Global Builders – Nepal

Global Builders Nepal

Boasting 8 of the 10 highest mountain peaks in the world, including Mt Everest, Nepal is one of the most mountainous nations on earth. It is a country of ancient tradition and rugged beauty. But this landscape creates both awe and obstacles. Mountainous terrain makes transportation slow and dangerous which, along with political turmoil, has slowed the pace of development.

In the midst of these conditions, on April 25, 2015, a powerful 7.8 earthquake, with the epicenter in Nepal, took the lives of over 9,000 people. The hundreds of aftershocks that followed destroyed even more lives and livelihoods. With traditional homes using poor building materials and techniques — such as using mud as mortar between bricks or stones — hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed.

However, all 23 of the homes built by the Fuller Center prior to the earthquake withstood the disaster in pristine condition. This includes the 11 that were completed in Trishuli in the Nuwakot district, which was directly in the heart of the earthquake zone. An estimated 80-90% of the homes were destroyed in the district, and housing is now the biggest need. Our mission is to share better building methods in the villages throughout the district and make housing safer for generations to come. Our goal is to build as many as 200 homes, funds permitting.

Getting Involved

There are several ways that you can get involved:

  • Donate to support this specific partner. Houses cost money to build, so any donation is always helpful!
  • Volunteer on one of our Global Builders teams, which you can learn more about below. You’ll travel to Nepal and get to know the local people and traditions while you partner with families to complete a home.
  • Join a virtual volunteer team, choosing to donate your travel costs instead of making the trip in person. This is the perfect way to stay involved and give back. 

House Sponsorship Cost: $4,000

Upcoming Trips

Click on the leader’s name to learn more about the leader and trip details. Click “Join” to apply for their trip. Have a spot reserved on a “Full” trip? Complete your registration here. Or learn about sending funds to support local labor by joining as a virtual participant.

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For centuries, Nepal was ruled by kings. But, after years of fighting communist rebels, King Gyanendra abdicated his throne in 2006 and a secular, democratic republic was declared. In 2000, Millard Fuller met then King Birendra while on a tour of Habitat affiliates in the country.

Nepal is a landlocked nation of 29 million residents that is sandwiched between India and China. It has good relations with both countries. Since the revolution that led to the removal of the king, it has enjoyed peace, but frequent strikes make progress difficult. Meanwhile, in the remote hills and valleys, isolation has limited successful house building. Participants will have the unique opportunity to work side by side with these families and other locals to build safe, decent and affordable homes for these hardworking families.

What is a trip like?

Each trip to Nepal will be with a group of mission-minded volunteers — typically 8-20 total — who want to experience the world, meet new people, and make a difference. No skills required. Trips last 1-2 weeks and include local sightseeing.

Global Builders teams will work in the town of Trishuli or the surrounding area, which is about 50 miles north of bustling Kathmandu and in the midst of the earthquake’s devastation. Set in the Himalayan foothills with the world’s tallest mountains as a distant backdrop, you’ll be working in one of the most picturesque locations on earth.

  • 8:00 – Breakfast
  • 9:00 – Begin building at work-site
  • 12:00 – Lunch
  • 1:00 – Continue building
  • 4:00 – Evening free for dinner and relaxation

Exact schedules can be discussed and set depending on the team’s preferences.

We are making and utilizing concrete blocks, a new appropriate building technology for Nepal that is less expensive than the traditional fired bricks and better for the environment. In Nepal, we are primarily focusing on new housing construction. Like most things in Nepal, the houses tend to be vertical, so we are typically constructing homes with roof structures that will be able to support additional stories for future generations. Work will typically involve helping the masons and carpenters – laying block, stuccoing, mixing concrete, etc. At times there will be painting, and any other work related to a particular build. We will provide necessary tools, but as with most build sites, it never hurts to bring a few small hand tools with you. 

Volunteers will stay in the simple, but decent Hotel Water Tower, which has western-style toilets and air conditioning. It is just a short drive from the work-site. Breakfast and dinner are available at the hotel, and lunch can be provided at the work-site.

A van or small bus will be rented to transport the group through the hills from Kathmandu to Trishuli, which takes 3-4 hours. From the hotel to the work-site, a local transportation shuttle will be utilized – it is less than a 15 minute drive.

Bedding and towels are provided, but we recommend you bring your own washcloth. Luggage can often get delayed, so bring your luggage as a carry-on if possible. Sturdy work clothes and closed-toed shoes are essential, and the weather can get quite cold, so be sure to bring warm clothes.

Nepal has a magnificent countryside with much to do. We expect each group to spend at least a day or two seeing the sites – or more if the group desires. You can visit a temple, walk through an ancient palace, arrange for a guided hiking trek through the hills, or even attend a Nepali Christian worship service.

Prices vary based on team size and trip duration. A typical 10 to 14-day trip will range in cost between $2050 to $2600.  That price covers lodging, local transportation including airport pick-up, three meals per day, bottled water, travel health insurance, and a contribution toward building materials.  Fees do not include airfare, visa fees, tips, or site-seeing (unless otherwise indicated). 

If looking to bring a group contact for more details or submit your trip proposal here. 

Are you unsure of how to prepare for such an experience or just looking for some tips on how to be better prepared? If so, we suggest you take a look at our Trip Preparation page where you will find a lot of helpful information and links – Preparing For Your Trip!

Pricing – What’s included?

Team Materials Fuller Center hat, t-shirt, country guidebook, fundraising guide, & more
Trip Support Easy contact with Team Leader and Global Builders staff
Food and Drink 3 meals a day provided by safe, sanitary local vendors
Transportation To and from work sites and airport
Lodging The Hotel Watertower
Travel Insurance Provided by Berkley Accident and Health, with Healix Emergency Assistance Services. More details are provided upon registration or request. 
Life-changing work Alongside your teammates and the homeowners!

What happens after a trip?

Even after you return, your trip can have a sustained impact on both you and the community in which you served! 
Learn how on our Country Champions page.

Post-eathquake home
New FCH home

Advance the simple slideshow below to learn more about our work in Nepal


Learn the Basics – Area Info

Nepali (Official) Maithali, Bhojpuri, Tharu, Tamang, Newar (Non-official)
Age Structure:
0-14 years 30.93%, 15-24 years 21.86% 25-54 years 35.99%, 55+ 11.22%
29,033,914 (2016 est.)
Life Expectancy: 70.7 (Male 70.1, Female 71.3)

November-February Days: 60s to 70s Nights: 30s to 50s; March-October Days: 70s to 80s Nights: 50s to 60s; Rain Season: June-September

Nepalese Rupee (NPR)  $1 USD = 102.46 NPR
Literacy Rate:
63.9% (Male 76.4%, Female 53.1%)
Hindu 81.3%, Buddhist 9%, Muslim 4.4%, Kirant 1.4%, Christian, 1.4%, Other  2.5%