- What We Do
- Little Princes
Children's Homes Placement
Three Month Programmes
Join one of our three month volunteering programmes within our children's homes in Kathamdu..!(http://www.umbrellanepal.org/Childrens_Homes)
We ask volunteers to give three month as we feel this time commitment offers the children a stable, consistent environment and it also allows the volunteer to get a truer understanding of the organisation, the culture in Nepal and ideas of development in Nepal.
In addition to their time in our children's homes in Kathmandu, during these three months volunteers are encouraged to visit our community development projects in Gurje and Rasuwa to see the work we are doing with the communities of origin for our children and for the schools in these areas. Volunteers are encouraged to learn about the rural communities from whence our children have come so that they can gain an understanding into their diverse backgrounds and cultures and learn about our reintegration work (http://www.umbrellanepal.org/Reintegration).
The children's home's programme is open to new volunteers once in a month, with the start dates being the 1st of every month. There is no set end date, rather just a three-month minimum stay (12 weeks) and we are very happy to have volunteers stay on past their initial three month's should they wish. The set start dates (1st of every month) are there to allow the volunteers coming at similar times, and who are coming from all over the world, to join the programme together as a team.
Meet some of our amazing Umbrella volunteers and child sponsors Mick Bromley
Umbrella is a very close knit community with a great big family feel to it. There are five homes, housing 18 - 32 children in each. Girls and boys live separately. Each home has a house mother and father, usually a married couple with children of their own and 1-3 cooks/ Didis (female helpers)/cleaners. College students serve as dormitory monitors and afternoon tutors to help children with homework and, in return, have their board and lodging and college tuition paid, and a small allowance. The children are encouraged to assist in normal household duties so they will grow up to be responsible self-reliant adults.
The houses are:
|Annapurna||Home to 32 boys aged 12-18|
|Gauri Shankar||Home to 32 girls aged 11-18|
|Kanchanjanga||Home to 32 boys aged 10-18|
|Manasalu||Home to 23 boys aged 8-18|
|Sagarmatha||Home to 16 girls aged 12-17|
As a volunteer with Umbrella you are placed in one of the above houses. As a house volunteer or "animator" your role in the house is to act as a big brother/ big sister. You are an addition to the house rather than a substitute for the current house staff.
There are various routines in the various houses but generally the volunteers arrive in the houses early in the morning and can help the children finish their homework, get ready for school and then the volunteer can have Dal Bhat (rice, a lentil sauce and curried vegetables). You can then walk the kids to school.
The children are in school from roughly 10 am to 4.00pm Sunday to Friday. This time is a great to organise activities for the evening and especially Saturday's activities. It is also your free time so you can manage it as you like but optimising it for the good of the overall programme is preferred. An organised activity will be more enjoyable for you and the children.
After the children finish school you can go pick them up from school and bring them back to their homes. Once you are at home you can help the children with their homework, then eat Dal Bhat with them, and then have some evening activity planned. It is worth noting that there is a strong emphasis on study and education here in Umbrella and therefore activities in the evening time are restricted time wise, a lot of volunteers have found that joining the children's activities such as sport, dancing or small games can be more rewarding than trying to organise a new activity in a short time.
Saturday is the children's holiday. We try to make this into a special day for the children. Volunteers will work towards a Saturday activity during the week that will aim to encompass as many houses and age ranges as possible, for example in the past dance competitions, sports days, carnivals and art workshops have been held.
Many volunteers come with specific skill sets and look to use their experience and skills towards projects or ideas they have in mind. It is great that people have this motivation and energy for the programme, however sometimes it is impractical to give volunteers responsibility for projects that will not be completed during their time here. If volunteers have a certain mission or project in mind they are encouraged to please contact the office in advance in order to avoid disappointment.
Managing your Time
The children obviously live here 24/7 and therefore many volunteers find it difficult to find time to themselves so we really must insist that volunteers take at least one day off a week other than Saturday. It is up to you to manage your timetable and decide on a day but volunteers are no good to us, or to the children, if they are they are tired or sick. The volunteer's health and well being is very important to us!
There will be a volunteer coordinator who will chair the weekly volunteer meetings. This coordinator is the link between the office, the house staff and the volunteers. The VC should be able to field any questions that a volunteer may have and also should be the volunteer's first port of call if there are any problems either in the houses or the volunteer house.
If there is no space left in the volunteer' house, alternate, shared accommodation can be arranged in a guesthouse in close proximity to Umbrella. Volunteers wishing to arrange their own private accommodation are free to do so but the cost will have to be covered by the volunteer's personal expenses.
Cost of The Programme
Umbrella is financed entirely by donations, child sponsors and fundraisers hosted all over the world. We now ask volunteers to fund raise a minimum of €1,500 before coming to Umbrella. This €1,500 will cover your living expenses while living with Umbrella; accommodation in the volunteer's house for three months, two meals a day, programme running costs and expenses for the Saturday activities. It will also cover the cost of caring for one child for an entire year! Asking volunteers to fund raise before coming on the programme has many benefits for the overall organisation:
- Raises enough money to care for one child for one year
- Covers the cost of the volunteer programme
- Raises awareness of the situation and needs in Nepal
- Raises Umbrella's network of supporters
- We feel that the programme should not cost the volunteer, they are giving their valuable time.
It may seem as if €1,500 is a daunting figure to raise but it has been the experience of our past volunteers that all it takes is one or two well planned events and people's overwhelming generosity does most of the work for you. Please see the fund raising page for further information on fund raising and ideas to make fundraising easy.
Working in the Nepali Culture
One of the most exciting aspects of this volunteer programme is the opportunity it affords the volunteer to work in a new culture. Many Nepali people and systems will work very differently to the way volunteers are used to them working in their home country but it is important volunteers adopt the role of learner and guest rather than assuming that their way of doing things is correct or better.
Having a foreknowledge of the culture you are working in will help you understand why they do things the way they do and therefore, make the exchange of ideas and experiences much more rewarding.
On arrival, volunteers are given an induction where they will receive training on working within the Nepali culture and what behaviour is expected of our volunteers.
Code of Conduct
The Umbrella Volunteer Code of Conduct sets out eight principles that aim to encourage responsible, responsive volunteers. All successful applicants will be sent the code of conduct prior to departure so they can confirm that they will respect the code and work with Umbrella towards its overall ethos. The eight principles outlined in code of conduct include, money, dress, professionalism, consumption of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, photography, personal information, reltionsips amongst staff and boundaries with the children. Volunteers are also encouraged to visit Comhlamh's Volunteering Options website and read the Volunteers Charter to further assess whether overseas volunteering is really for them www.volunteeringoptions.ie
A Code of Good Practice for Sending Organisations has been developed by Comhlámh, in consultation with Irish sending organisations. This Code sets out the responsibilities of Irish-based organisations that arrange volunteer placements, including some of the steps they take to support the Volunteer Charter. As signatories to Comhlámh's Code of Practice, Umbrella shows that it supports its messages, and has agreed to work to implement the principles.
Child safety is paramount to this organization and we endeavor to protect the children in every aspect of their time here. For this reason it is important that volunteers who will be coming in contact with the children are familiar with our policies. Successful applicants will be provided with a copy of our child protection policy.
'Little Princes' Book
We'd like to thank all the people who are visiting our site having read Conor Grennan's book, 'Little Princes'. If this book has inspired you to volunteer with Umbrella then we are greatful again! We would like to point out however that the volunteering placement that Conor describes in his book is very different to the programme we have on offer here. If you decide to volunteer with Umbrella please base your decision on the information above and please read all information that is sent to you before you confirm your interest in our programme. Volunteering can be such a worth while and exciting experience but if he experience does not match up with your expectations then the three month placement can seem very long and neither the volunteer, the children or the organisation will benefit!
Umbrella were delighted to have Conor, Farid and Nancy from Next Generation Nepal came to visit us and talk to some of our volunteers in October 2011.
|Comhlamh Volunteer's Charter||314.62 KB|
|The Umbrella Foundation - First Information Pack||267.25 KB|
|The Umbrella Foundation - Second Information Pack||239.72 KB|
|The Umbrella Foundation - Fund Raising Pack||161.29 KB|