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Martha-Froy

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Review for The Global Mountain Fund Inc, Albuquerque, NM, USA

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.

Role:  Volunteer