International Volunteering in Nepal

All our current volunteer projects based in Nepal are in direct partnership with the Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) in Kathmandu. The ECDC is commonly referred to as the Butterfly Home, and is run by its founder Pushpa Basnet, a CNN Hero of the Year in 2012.

The Butterfly Home provides continual personal and medical care, structure, and nurturing for children over 5 years of age whose mothers are in jail and whose families are unable to provide proper care for them. ECDC coordinates with jail administrators to rescue children from jail cells throughout urban and rural areas of Nepal, while also ensuring children have continued connection with their mothers.

The work you do at the ECDC/Butterfly Home will make a direct impact in the lives of each child in the home. Regardless of your experience in child development, Utopia Volunteers can align you with projects to make the best use of your skills at the center. Find out today how YOU can help!

Projects in Nepal at ECDC/Butterfly Home

While volunteering in Nepal, you will have the opportunity to do as much or as little of any of the projects below as you wish, depending upon the current work to be done at the home. Most volunteers remain flexible and jump in wherever they’re needed while focusing on one or two main projects that use their skills and experience best. Talk with us for more information on what it’s like to volunteer here!

Check out our most recent February 2016 update from Utopia Volunteer Kayla!

Feedback from a valued UV Volunteer in Nepal

“I became a part of the Butterfly Home family during my month of volunteering at ECDC.  I was included in daily routines like walking the children to-and-from school, working on numerous arts and crafts projects, playing games and practicing yoga with the children. I felt respected and welcomed by Pushpa, the staff, and all of the children at ECDC, which made me feel needed and useful. I learned a lot about Nepali culture through all the warm interactions with the staff, the children and my host family. I know that my time at the Butterfly Home was being used in a very important way, and I can’t wait to go back!”
– Mari Potter, ECDC/Butterfly Home Volunteer, July 2015


Childcare and Mentoring

When: Year-round.
Where: Kathmandu, Nepal.
Who: Anyone with a compassionate, loving heart can excel in this project.
What: You’ll spend time with the kids before and after school, assisting in their self-care routines and providing friendship and play! You can organize activities for the children, read and play games, or create crafts and art projects for example.
Why: There are around 40 children living at the Butterfly Home and although the loving staff and family atmosphere help nurture and support each child’s development, there is always need for more loving hearts to give. By simply being present, positive, and receptive to the needs of these children, you can help in a big way!

Homework Help/English Education

When: English Education is Year-Round, whereas Homework Help isn’t available during academic breaks but you could offer basic education classes during breaks as well!
Where: Kathmandu, Nepal.
Who: Anyone is welcome to help with this project!
What: Help the children with their homework for one hour each day after school, or engage the children in learning English through fun lessons, activities, and conversation. There is a Waldorf-style classroom as well for the younger children, and you can assist in exploratory educational activities here, too!
Why: Students work on their homework each afternoon and this project is a great way to experience a cultural exchange while also helping students learn and excel in school. English knowledge is also becoming more and more important in Nepal as colleges and universities often require English proficiency for placement, and as international business and tourism within the country expand, speaking English helps empower these children to thrive within a global world. Nepali children are eager to learn, and whatever education you provide will be greatly appreciated!

Movement and Physical Education

When: Year-round
Where: Kathmandu, Nepal
Who: Everyone can contribute to this project.
What: Instruct and engage children in physical activities such as sports games, yoga, and martial arts! You do not need certification to lead classes or activities like this for the ECDC/Butterfly Home kids, just a sense of adventure and open encouragement. Be prepared to play!
Why: Exercise and mindful movement can greatly improve a child’s happiness and overall quality of life. These children look forward to their playtime just like any other child, and the structured play or exercise you organize for them will have a lasting effect (on you, the volunteer, as well!).

Marketing and Fundraising Assistance

When: Year-round
Where: Kathmandu, Nepal
Who: Anyone with a marketing or business background, or with graphic design skills, would be a great fit for this project!
What: Help create and execute marketing plans to help sell products that fund the children’s education. Provide mentorship and ongoing support to ensure a sustainable profit keeps coming in for the ECDC/Butterfly Home education fund.
Why: To help support each child’s private-school education, the children, staff, and some incarcerated mothers create handicrafts to sell. Resources fall short, however, when it comes to promoting the sales of these beautiful pieces. Your marketing know-how and business expertise will empower this project and create lasting change for the future of the ECDC/Butterfly home children.

Garden Assistance

When: Year-round
Where: Kathmandu, Nepal
Who: Anyone can assist on this project, but those with gardening or agriculture experience will be of particular help!
What: Depending on when you volunteer and what level of experience you have, you can help with the initial planning and preparation, maintaining the garden, or even helping with harvest and production! You’ll also educate and mentor staff and children on agriculture basics, and get the children directly involved in the work you do.
Why: The new Butterfly Home is adding a vegetable and flower garden to help provide proper nourishment, and to help the children connect with the earth and understand it’s many cycles. The skills they learn open deeper options for their futures as well! The knowledge you share will help direct the creation of the garden, and leave a never-ending impact on the home and the hearts of everyone involved.

Daily Operations/Administration Help

When: Year-round
Where: Kathmandu, Nepal
Who: Anyone is welcome to help on this project!
What: Assist with the ongoing needs of running an orphanage such as mealtime prep and cleanup, laundry, building maintenance and grounds care, and occasional administration duties.
Why: Because volunteers are part of the ECDC/Butterfly home family, you may help with duties like this on occasion, in addition to your main focus projects. There are staff members who care for most of these things, but an extra set of helping hands is always welcome and if this is the type of support you’d like to focus on, that is a generous gift of service to the Butterfly Home.