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The Global Mountain Fund Inc

Rating: 4.75 stars   68 reviews 5,059

Nonprofit Issues:

International

Address:

27 Sumption Rd Sandia Park NM 87047 USA

Mission:

Our mission is to organize grassroots nonprofits and NGO's from a diversity of disciplines and support and coordinate these organizations' efforts to eliminate poverty, its causes and symptoms, in mountainous communities.

Target demographics:

women and children

Geographic areas served:

Nepal

Programs:

Her Farm, a home for abused women. www.herfarmnepal.org

2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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More Info

565-407-2074
http://www.mountainfund.org

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Reviews for The Global Mountain Fund Inc

Rating: 5 stars   Featured Review

I'm Shanti, one of the staff at Mountain Fund.

I thoroughly enjoy working with the mountain Fund. Once you are part of it, you are part of the mountain fund Family forever!
I started working with the organisation 8 years ago, as a shy young woman, with little English and unaware of the rest of the world. And now I feel like I found a second home.
Sunita is the matriarch of the Mountain Fund. Her strength, dedication and positive attitude are truly inspiring. She is the teacher, the mother, the mentor. She can be bossy at times but after all she has a good heart, always ready to forgive!

Being part of this amazing team taught so many new things, such as farming, Computer skills, teaching, and of course, English.
But most importantly I learned about life, the responsibilities, the importance of family, happiness, kindness and the joy of helping one another.


So thank you Mountain Fund! You'll be forever in my heart!

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

Volunteering with the Mountain Fund at Her Farm was a truly life changing event. The women are truly inspirational, and Sunita is one of the strongest, vivacious, innovative women I have ever met. She has inspired me to do so much, and her strength motivates me every day. She has the biggest heart, and more drive and resilience than any one I have ever met. Despite surviving the earthquake, and what felt like endless aftershocks in Nepal, I have never had a more amazing experience. Scott is fascinating to talk to, he has taught me so much about sustainable development, women's rights in third world countries, American Politics (I'm a Brit) and life in Nepal than I thought it possible. Three months at the Her Farm taught me more about humanity, and strength than anything else. The Mountain Fund is an example if an exemplary NGO, and despite volunteering with and meeting numerous NGO's in Sri Lanka and Cambodia, none of them have quite what Her Farm has.

I was terrified travelling to Nepal. I was 19 and it was my first trip alone, and my second time outside of Europe. Within about 30 seconds of meeting Shanti at the airport, I knew I had nothing to worry about. I loved teaching at the farm, there are children there with so much potential, who we have so much to learn from. Every day I miss Sagun (resident Her Farm genius child) and co. more and more. I cannot wait to go back. It's about more than just volunteering, it's about sharing our cultures, and becoming this strange, bizarre, but very functional family. Life there consists of teaching class to a group of around 25-30 village girls, some of whom, despite horrendous home lives, and unimaginable poverty, are so eager to learn, farming, and helping the sisters do whatever needs to be done. It is very much up to you to take the initiative and use whatever skills you have to in some way aid the development of the farm. I personally discovered that I love teaching.

The earthquake was a tragedy, but never have I met a more resourceful, courageous group than the Nepalese. I know it seems dangerous to go now, and as Scott liked to remind us "Geological time is now;" how right he was. Don't be put off by the earthquake and the aftermath, the shops are open, the buses are running, and there is plenty of food and water. I for one will be back as soon as the bank balance allows. Nepal needs help so badly and this is the best time to go. Even during the earthquake itself we were fantastically looked after, there was always food and water. Nepal is safe, and tourism and volunteering are the best ways to help.

Nepal is not an easy country, its poor in a way few countries are, it has issues so huge it's impossible to know where to start. Follow Stories of Nepal on Facebook for an insight into some of the problems Nepal faces, as well as the strength, resilience and beauty if its people. The Mountain Fund is a fantastic, life-changing, NGO committed to real, sustainable, rural, community development. Life is tough, but the Nepalese are strong.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Dr. Rene' Hernandez
Saginaw Valley State University

It is indeed my pleasure to write this review of The Mountain Fund and its founder, Scott MacLennan. I was charged with planning a study abroad experience for a group of health professions students in 2014. At that time, I contacted the Mountain Fund for assistance as I had found a small bit of information regarding the organization online. To my pleasant surprise, I was assisted in every way imaginable from transportation to and from the airport to meaningful daily agendas for myself (and, eventually, students). The lodging in Kathmandu and at Her Farm is comfortable and the staff is more than welcoming. I have been involved with many educational and medical trips abroad, but have never had the support of such an organization. It is true that an organization is only as good as its people.....and so, I would say hands-down, The Mountain Fund wins!

I originally visited Nepal in December, 2014 with the sole purpose of arranging for a group of health care professional students to experience a study abroad trip (see above). The second time I visited, the university that I work for (Saginaw Valley State University) sent myself with a small group of health care providers to the region to join the humanitarian relief efforts following the April, 2015 earthquake. While the group I was with did not meet up with Scott and Sunita face-to-face due to the aftermath chaos, we stayed in Kathmandu at the Mountain Fund lodging and were delighted with our accommodations and the staff. No one could predict how difficult it would be navigating the town and securing all of the daily living needs a group of Americans might need during their stay, but Shanti and Asta were consistently there to anticipate our every need. We could not have asked for more. In addition, because of the close contact that Scott has with the Nepali system, he was instrumental in securing health benefits to a young woman living in a tent in Bhaktapur even while he was working at Her Farm to make sure that the village and his family were taken care of. Thank God for his ingenuity and technical expertise as I was able to reach him electronically for advise and reassurance. I cannot imagine going to Nepal for any reason without securing the Mountain Fund and its staff (along with Scott and Sunita) as my in-country coordinators and family. Thanks for all you do!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2015

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Volunteering at The Mountain Fund, I’ve got a lot more confidence. Working there has changed my way of doing things and helping people. I admire the work Scott and Sunita are doing there. All the sisters who work there are very cooperative and caring. They not only gave me a way to improve myself, but also gave me chance to learn different perspective of life. Working as a volunteer at Her Farm, completely changed my outlook on life and what I wanted to do as a career. I realised that I wanted to do a job that helps people. I am now more responsible than before, I am more aware that we make a better life by what we give.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

As amazing the work they do is, the people behind it are the real heroes. I came to know GMF via a relative who was very heavily involved - and her drive and passion for the work, the almost superhuman zeal to help others and bring forth the wellness and happiness in people via work reflects the core of what it does. GMF is run by some of the most caring and well meaning people that I know. It is hands down the best non profit currently operating in Nepal.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I had been following Her Farm with great interest for almost a year. When the April 25th quake ended my climbing expedition in the Khumbu area, I contacted Sunita and Scott to see if I could be of some help. What I experienced was nothing less than amazing!

The women who manage the farm, the volunteers, and all the children are remarkable. Beyond this, I saw firsthand how they added a community outreach endeavor, providing earthquake relief to the 85% destroyed village.

Although I returned home after two weeks, a part of my heart will always be in Mankhu and I will continue to support and promote Her Farm and Mountain Fund Volunteers.

I highly recommend anyone of any age to support Sunita and Scott in the development of Her Farm, whether as a volunteer, a donor, or simply a few words of praise and thanks for their heart-warming compassion.

 
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Rating: 2 stars  

I posted this same review on another site. I rate the experience hear as below expectations not because the experience was bad, but because the expectations for the programs gained from the descriptions on the Mountain Volunteer website set the bar far above what the administration, staff, and program seemed capable of actually providing. For instance, (1) despite what the staff tells you, the Kathmandu house is not in a nice part of town, it is in a safe but loud part of town. The ring road is nearby and the supermarket is just beyond the back fence. The house across the street has a dog that barks the whole day long. Needless to say, the time spent at the house is mostly without peace. What appeared to me and my fellow travelers to be the nice parts of town were seen from the cab when going near the zoo, and from the airplane window on departure over the southwest part of the city. (2) The Mountain Volunteer website description for the premed program at Helping Hands Hospital did not accurately portray my experience or observations. Doctors there work mostly from their OPD offices, and only one I shadowed did rounds on wards. A lot of a premed student's time is spent finding what doctors are in that day, and then hoping that the doctor will let him or her sit in, then hoping that the doctor will take the time to explain what is going on, and then deciding what to do when the doctor gets up and leaves unannounced and without instruction. It is a lesson unto itself, and I enjoyed it. However, it is not the delight that is described in the website description, and a timid or unexperienced student would not enjoy it much at all I suspect.

About my time and mission in Nepal: I was an undergraduate who went to Nepal to complete a global health ethics directed study. I signed up through Mountain Volunteer for two weeks of the Premed Experience, and an undetermined amount of time of the Global Health Internship. My total time in Nepal was 43 days; December 13, 2014 - January 25, 2015. I spent 10 days going to Helping Hands Hospital, and just 2 days at Her Farm. The rest of my time was spent either in Kathmandu at the house or around the city, in Chitwan, or in Pokhara.

The reason for the short stay at Her Farm is that I went the day before Christmas. The Global Health Internship "rural clinic" nearby was closed on the holiday, and closed the day after. Even had it been open, it was reported by other "volunteers" to be staffed only by CNA level workers, and saw just 4 patients/day. Instead of waiting for the clinic to open to see 4 patients/day with a CNA, or tolerating other "volunteers" and Her Farm staff staying up late drinking and having a dance party, the dogs barking all night, and a group of "volunteers" smoking marijuana many times per day, I returned to Kathmandu.

I put "volunteer" in parenthesis because I did not witness any "volunteering" in my six weeks. Mountain Volunteer "volunteers" ought to have been called donating be-ers. The Mountain Volunteer administrator talks about "being" in Nepal, and I agree that "being" is important. However, I can "be" in Nepal without Mountain Volunteer in the middle.

In fact, the best and most memorable activities of my six weeks in Nepal were all arranged without help from the Mountain Volunteer staff. The memorable activities were: USAID briefing at the US Embassy arranged by me; visit to the Nepal Leprosy Mission arranged by other students through Helping Hands Hospital administrator; visit to a government primary health clinic in Kathmandu arranged by other students through Helping Hands Hospital administrator; hiking in Shivapuri National Park; and many wonderful meals in Thamel despite the awful portrayal of Thamel given to me by the Mountain Volunteer administrator, and to other "volunteers" in the first-day orientation briefing (you will see what I mean if buy a Mountain Volunteer program and the orientation stays the same).

The Kathmandu house staff is fun, and friendly. I miss them, and if you go and spend much time around them with a respect for them as your equal, you will likely miss them when you leave too.

My recommendation: if you go to Nepal, "be" there, and stay with Mountain Volunteer for one or two weeks to get settled, and to know your way around. Then get a 1000NPR (10USD)/night hotel that offers a hot shower and travel services (many do). Arrange memorable activities yourself, or through your hotel. Remain flexible, and DO NOT think that things will go according to planned, or according to a schedule, or according to what you think SHOULD to be the case.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Unsure

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

None

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Unsure

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2015

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

First and foremost, I would like to thank Sunita didi and Scott for giving me an opportunity to explore her beautiful village and making me realize what I can really do for my country. Being a Chiropractic student in US, I always wanted to help Nepalese in need but I didn't know how to start. After talking to Sunita didi, I felt like "YES!!! this is what I wanted to do." I must say Sunita didi is great. I was amazed with all the wonderful work she's done for the village. Sunita didi and Scott are sincerely devoted to their work. The staff members are awesome, they are very friendly and helpful. I can't wait for a Summer break. I am definitely going back to the Global Mountain Fund and start public awareness campaigns for Nutrition, ways of preventing Back Pain and Ergonomics. If anyone's interested to help us, please email Scott. If you have a sense of adventure, a passion for working with Nepalese, and the desire to have a real impact on their lives, then volunteering in the Global Mountain Fund might be ideal for you.
Yojana Shahi
Chiropractic Intern at the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic, CT, USA

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I took a semester off before starting college. I have a deep passion for South Asia, and had spent a bit of time in India but had never been to Nepal before. I heard about The Mountain Fund from a friend who spent part of his gap year at Her Farm, and gave it glowing reviews. I decided that it sounded like a very solid organization, and Nepal sounded cool, so I went ahead and signed up for two months.

I had no idea what an incredible experience I was in for! I was so impressed by the staff (or, as they prefer to be called, "the sisters,") at Her Farm. They are all absolutely wonderful, and really go above and beyond to meet the needs of both volunteers and members of the local community. They were all exceedingly lovely, warm and welcoming right from the start.

I stayed at the Mountain Fund guesthouse in Kathmandu for my first couple of nights. Having a "home base" in the city was very convenient. It's like a little oasis in the midst of the chaos, and it's very easy to hop into a taxi or bus and go anywhere you want. Volunteers are free to come and go as they please, and the sisters provide a delicious breakfast and dinner each day.

On my third day in Nepal I left for the farm. As anyone who has been lucky enough to spend time there will tell you, the farm is an amazing place. It's only about an hour from Kathmandu, but it feels like a different world. The village is definitely an authentic representation of what most of rural Nepal is like, although the farm itself is equipped to support volunteers (there is wifi most of the time, and a couple of western toilets). Volunteers typically share simple but very clean and comfortable rooms. The sisters cook every meal, and the food is absolutely delicious. Most of it is locally produced and organic, and a lot of it comes from our own farm! They take extra care to wash and cook things properly, and I never had any stomach problems in the entire two months that I was in Nepal. Basically, while the farm is definitely not a fancy place, you well be exceptionally well taken care of.

The farm actually serves a number of functions. It is an organic farm, a women's shelter (only two women are using it as a shelter at the moment, but I believe that they are looking to expand their outreach), a school, an area for villagers to just come hang out, and (most recently) a clinic, with an emphasis on women's health. I worked as a teacher at the school on the farm, which is really more like a tutoring center. Most of the students do attend the local village school to fulfill their official education requirements, but they come to the farm for a few hours each day. I feel that the farm definitely plays a crucial role in their education, however, as it is their only chance to learn English and critical thinking skills, amongst other things. It’s also a great opportunity for them to have access to computers. During my time there, we had about 40-45 students showing up each day, ranging in age from two to thirteen or so. It was definitely overwhelming at first, but there are lots of resources in the classroom for both students and teachers. Previous teachers (myself included) have left behind some notes to help future teachers. I'm also more than willing to answer questions and give advice to anyone who is considering teaching at Her Farm. Just ask Mountain Fund to put you in touch with me. I didn't really have much teaching experience before I got there, and it was certainly a challenge at times, but it ended up being immensely fun and rewarding! The students are adorable. They are so earnest and eager to learn, and they pick things up quickly.

Nepal itself is an incredible country. One of the things I love about The Mountain Fund is how flexible they are in allowing volunteers to take time off to explore. They are very helpful if you should decide to take a few days off. They will even set up hotels, tours, or treks for you if you want! I highly recommend taking advantage of this opportunity to explore a fascinating part of the world. There are definitely certain areas that are pretty full of tourists (the trekking industry and tourism in general has taken its toll on parts of Nepal, ever since it opened its borders in 1951). However, it’s not hard to get off the beaten path if you want to, and the sisters can definitely help you do that. I’m eighteen years old and this was my first time traveling on my own, so I was a little bit nervous at first, but I found that it’s very easy to get around in Nepal with minimal hassle. Although I obviously had to use common sense when travelling on my own, I never felt unsafe. I also got to travel with other volunteers on a couple of occasions, which was very fun! The Mountain Fund tends to attract really interesting, kind, and adventurous individuals. I met some wonderful people.

In short, Her Farm is an incredible project, in a wonderful and very close-knit community. The Her Farm family could not be more welcoming. Mountain Fund is a great organization overall, especially if you’re young and travelling by yourself. They are very flexible, and give volunteers as much or as little independence as you want/need.

So go spend some time at Her Farm. It will change your life!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2015

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

Arriving in Nepal from New Zealand at the end of November 2014 for 6 weeks I didn't really know what was in store. Having read reviews on Mountain Fund, and emailing Scott a fair bit I came up with a rough trip outline and set off. Now nearing the end of my trip I can honestly say my experience with Mountain Fund and Nepal has exceeded my expectations. I was met at the airport by the lovely Sante, arriving at the Kathmandu house where I meet Scott and Sunita along with a few of the Nepali sisters at Mountain Fund. From the first introductions the passion of everyone involved with the organisation was evident, expressing their passion and commitment to the visions of the fund in their own way. Some like Sunita gets stuck into daily happenings with energy and charisma, while others go quietly about their day engaging volunteers in running the farm, teaching at the school or showing volunteers the ins and outs of the local health clinic. I liked the variety of approaches and personalities amongst those running the fund as I meant the volunteers who stay at both the HerFarm and Kathmandu house also have a variety of personalities and experiences so there is something for everyone. The day to day experiences of Nepali life which the fund offers are varied from communicating with Nepali sisters learning about the culture along with the challenges women and children face, helping at the health clinic or getting stuck in to farm life carrying rice, gardening and cooking. What I also loved about the farm was the love and kindness which extends from the Nepali sisters to the volunteers. Not once did I feel alone or uncared for in a country so different from my own, with a common theme emerging from the farm of connectedness with one another which has made for an incredible experience. A wee bit of advice to future volunteers going to the HerFarm is take a pair of flip flops these come in handy, old clothes to work in for farm or maintanence work (painting, building ect) and a head torch for when the power goes out which it does often with the government load shedding. Also be prepared for a bit of culture shock, things at first can be overwhelming but everyone makes you feel as welcome as possible. Don't be shy to communicate with Scott, Sunita or the Nepali sisters at the Kathmandu house or HerFarm they incredibly hospitable and want you to enjoy Nepal as much as possible so ask questions, and get involved. It's totally worth it.

 
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