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business support in Patan, Kathmandu (BA)

business & administration
£2,250 - details below
Volunteer with a business making and selling anything linked to coffee!  Help support and train local craftsmen and women and help to provide them with the skills to run successful businesses.
Click for larger imageSkillsRequired

We work closely with the local people who manage this project, and they have identified their primary volunteer needs as follow:

  • business skills
  • use of social and digital media
  • marketing and advertising
  • design of promotional materials
  • product designers
  • wood turners
  • baristas
The project

Kar.ma Coffee is the first coffee boutique in Nepal.  It opened in 2012 as a creative place where people can not only have a good cup of coffee but where they can learn, interact, get inspired and do good things.  They sell Fairtrade coffee sourced locally from the Himalayas and also a range of locally produced accessories, all linked in some way to coffee.

'From the products we sell to the coffee we serve to the events we host, we promote environmental and social awareness that leaves a positive footprint in the communities.'  (Birgit Lienhart-Gyawali, founder and owner of Kar.ma Coffee)

Every by-product of the coffee-making process is ued to make innovative and beautiful products.  The innermost skin of the coffee fruit, discarded during the pulping process, is used to make paper.  Coffee filter papers are cleaned, dried and used to make lampshades, and the coffee grounds are made into fertiliser.  Coffee honey is made by the bees thar feed on the coffee flowers, coffee candles are made from coffee and coffee by-products, as are cosmetics.  These are all made by local artisans - Kar.ma Coffee buys products from 30 local producers in the Kathmandu Valley.

Even the tables, chairs and soft furnishings at Kar.ma Coffee are made from recycled materials.  The wood used for the furniture is mango wood from the Terai in the south of Nepal.  It is the most sustainable hardwood and each tree cut is immediately replaced by another, replenishing the farmer's income.  The tables also incorporate waste materials such as old wooden window shutters and parts of bicycles.  Cushions for the seats are made from coffee sacks.

As well as providing orders for local farmers and artisans, direct employment and training opportunities are offered to the staff employed at Kar.ma Coffee.  Currently four people are employed as front of house staff, and four other women are undergoing training as wood turners - they will be the first women in Nepal to have this skill and when they have completed their training they will be given employment.  Expansion plans for the training programme involve the creation of a vocational training centre, where women will undergo training for 6 months and then earn a salary.

Read more about how the skills share programme supports Kar.ma Coffee here


More than 20% of Nepal's population have an income below the international poverty line; however the wealth of the country has increased rapidly in recent years and the percentage of the population living at subsistence level has substantially declined.  The earthquake of 2015 provided a setback for national growth, but in some areas is now providing the stimulus for regeneration.  Agriculture, including coffee farming, is a key element in national economic growth.  

With this in mind, everything at Kar.ma Coffee is sourced and produced locally, with a strong focus on creating skills-training and employment for local people.  The coffee farmers are all small co-operatives or independent farmers from the Syangja, Sindhupalchowk and Ilam districts in the mid-hill region of Nepal.  Every stage of the coffee production, from the farmers to the women who sort the beans to the roasting, grinding and packaging is done by carefully selected producers who give employment to local people, usually women.
Whether you have skills in business and administration, marketing and advertising or practical skills, are retired or in work and looking for a career break, you can share your skills and experience with local staff in this business development project. Other skills and experience will be welcomed too – take a look at the list of needs, as identified by the project, near the top of this page. 

Minimum Duration
4 weeks minimum
Living Conditions
Accommodation will be in The Yellow House, a small locally run hotel in a quiet location in the Patan area of Kathmandu (or in similar accommodation).  Patan is a lively area of Kathmandu, with plenty of shops and restaurants and plenty to do - it is a popular area for the ex-pat community to live and work.  The hotel is  about 15 minutes from the historic Patan Durbar Square, which is a World Heritage Site.  The hotel provides bed and breakfast accommodation, and has a restaurant in the grounds.  It is the site for the popular local Sunday market.

The hotel is within walking distance of the project location.
Project Costs

£2250.18 for 4 weeks based on bed and breakfast accommodation at The Yellow House in Patan 

read about our costs and pricing policy here 
watch an explanatory interview with programme director Sallie Grayson 

Sterling price based on dollar exchange rate of 1.30

Additional weeks  are costed at a sliding reducing rate
Please note these costs are correct to the best of our knowledge but can only be confirmed at time of booking due to changes in internal costs and taxes outside our control.

Bed and breakfast accommodation at the Yellow House, airport transfers in Kathmandu, full local orientation, city tour, language course, weekend hike, welcome and farewell dinners, local SIM card, project & placement liaison

Your project contribution will be used for the purchase of essential equipment for the project.

How your money is spent based on 4 weeks

$1783 direct costs in Nepal (transfers, accommodation, orientation, information packs, liaison & supervision)
$300 - local partner fee for project management, liaison and supervision in Nepal
$195 - project c
ontribution in Nepal
£260 - matching preparation & project development in UK

Not included:
International flights, insurance, visa costs, personal expenses such as phone calls, medical expenses, sightseeing  

If you or your freinds and family wish to make further donations to this project CLICK HERE

Recommended Reading

Rough Guide Nepal

Insight Guide Nepal

check out slideshare   youtube  our blog  facebook for volunteer interviews & project news

Registered volunteers can learn about the local Team for this project - log on to learn more about this project and the local team we work with

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