Steve volunteered at a health center and school while living with a host family in Nepal from August to the end of September 2011. He lives in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, UK. Steve, 23-years-old, currently works for the National Grid and will be student again (previous degree from the University of Leeds) in September 2012.
Why did you decide to volunteer with the Helambu Project in Nepal?
I chose the Helambu project as they seemed the most ethically correct group, they did not charge massive weekly fees or exorbitant amounts of money to volunteer with them like many other voluntary groups do. Other than the one off donation which I easily fund-raised towards all the living costs went directly to the local families you stay with, not via the organisation and eventually into their hands. There was no pressure to pay any monies up front or to some shady organisation which I'm afraid to say is the impression I get from a number of other voluntary groups.
They appeared to be set up quite differently to the standard 'voluntary' groups who set up health camps or other health work (which is what I wanted to do). They were very upfront and honest with what the work would entail and there were not surprises with the organisation or the work that I wasn't prepared for. Something that has befallen some of my friends who have been on trips to Ghana and other places unluckily.
How has this experience helped you grow personally and professionally?
Well I have successfully gained a place in Medical School on an accelerated program although I do a very large amount of other charity work which probably also contributed to this. I feel a lot more independent and confident personally and have some great memories and experiences which will remain with me forever.