Volunteering in Nepal

Some visitors to Nepal want to volunteer at orphanages or other organizations in an effort to help disadvantaged persons, including children. Others try to help by donating cash or goods. While Embassy Kathmandu applauds this generous spirit, we take seriously reports that many such opportunities – especially those involving volunteer opportunities at orphanages or “children’s homes” – are not in fact charities. Instead, they are profit-making enterprises set up to attract donations from overseas and financial support from volunteers. Many of the children are reportedly not orphans, and volunteering at such an organization may indirectly contribute to child exploitation.

Prospective volunteers in Nepal may wish to read a recent report on ethical volunteering, focusing on “voluntourism” issues, prepared by a U.S.-based NGO operating in Nepal.

It can be difficult even for those with significant experience in Nepal to determine which organizations provide authentic and valuable opportunities for well-meaning volunteers, and which manipulate goodwill for profit. With respect to orphanages or children’s homes, the Nepali Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB) can help confirm an organization’s legitimacy and handles complaints against children’s homes. Direct inquiries to Ms. Namuna Bhusal, namuna@ccwb.gov.np, +977-9851139474.

Please be aware that the Government of Nepal, including the CCWB, has limited resources to monitor and regulate non-profit organizations. If you are not certain about an organization, you may want to consider routing contributions through a reputable national or international charity to avoid the possibility that your time and money could unknowingly support the exploitation of children. Learn more best practices for volunteering abroad through http://travel.state.gov.