Volunteer Feedback & Comments

Over time we'll post feedback and comments from volunteers who have completed their placement with DRC Nepal.

  • Jacqui Stevenson

    Volunteering at the Disabled Rehabilitation Centre Nepal - 6th July - 1st September, 2007

    I had an absolutely amazing time as a volunteer at the DRC. The children are so sweet, and we had so much fun together. I found they particularly enjoyed creative activities like drawing and painting, especially when we put their pictures up on the wall.

    I gained so much from the experience, particularly because the staff were all so lovely and took such good care of me. To anyone thinking of volunteering, I can only say: go. You will not regret it.

    Thanks.

    Jacqui Stevenson, England, UK
    September 2007.

    Chorrie, Daki, Kamal, Ali, Nabin, Orgen and with head down Bal Kumar in front of pictures on wall.

    Chorrie, Daki, Kamal, Ali, Nabin, Orgen and with head down Bal Kumar in front of pictures on wall

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    jacqui's pics

    Top Row - Left - Right. Chorrie trying on motorbike helmet | Dan, Pasang, Anil, Sonam, Kamal playing monsters.
    Bottom Row Left-Right. Balkumar with Jaqcui & Kamal | Dan and Chorrie blowing bubbles | Dharma, Ali (behind) & Chorrie.

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  • Charlie Webb

    Volunteering at the Disabled Rehabilitation Centre Nepal - June-July, 2007

    Nepal was a fantastic place for me to relax and reflect on our life-style in the Western world.

    So, what did it teach me?

    That in the Western world we are given everything on a silver plate and take absolutely everything for granted. With health care, welfare, transport, environmental awareness, and many more. We believe this to be the norm with nothing else to compare it to.

    On day one in Nepal when i arrived at Kathmandu, i was greeted by the staff of 'The Kathmandu Peace Guesthouse' and taken on a rollercoaster of a ride in their Flintstone taxi. Reality check! No traffic laws here.

    I went through a course of Cultural Classes educating me on the religions and customs also an in-depth crash course on the language. Then after the one week in Thamel i was taken to where i would spend my further month. The DRC.

    I arrived on day one on the back of an 600cc Indian motorcycle, which is quite a rare thing in Nepal, along a very bumpy, dusty track up the river to a rather large building with Iron gates. All the children were standing on the wall over looking the dam. There was quite a lot of activity happening there with police presence and the entire village. Underneath a towel with two little legs sticking out was the body of a small boy from the village who had recently drowned. My early visit was not to my expectations.

    My next visit was more pleasant.

    All the children at the DRC were lovely and straight away welcomed me with open arms. Surendra is the most fantastic young man i have ever met. I admire his bond with every new orphan welcoming them and drying their everlasting tears. He has a great skill in communicating and being compassionate.

    Pema, with her cheeky sense of humour and very sharp brain. Dharma with his fiery temper. The girls knitting all day and the boys injuring themselves every day, just for me to take out my first aid kit and patch them up. Sleeping the night in the boys dorm on those hard beds and mosquitoes buzzing constantly in your ear.

    The beautiful sunny days interrupted by a torrential hard storm attack. The bumpy dusty track turning over night to an obstacle course of deep muddy pits.

    The trips up to Boudanath to escape the Daal Baat and have something a little more attractive. The time Erik Mari and I took a handful of children up to the hills on their wheelchairs and roasted by the heat decided to flag a truck down and load the kids on the back of the pile of sand blagging a trip back to the DRC.

    There are so many experiences we shared, i simply cannot write them all down in one email. Each one special however mundane they seemed like sitting outside on a brick having a heart to heart with Surendra, watching the goats wander around aimlessly.

    Make sure all the children know that they moved me. And stay with with me everyday on my journey here in the UK. I was lucky to have spent my time with them. It was a privilege.

    Charlie Webb, London, UK
    July 2007.

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    Dharma & Surendra

    Dharma & Surendra

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  • Mari Hirabayashi

    Volunteering at the Disabled Rehabilitation Centre Nepal - May 2007

    As a volunteer at the DRC, my daily activities varied, however, I often taught English to the few children that don't attend school, while also engaging the other children that were home for illness or health reasons. We did basic English lessons, sang songs, went for walks, played sports in the field and other activities such as reading stories, origami, drawing, knitting and homework help. I also taught English a few times at the local government school that many of the DRC children attend.

    With the donation funds that I collected from family and friends, I was able to buy new school shoes for many of the children (the event of piling all of us into a mini bus and walking through the streets of Chabhil dodging taxis, motorcycles and people with approximately 30 children was a feat in and of itself), new clothes and backpacks, sports equipment and learning supplies such as a whiteboard, books, etc. Pictures of the shoe shopping expedition are below.

    Mari with Gita and Pema

    Mari with Gita and Pema, two of the girls she taught English to on a daily basis. "Their hearts are so full of love and joy!"

    Additionally, I collected other items that were sent from home such as knitting supplies and yarn, new toothbrushes, oodles of stickers and flashcards for the children, as well. Some days were busy and full of errands and activities, when other days were more laid back and just being with the children was a perfect balance.

    All in all, I found the volunteerism to be so enriching, fulfilling and life changing. It's just a matter of time until I get back to the DRC to see the children again, for they have warmed my heart in such a blessed way.

    Mari Hirabayashi, Seattle, USA
    May 2007.

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    Mari's Sho Shopping Expedition

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  • Michelle Yong (24yrs)

    Volunteering at the Disabled Rehabilitation Centre Nepal - July-August, 2006

    "Nepal challenges your perceptions about yourself, your belief in life itself… The breathtaking beauty of Nepal puts you in touch with absolutes. It seems to stir you to your full potential and enables you to say with Nepali poet Gopal Prasad Rimal: A day comes / but once in an age."

    It's often a challenge to do something outside your normal life and perhaps your comfort zone, but it is often these experiences that prove to be the most worthwhile of all.

    DRC touched my heart with their kindness and love. They welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like a member of the family. The children are incredibly sweet, caring, hardworking, determined, spirited, beautiful individuals with so much to give. I felt like I had never laughed and smiled so much before- it's good to feel truly alive.

    Michelle with Dan Bahadur and Noula

    Michelle with Dan Bahadur and Noula

    Every day at DRC was exciting whether we were dancing with the laundry, visiting the zoo, having a drawing competition, playing hide and seek (and giggling like crazy in the cupboard!), singing Bob Marley and Resham Firiri, playing in the paddling pool, cooking tarkari and daal… or simply doing homework.

    My time there was richly rewarding and will always be deeply cherished- the people, the landscape and the culture were unforgettable. I can't wait to visit DRC again this summer (2007) and highly recommend volunteering here.

    Michelle Yong, London, UK
    July-August 2006.

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    Michelle

    Left to Right Top Row
    Michelle with Anisha, Dan Bahadur, Nabin, Kamal, Saroj and Saraswoti | Michelle and Kamal | Barat B.C and Dharma Raj doing their homework
    Left to Right Bottom Row
    Monaj Subedi beating Michelle in an armwrestle! | Michelle with Dhan Bahadur and Nabin | Gausari making a collage

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  • Henry Tan, Harry Low, Sylvia Wan & Jenny Tan

    Volunteering at the Disabled Rehabilitation Centre Nepal - November/December, 2006.

    We are happy to have discovered 'HOPE and HOME' organisation. They have been helpful and committed in partnering us in improving the Disabled Rehabilitation Centre (DRC), the home, we were attached to. Mostly importantly, we are blessed to have a wonderful host family looking after us for the period we were here. Basudha and Shristi have made our stay in this foreign land a comfortable one. It is only through a home stay with a host family that we get to know Nepalese lifestyle up close and personal especially the food.

    A group of us went to DRC on November 28 and stayed there for 14 days. We learned a lot of their culture and also the living standards of the Nepalis. The group comprised of Harry Low (a closed friend), Sylvia Wan (new member to my family - God daughter - the youngest in the group), Jenny Tan (my wife) and myself (Henry Tan).

    I must say that our first impression of DRC was quite overwhelming for us, Singaporeans. The place needed a number of improvements eg: environment and personal hygiene. Our project included introducing the importance of a healthy living environment and how to maintain it. With the help of Hope and Home, a gas water heater was installed (prior to this, they had to bathe in icy water even in winter). The children loved the new study room that we created. Now they have a blackboard to make teaching and learning easier. All these changes are made possible due to the willingness and strong support of the children and staff members of the home even in such a short time, 2 weeks! DRC showed their sincere appreciation on our departure which made us extremely touched. They have made us felt like we have become part of their family! It is indeed a fruitful and memorable experience for all of us!

    Henry (group leader), Jenny, Harry, Sylvia and William - [Singapore]
    November/December 2006.

    Painting - many hands make light work

    Painting - many hands make light work.

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  • Clément Hias

    Volunteering at the Disabled Rehabilitation Centre Nepal - October, 2006.

    My story about DRC :

    Once upon a time, a volunteer from France was looking for a life experience. He wanted to give time and a bit of himself.

    Step by step, he found the Disabled Rehabilitation Center. He was not just volunteering there, he was also living there.

    He wasn’t expecting anything because he was going there without any opinion, bad or good. He actually received so much. From the children, from the culture, from the people. He probably received much more than he could give.

    It is too much to describe it in just a few words. A few words would be too much to describe a feeling. That is all about. Feelings… When I left, I said :"economists and politicians said that Nepal is one of the poorest country in the world. You taught me that Nepal is a very rich country".

    Clément Hias - [France]
    October, 2006.

    Saraswati_Kamal_Clement_Surendra

    Saraswati, Kamal, Clément & Surendra.

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  • Kristian Erling Højgaard from Faroe Islands.

    Volunteering at the Disabled Rehabilitation Centre Nepal - January to March & May, 2006.

    After a long and hard journey from the Faroe Islands which included 4 airplanes I came to Asia for the first time. I was welcomed at the Airport by two men (the Director and Joel) who were holding a sign with my name on it.

    While we were driving from the Airport I got a little bit of a shock when I saw the city of Kathmandu, it looked to me as if the all the houses were falling down. But this is the difference between Asia and Europe and Nepal is the 8th poorest country in the world.

    The Taxi stopped with a long and small alley where a water truck was parked, delivering water to the DRC house and we had to squeeze ourselves past it. And I will never forget the moment when I entered the gate to the house, all the children were standing in two lines clapping and singing. They gave me a chair to sit on and all the children were standing around me and that was a very special moment for me. I was also surprised when I saw their living conditions, but then again this is Nepal and all the children come from poor families so this was a sort of luxury for them.

    The first week I went sightseeing in Kathmandu. Joel and Amrit were my guides and they took me to all the famous places in Kathmandu: Thamel, Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, Swayambunath and Durbar Square.

    Kristian & two of the teenagers

    Meenu, Kristian and Surendra taken at Swayambunath.

    The first month the children were not in school so we spent most of the time playing games like Badminton and they all wanted to play against me. Even though they had a holiday from school most of the girls, and some boys, wanted me to help them by reading English, and when one child was reading all the others were sitting around listening and learning.

    In February the children went back to school. My routine was first to help them with their homework in the morning, then they were in school from 10 am until 4 pm. In that period I was teaching English at The Eloquence Public High School where some of the children also were studying. When the children came back home from school we were playing games and doing other stuff, then in the afternoon we were doing homework again. After night supper the children were allowed to watch television before they went to bed.

    I will never forget the Holi festival where all the children were fighting with balloons full of water and colour. They were all wet and coloured and the DRC committee members and the cook Basanta were all heavily bombarded by the Children.

    When it got dark, the children were often sitting around a small fire singing together with Basanta while some of the girls were dancing and some boys playing drums and they could sit there for hours.

    In March I celebrated my 30th birthday and DRC made a big party for me and the all children (pictured below). We had a lot of snacks, cakes, soda but also goat meat. There was also a Hindi ceremony but because I am Christian I didn't really understand it, but still it was interesting. Also in March, there was a big Hindi festival and I went with some of the children down to the big Hindi temple Pashupatinath, where more then a hundred thousands Pilgrims from both Nepal and India had gathered.

    I also made some good friends there. Sarmila, a Christian, took me to Church and Lakpa Doma, a Buddhist, took me to two Monasteries that are lying on a hill just above Kathmandu, and with a fantastic view. Sarmila and Lakpa Doma are both helping the children with their homework. I also got a lot of help from two of the oldest children Meenu and Surendra (pictured above). They both speak good English and they made it easier for me to communicate with the small ones and also when I had to buy something.

    After three months at DRC I went to another care house to volunteer for two months but there I stayed at a guest house and when DRC's volunteer worker in May cancelled I went back to DRC to stay for that month. And it was a sad day for me when I left Nepal, I had to say goodbye to all the children before they all went to school that day, but I promised them I'd be back next year.

    I had a wonderful time there and the mother of the house, who is the same age as I am, treated me as her son and the cook Basanta was always there for me. Amrit the secretary, Udaya a DRC member and a big joker, Joel medical adviser and all the children made me a part of their big, happy and easygoing family. There will always be a place in my heart for these people.

    I would recommend anyone to volunteer at DRC.

    Namaste Kristian Erling Højgaard - [Faroe Islands]
    January - March & May, 2006.

    Celebration

    Kristian's 30th birthday celebrations.

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  • Katy Cavanagh (26yrs) and Nick Lamshed (27yrs) from Australia.

    Volunteering at the Disabled Rehabilitation Centre Nepal April, 2006.

    We volunteered at DRC for the month of April in 2006. We are still raving about it... and still missing the kids!! With 35 children, the DRC committee members, the chef, 'Auntie Basanta' and her two adorable children, along with Udaya Sir, Amrit and the rest of the amazing staff, we are so proud to say we are a part of their family.

    Volunteering at DRC was a life changing experience. We had no idea just how affected we would be, by the infectious smiles & giggles, and the amazing hearts of these people, until we lived with them 24 hours a day for a month.... and had to say goodbye. It was very hard, and there were tears all round!

    The children promptly gave us our Nepali names, and hence forth, we were no longer known as Nick & Katy, but as Ram & Sita (a married Hindu God & Goddess!), there wasn't a day that passed that they didn't make us laugh.

    Ram's Birthday

    Ram's Birthday (Nick)

    We spent our days (as we were lucky enough to volunteer while the kids were on school holidays) teaching the children English & Social Studies. We divided them into four colour groups depending on their age & level of English, and a fifth colour group for the 'grown-ups' who wanted to learn conversational English! Aside from that, we enjoyed Basanta's Dhal Baat and her Nepali Tea (best in Nepal, swear it!), played soccer, badminton, or knuckles, built a fence for the veggie garden, paved some of the muddy areas, watched Nepali video-clips, and generally soaked up the children!

    We would highly recommend volunteering at DRC and fully intend to re-visit them again as soon as we get back to Nepal. You wont regret it, and you will NEVER forget it.

    Katy and Nick - [Australia]
    April 2006.

    Katy & Nick (Sita and Ram)

    Katy & Nick (Known as Sita and Ram)
    Ram & Udaya Sir | Rikas & Sita - silly glasses | Fun with Fans
    Nepali-ifying Sita | Ram & Manoj | Kamal, Sita, Sasswati, Bishnu & Rikas

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  • Jackie from Seattle, Washington, USA.

    Volunteering at the Disabled Rehabilitation Centre Nepal - March, 2006.

    This past spring I spent a month volunteering at DRC. I was placed there by Hope and Home, a volunteer organization based in Kathmandu. Being that it was the end of the school year and the children were preparing for final examinations, I was asked by DRC’s director to tutor the children mainly on their English as well as in other subjects. The children were amazing, they were all eager to learn and constantly asked for “homework”. Their energy and enthusiasm were contagious! We played learning games, worked on English, science and social studies homework, practiced grammar, and even did some algebra! But not all our time at the center was spent studying and working, DRC committee members made sure there was time to celebrate festivals, birthdays, and of course, the completion of the school year!

    My experience differed from some of the other volunteers at DRC, as I resided with a host family, rather than at the center itself. This gave me the wonderful opportunity to live with a Nepali family and share the experience with them as well. During my time at “home”, I spent time getting to know my host family and being a part of their household. Additionally, I spent time preparing learning aids with the help of Rachna, the 18 year-old daughter of my hosts, studying up on teaching methods, and reviewing Nepali and English grammar. It was great to introduce Rachna to the children and bridge the two experiences.

    Jackie & Children

    Jackie (centre front) & some of the children.

    I highly recommend volunteering at DRC. The director and staff were very friendly and welcoming. They have managed to provide a wonderful home, needed services and necessary education to the children of DRC. However, the work is not yet done and there is more that they are striving to accomplish in addition to maintaining day-to-day operations. I hope to one day return to Nepal and be of service again to the amazing, awe-inspiring children of DRC.

    Jackie Garces - [USA]
    March, 2006.

    The children and their donated books

    The children and their donated books

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  • Rose from New Zealand.

    Volunteering at the Disabled Rehabilitation Centre Nepal - September to November 2005.

    I spent 10 rewarding weeks as a volunteer at the Disabled Rehabilitation Centre from September to November 2005. The cheerful and positive attitude of both the staff and the kids, in the face of many difficulties, is just amazing to experience.

    A very memorable day was the 2nd October 2005. DRC committee members had negotiated a free trip to the zoo for the kids. Asian zoos are not my natural habitat, but there was no way of escaping this one!

    Our transport was a 1 ton flat bed truck, aged was an understatement, totally battered in fact, with very little power. 30 kids and several carers climbed onto the back and I was deposited, like the Queen Mother, in the front seat!

    The kids, sang, shouted and revelled all along the 30 minuted drive, with the loudest noise for when we miraculously overtook anything. Their joy and delight was infectious.

    I spent the next two hours piggybacking Dhan Bahadur, my little mate with the burnt off legs, around the zoo. It was a hot day and as most of the kids have some kind of walking difficulties, it was not easy for them. But they helped each other over the tough bits. Bharat, a 12yr old with spinabifida, can't negotiate steps, so one of the able bodied, but smaller boys, would heave him onto his back and stagger up and down!

    Rose with Dhan Bhadur on her back & anisha and bimala

    Rose with Dhan Bhadur on her back & Anisha and Bimala. The photo was taken by 12 yr old Surendra.

    After all the animal viewing it was party time. All sat in a circle on the ground, a newspaper was torn in to plate sized pieces and everyone got a samosa, a sweet and a drink!

    They were all still in full voice on the return journey, and on arrival at the Care House very excitedly told their stories.

    I highly recommend the volunteer experience at DRC. Wherever you are in the world and whatever your life experience, spending time with the DRC family will enhance your life experience and give you life long memories.

    Rose Falconer - [New Zealand]
    September to November 2005.

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  • Charlie (Charlotte) Lean from the United Kingdom.

    Volunteering at the Disabled Rehabilitation Centre Nepal April to June 2005.

    My friend Caitlin and I, both 18 years old, travelled to Nepal from England,the first time in Asia for both of us.

    When I arrived at DRC I was shocked at how responsive all the children were, and keen to put their English into use, asking the questions: "what is your name" "how old are you" etc. After the initial shock of the living conditions and bathroom and the general culture shock we settled in and were welcomed by everyone so warmly. Even the lady who ran the shop down the road made a visit to us.

    The children were the happiest children I've ever met, they were intrigued by our different life styles and the questions never stopped, but with every question and answer and conversation we had, their English was improving dramatically. We played word games that made them stretch their vocabulary and minds as well passing the time with fun.

    Our daily routine was good and it gave the children some routine as well. In the morning it was homework that wasn't finished the night before, and playing. Eating Dhal Bhat which was by far the best I had in Nepal. Then there was changing for school, getting teeth brushed, doing hairstyles for the girls, and getting books organised.

    Once the children left for school we ate our Dhal Bhat and then kept the few children who don't attend school occupied with colouring, hand writing, board games, and general playing. We also got the chance to put our sewing skills to the test and mended the clothes, as well making pillows for the small number of beds.

    School ended between 3-4, it was an hour or so of playtime and then homework started. The level of the childrens' understanding at such a young age was amazing. I remember getting asked by an 11 yr old for help with his computer science in English, and not knowing the answers!!! They are all so keen to learn it's really rewarding to have helped them and see the smiles when they have understood and finished all their homework.

    Saturdays, the only school free day, was the full on, we taught new games, dancing was always a favourite, and the teaching and learning of songs in both English and Nepali. They loved to help us with our Nepali!

    All in all we were accepted into the family so well it was really touching. The smallest things, would have meant nothing if they had happened back in England, but the simple things like being as being served Chiya, tea, was a privilege in Nepal.

    We were delighted at the improvement in the Childrens' English in the time we were there. When leaving we looked back at the 3 months we had been there and the countless and treasured memories, there are too many to describe. We were taken care of so well and every one was so very nice to us. I was very upset to leave and am already starting to save again to return and see my now very missed, very large, family in Nepal.

    I strongly recommend the Disabled Rehabilitation Center as a volunteer placement!

    Charlie (Charlotte) Lean - [United Kingdom]
    April to June 2005.

    Kamal during homework break

    Kamal during homework break

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