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About the Fellows Program

The Kopila Fellows program is designed to bring remarkable people from around the world to be part of our community in Surkhet, Nepal. We seek positive, fun, extraordinary thinkers and doers who will help inspire and nurture the children, staff, and faculty of our ever-growing home and school. The Kopila Fellows program requires a five-month minimum commitment. The Kopila Fellows program is a non-paid fellowship—food and lodging is provided.

Below you will find:

  • A more detailed description of the 2013-2014 Kopila Fellows program
  • Kopla Fellows Requirements [pdf download]
  • Kopila Fellows Core Expectations [pdf download]
  • Kopila Fellows Application [microsoft word document download]   
  • Kopila Fellows steps and important dates

2013-2014 Kopila Fellows Program

Each year we identify evolving areas of need, and select outstanding individuals with unique aptitudes and expertise in those fields. The 2013-2014 Kopila Fellows positions are:

The 2013-2014 Kopila Fellowships

The Kopila Home Fellow serves as Maggie’s right hand, and assists in running a smooth and happy home. Together with Maggie and the Nepali staff, you are part of a close-knit team. You are organized, caring, nurturing and approachable. You are a wonderfully clear communicator.  You are firm and comfortable with discipline, absolutely optimistic, and slow to anger. You are a strong manager and leader. You thrive at adding peace, calmness, and order to a bustling home with 40 children. You have an incredible amount of stamina and are able to work late nights, early mornings and weekends. You help with homework, are present during meal-time, and check to ensure chores are completed. You plan picnics, birthday parties, family games, work-days, house projects, and compound clean-ups. You help keep-track and care for clothing and laundry. You assist in leading evening meetings and sing-a-longs, and help with hygiene, and bedtime. You exude kindness and share warmth as part of our family and home. 

The Kopila Women’s Center Fellow will take the lead in launching our brand new community-based Women’s Center. Your mission: to equip impoverished women with tools and skills to empower them economically and help them to transform their lives and the health of their families. Your days will be packed from morning to night: planning course curriculum, teaching, and supporting women in: literacy; health education; skilled-trade training (tailoring, stitching, jewelry making); and economic self-sufficiency (money management, business basics, income-generating opportunities). You are deft in sewing, knitting, jewelry making, and/or are a crafty person who has an entrepreneurial, friendly and inspiring spirit. You are a patient and confident teacher able to work through a language barrier. You are resilient and not easily discouraged. A cultural awareness on the social inequities, gender disparities, and the complex circumstances the women in our program face every day is vital; a  nurturing presence is a must. You conceive and jump start projects and see them through to their completion. You believe change is possible and are passionate about the opportunity to advocate for women and girls, improve literacy and gender equality, and help to make our Women’s Center a thriving and hopeful haven. You are a clear communicator and work well as part of a team. You love children and do not require a ton of personal space. You may be called upon to help run things in the home and or school mornings, weekends, and late at night, and you are okay with that.  

The Kopila Sustainability Fellow will help to lead the way in building a lasting, beautiful and welcoming new High School. You have a deep passion for sustainable building design, renewable energy initiatives, permaculture, green building, innovative design and craft/construction. You like figuring things out and making things work. Together with our Nepali team you are ready to get hands on and help to facilitate green-initiatives, projects and improvements around the Kopila home, primary school, and our incredible High School land site. A proficiency in solar and alternative energy, landscaping, ecology, and agriculture would be wonderful. You are patient, curious, love a challenge, and are a natural when it comes to developing solutions and putting dreams into action. You are aware that you will be working in a remote and poverty-stricken part of the world and are comfortable with challenges. The work isn’t easy. You are indefatigable and optimistic. You may be an architect, a builder, a farmer, or  a rocket-scientist, but above all you are a do-er and excited to be part of a team who cares for children in our community and wishes to help them thrive by creating a healthy, enduring, and inspiring learning environment, and a more sustainable future. You are a clear communicator and work well as part of a team. You love children and do not require a ton of personal space.You may be called upon to help run things in the home and or school mornings, weekends, and late at night, and you are okay with that.

The Early Childhood Fellow works closely with our nursery, kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade teachers and students at Kopila Valley School (300 students).  You use our class curricula and resources to help teachers to develop and implement hands-on lessons. You are willing to work with the Montessori style of discovery learning and are in alignment with the techniques and procedures that the Montessori approach prescribes. You will work in the classroom setting at the nursery, kindergarten, and first-grade levels to provide instructional support, share ideas with teachers, encourage new approaches and provide feedback, while working closely with our students.  You are patient, energetic, enthusiastic, and have experience working with young children.

The English Teacher Fellow is the primary English teacher at Kopila Valley School (300 students) with a full-time teaching load. You are given your own classroom and work on a rotating schedule with students, grades 3 to 8.  You work with a dedicated Kopila faculty and prepare course materials, homework assignments, assessments, and lesson plans, as well as maintain student records such as: attendance, report cards, and grades. You plan, evaluate and revise curricula, course content, and materials. You possess skills and knowledge when it comes to working with non-native English speakers. ESL/ TOEFL certificates or training is not a requirement but will stand out. You use creative composition such as poetry, short stories, narratives, news articles, and essays to develop our students oral and written communication skills (critical thinking, oral and written communication, and problem solving).  You are patient and inspiring with an encouraging attitude that makes students feel confident, competent, and excited to learn.

The Extra Curricular Fellow is focused on the education of the whole child.  You are fun, energetic, and enthusiastic with knowledge of basic athletics, especially soccer. You are focused on the importance of teamwork, integrity and moral development. You have experience in coaching, team-building, and leadership. Experience or ability in art, drama, and music is a plus. You work with students on computer skill-building, regular classroom instruction support and small group tutoring support. You oversee our monthly school-wide theme, work with the vice-principal and principal to plan and implement weekly/monthly student programs and work with our Houses (four unique student groups with their own leader and identity) developing team-building exercises and supporting student social/emotional growth. You are a clear communicator and work well as part of a team at the Home and School. You may be called upon to help run things in the home and or school mornings, weekends, and late at night, and you are okay with that. You love what you do.

As the Mental Health Fellow your days will be spent caring for and supporting the emotional and psychological needs of the Kopila home and school. The focus of your stay will be to work with our Nepali  team of caregivers to develop and create sustainable health and wellness programs for our community. You may be a social worker, psychologist, or M.D., most importantly you have the professional knowledge, skills and tools to work with with young children who have experienced emotional trauma and in the case of many of our students, children impacted by the day to day struggles extreme poverty brings. Your presence and insight will be integrated into all aspects of our home and school and as such you have the flexibility and adaptability to help create new initiatives and solve problems of every scale. You are excited to improve the health of our children and community. You are resourceful and slow to anger even in the most challenging circumstances. You are a clear communicator, positive, patient and able to work through a language barrier. You love children and do not require a ton of personal space. You may be called upon to help run things in the home and or school mornings, weekends, and late at night, and you are okay with that.

Kopila Fellows Requirements [pdf download] What makes a successful Kopila Fellow 

The Nitty Gritty: You are able to commit to a minimum of 5 months, possibly more pending VISA status. You are at least 18-years-old. You speak English fluently. You are able to live and work in a drug and alcohol free environment. You understand and respect that Kopila Valley Children’s Home and School is a secular organization and not affiliated with any religious ideology. You are physically and emotionally healthy and require no special medical treatment. You accept responsibility for paying for your own travel and visa costs. You are willing to sign our legal release form.

Flexibility: As a Kopila Fellow, you will likely be placed in an environment very different than anything you’ve experienced. Letting go of expectations and being flexible will assist you in handling whatever comes your way. For example, Kopila Fellows live like the community they serve, including limited access to running water, electricity, modern-day sanitation, and other resources. Housing is safe but basic.

Adaptability: Having the ability to adjust to the many new and different situations you encounter as a Kopila Fellow will allow you to be responsive to the people you will live with and serve. You may be as exotic to your new community as your new life is to you, and you will need to adapt to a much less private existence than you probably had back home. Sometimes it may seem like you’re living in a fishbowl.

Patience: This is not a job for people seeking quick fixes or instant gratification. Instead, you will need to work creatively to develop relationships with community members, and to build trust and motivate the various stakeholders. This all takes time.

Self-Reliance: Although you may literally feel like you are never alone as a Kopila Fellow, you may also feel very “on your own.” You will face a language barrier and the challenge of finding your way around a new neighborhood. You can expect to be well-received by the community, but initially you will be dealing with things as simple as learning people’s names. Having a strong sense of self-reliance will help you navigate through moments of doubt and challenging situations.

Positive Attitude: The structure of your job assignment and the work itself will probably be less defined than what you have experienced in the U.S and more developed regions of the world. There may be times when the work flow feels chaotic or times when it is slow. A positive attitude can ease the transition.

Resourcefulness: As people adjust to new environments and cultures, they go through certain predictable emotional states: loneliness and isolation, insecurity and uncertainty, homesickness, and doubts about their commitment to serve. By being resourceful, working with what you have, and keeping an open mind, you will be able to overcome these challenges and thrive.

Responsibility: As a Kopila Fellow, you are a vital part of a larger team. Not only are you responsible for quality work, but you will be required to adhere to a structure designed to keep you safe and healthy. For example, while a Kopila Fellow, you will not be able to drive a vehicle. There are reasons for the policies we have put in place and following them is a must.

Sense of Humor: Having the ability to laugh at yourself and at life’s little surprises goes a long way. Your service will be a continual learning process. Keeping a light view will help you learn from your mistakes without judging yourself harshly. Besides, laughter is universal.

Leadership and Community Service: The Kopila Fellows Program seeks applicants with leadership skills and community service. Demonstrating motivation and commitment, work skills and knowledge, social sensitivity, and especially a keen sense of emotional maturity will help any applicant.

The Kopila Fellows requirements were adapted from The Peace Corps—What makes a successful volunteer.

Kopila Fellows Core Expectations [pdf download]

In working as a Kopila Fellow, you are expected to:

1.  Prepare your personal and professional life to make a commitment to serve in Surkhet, Nepal for a minimum of five months.

2.  Commit to improving the quality of life of the people with whom you live and work; and, in doing so, share your skills, adapt them, and learn new skills as needed.

3.  Serve under conditions of hardship, if necessary, and with the flexibility needed for effective service.

4.  Recognize that your successful and sustainable work is based on the local trust and confidence you build by living in, and respectfully integrating yourself into our community and culture.

5.  Recognize that you are responsible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your personal conduct and professional performance.

6.  Engage with our Kopila team in a spirit of cooperation, mutual learning, and respect.

7.  Work within the rules and regulations of Kopila Valley Children’s Home and School and the local and national laws of Surkhet and Nepal.

8.  Exercise judgment and personal responsibility to protect your health, safety, and well-being and that of others.

9.  Recognize that you will be perceived, in Surkhet, as a representative of the people, culture, values, and traditions of Kopila Valley.

10.  Represent responsibly the people, cultures, values, and traditions of your native country and our community.

The Kopila Fellows Core Expectations were adapted from The Peace Corps—Core Expectations For Peace Corps Volunteers

Kopila Fellows Application [microsoft word document download]

Kopila Fellows steps to apply and key dates

1. Read and make sure you meet The Kopala Fellows Requirements and Core Expectations 

2. Download The Kopila Fellows Application [microsoft word document download]

3. Complete The 2013-2014 Kopila Fellows Application. Please take the time to answer the questions thoughtfully, with enough detail to help us understand who you are. Please limit all your responses to 200 words (maximum) for each question. 

4. By May 15, 2013, please submit the following three attachments in one email to: team[@]

Your completed Kopila Fellows Program application PDF file only  *label file with your full name
Your resume (please limit to one page) PDF file only  *label file with your full name
A recent photo of yourself  100k jpg max *label file with your full name

Please be sure to indicate the fellowship you are applying for in the subject of your email [example subject: Kopila Fellow - English teacher]

Please follow the exact instructions (above). Failure to do so may result in the loss of your application. Incomplete and late applications cannot be considered.

Due to the volume of email and applicants, only finalists will be contacted. The final selections will be made by June 20, 2013. If you are not chosen this year, you are welcome to re-apply in the future.

The start date for the 2013-2014 Kopila Fellows will be: September 2013.

We look forward to hearing from you!