Volunteer to provide therapy to disabled children and adults in Nepal

  • Occupational therapy and physiotherapy volunteers required to work in this community based rehabilitation clinic
  • Work in a school and in the community to support disabled children access mainstream education
  • Located in Bhaktapur, a fascinating world heritage site
  • Suitable for qualified physios and occupational therapists

Project summary

This is a day care centre located in the 13th century world heritage site that is Bhaktapur. The project supports children with intellectual disabilities and those with severe & multiple disabilities to learn daily living activities and where possible to support the children enrolling in inclusive state schools.

The centre provides physiotherapy and occupational services and counselling to the children, as well as advocacy and advice for those with disabilities, and a self-help group for disabled adults. The centre operates as part of a wider programme offering support in rural communities.

In addition to schooling the children benefit from a range of recreational activities, music programmes, occasional educational tours, special games and social events. There is a deaf school for primary aged children and a deaf prevention programme.

Support is provided for people with disabilities to obtain orthopaedic appliances and services (these are few and far between in Nepal), corrective surgery and therapeutic services.

Volunteer occupational therapists, physiotherapists and art therapists would be based in the Bhaktapur clinic. Part of this is the day care centre and the rest a therapy unit. Approximately 30 children attend this each day from 9am to 3pm and are provided with intensive therapies to improve their functional capacities and daily living skills.

Patients visit the clinic but the project also carries out community and school visits to support the integration of disabled pupils and offer support to teaching staff. The educational programme provides special training for teachers of early childhood development and also coordinates a small school for deaf children.

Volunteer roles and responsibilities

Occupational therapists and physios would be based in the Bhaktapur clinic working with the children who attend each day. You may also be asked to attend home visits which assist those patients who may not be able to attend the clinic.

The skill of art therapists is particularly recognised and volunteers with an interest in this area would be appreciated. These services are basic but given the cultural context are progressive.

This is a well-run Nepali programme with good, educated staff. Their education is not always in a relevant subject, however, they are keen to learn about Western methods of therapy and ways of helping children with a variety of disabilities. Assuming you are qualified you would be asked to help with the training of these staff.

How you can make a difference

There are very few qualified occupational therapists in Nepal. The skills are however recognised and particularly useful in a country where disability rates are high and health provision inadequate. The treatment of patients is appreciated but staff training equally important.

Physiotherapists are more widely recognised but well qualified people tend to work in better paid private hospitals and so having extra staff and sharing practices is equally well received.

Artists and art therapists are highly sort after. Art tends to be spiritually/religiously based rather than expressive.

What is distinctive about this project:

This is a rare example of a project that understands the role of occupational and art therapists, in addition to that of a physiotherapist. The facilities may be relatively basic, but the ambition and professional approach of the project is excellent, matched only by the need for more qualified staff.

Blue Tiger Features:

This is a volunteer opportunity for qualified therapists who can make a difference by both delivering therapy and by transferring knowledge to local staff who are eager to learn. As a qualified volunteer you will find that staff will most likely defer to you, irrespective of how you feel about your own talents, meaning you will inevitably need to assume some leadership and/or autonomous behaviours in your role.


The centre is open all year round, but volunteers need to be scheduled with local staff well in advance.


You might wish to learn some Nepali as a courtesy, but it is expected you will work in English.

Experience required:

This is a project for qualified therapists. There is support available, particularly with the home and community visits but you would be expected to work autonomously and take a proactive role in the programme. Part-qualified therapists are able to request a place on the project and we will make enquiries on your behalf.

Good to know:

You will live with the family of our in-country coordinator, offering welcoming but modest facilities. Nepal is a wonderful country to visit but not without its issues, including natural disasters, poverty and occasional political unrest, so volunteers need to be realistic about taking on a working placement in the country.

Price table

4 weeks8 weeks12 weeks16 weeks20 weeks6 months

Includes: Comprehensive travel insurance (supplements may apply to older travellers). Pre-departure support and briefings, Accommodation, food, airport transfer, travel to projects, in-country and UK support throughout. Outreach T-shirt.
Excludes: Flights, visas, vaccinations

Things to see and do

  • Trekking
  • Tea & Temples
  • Go safari in Chitwan
  • Everest Base Camp
Occupational therapy and physiotherapy

Country co-ordinator

About Nepal