Her Farm is like no other in the world! I have done extensive volunteering throughout the world and this was definitely one of the best. They are making real change for the community and village. Change that I think will be long-lasting. The girls do their best to make you feel like family. I will definitely be going back. Thank you to all the girls and Scott and Sunita for this wonderful experience.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chiropractic Intern at the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic, CT, USA
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!
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.
This is a wonderful group of people who are truly passionate about the work they do. In the summer of 2011 I volunteered in Nepal with The Mountain Fund at a school for street and slum kids. It was an eye-opening experience because The Mountain Fund family shared the truths about Nepal that most tourists fail to see. And tried explain us, the volunteers, what the real problems familys there face everyday and how The Mountain Fund is trying to conquer those battles. They are the strength for those family's that are too afraid to fight. They give a voice to the children that can't speak out.
The Mountain Fund family welcomed me and many volunteers into their home and showed us Nepalise culture and shared with us their values of love and family. They're beautiful people with a fantastic message and I and so greatful to have met them.
In November i made my first overseas trip to Nepal where myself and other students from Deakin University Australia volunteered at Her Farm for 3 weeks. By the end it felt as if we had gained a second family. I will not soon forget the great friends i made as we spent time on the farm building a cow shed, harvesting rice etc. An amazing experience that has changed my life, ideas and outlook for the furture.
My oldest son went to Nepal with the Mountain Fund in 2011 to serve as a medical trekker and to help with Her Farm. I can not say enough great things about this organization! - From the incredible, legitimate work they do to the way my son was well taken care of. At first I was worried, as all mothers would be, for one of their children to take such a far journey away from home. I soon realized that he was in safe hands. The experiences had and the memories he made during his 5 month stay has changed him for the better in unimaginable ways. My son left a boy, but came home a respectable and appreciative man. Thank you, Scott MacLennan!
I volunteered with the Mountain Fund as a premedical volunteer for about 2 months. It was a great time, I learned lots about medicine, and I was quite satisfied with my experience. Working in the hospital as a premed, you probably won't get much practical experience (besides occasionally taking someone's blood pressure), but you can learn a lot from the doctors there if you're enthusiastic and ask questions. Being able to scrub in for surgeries was a huge bonus. As far as actually doing things that are helpful for the community, going up to the farm and teaching local kids english and working on projects up there was really satisfying and a great option to enjoy an authentic, beautiful rural Nepal setting. The Mountain Fund staff (the sisters) were really friendly, the food was delicious, and the accommodations were clean. If you're alright with the occasional cold shower and you're looking for a volunteer program abroad I definitely recommend this one!
I am a 20 year old trainee teacher from worcester and I went for a month to teach. It was one of the most amazing experiences I can ever encounter. Words and pictures cannot describe how amazing it was. The family and mountain fund are extremely helpful and very caring. You become part of the family and felt safe and happy throughout my time there.
Personally, my favourite experience was 'Her Farm'. It was such so inspiring to work with the sisters there, preparing meals, farming and teaching. The children are brilliant. They are so willing to work and learn. The language barrier is hard but patience and persistence from both you and the children thrive with success.
Going there was very scary. I was very cautious and nervous as well as excited, but you get lots of reassurance and guidance.
I would highly recommend using the Mountain Fund, it's an experience I will always cherish. When people ask me how it was the only words I use is amazing. I miss the people I have met and the places I have visited. I will be returning to them in future years because a part of my heart now belongs there :) a must do experience!
I have just returned from the experience of my life. I haven't travelled a lot and as a 52 yr old (just single) woman thought it was all too late - but 'Mountain Fund' proved me very wrong indeed. I thought they'd laugh at me but I was welcomed and befriended like any other. I feel privileged and honoured to have been a part of the Farm family for two weeks. I cut and carried grass; I ploughed and prepared fields; I planted rice; I helped to graze the oxen; I sang Nepali songs and danced; I picked corn; I ate jack fruit, pears and mangoes straight from the trees; I ate freshly harvested and cooked food (of which the rice pudding deserves special mention) but most of all I met fantastic people up on the farm. I was truly inspired and motivated by all of you and your happy; hard working; never complaining; attitude to life. I will never forget you and will always have very special memories of my time on your farm. Thank you for making it special for me.
An amazing month thanks to all the Mountain Fund staff. They offered a great insight into Nepal life and had extensive knowledge of Kathmandu, you can ask them literally anything. Perfect accommodation and support for a genuine Nepal adventure. The staff leave an impression that makes you eager to return.
I went over to Nepal and volunteered with the mountain fund,being quite young i thought it would a somewhat scary experience but the staff at the mountain fund were very welcoming and helpful!
I would volunteer with mountain fund again in a heartbeat and am planning on going back to Nepal to volunteer with them in the next couple of years,i have recommended them to my friends and family.
I was in Nepal in a 60 days program with The Mountain Found at Her Farm. After that experience, I just dying to go back to spend more days there! It was so very special, learned so much and It was so amzing to make part of a great family; they made me feel that way. My days there are saved in my heart and in my memories.
I was in Nepal with this program for 3 months and had the time of my life. You become part of a family. My experiences with this organization have been wonderful, I have and will continue to recommend The Mountain Fund to everybody I know.
Along with 30 other people, students and teachers, I volunteered and traveled in Nepal with The Mountain Fund at Her Farm. Knowing just how important education and care is for single, widowed, or divorced women and their children, this project, and all the people involved, quickly wormed its way into my heart. The hard work I did everyday, though just for a short time, always contained an element of fun, as the women and children of Her Farm possessed unalterable high spirits. Though I'm back in Canada now, I'm always dreaming of Nepal and my family there, and I'm counting down the days until I go back.
I am a recent graduate of Stelly's Secondary School and a recent traveler to Nepal where a group of over 30 students, including myself, helped build a community centre at Her Farm through the Mountain Fund. Living in Nepal was one of the most life-changing experiences I've had and I would give anything to go back to see the beautiful children and the intricate culture. The Mountain Fund provided us with excellent care and truly gave us the opportunity to see Nepal from some amazing perspectives. As well as introducing us to the farm where our service and work was much needed and appreciated, we were introduced to the community where ceremonies and celebrations took place. I instantly fell in love with all the children and every day they are on my mind and in my heart. They are so very precious. Today I am still in contact with the wonderful people who run The Mountain Fund and I am blessed to call them my new family. There is a certain warmth and dedication about this organization that captivated me. I only hope that more people like me will one day discover all that Nepal has to offer through The Mountain Fund.
A group of eager secondary students and I came to Nepal in March of 2014 to continue a project at The Mountain Fund that my school, Stelly's Secondary started several years back to aid in the construction of a women's shelter. The people at the Mountain fund were amazing! They brought in over 30 outsiders and made us feel like members of a tight knit community. They made us feel like family. We had such a blast working with the volunteers from this amazing organization. They personally checked in on us often to see how we were doing, and the never once made us feel like a burden. I would certainly suggest the Moutain Fund to anyone looking to do volunteering work in Nepal, and I would most certainly go back to Nepal just to see those humble, incredible people again.