Volunteer Society Nepal : The best experience for volunteers, the best value for Nepal.

Volunteer advise: What to give to your Host Family

As a volunteer, it is nice to bring some gifts for the host family. As Volunteer Society Nepal we often get the question: ‘What shall I give as presents to my host family?

About the families

Don’t buy gifts for one specific family! It sometimes happens that we have to switch families shortly before your arrival. This is because there can be emergencies that causes the family suddenly not to be available. Because our host families don’t plan so far ahead and have big extended families it can happen that an aunt is sick, there is a wedding preparation or a sudden funeral. Then we will need to switch the family, which is not an issue but it is sad if you bought a particular gift for that 6 year old boy and end up in a family with 2 girls.

So what should I buy or bring?

  • Of course everyone loves sweets and chocolate! And these things are often of better quality in your home country… For the Dutch: stroopwafels are nice, licorice (drop) they don’t like so much…
  • Families really enjoy games! And its a great way to spend time together! In terms of outdoor games, besides footballs or cricket there is not much variety in the shops here. Also indoor games can be lots of fun too! For example Uno or 4 in a row. Don’t buy games that are too difficult.
  • Books and craft materials. There are not many children’s books here. So nice fun books to read with pictures and so on will be good to have. Also the kids love coloring books and fun art and handcraft materials such as folding papers, beads, paint and stickers that keeps them busy.
  • Second hand phones, laptops and tablets. If you want to give something bigger and you still have that old phone, laptop or tablet in your drawer… Technology is expensive in Nepal so a second hand phone, laptop or tablet will mean a lot.

What should I not bring?

  • Don’t buy any materials such as pens and notebooks. These are also for sale here in Nepal.
  • Second hand clothes or shoes. Here in Nepal the families have different clothing styles than in your home countries. They wear colorful saris and scarfs of linen and cotton. Also feet are ‘juto’, which means ‘ unpure’, so Nepali’s would not like to wear somebody else’s shoes. Baby and children’s clothes would be accepted as they are similar to ours.
  • If you want to make a donation or bring money for the family, please discuss this with Volunteer Society Nepal first. We often have needy projects where donations can be given to, which will make your gift much more effective.