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

Volunteer’s Experience: Xander’s “Donation and Construction” project

Volunteer Xander has been in Nepal as a volunteer for three weeks and made a wonderful donation with the help of his friends and family. He then helped to build a number of extra classrooms at the Women Center. He tells his story below.

Why did you come to Nepal?

There are various reasons. First of all, Nepal is a very poor country, it is one of the 30 poorest countries in the world. Secondly, some terrible things have happened in Nepal in recent years: a civil war and an earthquake. These two make me want to come and help. Thirdly, the culture appealed to me very much, in combination with the religions in this country. And last: you also have the beautiful nature with of course the Himalayas and the jungle in the south.

How was your arrival in Nepal?

The arrival was fantastic. I was picked up by Volunteer Society Nepal from the plane and immediately brought to my homestay because it was already evening. The next day I got picked up to go to the office, where I was welcomed. Next thing we went through my program together. We discussed the first few days extensively so that I had a good idea of ??what to expect. I visited all the Volunteer Society Nepal projects in Kathmandu that week, so I had a good idea of ??what there was to do and what was needed urgently.

You also made a donation, which agreements with Volunteer Society Nepal did you make about this?

On the basis of my project visits, we discussed how we were going to spend the donations that were collected with my friends and family. I have discussed this extensively with the director and program manager. We then decided that it was a good idea to build two extra classrooms for the Women Center. These women have never had a good education and it is very important for them that they can now get an education and learn to read Nepalese, write, learn to count and speak some English.

What do you like most?

Nepal is really a whole different world than the Netherlands! Things are different here than what we are used to. There is a different mentality. Where we talk a lot about time and money, in Nepal it is more about “things come as they come”. And that suits me very well here. The combination of vacation and volunteer work is also great fun. You see that you make a direct impact with what you do.

About the project: We built the two rooms for the Women Center in two weeks! You see immediately how happy everyone is. Everyone also helps, and other volunteers also came to help. That is really fantastic! It is just so beautiful to be able to contribute with the money and with literally building the blocks of the rooms.

What were the challenges?

The challenge of Nepal itself is that there is just so much to do. There is a poor infrastructure. It takes a lot of effort to reach all places because of the bad roads. In the projects I saw that help is needed in everything, so I like to encourage everyone to come to Nepal and to contribute to these projects!

On a personal level, the challenges are sometimes in the field of working hours, and how exactly do you deal with a project. Not everything is always clear, but I think you should be open to that. You come here to help and not to play the project manager or to be the one who knows everything. That makes no sense at all. You only frustrate yourself with that. You are there to help a country like Nepal, which has many problems, and help them move forward a little.

Why should people come to Nepal to do volunteer work?

That is very clear to me. There is a lot to do. You can make a lot of impact with the right resources in a short time. And you immediately see the impact of what you do! You see the people who help you and what it does for them. It was nice to come to Nepal via Volunteer Society, because I first had contact with someone in the Netherlands. And in Nepal I was well looked after, with good points of contact. Everyone in the office and in the projects likes to think along and helps, which was really  good.

It also brings you a lot as a person, let’s not forget that! You just get a lot of energy and joy when you see what your help does for the other. It is good for everyone’s development to experience something like that. I really think that everyone should go and get a similar experience to the one I had!