Volunteering in Nepal
ChoraChori doesn’t operate an international volunteer programme for its Nepal projects. It’s not permitted for foreigners to work in Nepal while on a tourist visa and without a work permit. We understand and respect that legislation in a country where there’s a scarcity of jobs and no shortage of skilled local people in fields such as childcare. However, if visitors to the country have a skill or experience that isn’t locally available we’re happy to accept offers of volunteer support that can add value. One of our objectives is to build the capacity of our operational team and this is one of the most effective ways of doing so.
Melanie’s volunteer support
A great example of our approach to volunteering in action is through German visitor Melanie. Our German partner charity Hatemalo has asked her while in Nepal to call with ChoraChori-Nepal to gain an understanding of our child rescue and education programmes. This reflects Hatemalo Board members being responsible to their donors by obtaining some feedback through an external monitoring visit. Melanie has also kindly agreed to spend a few days writing a newsletter and updating the Hatemalo website based upon her research on the ground. Obviously a native German speaker has huge value in this regard.
One of Melanie’s other volunteer tasks is to assess first-hand the further needs of Kitini School. Hatemalo have just provided the school with a grant for the purchase of new computers. We’re keen that the school adds Chemistry and Physics labs to its new Biology lab that we’ve funded and Hatemalo may be able to help.
Happily, Melanie’s first perceptions have been extremely positive as she’s got to know the staff and beneficiaries. She has allowed me to share with you the message that she sent me yesterday:
“It’s May 2017 – a very exciting year for me so far, with many ups and downs and especially many changes in my small (but very fine) life. In brief, I decided to quit my secure job in a full-service digital agency in Cologne, Germany. Three months later I find myself at Amsterdam Schiphol boarding the plane which will carry me to Kathmandu, Nepal.
In addition to football shoes for the kids, I carry also a large portion of respect, curiosity and excitement within my luggage. With what expectations do I travel to this distant and poor country in South Asia, haunted by the heaviest earthquake in 2015? I go without any, it is “only” the greatest respect. I actually travel without expectations. I prefer to take a picture directly.
And this image has been filling with many bright colours since I arrived. Colours that crystallise out of my impressions and experiences which go from white over pale pink to deep dark red and also black. It is a wealth of impressions: fragrances, noises, observations, gestures, looks, conversations and momentary impressions … I am in a feeling between shock and fascination!
These first impressions of my journey through the capital of Kathmandu and the warm welcome of my loving host, are crowned by my first visit to the ChoraChori house. It is in the district of Godawari, a somewhat more rural area on the edge of the great hustle and bustle. Many secret but curious glances are aimed at me – I cannot help but meet them with an open smile and a quiet “Namaste” … for what you give comes back, right?
The children’s trust grows with common board games, small conversational approaches, simple glances, support for their homework or first English conversations and especially with just being there. These are children who have already lost a piece of their childhood, tortured bodies and souls, who look at you with big eyes and, partly with cheeky hints, try to go over their anxiety and uncertainties. The most heartwarming moment just happened while we went to a nearby temple with a small group of the boys: They looked after me, their new Didi (sister in Nepali), watched my steps, showing me the way, the landscape with its beautiful nature while holding my hand and smiling at me. No need of more words.
Beside the boys of the ChoraChori house I share my time each day with 6 lovely girls from Tipling who came to Kathmandu to finish their school education. Even here, reticence, uncertainties, shy glances and hardly any words during our first meetings. The best thing on earth cuts this silence between us: sports! For now we are doing some exercises and small dance choreographies almost every day – and what emerges are smiling faces, a lot of laughter and pure happiness. I can’t believe those girls were never taught or shown any sports, one of the most essential things within my own life.
To sum up all my feelings and thoughts up I like to quote the famous German author Hermann Hesse: “Luck is love, nothing else. The one who can love, is lucky.“ I am more than happy being able to be a part of ChoraChori as a Volunteer and be a one of the lucky ones who can love – Namaste.”
Can you volunteer?
If you are planning to visit Nepal you are most welcome to call by even for an hour or two, by appointment. That’s part of our transparency. But if, based upon reviewing our website, you think you have a relevant skill to volunteer while you are there then please let us know beforehand and we can explore possibilities. In the coming time we are particularly seeking visitors to Nepal who might offer us language skills, or have experience in areas as diverse as art psychotherapy and international fundraising. We are open to any suggestion that doesn’t conflict with what’s already available locally. And Nepali volunteers are always welcome!