Monday, September 19, 2011

PoD Nepal needs you!

Swings are built to celebrate upcoming Dashain 

So let’s start with news of the PoD Team.  Since I last wrote, we have said goodbye to both Jane and Sarah which was sad, but sweetened up a little by fun and fond farewells from the placements.  Nishma arrived in Pokhara last Monday and was all alone for 10 days!  She is now very happy to have the company of Sarah (another Sarah), who arrived yesterday, remarkably cheery and bouncy after her long, windy and hot bus ride from Kathmanudu.  It seems as though ‘alone time’ for any of the PoD Team is going be a rarity for the next few weeks as we due to be fully booked with volunteers until the end of October!  This is most exciting as there are some major festivals coming up in Nepal and so we will have lots of new friends to celebrate with.

So, first things first.  We need your help.  We at PoD Nepal have spent a long time working with projects in Pokhara and are keen to develop our existing services here by complimenting our voluntary work with some practical support for placements.  We have spent the past few months consulting with project staff and PoD volunteers and drawing upon our own experiences to identify what resources, equipment and supplies would most improve the quality of life for the people we work with.  Our wish list includes – but is most certainly not limited to – whiteboards for all of the schools we work with, a new roof for the Street Kids’s Centre, funding towards a vocational training and independent living centre at SCIAN, funding for excursions with clients, furnishings for the Asha Foundation’s new home, funding for midday snacks at APS, an educational sponsorship to get one of SCIAN’s clients back into school...the list goes on! 

Obviously, to provide these items we need money, and that’s where you come in... We need around 6,000GBP to fund everything on our list, this is undoubtedly a big amount, but most definitely attainable.  I’ve been chatting to some past volunteers recently and have heard of a few fundraising plans in the pipeline – the SOAS University Great Dumpling Exchange sounds like a particularly tasty and effective way to raise some money!  Join our facebook discussion to share your fundraising ideas or successes.  You can also check our fundraising page to donate or see how much we have raised so far.  Of course, we will be sure to keep you updated on where you money is going and if you email me and let me know how much you raised and how, I will give a special PoD Nepal Blog mention – you really don’t get more prestigious than that!

Morning exercises at Shree Krishna - and a late arrival at the back!
So, back to this week.  Nishma has been hard at work volunteering at Shree Krishna Lower Secondary School, teaching children of all ages and abilities.  She has a timetable to follow and has been officially paired up with Bedhari, the school’s head English teacher.  However, this being Nepal, there hasn’t been an awful lot of structure to her week!  There was a random school holiday one day, another day all of the female teachers left to visit a colleague and her new baby for the afternoon (leaving 2 male teachers and Nishma running the school), and yet another day where there just didn’t seem to be all that many teachers around.  Despite this, there has been no slacking on Miss Nishma’s watch and her classes have been running as normal, much to the disappointment of some of her charges!  That said, she has been brightening up the days with some song and dance classes which have been going down a storm.  All in all, good times are being had by all.

It was all change for me at Annupurna Primary School this week.  I took Class 1 for the first time and spent a lot of time teaching the letters A, B and C.  To avoid the session becoming repetitive, we had a big class treasure hunt for the different letters which was chaotic, but lots of fun!  For the first time in a very long time, the school have no volunteers teaching there, but no worries, this is soon to be rectified by Sarah, our new volunteer who will start on Monday.  She is a qualified teacher in the UK so she should settle in quickly enough and start to make a real difference there.

Little ones at the Asha Foundation
Our trip to the Asha Foundation this week was a little bit uneventful.  We had prepared a great session for making colourful, glittery, sparkly mobiles for the children to hang above their beds.  However, when we got there, all of the children were out!  Three of the smallest children were home and being taken care of by one of the older boys.  We sat with them, did some colouring and watched Nepali movies against the backdrop of mountains and rice paddies.  Not quite the session we had in mind, but a nice enough way to spend the afternoon.

Our mobile making project was, however, a great success at the Street Kids’ Centre.  Well, it was once we backtracked and explained that the mobiles we would be making were actually made of wood, string and paper and for decorating their rooms and not, as they had initially understood, mobile telephones..! It was particularly heart warming to see that all of the three recent arrivals are still here and appearing to be settling in well (there are high incidences new arrivals running away).  It’s also interesting and encouraging to see how their attitudes have already changed after just 3 weeks.  During our first session with them, they were desperately snatching at everything and begging for us to let them keep every little scrap of paper or pencil.  This is common behaviour in new arrivals who are used to having to grab what they can, where they can.  Now, after realising that they are being, and will continue to be, well cared and provided for, they are much calmer and less concerned with collecting and saving everything.  This is a great step and testament to the fantastic work of the centre staff.

Lakeside scene
And so I think that’s about it for this week.  We’re enjoying life here as always and looking forward to the next few weeks which will see the arrival of a very many new volunteers, some great festivals in Nepal and hopefully the start of some busy fundraising activities by you guys!

 Tips and suggestions for future volunteers
·         Mini whiteboards would be a great thing to bring.  Just one or two would be really helpful, particularly when running interactive sessions with smaller kids who can’t reach the board at the front of the class!
·         We really need some zip lock style sandwich bags of different sizes.  At the moment we have a huge supply of glitter, stickers, sequins, googly eyes and various other craft materials, and it’s very hard to get them to our sessions without them spilling out all over the place!  Sandwich bags would be perfect for dividing them up and transporting them.
·         Research what there is to do in Lakeside and plan and budget accordingly.  This way you will be sure to make the most of your time off.

If you want to join our team in Nepal, contact Becky in the PoD UK office or by phone, 0044 (0)1242 250 901

No comments:

Post a Comment