Community Maintenance

Over the years VSN has worked with many communities through the provision of labour and skills to help them achieve their goals, whether that be painting the local school, building school toilets, installing water pumps and taps, creating a village football pitch, or preparing ground for a new children’s home project.

Support is only offered where a viable request has been made by a community and after consultation. VSN does not impose projects on communities in order to give our volunteers something to do. In most cases, we are invited to support an ongoing or new initiative through the provision of volunteers, thus enabling the project to reduce its labour costs. In other instances, Community Maintenance volunteers may provide services to VSN’s own children’s homes, such as redecoration, painting window frames, painting the perimeter fence, repairing a broken sink or shoring up landslip prone banks. VSN does not guarantee funding for external community maintenance projects, but if funding is available, will endeavour to make a contribution.

As a community maintenance volunteer you will usually work side by side with community members and hired/skilled labourers if required. Unless you come with a specific skills set or expertise you will be performing manual labour activities, i.e. a whole lot of humping, dumping, digging and painting! By comparison to western standards the projects you will work on will be extremely low tech, and you will perform each and every task by hand with rudimentary local tools.

A member of VSN staff will visit the projects on a regular basis however, you will be expected to take your day to day guidance from the community you are working with. In 99% of all placements you will be staying in the community you will be helping, so you should be able to develop a strong bond with the people you are working with.

This programme can be physically demanding so a reasonable level of fitness is required, alongside a strong back, as you may be doing a lot of lifting and carrying. Projects are often disrupted for a variety of reasons i.e. a shortage of supplies in the market place, strikes, weather and festivals. Given this, patience, motivation and determination are a prerequisite to being a community maintenance volunteer, as is the ability to work with your hands and do whatever is needed with a smile on your face no matter how thankless a job it may seem.

Volunteers, who are in a Community Maintenance placement inside the Kathmandu Valley close to one or other of our own children’s homes, will be welcome to help out at the homes during the evenings, weekends and holidays.