Here we would like to give you some information about what to expect, how you can prepare yourself, how you will be prepared from us and some other basic stuff.
What’s the matter?
A carefully selected team of HeiSDA volunteers is responsible for obtaining the necessary funds to fund the project through fundraising. They shall also raise awareness in their own environment about the challenges and possibilities of sustainable development cooperation.
Why should I volunteer to go to Nepal?
The approach of direct development work for small communities and disadvantaged population groups helps effectively. The ideas of the projects come from the locals themselves. One lives together and perhaps special relationships are made and even friendships develop between you and the locals.
Nepal is a unique country, from the highest mountains in the north, the Himalayas, it goes down to 50 heights in the south. This geographical diversity, coupled with the cultural and religious diversity between Hinduism and Buddhism, whose boundaries are often not clearly defined, is also reflected in the inhabitants of the country. Enclosed between two worlds, one is often the third, undermined by the interest of the great neighbours. And yet, or perhaps because of this, they are so much open-minded and welcoming, as anywhere else. These experiences about a different culture, a beautiful nature and the opportunity of living together with Nepalese people are just unique and cannot be taken anymore.
What needs to be done before the volunteering program?
In the run-up, the insurance status should be clarified as far as health insurance is concerned. Vaccinations, which need to be done, will be discussed with us. We also have a team of medical students to assist you to prepare a small travel pharmacy. A normal tourist visa for 100 days can be obtained at the airport in Kathmandu upon arrival, so no further arrangements are necessary.
What are the requirements?
To participate in the HeiSDA volunteer program, you must be at least 18 years old and have good English skills. You should be ready to get to know new cultures and ways of life and to live and work with the local people. Teamwork, flexibility and openness are necessary.
What can we offer you?
As a HeiSDA volunteer you receive a training in Heidelberg in intercultural communication and development cooperation as well as on the topics of safety and health. We organize the project, establish the contact to our partners in Nepal and assure accommodation in the commune, where your project is settled. Also we provide support with the fundraising part in the run-up. In the partner country, you are then again prepared by our partner NGO in a 4-day intensive language and competence seminar specifically for your stay in the host community. During the entire stay, the partner NGO will provide advice and support if necessary/required.
How can you prepare yourself?
In addition to the preparation course that we offer, it’s surely not wrong to inform yourself about the country as much as possible. Whether it’s history, culture or current politics, every additional piece of information will help you to understand Nepal better and thereby allow an easier start of your voluntary service. A good way to start your research could be reading English newspapers of Nepal, consulting the country overview on the webpage of the German Federal Foreign Office, or – if available in your region – take courses in Nepali. There are no limits to your thirst of knowledge!
How is the application process?
After filling out our application form (deadline: 15.02.2017) to help us get a first impression of you, we will invite you for a 20- 30 minute interview (also possible via Skype) with two of our members in early march 2017. Then we will get together to assemble a broadly competent team of volunteers.
How does the fundraising work?
The volunteers will be jointly responsible for the fundraising project. For legal reasons and planning security, each volunteer commits oneself to contribute an amount of X (up to € 800-1000) to the total project costs (approx. € 4-5000). The fundraising will take place both individually and in the group of volunteers. This is good to achieve and the association HeiSDA will support the volunteers to the best of their ability (contact list of potential donors, organisation platform for joint events, etc.). In other words, self-initiative is required, but you are not left alone.
What are the costs for the volunteers?
In the project costs your accommodation (always at least two people together) and catering in a family at the selected place are included. Moreover, a three-day intensive language and preparation course in Kathmandu held by our partner NGO PSD Nepal is included as well as the transport from Kathmandu to the selected place and return. Unfortunately, the flight costs (about 600 € return) are not included . But mostly the volunteers are so successful with their fundraising that part of the travel expenses can be paid out of the surplus. For those who have problems financing the flight, we will find an individual solution.
What will your fieldwork as a volunteer be like?
After joining HeiSDA as a volunteer and going through training- units both in Heidelberg and Kathmandu, you and your fellow volunteers will travel to the place, where your project is located. You will be hosted by local families and actively participate in the realisation of the project. Thus you can experience by yourself what the money you have raised is used for and maybe you will even find new friends among the people, with whom you live, eat and laugh together.
Is there place for “extracurricular” work in Nepal?
We will select (construction) projects that connect to school facilities so that the volunteers can also teach (English but also extracurricular activities such as painting, singing, playing, etc.) and get in touch with the children. This has always been very profitable for both parties. Everyone should get involved as he/she can. However, the main work will take place on the construction site, with a work division within the volunteer group taking place. There might be a second project in the health sector, with the construction of a “primary health camp” in combination of a clinical traineeship (for medical students), which will depend on the man strength of the medical students.