Volunteer in Nepal: Earthbag Construction program
The Good Earth Global experience in Nepal combines hands-on eco-building with a close-up introduction to daily village life, all in the shadows of the mighty Himalayas. You’ll experience first-hand the rhythms and customs of rural Nepali, and also build safe, sturdy structures in a country still reeling from a catastrophic earthquake. The structures you build will serve local communities for generations to come, and stand long after you’re gone.
Earthbag Training - Hands-on Earthbag building skills
Cultural Immersion and Exchange - Working with and sharing meals and daily life with rural village families
Community Service -Building an actual structure(s), of real use to the community
Adventure and Natural Beauty - Unspoiled nature amid striking terrain
Safety and Supervision - Supervision by an experienced English-speaking staff
1 week - $350 5 weeks - $1370
2 weeks - $650 6 weeks - $1570
3 weeks - $960 2 months - $1990
4 weeks - $1160 3 months - $2880
For group discounts, long term stay discounts and other questions, please email email@example.com
WHy pay to Volunteer?
Often we’re asked, “Why should I pay to volunteer my services?” Here’s the answer:
Ensuring a smooth-running volunteer operation is costly and labor-intensive. Transport, meals, lodging, on-site supervision-all these require substantial time, resources and trained personnel. Add some very real administrative costs and running a high-quality volunteer program can become an expensive proposition, even in a developing country like Nepal. A large portion of your volunteer fee offsets these costs, and assures you the best experience possible.
Unlike more commercial volunteer programs, all of the rest of your payment goes directly to further our mission, bringing safe, sustainable structures to those most in need.* And because our headquarters are located in Kathmandu, not abroad, your money stays in Nepal. Most of it pays local merchants, builders and families, often in areas that don’t benefit from tourism.
In short, we provide the best possible value for your money. If you haven’t already, peruse our website-you’ll see that our ideals, reputation and accomplishments speak for themselves.
Fundraising Assistance - If you can’t quite afford the trip, we can show you how to raise the necessary funds. You’ll have an interesting story to share, and it might be easier than you think.
* This portion of your fee is typically tax-deductible, but you should consult with your tax professional for specific tax guidance. Upon request a tax receipt will be issued.
The Good Earth Experience
“Namaste” means “I salute the God in you”, and with this lovely greeting you’ll be welcomed at the airport by Good Earth staff, all college educated and English speaking. From this first Namaste your safety and security becomes our highest priority, with creating an unforgettable experience running a close second.
First we’ll take you on a brief tour of Kathmandu. Kathmandu is crowded, chaotic, an assault on your senses-and you’ll love it! Then half a day of classroom building instruction at our headquarters in Thamel (downtown Kathmandu), using curricula designed by Dr. Owen Geiger, the world’s leading authority on Earthbag building. For lunch we’ll treat you to the best, most authentic dal bhat (traditional Nepali dish of rice and lentils) in all of Kathmandu.
Then you’ll be escorted to one of our Earthbag worksites, and the adventure of your life.
Expect a few hours of travel by public bus, and some hiking at the end. The journey will be rugged but safe, and the landscape spectacular. Along the way, be prepared to see, and experience, a very different culture, and a very different way of living. Nepal is a poor county, more so in the rural areas we serve, and is still recovering from the earthquake.
At the worksite you’ll be greeted by our team and brought to a homestay, where you’ll meet your hosts, a fully vetted family from the village. Creature comforts are definitely not a part of the program, but that’s part of the fun!
You’ll eat freshly prepared food at least twice a day, sometimes over a campfire, and lots of rice and veggies. You might eat a little chicken, goat or yak (beef is considered sacred), but meat in Nepal’s poorer regions is considered a luxury. Feel free to bring your own snacks and junk food.
You’ll do hands-on manual labor, alongside other volunteers and local villagers. Depending on the stage of construction you might find yourself digging a foundation or stuffing and stacking Earthbags, or sewing, or painting and plastering, or doing any of a hundred other tasks critical to building a safe, sustainable structure. All under the supervision of experienced site managers speaking fluent English.
At the end of the workday you’ll have plenty of time to explore your surroundings, meet with villagers and otherwise make the most of a unique experience. Or just relax, and enjoy the sunset.
Your Typical Day
8:00 Wake up, eat breakfast
9:00 Work begins
11:00 Time off for tea
4:00 Break, snack
6:30 Free time
Nepal is one of the world’s great travel destinations. If you stay long enough we can arrange for weekends in Kathmandu, Pokhara or other travel havens during your volunteer stint, and many if not most volunteers remain in Nepal when their time with us is over. Hikers do Everest Base Camp or the iconic Annapurna Trail; adrenalin junkies raft, paraglide and mountain bike. Spiritual seekers rejoice in Nepal’s abundance of Buddhist and Hindu temples, monasteries, stupas, ashrams and retreats; walled medieval cities and a UNESCO World Heritage Site attract history lovers. Everyone enjoys Kathmandu’s holy Monkey Temple, and the vibrant honky tonk of downtown Thamel.
Whatever your choice, our staff will help point you in the right direction, and if needed refer you to reputable guides and groups.
Who Are Our Volunteers?
The vast majority of our volunteers have no prior construction experience at all, though we do welcome interested engineers, architects and builders. We’ve hosted solo travelers, schools, businesses, Gap Year students and even entire families (age 8 and up). In fact, our only requirements are a willingness to work hard, an open, curious mind, a reasonable degree of physical fitness, and a desire to, with your own hands, create a better world.
What type of projects will I be working on?
Depending on your arrival date you’ll be working on an Earthbag house, school or toilet in rural Nepal.
Do I need to have any previous construction experience?
No. The vast majority of our volunteers have no prior construction experience at all, though we do welcome interested engineers, architects and builders. Our site supervisor will explain things, and teach you everything you need to know.
Do I need to be in good shape?
You must be in good physical and mental shape, and be able to be on your feet for most of the day. You’ll be asked to fill out a medical questionnaire and liability waiver form prior to your arrival.
Do I need to bring my own tools?
No. We will have all the tools you need. We recommend volunteers bring their own work gloves though.
How long are volunteer days?
A typical working day starts at 9am and ends at 5:30pm. You will be working together with other volunteers and local skilled and unskilled labor (villagers). You are welcome to take as many breaks as you need and work as many hours as desired.
Will I be working on the same projects or multiple projects?
For the most part, you will be working at the same project. However, in some instances, if the amount of work finishes, then volunteers might work on another project.
How many people will I be volunteering with?
Number of construction volunteers varies by location and season. You can expect to be working with 4-7 other people.
How much free time do volunteers have?
Volunteers have plenty of free time. Our goal is to allow people the chance to experience the country they are visiting. Evenings and weekends are free to explore, with many volunteers using the weekends to take trips off-site.
Do I need travel insurance?
Yes. All volunteers must purchase travel insurance, including medical and evacuation coverage, before their arrival in Nepal.
How long should I book in advance?
The earlier you book, the more likely it is you’ll get a spot. While Good Earth Global can accept volunteers as little as 2 weeks in advance, such short notice means we can’t guarantee that spots will still be available.
Can I extend my stay once volunteering?
Yes, volunteers with flexible schedules often want to extend their stay, and we’re happy to accommodate them. Just give as much notice as you can.
How long can I stay?
We offer trips as short as 1 week and as long as 6 months. If you wish to volunteer for an extended stay (longer than 6 months) please contact us directly.
Where will I be staying?
After a night or two in Kathhmandu you’ll live at a homestay, in the home of a family that’s been previously vetted by Good Earth Global. Accommodations will be , but living with a local family will give you unique exposure to everyday village life.
If I’m traveling with someone, can we be placed together?
Of course! When signing up, tell us the name of the person with whom you’re volunteering, and we’ll try to place the two of you in the same homestay.
Will I have an access to internet?
Almost all of our projects have cellular data access.
Do you offer group trips?
Absolutely. We’ve hosted schools, churches, professional groups and entire families. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
How many people can you accommodate?
We can accommodate groups up to about 25 people per site.
Can you plan excursions or weekend trips too?
Yes, we’ll work with you to arrange various excursions from the worksite.