"Help us in helping the helpless !!" Authentic Tibetan culture survives only in exile in a few places like Mustang which has had long historical and cultural ties with Tibet. For as long as space endures and for as long as living beings remain, until then may I too abide to dispel the misery of the world.

- His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

Your role as an overseas volunteer at the Home


As you will see, the children are good at looking after themselves with the support of Lama and the local Nepali volunteers. However, the overseas volunteers have a valuable contribution to make (without the Home being totally dependent on them). You will not be told what to do and will need to use some initiative.
It is really helpful to learn the children's names. To help you do this there is a poster of the children in the office with their details - you are encouraged to look at it as often as you need to.
Your role is to support and care for the children in their daily lives and help in the day to day running of the Home. Recent volunteers have found it useful to devise a roster between themselves (this may not be possible if there are only a couple of you). However many of you there are, try to communicate with each other and work as a team.
The overseas volunteer day may look something like this:

6.30am-8.30am
Serve breakfast to the children (tea and noodles/rice of some sort)
Wash the dishes, wipe the tables and sweep the floor.
Prepare vegetables for lunch - mainly peeling potatoes.
Make breakfast for the other volunteers - you can buy fresh bread locally for toast (50 rupee) or make pancakes.
Walk children to school (leaving at 7.15am), 30 minutes each way, with Uncle
Free time or any ad-hoc duties that Lama may need doing i.e. decorating, cleaning.

3.30pm
Leave to collect the children from school which finishes at 4.00pm.
On return the children tend to do some clothes washing and change clothes.

5.00pm
Drink of tea and a biscuit
Wash the dishes, wipe the tables and sweep the floor.
Assist the children with their homework
Once they finish there is a little spare time when you can play with them before dinner.

7.00pm
Help serve dinner
Wash the dishes, wipe the tables and sweep the floor.
Volunteer dinner is served once the cleaning up after the kids has been completed.

8pm
Bedtime!
The doors are locked at approximately 9.30 so if you wish to stay out later than this time there are many guesthouses at Lakeside for a good price that you are able to stay at.

Saturdays
There is no school and you can either have the day off or you can play with the children within the home or take them to the park about ten minutes away. They also enjoying watching TV in the afternoon. The older children are also involved in a litter pick up program down by the Lakeside some Saturday mornings and you are welcome to assist the children perform this.

School holidays
These are mainly in January and August, when the children are around all day and there is lots of opportunity to play and organise activities with them. There are also many multi-day Nepali festivals where the children are not required to go to school.

Back home!
Several volunteers have also ended up sponsoring a child at the end of their time at the Home. If you are interested in sponsoring a child (or two!) please consult and Lama the list of children and their sponsors within this volunteer information pack to see where you are able to fill any gaps.

Some volunteers support direct referrals of new volunteers with people they know back home, cutting out the agency which means all the funding goes to the Home and avoids paying commission. This would need to be organised directly with Lama Pasang (himalayancch@gmail.com)

Practicalities


* Eating: Aunty is a good, hygienic cook and volunteers generally enjoy her cooking. Likewise water for volunteers (in the kitchen) is double filtered. As such volunteers rarely fall ill with stomach upsets.

* Volunteers are responsible for keeping their rooms clean and tidy; including their toilet/shower.

* There is hot water for showers; the water is hottest in the afternoon. Hot showers are also available at 200 rupee at the Solitary Guest House opposite the Home.

* It is best to use a sheet over your mattress (ask one of the local volunteers for one) and most volunteers prefer to use a sleeping bag to sleep in (which can buy in one of the many outdoor shops in Lakeside)

* Electricity is rationed in Nepal (load shedding). After the monsoon season (July-September), electricity is at its peak with only two hour load shedding per day - the time of load shedding varies everyday! Over the rest of the year, the load shedding (no power) time increases to its peak of approximately 14 hours per day during March and April. When there is no electricity, the water pump does not work and therefore there may not be water able to be used for the toilets, bathroom and kitchen.

To keep costs down, it is really important to turn off lights, fans and water when you are not using them.

* Iphones and laptop, notelets are useful. Wi-fi is available in many cafes in Lakeside. If you do not have wi-fi equipment, there is an internet facility locally (turn left at main road) for 50 rupee per hour (we call it the purple place).

* Cell phones: Probably easiest way is to buy a cheap phone and SIM card and then recharge when you require. A quick call is affordable and texts are cheap. To sign up to a mobile carrier, you will need a passport photo and you may sign up at most shops that sell the recharge cards.

* The main town of Pokhara is a bus journey away (Mahendra Pul). It is 15 rupee on the bus (ask for your change) or a taxi is approximately 100 rupee. You can buy most things there and it is more Nepalese than the Lakeside tourist area. Ask a local volunteer or experienced overseas volunteer to go with you and show you how to get there on the first time (it isn't difficult). There is a large supermarket in Mahendra Pul that sells everything including 'comfort foods'. There is also a post office there and many other shops that you may enjoy shopping at.

* Security is not a particular issue at the Home. However, when you leave your room it is best to lock it or if you want to protect your privacy and not be disturbed.

* Safeguarding: it is unusual for volunteers to be needed to attend to children in their bedrooms. However, if you need to, then make sure the bedroom door is open when you are in the room and where possible keep to the same gender.

* If you do fall ill, there is a good local clinic (Celestial Health Care) that may help you. If you need to go to hospital, take a local member of staff with you who will help translate. You are more than welcome to book in to a guest house if you need peace and quiet for a couple of days to recuperate.

* There are many laundry services available locally that will wash and dry your clothes. This costs about 100 rupee for a kilogram and takes a day.

* You can buy all cosmetics; shampoo, soap, creams and medicines from local stores and chemists.


Time Out
Remember to take time off and experience other parts of Nepalese life; go for a trek, have a meal out, visit the surrounding area, overnight if need be etc. Just let your fellow volunteers and Lama know. Enjoy and relax!

Gifts
The children are always grateful for anything they receive. However, avoid giving to individual children. If you are going to give something (pencils, books, games etc.) you need to give to each child. If it is a large gift for the whole Home, check first if it is ok with Lama. Children do love receiving photos and keep them very safely in their bags or photo albums that each room has. You can get photos printed out (for 10 rupee per print) at Lakeside or Mahendra Pul.

If you have any ideas of things you would like to do or contribute, Lama Pasang is always interested in hearing your suggestions.

Many thanks for investing your time, energy and money in us. It really is gratefully received....Every little contribution counts and helps the Program achieve its aims.
Namaste / Tashi Delek

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