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The Mountain Volunteer is a program of The Mountain Fund, which is a registered U.S. 501Â©3 non-profit organization. All of the programs where we host volunteers are projects that we have a significant financial interest in as a charity and are managed by people we’ve known for years. We are a real working NGO in Nepal for the past decade-plus. 90% of your payment goes to Nepal and supports our Mountain Fund projects as well as our all girl staff.
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6 Participant reviewsWrite a review
There is a critical review of Mountain Volunteer (MV) by "Nora Carmichael." Despite what the MV administrator says about it being a spam review, the report on Helping Hands Hospital was consistent with my experience. I do not think MV is a scam as "Nora" describes it, but think the MV site is glitter-written to lure well-meaning Westerners.
About my time and mission in Nepal: I was an undergraduate who went to Nepal to complete a global health ethics directed study. I signed up through MV for two weeks of the Premed Experience, and an undecided amount of time for the Global Health Internship. My total time in Nepal was 44 days. I spent 10 days going to Helping Hands Hospital, but just 2 days at Her Farm. The rest of my time was spent either in Kathmandu at the house or around the city, in Chitwan, or in Pokhara.
The reason for the short stay at Her Farm is that I went the day before Christmas. The Global Health Internship "rural clinic" nearby was closed on the holiday, and closed the day after. Even had it been open, it was reported by other "volunteers" to be staffed only by CNA level workers, and saw just 4 patients/day. Instead of waiting for the clinic to open to see 4 patients/day with a CNA, or tolerating other "volunteers" and Her Farm staff staying up late drinking and having a dance party, the dogs barking all night, and a group of "volunteers" smoking marijuana many times per day, I returned to Kathmandu.
I put "volunteer" in parenthesis because I did not witness any "volunteering" in my six weeks. MV "volunteers" ought to have been called donating be-ers. Scott MacLennan talks about "being", and I agree that "being" is important. However, I can "be" in Nepal without MV in the middle.
My recommendation: if you go to Nepal, "be" there, and only stay with MV for week 1 and maybe 2 to get settled. Then get a 1000NPR (10USD)/night hotel that offers a hot shower and travel services (many do). Arrange other activities yourself for cheap.
I volunteered with The Mountain Fund for 2 months – one of the best decisions I have ever made.
I taught English at the school in the village. It was my responsibility to come up with lesson plans and run the classes, but I had support from the staff when I needed it. It was incredibly fulfilling work. The children come to these classes voluntarily, and truly appreciate learning. I developed relationships with the kids that I feel were mutually beneficial. I taught them English, but I also learned a lot from them about their culture, gratitude, and love, simply through our daily interactions.
The staff are creative and passionate about their cause. They are making consistent progress toward their goals. Contractors are building more housing, a new kitchen, a computer room, and water tanks to improve irrigation. The new buildings are key in that they will provide space for Mountain Fund to grow, thus expanding their efforts and reach. The staff works hard on keeping the farm running smoothly every day. I helped them harvest rice, millet, and mustard, cut and carry grass for the animals, cook and clean, and do whatever else needed to be done. I followed their lead and learned as much as I could.
I have never met a group of people who work so hard, yet truly enjoy every minute of it and are so unmistakably happy. It was an amazing experience to work alongside them. Her Farm provides an environment for its staff to support themselves and have the freedom to be who they are. These values match my own, which is one reason why it felt so good to be a part of that community.
I lived comfortably in the volunteer house. The food is delicious. I slept in a shared room on a decent bed. There is a western toilet downstairs, as well as a shower. The water is cold, but that is not at all difficult to get used to.
I cannot recommend this organization highly enough. The work you will do with them is real, and you will be in excellent hands for every moment of your stay.
I volunteered with the Mountain Fund in April 2012 , Kathmandu, Nepal. My visit to Nepal was unforgettable and Scott and Sunita made us feel at home. The housing is clean and the meals are DELICIOUS! But the most amazing moment was meeting the children at Orchid Garden ... The children are so beautiful and innocent yet their lives so difficult. My trip was life changing and I will return to participate the Her Farm project, the mountain fund is the Source if you are looking to help and volunteer.
I volunteered as a premed student with the Mountain Fund in early 2013, and I cannot discourage you enough from participating in this program. It was disorganized and essentially a scam. The Mountain Fund website is incredibly misleading. Not only does the website promise that volunteers can "make daily rounds with doctors who will engage you in the diagnostic process and treatments," but it also promises that doctors will be " willing to explain to you, step-by-step, what they are doing and why." As a premed student this sounded like a great experience; although I knew I wouldn't be able to do any hands on work with patients, I was excited to be engaged in the diagnostic processes, etc. How wrong I was! There are no daily rounds at Helping Hands Hospital: most doctors work solely in their outpatient offices and are at the hospital for a mere one to two hours a day. To make matters worse, they are mostly unwilling to have volunteers sit in with them and even if they do invite volunteers into their offices, they are extremely unwilling to engage them in any way. Although the girls in the volunteer home are amazing, Scott MacLennan, the founder of this organization, is unbelievably rude to his volunteers. He sends a check in email to each of his volunteers after they arrive in Nepal and when I responded with a few diplomatically expressed concerns about the hospital placement, he responded with insults and threats. Not only was the placement bogus, but the promises to pick all volunteers up at the airport were not met for either me or the other volunteers at the house. I was left at the airport with no idea of where I was going or how I was supposed to get there even though I was supposed to be met by a Mountain Fund employee. Also, a minute detail, but another example of misinformation on the part of the mountain fund: lunch was not provided as promised.
As a disclaimer, I have not used my real name as I do not wish to have any further dealings with Scott.
The Mountain Volunteer response
This person has anonymously posted the same complaints all over the internet. It's a shame that someone can post such things and hide. Sure have to question the intent and the legitimacy of such postings.
As a young, recent college graduate, I was a bit skeptical to be traveling to a country, of which I knew very little about, spoke none of the language and was headed on this adventure all alone...The individuals running this program reached out to me, offered individualized support and provided invaluable information about everything from the best treks to do, schools to work at and types of medications to pack.
I was greeted as soon as I arrived in Nepal, by two generous, welcoming, and knowledgable local women, whom eventually became dear dear friends. This organization provides housing, great meals, and consistent support for the duration of your time abroad. The women running this house made things happen. I expressed interest in organizing a trek for the group and within 12 hours, they'd called a company, haggled a screaming deal, and arranged for our transportation to and from our final destination.
If you want something to happen, all you have to do is speak up and communicate your needs. The hosts will do all that is within their power to make your stay a memorable one, full of culture and adventure! I give The Mountain Fund, Nepal, the highest of my recommendations!
I volunteered in Nepal April 2012 and it was an unforgettable experience. Its easy to be here in the US and donate to a cause but to actually go and experience it yourself ..to spend time with the children , and see first hand the help this organization provides to different aspects of Nepal is incredible. Scott and Sunita are geniune and are doing wonderful things. Go see for yourself and volunteer your time to changing a life.
Greetings from the US,