I spent 15 of my wonderful fifteen days volunteering here at Khandbari orphanage working with 9 incredibly nice children. They really need a volunteer here who could live with them and help the cook-mother who takes care of them. I would like to encourage you to apply for the job and I will try to describe how things here are organized and how you can contribute by coming here.
Children in the orphanage are 6 to 12 years old and they live in a small house in a very nice sunny spot in the village. Every day they go to school at 10 AM and return around 4 PM, only on Fridays do they return at 1 PM. On Saturdays, they have no school and they go to the market to help with shopping usually they wash clothes later and bathe. They help each other a lot, write homework, dressing.
They learn and do homework themselves, they are amazing. Of course, it would be good if a volunteer can help them also, they all go to boarding schools where all the subjects are in English. Only one child has big problems reading and writing and he might be dyslectic, but I am not sure. But if you help him and encourage him he could improve so much. Now 2 older kids can speak English quite well and are a big help when translation is needed for others, the rest can understand a lot, and if you speak to them in English all the time they start to pick it up little by little (I think in 2 months they could manage to speak if a volunteer was here).
It would be great if they had some stories in English, some books, so you could read them together – in Khandbari they are not available in shops so they should be brought here. They also like to draw, but it is good if you can work with them and give them some ideas, otherwise they don’t even remember they have coloring pencils and paper.
They like playing with balls very much (now they have football and badminton and some smaller balls available), not far from the house is also a big playground you can visit. You can also take them for a walk, there are many beautiful walks around and you can have little picnics.
“They need a volunteer to tell them or to remind them what to do—parents do that usually, but they don’t have them.”
Mostly they need a volunteer to tell them or to remind them what to do – parents do that usually but they don’t have them so they forget to wash (some have lice and 2 boys wet the bed etc.) or to wash clothes or to change clothes etc. I wrote a lot of instructions for the cook-mother and also for the volunteers concerning these things and they will be shown to you as a help to start but you can have other ideas and see things differently of course. I also had a talk with kids about all that and wrote some notices on the walls so they remember what to do. But I am sure it will not work out so well without a volunteer. You don’t have to wash their clothes or anything, they do everything themselves, just be there to give instructions and to remind them.
Due to a generous donation, we were able to buy many items that were missing so they live in better conditions now – we also bought chairs finally so they shouldn’t be writing and learning on the floor anymore, and we bought some torches lights so they can read even during power cuts. But if you as a volunteer see that some things should be bought or replaced you would be a very much-needed link between the orphanage and Mr. Tejanath who can then provide the necessary things.
You would be staying in the house with the kids. They have electricity, but every day there is a power cut, usually sometime in the morning and also in the evening so bring a torch. Water is running just for a few hours in the morning and they fill a big tank with it (but there is also a stream nearby)so there is only a bucket shower available for you (hot water can be provided by cook-mother). Food will be cooked by the cook-mother but you must be prepared to eat only dal bhat every day. They have tea around 8 AM in the morning and then a dal bhat around 9.30 AM. Another tea is served in the afternoon when they return home from school and dal bhataround 6 PM. If you can cook you could probably prepare some other things from time to time also, and even better, you could teach the cook-mother some other dishes apart from rice because you can find vegetables here and potatoes etc. Also many oranges are to be found and bananas and kids should eat a lot of them.
You will have a lot of free time while the kids are at school but there are many things to do if you are interested. There are many schools in Khandbari and they will be very happy to invite you, just to talk with kids or if you want you could also teach from time to time. You can walk around a lot, there are hills to visit, and many villages, they can also organize trekking for you. You can improve the house if you are handy.
Khandbari is a lovely peaceful village with nice colorful houses, people are friendly, there are many shops everywhere (but you can only find toilet paper in 1 or 2 pharmacies, they use water instead, and you will not find jam or honey or similar things), water can be bought in plastic bottles for 25 rupees but you can also boil running water instead. There is no cybershop at the moment but for emails you could probably ask Mr. Tejanath and use his internet from time to time.
The best way to reach Khandbari is by plane from Kathmandu, coming by bus or jeep is a very long and difficult journey but costs less of course.
During winter (December and January) it can get quite cold in the evening and morning so bring a good fleece and a jacket but during the day it is sunny and much warmer so you can even be in a T-shirt mostly. During monsoon, they say it is not so cold but a lot of rain. There is also a hospital and several pharmacies in case of any health problems.
If you need some more information you can write me.
Posted By Dunja, Solvenia In Volunteering, Nepal