We started this project about 4 years ago. The priority of our work is to support this community to generate income in the village through agriculture. Many people leave the village these days for work, and we would like to provide opportunities to stay by growing profitable crops, like coffee, black cardamom, fruits, and nuts. We do this work ourselves….we are not an NGO, simply a group of motivated people (Norwegian, Sherpa, Tamang, Brahmin) who love farming, love to experiment, and want to make positive change in our village areas. We’re trying out a lot of new projects now, new crops, also some work with the local school, and we are looking for volunteers to help us with the work and to exchange ideas. Sindhupalchowk was very close to the epicenter of the 2015 earthquake, many local people lost their homes. It’s an excellent time for new beginnings and to inspire people to rebuild a life in the village.
We have two farms here in Sindhupalchowk at different elevations. The first is an organic farm near Nawalpur Bazaar, at about 1600 m. Here the specialty with climate is coffee, and we also grow black cardamom, gingko, citrus, macadamia nut, avocado, guava and maintain seedling nurseries, mainly for coffee and black cardamom, in order to distribute to the local community. Our coffee trees are only a few years old and will take a few more years to produce beans, but we are buying ripe coffee from community members with older trees for processing. The community here is mixed with many ethnic groups, the Tamang people beeing in majority. The small bazaar provides access to goods and has regular bus service. The Farm has a full-time staff of 7 people, 3 of whom speak English, and you can work alongside them.
The second farm is further up the mountain at 2300 m, in a Sherpa and Tamang village called Kattike. Here we have planted a large orchard including almond, apple, cherries, Szechuan pepper, strawberry, and chestnut. We’re experimenting with vermicomposting, have started nurseries for Nepali wild medicinal crops and Italian pine nut. Here, we do most of our work with one Sherpa family, and a few other community members. The trees are only a few years old, so there’s a lot to do to get going!
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
You will be working with our Nepali staff and living closely with local families during your stay with us. There’s lots of opportunity to watch the way they work, to try engaging with language and communicating in other ways, and you can see the general lifestyle of village members as you walk around and explore. You may find yourself eating with local families, working with Nepalis in the field, and going for walks around the village with local people.
As far as learning experiences, you will see our organic methods for increasing soil fertility, managing pests and diseases. We have planted our trees to suit local microclimates and you can learn about these new Nepali crops, black cardamom, Szechuan pepper, medicinal herbs, as well as Western orchard crops, almonds, apples, cherries.
We are looking for volunteers that are very independent, self-motivated, and interested in learning about a range of skills and topics. Work from day to day may vary a lot, depending on who is around and the time of year. Volunteers should be prepared to experiment with the Nepali language, there may even be times (especially in Kattike) where there are no fluent English speakers on site besides other volunteers. The staff moves around between the two farms and sometimes to Kathmandu, so be ready to be flexible with who you are working with. We love when volunteers take on their own projects as well….if you come into the farm and see something that needs to be done that you have a desire to do, please, take charge! Tasks will also differ depending on which site you are staying at. We also recommend that volunteers be very proactive to have the experience they seek during their time here. If you want to apprentice someone, learn a specific skill, if you want to try something new…..please ask any of our staff and don’t be shy!
Otherwise, tasks that my be given to volunteers include: weeding, helping with tree care (our staff will direct), coffee processing, tree planting, help with projects around living quarters, watering, nursery work, mulching. Days will be active, but to the degree that is comfortable for each volunteer. No experience is required to work with us, just a willingness to contribute. We appreciate any time you can give. Please let us know if there is a specific type of work you are interested in.
We do put preference on volunteers who have strong interests in agriculture and community development, and who can stay for long periods. A 3-week minimum stay is required because of the difficulty of transport, time to adjust to work and enviroment, sustainability of project.
Nepali, english, sherpa, tamang.
In both of the farms we have areas for sleeping. In the lower farm there are 3 rooms, and up in Kattike there are some beds in the office, as well as some large family-sized tents ( wooden sleeping platforms inside) and a teepee. Its also possible to stay in a local home.
In the lower farm, temperatures are similar to Kathmandu. In Kattike, it is colder, especially at night. Bring warm clothes to sleep in, and a sleeping bag if you have it. If not, don’t worry, we will provide. In both sites there is no wireless internet or hot water. You can use internet from your phone through data if you get a Nepali SIM card. There is electricity in both sites for charging phones. Phone reception is pretty spotty, but it will come and go.
We will provide a fully-stocked kitchen in both locations. Volunteers should be prepared to cook for themselves, together with other volunteers from what is provided. Dried beans, rice, vegetables from the garden, spices, oil, tea, coffee, etc, and some things we bring from Kathmandu will all be there. But if you would like some sugary snacks, dried fruits, chocolates, nuts, etc, we recommend you bring them with you.
You will be able to do laundry by hand with local spring water, and showering with cold water can be refreshing in the middle of a warm day! When you are packing, think about preparing as if you are camping. We recommend you bring a head-torch light, flip-flops or other easy to wear house sandals (you don’t want to wear your hiking boots the whole time), clothes you are okay with getting dirty. You can buy biscuits and phone credit recharge cards in the local village shop.
We will try to arrange to bring you in our truck from Kathmandu whenever possible. But when it isn’t, you can come by local bus.
Bus Directions from Kathmandu: You can catch a bus in the morning from 7am or 9am from Ratna Park that goes to Nawalpur via Chatutara or Shivaghat. Or easier, in the dry season: go to Chuchepate, Helambu buspark, on main way to Baoda from Chabil, near hotel Hyatt. Bus 7.30 and 9.30. Via Melamchi.
The bus from Kathmandu to Nawalpur will arrive in the afternoon between 1 and 5 pm. You will most likely first stay at the lower farm for a few days, then come up to Kattike.
There are some nice local hiking routes from Kattike up to a temple called Nauling, where you can see great views of the Himalayas on a clear day. When you stay with us, you must go and see at least once!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week
In developing countries (Where most hosts are involved in charity work or community development) some of our hosts may ask for a small donation to help the host family or charity (often less then 5 dollars per day) Workaway will allow this listing when the donation goes directly to the family or charity and is just to cover the cost of the volunteer‘s stay. (This will be clearly marked on the host listing).
We will strictly not allow listings posted by agents, “middle men” or projects who we feel are looking to profit from a volunteers stay.
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