Last year I was working in a documentary film in Nepal and I was so fortunate to meet Sunita dd, Scott and the wonderful women in Her Farm.As well as providing a home for girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, empowering these women to be independent, Her farm also has an incredible video & radio studio called Herfarmfilms, where they are inspired to learn filmmaking and radio hosting, to educate and share women's stories all over Nepal. I learnt so much, met inspiring women, and I can't wait to visit them when I'm next in Nepal. I would highly recommend the voluntary experience and for people to support Scott and Sunita dd's wonderful organisation.
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.
I'm a second year medical student who just returned back from Nepal for their Global Health program. I spent a month in this wonderful place during the Summer and would do so again in a heartbeat. Mountain Fund helped me organize a trekking trip up to the Gosaikunda lakes and it all worked out. They were able to arrange all the buses and places to stay with no problem.
I trekked for a week and then spent 3 weeks volunteering at the Rural hospital where I had the opportunity of observing Nepalese health care and the medical issues they face - many of which are very uncommon nowadays in the United States. The staff and the physician present were fantastic - they allowed me to be more hands on in addition to the shadowing. The hospital consists of a small ER, an OPD clinic, an X-ray machine, lab room, and a pharmacy - they are fully equipped. I saw things such as typhoid fever, gastroenteritis, gastritis, tumors, COPD, road accidents, and plenty head traumas. Although it was slow at times, it was still an enjoyable experience to see how things are run in this country and the many challenges they face.
I did have some issues at the place I stayed at during my time volunteering in the Rural hospital. I happened to be the first person who arrived to this house and who would volunteer at this hospital. The electricity in the bedroom did not work well and there would be no water in the mornings, or no water in the 3rd floor where I was staying at. I attribute this problem more to the owner of the house who wouldn't follow through, rather than Mountain Fund itself but I would have appreciated if this was addressed before I arrived. However, the staff from Mountain Fund worked daily to make things better and eventually fixed the problem by buying a huge tank of water. I appreciated that they would always be there and call to make sure that everything was alright. I believe this shouldn't be an issue anymore for any other volunteer since everything was working fine after that week.
Mountain Fund is a very flexible organization. Pretty much anything you want to experience they can help you arrange it. They let me spend couple days in the Helping Hands clinic to observe some surgeries - this is usually their pre-med program. I happened to see a hysterectomy and a skin graft on a patient who was recovering from Necrotizing fasciitis. They also helped me arrange a trip to Pokhara and that was a fantastic experience - highly recommend it.
I loved volunteering with Mountain Fund. Although I tend to be hesitant about doing things at the last minute and I'm a bit uncomfortable with not being able to plan ahead, I realized that this was something that happens to be common in developing countries. However, Mountain Fund was always flexible and never lost sight of what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. They always kept in contact with me wherever I was and I felt very safe as a solo female traveler. I think what makes Mountain Fund so unique is the people - the sisters who are your guides, help you settle in the house you're staying at, and cook some amazing food, are some of the most fantastic and bright young women you will ever meet. Scott MacLennan and Sunita Subedi were also amazing people to meet - I highly recommend you to chat with them if you happen to get a chance, they know so much about Nepal, the people, the culture, the politics, and also give great life advice. This is a wonderful organization that helps empower women and is giving a great contribution to the country. It gives a great opportunity for outsiders to learn and live the real Nepali life. I look forward to going back someday!
I am a med student who visited Nepal for a month between my first and second years. We wanted to do some trekking, get out and see the world and hopeful learn a little while helping a few people. Our experience with Mountain Fund was excellent. The trekking that they helped set up for us worked out so much better than we had hoped. Excellent guides and the weather did help by being better than expected. after the rain delays for our flight to the start were dealt with no extra hassle. The medical volunteering was more shadowing, but did provide an excellent glimpse of Nepalese health care at all levels. Often the doctors would let you get more involved but as we were a group of 4 that was a harder to manage. Volunteering at/visiting Her Farm was another of the highlights of the trip for me. The women and the other workers there were so much fun and welcoming and they work very hard to make sure that you have everything you need, while taking care of the farm and the herd of small children that come to learn english every day. As others have said you need to be flexible, Nepal(and most third world countries) run on their own schedule and as such can't be planned to the minute. But amazingly things just always seem to work out. Scott and Sunita are great at getting things done there and are amazing interesting people as well. Their plans for the future mean that their facilities will just keep getting better. I enjoyed every day of my time there and meeting all the warm welcoming Nepalese people.
I just got back from a month in Nepal where I stayed with the Mountain Fund organization for 2 of those weeks. The other 2 weeks I spent on the Everest base camp trail, which Scott had organized completely for us and it ran without a flaw!
The two weeks with Mountain Fund was incredible. I am a Medical Student in the US and was able to visit three different health care settings in Nepal while I was there. We saw surgeries in the helping hands hospital in Kathmandu, then were able to see rural care in a small hospital outside of Kathmandu and also a governmental health post in the mountains. Other time we spent helping out at a farm and enjoying the company of the Nepali people. I have never met such loving and caring people!!
The best part of this volunteer organization is how flexible they are and truly help you see as much as Nepal as possible!
I have worked for the Mountain Fund for 4 and a half months. I was in Nepal, located on a farm in the Dhading district, close to Kathmandu. I have had no bad experiences. Everyone who is located at the farm and in Kathmandu are helpful and friendly. I went to Nepal for 8 months, part of that time climbing, part of it volunteering with the Mountain Fund, and the volunteering has been, and will remain, the most memorable part of my time in Nepal. While teaching English at the farm, I truly felt I was making a difference to the community seeing improvements in the children's English skills. Not once have I felt lonely, scared, or in any way more of a burden than a help. You will always eat good food with the Mountain Fund, which has lead to me gaining a few pounds. If you have any problems, the girls will help fix those problems by any means they can. The Mountain Fund truly has been very influential to my life and has changed my life.
I volunteered at the Her Farm as an addition to a climbing trip that brought me to Nepal. The time I spent at the farm was the most enriching experience of a 8 month stint of travel in Asia. What made my time there so special was the enormous sense of community that radiated out from the farmhouse on the hill. I reccomend spending at least a few weeks and really embracing the subtle difference between the western world and the farm-life of Mankhu. Enjoy!