Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas!

We've had an incredibly busy few weeks in the run-up to Christmas! We've welcomed three wonderful new volunteers, Aisha who's at Ward 6, Emily who's at Annapurna, and Andrew who's here on a film and photography placement and is also training Janice in video editing. 

We've celebrated a few birthdays, starting with Ruth who received a "Happy Birthday dear teacher" greeting at school in the morning and a handmade birthday card (and hugs) at Street Kids. In the same week, one of Ruth's class had her 8th birthday, and the whole class plus Tika (class teacher) had an outing down to the Lake, complete with a picnic and balloons; the landing of a paraglider on the grass nearby added to the party atmosphere! Last weekend Bindu threw a 'small' surprise party for our dear Janice and provided a full Nepali meal for around 20 guests including the volunteers. 

Our volunteers have been busy and creative at their placements! Aisha, who's doing creative arts, has been very imaginative, making bracelets, caterpillars (from loo rolls), and snakes (from bits of material) with the little ones at Ward 6. At Annapurna Primary School, Ruth has been inventive with lessons, building lots of role play and speaking practice into her teaching. She asked her class of six (1 boy, 5 girls) what they wanted to be when they grew up: a teacher, a doctor, a shopkeeper, a pilot, a tailor, and a dancer! Over a few lessons they acted out and learned vocabulary for their chosen careers, and had great fun setting up shop, diagnosing and treating various ailments, drawing a plane and making announcements for a flight from Kathmandu to London; the tailor measured up and made a new outfit for the dancer who then danced beautifully in the classroom in her new clothes. 

At Street Kids the volunteers and kids have been creative, making decorations to brighten up the outdoor space where the kids do their homework. Even the little one, Abhishek, aged 5, who arrived just a couple of weeks ago, has got into the swing of making paper chains and decorating Emily's arm with stickers. He's settling in pretty well, the kids love having a new little brother, and he's speaking a lot more including 'bye bye' and blowing kisses. And the bamboo fence that Galen built is standing up to rigorous stress testing from flying footballs and volleyball practice, as well as providing a new shelter for the hen house and (when Aama isn't looking) a climbing frame! 

At Asha last week Janice and the volunteers were pleased to be able to hand over small Christmas gifts to everyone (from Ruth's DHL box) and fruits. The street kids also had gifts and a cake made by Bindu!

Lakeside is a riot of LED lights as the central area gears up for the Pokhara street festival starting on Sunday 29th through to New Year, when restaurants open out into the street piazza style. 

"We wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" from Sarah, Janice and our wonderful bunch of volunteers!

 If you would like to join the team here in Nepal please email Gemma on

Friday, December 12, 2014

It's nearly Christmas!

A blog from Sarah

We are getting ready for Christmas in Nepal! Our volunteers are planning lots of celebrations with the children, as well as arts and crafts sessions focused around the theme of special festivals around the world.

One of our volunteers, Galen, has been working really hard up at the Street Children’s Centre doing all sorts of practical jobs. He has built a fantastic fence which runs the length of the vegetable patch; no longer will the veg be destroyed by flying footballs! The boys can now play to their hearts content without any worry. If this wasn’t enough, today he began his mission to build steps up from the outside space to the main house; currently there is a small jump so it will be great for them to have some safe, reliable steps.

Also this week I have been able to make a donation to Aama at the Street Children’s Centre. Two of our previous volunteers Jade and Yasmine, donated their mobile phones when they left; consequently we ave been able to provide Aama with a phone of her own. This is incredibly important for her as for a lot of the time she is on her own with the children she cares for and so to have a method of communication if she needs it is invaluable. Thank you so much Jade and Yasmine, and your company BE Offices who provided the volunteers with the phones.

This will be my last blog post for a while as I am leaving Nepal for a few weeks to go to visit my family for Christmas! I feel very sad to leave and say goodbye to all the wonderful children at all our wonderful placements but I am also so excited to go back to the UK and visit everyone. Janice will be looking after our volunteers and placements over this time so everything is in very safe hands.

As lovely as it will be to visit everyone in the UK, I cannot wait to get back here and carry on the vital work that PoD is doing. I am extremely excited for the coming adventure; for the incredible  volunteers I will meet and for the progress we can all make together. Maybe one of them will be you?

On that note, I leave you with a video created by one of our wonderful volunteers, Jade. Jade works part-time as a real life Elsa from Frozen, and so decided to say goodbye and thank you to PoD by sending us this wonderful video, follow the link to see it!

If you would like to join the team here in Nepal please email Gemma on

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Goodbyes and Welcome!

A blog from Janice

Although it is wonderful welcoming new volunteers with such varied experiences all the time, it does mean that sometimes we have to say goodbye! Sadly, this week we had to say our goodbyes to our two lovely volunteers, Yasmine and Jade. They were loved by the teachers at Ward-6 for how they bonded quickly with everyone, and the sessions they took were brilliant and very creative. The PoD Nepal team, as well as everyone at the placements, are missing them already!

Edwina is still with us working on her films and photography project. She interviewed Jade and Yasmine about the Corporate Volunteering which was also a very interesting experience for everyone in Nepal. As well as being busy with her filming, Edwina has also been busy contributing at the placements; she has had a great idea of putting up swings at Ward-6, so volunteers have been busy organising this.

Our previous volunteer, Ruth Miller, who was here 18 months ago with PoD for a 2-week Volunteer Experience Project, is back with us. It was a great feeling seeing her again. She will be working with Annapurna Primary School for the next 4 weeks as well as with the Street Kids. She arrived with another volunteer, Galen, who will be helping to do any practical jobs that the placements require; he's quickly got stuck in, helping Edwina to renew the swings at Ward 6 and at Annapurna Primary. He's now making a strong bamboo fence at the Street Kids to protect their new veg patch from the kids' football practice!

Ever since Ruth left for the UK after last year's volunteering experience, she decided to come back and  bring some fresh resources. So, with contributions from her friends back home, she filled a box, shipped it via DHL, and we have been on tenterhooks waiting for the box to arrive! It was a bit of an anxious wait but all smiles when the box arrived safe and sound at Bindu's (just a few days after leaving England!). Thank you, DHL - amazing service, with a smile! We cannot wait to put the new resources to good use!

If you would like to join the team here in Nepal please email Gemma on

Monday, November 24, 2014

Glitter, Twister and new shoes...

A blog from Sarah

Janice has now finished her training and is settling in well – we are loving having her as part of the PoD Nepal team!

Otherwise all is carrying on as normal here in Nepal. The days are getting colder and we are needing more and more layers. Our volunteers are not letting this put them off though! They have been so busy working hard.

As many of you may know, we have long had a great partnership with a wonderful local organisation called SOS Bahini. We have long been working side by side with them, and our volunteers have been contributing to the great work they do. We are now pleased to say that we are extending this working partnership further with the introduction of the Saturday placement for our volunteers. On Saturday’s SOS Bahini have all the children and families they support in the community come over and they have a family day; it is a lovely day and a great opportunity for everyone to come together. Recently, the staff there have been concerned that there is not enough stimulation and fun activities for the girls to do on these days, so they asked us to help! We are excited to be able to now offer our volunteers the opportunity to go up on a Saturday and run some fun and games sessions with the girls. We trialed this on Saturday with our wonderful volunteers Jade and Yasmine; it went brilliantly! We had a group story time, loom band making as well as games of twister; Jade even did some glitter tattoos for the girls! Everyone had a wonderful time and we are so pleased that our two organisations can continue to work together so positively for the local community. We look forward to taking more and more of our volunteers up to SOS Bahini and seeing the positive impacts they can have.

Previously, on this blog I have talked about the PoD Charity funding the outside space to be sorted at Street Kids; I am pleased to say work has finished! 

The children are loving having somewhere to sit, work and play in! There is even the beginnings of a veggie patch!

This week, the PoD Charity also bought the Street Kids new shoes. We had a lot of fun (!) finding shoes to fit all 10 of them! But we got there in the end, and as you can see they are very happy with their new ones!

Otherwise, the volunteers have been busy socialising and having lots of fun. Jade, one of our volunteers, has a lovely voice and has been up singing with Janice, who sings with a band locally; their voices together are something to be heard!

If you would like to join the team here in Nepal please email Gemma on

Friday, November 21, 2014

Janice's first few weeks...

A blog from Janice

My first two weeks with PoD has definitely been a stunning experience. I'm glad to have finished my training which wouldn't have been possible without my two amazing mentors Sarah and Chrissy.
My training was divided into two parts, one was the paper work which required quite a lot of reading and questionnaires and the next was placement visits.
I got a chance to attend Hilary's farewell dinner last Wednesday at a very nice restaurant down in lakeside. We were all sad to see Hilary go; she has been a wonderful volunteer and contributed much over her time here.
The next few days were about visiting placements so Sarah and I went around Pokhara to have a look at how things were and to formally introduce myself to all the places. While we were on the run we did our quarterly donations at Annapurna Primary School andPrabhat Primary School. The teachers and the other officials were very welcoming to me which made me feel grand.
On  Saturday morning, Sarah and I went to SOSBahini where she taught her Conversational English class and I was with other girls getting to know them and also doing arts and crafts. Some of them were enjoying some dance with Bollywood songs playing on a big speaker while rest of us were watching them, painting and making origami.
After we finished up with SOS we quickly had our lunch and went to pick up our three volunteers, Edwina, Jade and Yasmine from the tourist bus park. It was an easy job to spot them in that crowd. We took two taxis back to the hotel where they had some time to relax and settle down, have a chat with us with some tea and water. We all then headed down to lakeside in the evening and went to a restaurant called 'Maya', which means love in Nepali, for their welcome dinner. It was great fun getting to know each other while looking over down to the streets of lakeside with lights and listening to the live music in different restaurants around.
I did my first induction with them before taking them to see their placements which went much better than I thought it would be. Also all my volunteers were very lovely and patient as it was my first induction and my colleague Sarah helped me out on bits and pieces that I missed out.

The first stop we had to make that day was Children Development and Rehabilitation Center (Ward 6) where we introduced our volunteers to the head teacher and the little kids who all were very adorable. After which we took the local bus up to Mahendrapul to get the materials for their Kurthas, a traditional Nepali outfit, to be made; this is a lovely tradition which has been set up by PoD in that all new volunteers receive a Kurtha of their choosing, this is so they can wear it to their placements if they choose to, something which is really appreciated by the local staff here. They all got a stunning Kurtha each for the workplace. We had some samosas with spicy tamarind sauce at an Indian Restaurant for lunch. We then all went back, and our lovely volunteers took a well earned nap. In the evening, they came to see me sing; I perform with a band at local restaurants around Lakeside. It was lovely to spend time socialising with them, and they enjoyed hearing my band!

If you would like to join the team here in Nepal please email Gemma on

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Welcome to the team Janice!

It is exciting times here for PoD Nepal… We have a new exployee! Janice, whom many of you will know as she is Bindu’s daughter, is taking over the PoD Placement Manager role. Janice has long been involved with PoD and fully understands our role and purpose out here. She has been able to spend time with our volunteers over the years whilst they have been staying at her mum’s guest house, and she has also long been involved in the actual volunteering herself. She is familiar with all the placements and has a great relationship with them already. Here she is with Tika, a teacher from Annapurna Primary School. We are very excited for this next chapter of PoD Nepal to begin!

Welcome to the team Janice!

If you would like to join the team here in Nepal please email Gemma on

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Quarterly Charity Donations!

Once again we have reached our 3 month quarterly charity donation time – time goes so fast! I have been busy this week visiting our placements and handing out the donations.
At Annapurna PrimarySchool, the PoD Charity donates money to provide all the children with a filling, nutritious lunch. It was great to see that this is working well and Tika, a teacher at the school, told me that for many of the children this will be the main meal they eat in the day and so it is so important for them. I also visited Prabhat Primary School where we are able to donate to provide lunches as well.
At Asha Foundation Children’s Home, the PoD Charity provides them with a monetary contribution to enable them to have meat twice a week. At Asha they are able to grow much of their own food due to a small allotment that they have, however this donation allows the children to have some much needed nutrients and variation in their diet.
Finally, I was able to hand over the PoD Charity donations to the Street Children’s Centre. Here we give money towards their food supplies for the months. They buy rice, meat and veg and Aama, the woman who looks after the children, makes some wonderful dal bhat, (the traditional Nepali dish). The boys were telling me that Aama has also been making pasta, noodles and a variety of other dishes too; their favourite is still dal bhat though!
Some of you may remember that a few weeks ago, we were able to secure an extra PoD Charity budget to clear the outside space at the Street Children’s Centre. They have recently moved homes to a much bigger and more practical home. There is a great outside space for the children to run around in as well as sit out and under the shade and do their homework, however currently it is full of scrap metal and rubble; this needs clearing and an area of the garden needs to be covered by a shelter with their outside table put back up. This will make such a difference to the children and Aama’s quality of life as they won’t be cramped on the floor in the kitchen doing their work or eating anymore, they will have a proper space. This is what the space looked like a few days ago when I made the donation…
                                                               Progress so far...

I visited 2 days later and this was the progress that had already been made… The boys are so excited!

If you would like to join the team here in Nepal please email Gemma on

Friday, October 24, 2014

Peg dolls, Periscopes and Parties...

We are still on the school holidays here and so have been working hard at our childcare placements. We began the week by decorating tshirts with the children from Street Kids. They loved the opportunity to make something completely for themselves that they wouldn’t have to share and they embraced the freedom of doing whatever design they wanted to do on it! We had all sorts of different pictures, from Mickey Mouse to Buddha to rainbows to butterflies! It was great to watch them be so enthusiastic and engaged with            an activity!

Also at Street Kids, Asmita has been in her element practicing her mehndi (English name is henna) designs on lots of willing volunteers! She has a real talent and creates beautiful patterns.

It has not been, however, all play and no work at Street Kids; Bijay and Shreeram were set the task of creating a periscope for their holiday homework. Early on they asked for some help and this had stumped us! After some sheer perseverance (and a lot of googling!), our wonderful volunteer Hilary and the boys managed to create a real, working periscope! Three cheers for them!

At Asha Foundation, there has also been much fun and games. We had a great time making peg dolls; the children loved the wool that we brought to create the hair and were soon making beards and wigs for themselves! We also took along face paint one day. Kate, one of our lovely volunteers agreed to be the guinea pig and the children had a great time decorating her face in as many different creative ways as they could!

Sadly this week we have had to say goodbye to Kate and Roshni. Both of them have been such wonderful volunteers and it was sad to say goodbye. They have contributed so much in their time here and brought some fun and creativity to the placements!

Lastly, it is Tihar festival here in Nepal and so we have been celebrating in style! There have been lots of street parties, street dancing and people walking around giving people tika’s and blessing’s, (tika is where red powder is put on your forehead and sometimes the rest of your face). Even the cows can’t escape…

If you would like to join the team here in Nepal please email Gemma on

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rice flour, bracelets and Spider-man...

As ever we have been busy, busy, busy this week! At Asha Foundation we gave making rice flour a go – they are planning to make a special sweet bread which is traditional during Tihar, a festival that will be happening next week. Hilary, one of our volunteers had a real knack for it, but the rest of us were quickly substituted!

Our new volunteer Kate arrived this weekend. She has begun working at Ward 6, one of our childcare placements as well as at the Street Kids centre. She has really enjoyed her first few days and is settling in really well!
As it is still the holidays here and the children are not back at school yet, we have been working hard to provide fun activities to keep them entertained! At the Street Kids, the volunteers have taught them how to make bracelets and they love this. They all now have arms full from wrist to elbow! One of our volunteers also brought out with them some fabric paint and so we are also planning this week to take a plain white tshirt for each of the children and they can decorate. Here they are planning their tshirts…

Ramesh, one of the boys at Street Kids, decided to turn his tshirt into a Spider-man outfit and made himself a mask aswell! He looked great and spent the rest of the day ‘being’ Spider-man!

Two of our volunteers are currently working hard at SOS Bahini. Hilary is running conversational English classes with the children as they are not at school – the children love these classes and the fun activities she comes up with! Tania, our other volunteer at SOS Bahini, is here on a Film and Photography placement. She is busy creating a professional promotional video for them as well as taking beautiful photos. Here she is in action photographing Hilary’s lesson…

If you would like to join the team here in Nepal please email Gemma on