RCDP Nepal

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9.2 / 10 after 149 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings
Program website: http://www.rcdpnepal.org/

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I had just graduated from college and decided to research options for volunteering abroad. After going through countless organizations, I came across RCDP Nepal as one of the most reputable and highly rated, as well as ideally placed all around Nepal, especially high up in the Himalayas where I would end up volunteering. Before graduating, I committed to the program, and flew out to Kathmandu in late June, and am only now (in November) flying back home to the States. RCDP Nepal was incredibly valuable in getting me to my project, and handling my logistical issues (like flights, passport visa, etc). Saman especially was of great help at many crux times during my time here, and Hom was all in all very helpful when I needed him. In terms of my project itself, I first volunteered at the Pema Choling Primary School in Ghat for my first four weeks in the Khumbu region of the Himalayas, and then taught at the nearby Pema Choling monastery for the next 3 months. Though both were valuable in their own way, I found the monastery much more rewarding, and the need for education much greater.

Mind you I was primarily in the Khumbu during the monsoon, and for the majority of my time I was the only volunteer. During the high season starting in September, many more volunteers started to arrive, and by the time I left, there were more than enough, both for the monastery and the nearby school.

What I will say in respectful criticism of RCDP Nepal, is that there was few guidelines in terms of how to perform once at your project. You are thrown into a teaching situation and expected to perform. Teaching is not easy to begin with, I'm the first to admit to that fact, so there is only so much they can do. However, I'm of the opinion that there needs to be more information on your particular project before jumping in. Luckily at the monastery, there was a dedicated network of previous volunteers, some of which working with RCDP Nepal, that are still invested in the young monks there even long after their teaching periods have ended. So there is communication on that front. However there is still a lot to do, and I think RCDP Nepal could be more effective by keeping in touch with current volunteers so new ones can be better informed when they actually arrive at the project. All that said, this is Nepal, and you are a volunteer with a purpose, in this case the education of poor village children. You are expected to go beyond whatever may be prescribed. And I strove to do just that during my time there, and I was incredibly sad to leave the monastery, for my connections are now lifelong, and I expect to come back. I can never thank RCDP Nepal enough for making that connection possible.

It's a complex issue, and I think if you are interested in taking part in the program, keep in mind that 1 or 2 weeks (even 3) is simply not enough. If you are familiar with the term "voluntourism," the "volunteers" that think they can make a difference in such a short a time need a reality check. To air one more criticism, I don't think RCDP should condone such short volunteer periods, it propagates the problem that voluntourism poses, particularly the rapid succession of teachers who simply jolt the students' sense of consistency, which is something that is hard earned up there.

RCDP Nepal is not trying to pull your leg, and I can assuredly say that this was the experience of a lifetime. They tell you in plain terms what they'll do for you, and they do just that. But when it comes to making more of a difference in the communities you travel all this way to help, there needs to be more of an effort on RCDP's part.

If you have any questions or concerns, I would be happy to address them if you contact me, at least when I have the time available.

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Location:
Posted: November 3, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: troygibb
Age:
22

I was in Nepal for 5 weeks where i participated in the 2 weeks language and culture program, 2 weeks of trek and 1 week to volunteer in the monastery in the Himalayan region. The experience has been a great one. The language and culture are well organized and you are more immersed and well informed of the culture. But I liked being in the Himalayan the most, where there's no cars, motorbikes and no honking, only donkeys, yaks, horses, Sherpa and trekkers on the road. The trek was organized with a guide and porter for you and the teaching at the monastery was a fun and rewarding one. The monks ages from 8 - 16 and they are very engaged, eager to learn and interested to know where you are from and your culture.

I came also with a hope of finding spiritual revival, of finding peace and was able to find it here. Each individual will have his/ her own experience, but i think being flexible and open minded to the culture and expectation will be a plus to help you adjust if you are new to the culture. It has been a great experience and I hope to come back one day.

Program:
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Posted: October 26, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
10
Age:
32

I would suggest not going with any preconceived ideas, as i did. My Project was teaching English at Ripa Siddhi Sangathan Monastery just outside of Pharping, which is approximately 25mins drive into the mountains from Kathmandu.
My stay at the Monastery was not what i expected, however I believe i got more out of the project than i gave.
I went for 5 weeks but it took a couple of weeks to settle into the routine. Be prepared for very basic plain meals of rice, dhaal and one seasonal vegetable with breakfast consisting of beans and bread. The Monastery itself was approximately a 25min walk to Pharping. The area is beautiful and the local people friendly. The staff at the Monastery, as well as the young monks are Nepalese, so the language coarse at the hostel would be an advantage. Classes in English were Monday to Wednesday, which gives you four days to organize site-seeing or trips into Kathmandu, with buses leaving regularly from Pharping. Be prepared for a lot of free time. The area has lots of temples and lots of walking opportunities and Pharping has cafes with WiFi and an internet place if you don't have your own computer. Be aware that your WiFi and internet depends on power, which often went off and apparently is worse in winter.

Staying at the hostel was also a great experience. The diversity of young people from all parts of the world was great and the staff were very accommodating and helpful. Don't hesitate to ask plenty of questions, as when you get here you will have plenty more you didn't consider.
If you are interested in this project feel free to contact me for more details.

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Location:
Posted: September 27, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: karin
Age:
58

I have been in Kampala, Uganda for 1 week volunteering at an Orphanage and living with a host family.

First of all, the reason 'Support' is rated lower than the others is due to the start of our week. Although it was no bodies fault, some wires were crossed and we were still sat in a hotel in the middle of Kampala at lunch time on Monday (the day we were supposed to start) and we hadn't heard from RCDP or our host family. This was no bodies fault but I was disappointed in RCDP's reaction, or lack of one, as it is now Friday and we still haven't heard from them despite repetitive calling and emailing all of Monday morning.

However, this has been made up for by our host family who have been very supportive and welcoming, we have well and truly been part of the family this week and it will be very hard to leave.

We have been working from about 9:00-14:00 at the Orphanage each day, mainly working with infants from 0-3 months. It hasn't been all cuddles though, we have been doing a lot of general work to help the running of the Orphanage, which I have enjoyed because I feel as though I am actually being a help not a hindrance.

Once we have finished for the day we are free to do as we please, we've spent a lot of time in Kampala and our weekends at Jinja. Both amazing, busy places with great atmospheres.

Over all we have had a great week.

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 29, 2014
Overall:
8
Support:
6
Value:
8
Age:
19

I volunteered for 3 weeks in Nepal and I really loved my stay there.I have done the cultural week program and 2 weeks in Vaishnavi Secondary School in Kirtipur, a beautiful village near Kathmandu.

I recommend to do a cultural week and/or a language course week in order to meet the other volunteers and the RCDP staff. Indeed, all the RCDP members are very kind, welcoming and listening!

During my stay in Kirtipur for my teaching project, I was in a kind host family and I really felt comfortable among them. We shared a lot of goods moments together. Moreover, I think that staying in a host family is the best way to understand the Nepali way of life and their beautiful culture.

At school, the pupils were nice and full of energy. They were about 10 per class and I worked from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with 1 hour break so I had time to visit Kirtipur or Kathmandu after school.

The only little flaw of my stay is that I had bedbugs bites but they disappeared quickly.

I recommend to do a volunteering project with RCDP Nepal and I definitely will come back for another project there!

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 28, 2014
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
23

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