COMMITMENT AND COSTS

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EAR CAMP VOLUNTEERS

We rely heavily upon volunteers with particular areas of expertise to help run the ear camps. We have had many people join us from several countries, mainly ENT surgeons, anaesthetists, audiologists and nurses. Other expatriates on each team vary from those who have lived and worked in Nepal for many years, to those who may just be school leavers on a Gap year doing odd jobs.
We usually have about 10 expatriates and 10-15 Nepali members on each camp. The individuals vary each time, but most will have been on several camps before. To date (2012) there have been about 45 ear camps, starting in 1993. Currently we run 2 camps per year, usually in about November and April or May. There is a need to avoid festival times, school exams, the pre-monsoon heat and the monsoon rains.
Volunteers on each camp generally include:
4 ENT doctors with otology sub-specialty interest (usually 3 consultants and one senior trainee)
2 - 3 anaesthetists
2 – 3 audiologists with experience fitting hearing aids
1 ENT theatre nurse
We may on some occasions also have a GP doctor, general nurse, dentist or others.
Numbers are in part limited by transport e.g. seats in land rovers and aircraft.
Whenever possible we want to encourage local Nepali specialists or trainees to join us, generally on a voluntary basis, though we may be able to help with some travel expenses.


MONEY

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The ear camps are run entirely on donations and fund raising, therefore volunteers have to bear their own expenses.

Overall your personal expenses are:
- Airfare to Nepal return: about £650-1100 (from UK) depending on airline and season.

- There have been recent rises in average airfares due to fuel price rises.

- Camps are normally held in the tourist season because of the climate. Flights need booking at least 6 months in advance in most cases. We usually do this as a group, for those of us from UK. Generally we use Qatar, Gulf Air or Etihad. Sometimes airlines with flight change in Delhi, such as Jet Airways are better priced.

- You will need money for internal travel in Nepal, as below.

- If there will be internal flights you will probably need to pay for the ticket in cash dollars, allow about $140 extra per flight (each way). We may not be sure of exact local travel arrangements until a couple of weeks before the camp, but we can usually be fairly sure of whether any internal flights will be needed and how many. For some remote camps there will be 2 return internal flights.

- You can change money at the airport on arrival, this is probably the most convenient time, though rate may not be quite so good, otherwise there are now many ATMs in Kathmandu and a few in other larger towns. Do not entirely rely on these functioning!
You can also change money or travel cheques in larger hotels.
Visa and MasterCard are accepted in banks, big hotels and some shops in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Soon after arrival change about 12-15,000 rupees (About £100-£130).
Today’s exchange rates

- Make sure Nepali currency is not all in large denominations, especially if travelling straight on to the villages.
- You will need to pay for a hotel in Kathmandu on arrival and departure, which may be relatively expensive. (About £20-40 per night). Can use credit/debit card in larger hotels.
- Much cheaper hotels are also available but I think most people value a good place on arrival from a night on the plane and after the work of the camp. It is very easy to find a room elsewhere if you wish, for the return to Kathmandu.
- Accommodation and food during the camp in the village is very cheap and certainly less than you would live on at home. (Allow about £30-40 per week, about 4-5,000 Rs total).

- If you plan to extend your trip with e.g. trekking, wildlife park, rafting or an Everest mountain flight you must allow for this and any gift shopping etc.

TO SUMMARISE

- Total cost about £1,200-1,500 depending largely on cost of international flight.
- Take cash, about $600 and credit card (usable in banks and large hotels in Kathmandu).
- Change about 15,000 Rs on arrival at airport or at an ATM in town.

- Don’t keep all your valuables in one place!


FUNDING

Ear camps are supported entirely by voluntary
donations.

Patients pay a small fee to the local hospital for registration, (because of the numbers of patients seen this amounts to a considerable sum to help the local hospital). The Nepali government has requested that medical camps should provide all treatment free of charge to the patient, so we currently make no additional charge.

If you know anyone who would like to make a donation towards the costs of a camp this is always welcome.

Many volunteers have done local fund raising to assist with their own expenses and when possible to contribute to the cost of the camps. The main costs of a camp are the travelling and subsistence expenses of Nepali team members, equipment transport and covering costs of medicines. A camp that is held in an area which can be reached by road, within a few hours from Pokhara costs about £2,000 to run. Camps where light aircraft flights are needed may cost several thousand pounds. When very remote areas are involved and a charter helicopters are the only way in, then costs rise very steeply.

Donations can be sent via the
donor pages on this site.