I am a graduate student who has arranged to live in KTM and volunteer at a children's orphanage beginning this March for about 3 months.The children at the home are in need of many different items for which I have begun fundraising/collecting here at home.
I have arranged to have an entire middle school participate in a fundraiser/donation drive for the home. Many of my family and friends also want to donate goods that the children need. For this reason, it is likely that I will end up with more donated children's items that I can carry with me personally (only 1 bag not to exceed 50 lbs).
I am currently in the process of trying to figure out how best to get the items to Kathmandu. I am writing Thai Airways to see if they will make an extra baggage allowance but have yet to hear back. Wondering if anyone has ever done this before?
Regarding commercially shipping: The government in Nepal seems to have ambiguous rules and regulations and I have written to their ministry of finance for a waiver of "fees and taxes" as it recommends on the US Embassy website but not heard back for weeks. It seems like I will need to commercially ship the donated goods and then pay some ambiguous "fees" to pick up the goods when they arrive in Kathmandu. Its seems as though these fees can be made up on the spot though from what I have gathered, which makes me a little nervous. I guess I was just wondering if anyone has experience with this or had any practical advice.
I run a business that imports from the US to Nepal (harilo.com). If you import new items, you will pay VAT of 13% of the value (as declared on the commercial invoice included with the shipment) plus customs fees. The customs book is available online at: http://www.customs.gov.np/download.php?&f=tariff%202009_10%20-%...
You can also ship it through DHL or UPS to yourself (in Nepal), and the government customs agents do not charge customs and duty at the airport because UPS will charge you in the US for customs clearance. The charge per pound is very high though (up to $50/per pound). And you have to put a phone number on the box so that UPS can call you in Nepal when the package arrives.
Harilo helps charities ship to Nepal, but the items must be new (not used clothing, etc). What sorts of items are you looking to bring if for the orphanage? Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need further help! kim[at]harilo[dot]com
PS, Are you sure you are limited to one bag at 50 lbs? I just flew back from a trip to the US 2 weeks ago with Lufthansa and I could bring 2 bags and they could be up to 50 lbs each. I also flew Air India/British Airways last January and the same rules applied (2 bags, 50 lbs each).
Yes when doing volunteer work in Nepal we sent books by post. I had the books and approached a Rotary Club to organise and pay for the postage. Unfortunately it was very expensive and so they only sent half.....which took a long time to get where I wanted them to go, though part of this was the person who picked them up wasn't organised and they didn't have id, then went away for a week etc. I believe if they are paper there is a slightly cheaper rate. But approaching a Rotary Club is a possibility.
Back in Australia talked to someone who gave me a contact at one of the airlines....I think Singapore airlines. The contact was in charge of freight. Spoke to them and they said there was a cheaper rate for charity stuff. I had to pack and deliver stuff to them and they would ship straight there. Rate was much cheaper than post. Haven't done this yet so not sure how successful. Advice was you needed someone who would pick it up at the other end.
Latest suggestion is to approach your foreign affairs staff who are going to Nepal to man the embassy or whatever they have there. They pack up and send stuff all the time and may send your stuff too. Haven't tried this but would be thought for future. Try ring Fred Hollows foundation and ask if they send stuff?
Thank you both so much for your helpful replies!
Kim: Yes, Thai Airways will allow 2 bags up to 50 lbs but since I am moving to KTM for 3 months I will need to bring over one bag for myself. I am hoping that if I can manage to get in touch with the correct person at the airline, I might be able to get an extra baggage allowance for the donated items. Yes, I anticipate that most of the donated childrens clothing will be lightly used and not new... however, if I end up with a large amount of new items I will reach out to you again for advice/help shipping the items through your company Harilo.
Robert: Good advice on contacting a Rotary Club... I will try that!