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The bags are packed and we’re ready to go!’  Facebook tells an audience of over 11k, beside an image of a 4×4; roof loaded with luggage secured under red tarpaulin, the morning sun not quite high enough to light the dusty street.  But despite the enthusiasm, the author is ‘a little nervous’ about this journey, or so he confided to his followers in an earlier post.

The author is Nepali born Bhuprendra Ghimire.  On 8 November 2013 he left Kathmandu with 17 volunteers, heading for Okhaldunga, deep in the Everest region of Nepal.  They travelled there under the banner of Volunteer Initiative Nepal (VIN), the not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation, Bhuprendra brought to life eight years ago.  They will fulfil not only VIN’s primary objective of empowering a rural community, but also Bhuprendra’s personal dream of bringing positive change to his childhood home.  But Bhuprendra (Bhupi, as he suggests) is, in fact, very nervous because the risk he is taking is huge.

Okhaldhunga is more than 400 miles from VIN’s office in Kathmandu.  The journey takes two days.  Part way, the team of staff and volunteers will remove everything from the 4×4 and carry it across a suspension bridge, because there is still no road bridge to cross the river.  They will hope to pick up a jeep on the other side.  The place is remote.  Within Okhaldhunga the people may not have met an international volunteer, let alone hosted one for five months, as they have now been asked to do.  They will certainly not speak the same language.  Okhaldhunga is removed from the aid and convenience that those reading this article will take for granted.  Without electricity it is dark, without adequate sanitation health is at constant risk, without education there is ignorance and Bhupi worries about his volunteers, concerned about what could become of them.  But he also accepts the risk of failure; he shoulders it as he has shouldered every other risk to get to this point.

By the time Bhupi realised the idea that has shaped VIN, he was a long way from his rural home.  Under the guidance of his father (the first person in their village to graduate from high school) and supported by his illiterate mother’s conviction, he completed his School Leaving Certificate.  Thereafter, he travelled with his brother to attend university in Kathmandu, where he studied English and Economics, founding a lasting belief that the English Language was the key to achieving what he wanted.  Bhupi’s involvement in education began before he had even completed his own; after excelling at the interim stage of his degree, he became principal of a high school.  By his own admission, it was a good job, but after six months he returned to his studies.  ‘I was ambitious,’ he says by way of explanation.

He wanted to be an educational leader; to teach in not just one school, but many.  What to the majority would have been an achievement, to Bhupi was a dead end.  So, when he finished his Masters, attracting two more good job offers, he took neither.  Instead, he began training teachers for free.  Later he was paid for it, travelling across Nepal as a teacher trainer, imbued and motivated by the enthusiasm he saw in those he taught.  Except, ever curious, he wanted to see how they were using his methods; he wanted to watch them apply his teaching techniques.

Only, when he visited schools, he found that they were not applying them at all.  ‘When I asked why, a teacher pointed to two children, “these children – for three days they have had no food.  Those over there, they have no books and no pencils,”’ he remembers.  ‘And so, I started to do some of the teaching and visited the children in their homes.  I saw the condition that they lived in.’

Where despondency might have spread, an idea took root; integrated community development.  Bhupi presented it to the 29 staff of the British charity he worked for, he presented it to his friends, contemporaries, to other teachers.  The charity were training teachers and sponsoring children, he argued, but they would always be doing this, so long as they did not address the reasons why they needed support.  Bhupi suggested they work with just one community, focus on raising the overall quality of life, ‘because if you do not do this, you will always be visiting these people.  Income generation was not being supported in the community so you would always have to give.  There was shit on the floor, dogs would lick the plates of the children eating beside them; health was being ignored.’

Some labelled him an idealist.  Others told him it was a job for the government.  Others – ‘in theory only, you understand,’ they qualified – thought it was a good idea.

In 2005, supported by Bhupi’s private funds, VIN began life and volunteers were its blood.  Bhupi is very clear about their importance, ‘this is the strategy, not the end goal’.  The volunteers bring their time to the organisation and their money to the projects.  It is a way of achieving the improved quality of life he hungered for as a child and could name as a teacher.  Without the program fees paid by the volunteers, the staff of VIN would not be paid, the community programmes would falter and there would be no new work in Okhaldunga.  And without the staff at VIN the volunteers would not have a secure and effective platform from which to give their time; they would not be able to achieve their own personal goal of ‘giving something back’; VIN gives them a place to begin.  VIN is less organisation, more organism, a life form, composed of mutually interdependent parts.

The concept is natural to Bhupi; volunteering has been in his heart from an early age.  He remembers clearly, as a child, receiving a talk at school on hygiene and sanitation.  The lesson made much sense, only one thing did not; the attitude of his family.  Not just his family but most of the families in the village, who were still defecating out in the open.  At the age of 13, Bhuprendra Ghimire called a parents’ meeting.  As a boy, he helped to encourage the families of his village to work together to build their own private sanitation facilities.  He risked the anger of his village elders and the disappointment of brought by failure.  But he was determined, the risks were worth it, even, he remembers ruefully, having to get up earlier and earlier to catch those who refused to use the new facilities, throwing rocks at them as they squatted in the open.

In 2007, VIN began work with Jitpur Phedi, a disadvantage rural community, impacted by Maoist violence, less than 20 miles from Kathmandu.  Here, the charity have worked to build strong foundations of education, health, income generation and the development of basic infrastructure.  Now, six years later, they are preparing to leave, VIN’s goal of empowerment and independence at last in sight.

That young boy is now this polite man in front of me in the neat suit; but I can see the boy in the gleeful smile and the absolute belief and determination in the risks he takes for the things he believes in.  The man insists he is not special – ‘there are many Bhupis; some make it, some don’t.’  He implies he is lucky and on one hand that could be the boy’s naivety or the man’s modesty, because true, luck creates opportunities for beginnings, but it is unfaltering determination and belief that makes them grow.

By Jo Gibson

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Earthquake Emergency Relief Fund

Volunteer vs Internship Programs

  • Nepal is prone and exposed to various types of natural disasters due to her rugged and fragile geophysical structure, very high peaks, and high angle of slopes, complex geology, variable climatic conditions and active tectonic processes. Hence every year the country has to bear the brunt of most common natural disaster claiming many human lives and huge economic loss.

  • teaching program

    Embark upon an adventure of a lifetime, accomplishsomething remarkable, immerse in a new culture, and discover what volunteering has to offer!   Sounds like a dream? Perhaps, but this is what our volunteers and interns have told us of their experience while volunteering in Nepal with Volunteers Initiative Nepal (VIN).   Why should I volunteer with VIN’s teaching program? Just Select a Project and Click Apply Now to Begin Your Adventure Teaching Projects: Explore Buddhist Culture by Teaching English at a Buddhist Monastery Experience the unique opportunity to gain insight into Buddhist culture and practice. And no, you don’t have to be a Buddhist. Just come with a smile, your desire to teach and learn, and you’ll feel right at home. Volunteering as an English teacher to children in a Buddhist monastery is a deeply rewarding and unforgettable opportunity to give back. Read More Make Dreams Come True by Teaching English at a Community School Discover what it’s like firsthand to teach English in at community / public schools in Nepal as a volunteer or intern. When you volunteer to teach English you’ll be given an active role in the classroom. You’ll put your valuable skills to use by supporting dreams of students eager to learn English from teachers like you.

  • The volunteers will be involved in the projects that VIN implements in the working sites like Okhaldhunga, Nuwakot and Kathmandu. Volunteers with special skills to suit the professional skills are encouraged to apply.

  • Public Health Projects,VIN

    Experience a new culture through an adventure of a lifetime while developing and building a healthier, more sustainable, future for the world! You can, through any of Volunteer’s Initiative Nepal’s exciting Public Health Programs. Are you a health professional, student, animal lover, or a world-conscious and willing volunteer looking to get experience through hands-on opportunities? Then you’ve come to the right place.   Why should I volunteer with VIN’s Public Health Program? Choose a Public Health Project And Click Apply Now to Begin Your Adventure   Public Health Projects: Empower Communities through Health, Sanitation & Hygiene Education Create awareness in local communities in Nepal while experiencing what it’s like to teach and educate in rural communities abroad. Through VIN’s Health, Sanitation, & Hygiene Education project, you have the opportunity to be a part of removing barriers to improved health, by providing basic sanitation and hygiene education. During your time as a volunteer you will experience local life in Nepal as you live with in a home stay with a Nepali family. Read More

  • Environment-and-Conservation-Program

    Collaborate with the Local Rural Community, Conduct Major Research, Promote Sustainable, Profitable Practices to Meet Environmental Challenges While Experiencing Nepal’s Colorful Culture!   As a volunteer through Volunteers Initiative Nepal’s challenging, yet rewarding Environment & Conservation projects you will work first-hand with the locals, on the field, conduct research, learn, and teach, while experience Nepali culture. You will bring lasting change to Nepal regardless of your skill level.   Why should I volunteer with VIN’s Environment & Conservation Program? Choose a Project and Click Apply Now to Get Started Environment & Conservation Projects: Improve Nepal’s Water Resources by Conducting Water Research Do you like the adventure of working with the challenges of the unexpected? Do you also possess the relevant experience in water and sanitation research? As a volunteer in VIN’s Water Research project you will conduct major research on water resources and sanitation, while collaborating with and creating awareness in the local community. One day you might be at the water source taking samples, another day you might be in the lab analyzing samples, another day you could be in the office creating data analysis reports of your findings. No matter what, you be busy learning, doing, and having a lot of fun!

  • We need volunteers and interns to join VIN’s Youth Empowerment Program to inspire and encourage Nepal’s youth.  Engage them in community development or give them vital social and professional skills; you will help to bring positive change to their lives and to that of their community by participating in youth volunteer program. VIN launches Youth Club and Life Skills, English and Career Development, and Youth Entrepreneurship projects under Youth Empowerment program with an objective of developing skillful youth manpower in our community sites by the help of our local and international volunteers and encourage them to participate in socio-economic activities of the society. The youth of Nepal face significant challenges as they emerge into adulthood.  Many leave school without their School Leaving Certificate (SLC); the national pass rate for 2013 being a miserable 41.57 percent, 6 percent lower than the previous year.  Pass or fail, politically and economically unstable Nepal holds few prospects.  Skilled and unskilled, many leave for foreign countries, casting a black shadow across the future of Nepal. VIN’s overriding objective is the empowerment of marginalised communities, focusing on women and children.  We have been working with Jitpurphedi Village Development Committee (VDC) since 2007 and have begun to initiate work in Okhaldhunga district, in the Everest region.  We believe that youth empowerment of community is essential for the empowerment of the entire community.  They are the immediate future, full of potential to support community programs, such as Children’s Development and Women’s Empowerment and to develop themselves, given training and skills. VIN seeks volunteers and interns to support on our youth volunteer programs and help to develop the social and professional skills of community youth, helping to build their confidence to deal with problematic situations and ensuring that they become active in the community, promoting change and empowerment.

  • VIN seeks committed volunteers or interns to join our diverse Public Interest Program.  Whether your talents are in manual labour, planning, motivating or research, you can help VIN to make significant changes in Nepal’s challenging public landscape. VIN operates Traffic Management, Research Initiative, Construction and Manual Work, Emergency Relief & Disaster Management, Civil Society Initiative, Volunteering and Hospitality Management, and Animal Care projects under Public Interest Program to bring public awareness in Nepalese society from voluntary works. Nepal has been a Federal Democratic Republic since 2008, having emerged from 10 years of civil war and abolished its monarchy.  Yet, four coalition governments have consistently failed to write a meaningful constitution and much of the country remains in a state of flux.  The issues of health, welfare, lack of infrastructure and susceptibility to natural disaster still overshadow the country, demonstrating the overwhelming distance that developing Nepal has yet to travel. VIN’s overriding objective is the empowerment of marginalised communities, with the focus on women and children development.  Within our integrated community development approach, we work on four main areas; education, health, the provision of tools for economic well-being and the provision of a basic infrastructure.  We have been piloting this approach with Jitpurphedi Village Development Committee (VDC) since 2007 and now look forward to working with Okhaldhunga district, in the Everest region.  Our aim is to bring about a sustainable increase in the quality of life of those living in marginalised communities, ultimately leading to independence. VIN seeks willing and positive volunteers or interns to assist with a wide range of Public Interest Program, operating in and outside of our focused communities.  Help the Kathmandu Police in traffic management, work with local people to build vital village structures, such as schools and toilets, or pass on your skills and help develop a culture of caring for the elderly in Nepal.

  • administration,VIN

    At VIN we recognize that some people want to travel, experience new cultures and give something back using the skills they have developed through their professional lives.  We also recognize that there is a huge wealth of expertise and skill, not available in Nepal, that can be gathered from these people and in response have set up our Management and Administration Program to facilitate this exchange of culture and skills. VIN runs Volunteer Coordinator, Editor Writer, Marketing Advisor, Fundraising and Grant Writing, Website & SEO Professional, and Human Resource Advisor projects under Management and Administration Programs to boost management and administrative knowledge in Nepalese community with the help of expert and specialized international volunteers. Here at VIN, our overriding objective is the empowerment of marginalized communities, with a focus on those most marginalized; women and children.  We have been working with Jitpurphedi Village Development Committee (VDC) since 2007 and have recently begun work with Okhaldhunga district, Everest region.  Our community work is based on the foundations of health, education, the acquisition of economic tools and the provision of basic infrastructure. On these foundations we believe we can build empowered, independent communities. Since our beginnings in 2007 VIN has continued to increase in size and complexity.  We now have over 20 staffs and host hundreds of volunteers annually.  However, to ensure the consistency of our projects, the job security of our staff and the provision of life enhancing volunteer placements we must continue to develop the ways in which we manage VIN.  We must raise awareness of our work through our websites and social media for continued support.  Our website is crucial to our visibility and we must continue to innovate and to safe guard it for the future.  And, as a volunteer organization, we rely most heavily on people and must develop contemporary ways to care for this precious resource.

  • Journalism Projects

    If you are planning a career in journalism – audio-visual, photographic or print – then VIN’s Journalism Program can help you develop your experience and your resume.  This is a perfect opportunity for those planning a gap year or career break and contemplating or already following a career in journalism or print media. VIN’s Journalism Program enables interns or volunteers to develop a portfolio of work in an international context.  The program is conducted in Nepal in partnership with national daily, weekly, fortnightly and monthly publications. You can work in Photo Journalism, Print Journalism, and Film and Documentary Making projects under Journalism program. If you are already a practicing journalist, Journalism volunteering will broaden your experience and show you a different way of working in journalism against the backdrop of a dramatic country faced with political and social challenges. The opportunity not only allows you to produce professional work for a large publication but to gain an insight into how the publication is run.  Whether you wish to work in print or celluloid you will gain invaluable experience as you traverse your career path. VIN is a non-commercial, charitable organisation whose overriding mission is the empowerment of marginalised, rural communities in Nepal, with a particular focus on women and children.  Since early 2007, we have been implementing our integrated community development plan in rural communities of outskirt of Kathmandu valley and have begun implementation in Okhaldhunga, the Everest region.   By taking part in our Journalism Program you will be supporting our efforts in these communities, helping to promote our relationships with partner organisations and raising our visibility. During your placement you will live with a Nepali host family, either in the working community or Kathmandu, dependent on your placement.  Where ever you live you will become immersed in Nepali culture and language, which will enrich your experience and indirectly inform your work.

  • Travel and Adventure,VIN

    Economically, Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world and yet one of the richest in landscape, wildlife and culture.  Nepal has been one of the top 10 destinations for the adventurers. Year upon year volunteers and trekkers come here to give their time and to experience all that Nepal has to offer.  At VIN, we recognise that your time is precious and while you want to give it to help developing Nepal, you also do not want to miss the chance to explore.  In response, we have designed the Adventure and Volunteer Programs, allowing you to volunteer and explore and trek safe in the knowledge that the staff at VIN have carefully arranged the details. VIN Adventure and Volunteer Program allow you to participate in natural based activities which has the power to enhance lives in unique and positive ways. You get chance to engage in Volunteer Trekking, and Volunteer Travel Tour under this program. It helps you in healthy character development and self-discovery through challenge and adventure. So you will be giving back to the community in need while exploring the natural beauty of the country. Nepal is home to eight of the ten highest mountains in the world.  Since Nepal’s borders were opened in 1949, this small, landlocked country has become the ultimate destination for trekking and volunteering to the adventurous global population.  But the mountains are only one of the draws: explore the temples and stupas, for Nepal hosts some of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the world; explore the great rivers by kayak or raft; fly above Everest and the Annapurnas; Paragliding in Pokhara or take a safari in the jungle landscape of Chitwan or enjoy the Himalaya from Nagorkot.


Actually, this is my second time to come to Nepal and work with VIN. Last time I came here, I felt I would love to come back. And now, I feel the same as last year. So I would love to come back to Nepal and work with VIN in near future... again!!

Success Stories

A leader and a voice for many women Tarkeshwor Municipality-3 Jitpurphedi Dandagaun Sharmila Adhikari, a mother of two children, and a busy housewife, embodies a perfect example of perseverance and grit of a human being....

Vin Ambassador

I was an intern with VIN for 10 weeks from October to December 2015, working in the Environment and Conservation Program, with regards to Climate Change and sustainable agriculture. I graduated from the University of...

News Update

Plastics as a trash is a big problem for the environment

Students from three schools of Tarkeswore municipality are trained on making household stuffs from the plastics. They are made aware of environmental pollution...

Published on: May 24, 2019

Opportunity to women from Jewelry training

VIN’s women’s empowerment program seeks to improve the quality of life of women living in the rural communities where we run projects by providing them with economic tools like basic education, improved health and life without violence.

Published on: May 23, 2019

Motivated women at English language class in View Tower, Goldhunga, Kathmandu

Education is the key factor for women empowerment, prosperity, development, and welfare. Discrimination of women from the womb to tomb is well known.

Published on: May 16, 2019
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Volunteers Initiative Nepal (VIN)

Nayabazaar Khusibu, Kathmandu

Email: support@volunteeringnepal.org

Fax: 00977 1 4362560

Tel: 00977 (1) 4362560 / 4356679 (Office)