Eadaoin Close, a qualified primary school teacher from Portmarnock, Dublin, volunteered for five months in one of Umbrella’s girls homes and returned to Kathmandu in 2012 to become the Communications Director. A part of her assignment she managed the Volunteer Programme. Eadaoin gave us a run down on what were some of the common questions volunteers asked before they travelled overseas.
What vaccinations do I need?
There are no vaccines officially required to enter Nepal. As many volunteers travel on in Asia before or after their volunteering placement we always recommend to plan ahead, consider all the countries you may wish to visit and seek advice as soon as possible before travelling as some vaccinations require more than one injection, while others should not be given together. Please contact your own GP or Tropical Medical Bureau for further recommendations and record all vaccinations on an International Health Certificate. Taking DPT (Diptheria, Pertussis, Tetanus) and MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccines are a standard recommendation. It is also strongly recommended to consider the following vaccines: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid and Rabies.
What medicines should I bring?
Most medicines that you might need are available in Kathmandu, however we recommend that you bring prescription medicines with you and brands that you regularly use at home.
What is the best way to take out money?
The quickest, safest and most convenient way to manage money is to use secure ATMs, located largely in the city centre but also in suburbs and in other major towns. The majority of ATMs accept visa/visa debit credit cards and the international transaction fee is low at approximately €3 per transaction.
What should I bring for myself?
It is advised to have a sleeping bag, head torch, rucksack, water purification tablets, travel towel, raingear, toiletries, basic first aid kit, unlocked phone, adapter, small umbrella, culturally sensitive clothing, practical footwear (trekking boots, flipflops, open sandals). However there are not many things that you will not be able to buy once you are here in Nepal. Clothing and footwear are usually much cheaper here and can be found to suit all weather types.
What should I bring for the organisation?
Our main priorities are children’s clothing, school stationery, office equipment, second-hand computers or laptops, educational software, teaching resources, arts and crafts materials and sports equipment. Bringing a stock of activity ideas will be a great asset to you during your stay, especially those that require very little or no materials.
Should I bring my laptop?
This is entirely up to the individual. Volunteers often like to have it for personal use inc. emailing, storing photos, internet, and entertainment. Many also use it to support administrative work and projects in Umbrella. It is worth noting that wifi is widely available in tourist areas and the Umbrella office and electricity, while there are regular cuts, is available on a daily basis in Kathmandu.