-round, but the best time to come is generally in April-May or October, which is when the rice is harvested & replanted.
Nepal, bordered by India to the South and China to the North, is a country diverse in its climate, peoples and culture. It is where the cold peaks of the Himalayas, containing seven of the world’s ten highest mountains, including Mt. Everest, meet the steamy heat of the Indian plains, where some of the rarest flora and fauna in the world roam in the jungle regions around Chitwan. Nepal’s rich cultural, artistic and architectural heritage stems from the three historic kingdoms which developed in the Kathmandu valley and the religious history of the region.
Gautama Buddha was born in Nepal. Nepal is also one of the poorest countries in the world, particularly in rural areas, where literacy and health are poor when compared with urban centres. However, the Nepalese are a friendly, compassionate people, and the traditional Nepali teaching ‘atithi devo vawa’ (guests are the form of god), is one which the Nepalese people subscribe to.
Upon arrival in Kathmandu, volunteers are picked up from the airport and taken to a guest house for 2 to 3 days, for some guided sightseeing, orientation and to acclimatise. You will then travel to the volunteer placement location you have selected during your application. Here you will stay with a carefully selected host family in a homestay, at least one of whom speak English. All meals will be provided for you by your host family, a typical Nepali meal is Dal Bhat (Lentils & Rice) and is served twice a day. Please note that the food & accommodation you receive will be very basic by Western standards, and you should not expect to have regular internet access. Most Nepalese homes do not have hot water, heating or western style toilets. However, this is a great opportunity to experience the lifestyle of local Nepalis and be a part of the community in a way you could not be able to as a regular tourist, and your host family will always be very welcoming to their guests and do their best to make your stay as comfortable as they can.
Volunteers should be aged 18 years upwards and speak English. All nationalities are welcome. Volunteers do not need any specific skills or qualifications, but any skills you do have will be useful for the projects.
Volunteers should be self-motivated, adaptable and flexible and willing to live and work in basic conditions, particularly for the Traditional Farming Project. Projects are often located in rural, isolated villages and volunteers should be independent and mature, and able to manage with basic amenities and limited access to modern facilities. You will also be using local public transportation, buses, taxis etc. whilst at the project, which is something to bear in mind as the transport in Nepal can be very different from Western standards.
You can volunteer in Nepal for 2 weeks up to 16 weeks in duration, all year round.
For more details on how the programme works, dates, costs and how to apply, please visit our detailed project page here.