Arupokhari Volunteer Program officially launches with the UNSW Global Village Volunteer Team from Australia
On 10 July 2011, the Arupokhari Volunteer Program (AVP) hosted its first official volunteering mission. The volunteering team, organized through the University of New South Wales’ Global Village, comprised of six university students. The program, which took place from July 1 through 8 (2011), was successful and was greatly lauded by both the students and the staff at Dharapani Secondary and Bhairabi Primary Schools. The three main subjects the volunteers taught were English, Science and Mathematics, besides outdoor games. The participating students from the Global Village Team were:
- Caitlin Sien Ming Cowan
- Cecil Anthony Javellana Moll
- Eva Yi Fan Zhang
- Katlyn Louise Jones
- Samantha Jean Cooper
- Shanuka Prasan Samaranayake
The volunteers were responsible for mainly teaching and contributed greatly not only inside the classroom but also in outdoor games and activities as well. The students of the host schools were very enthusiastic and participated with great interest. Although the program was in the peak monsoon season, the volunteers showed resilience and through dedication they were able to make the volunteering program a success.
The volunteer program gave an opportunity not merely for the students to learn in a new system, but also for the faculty members in learning ways to implement and reinforce what they were taught by the Rotary Teacher Training Team earlier in 2011. Despite the language barrier (albeit occasionally with the help of translators), the volunteer kept their graceful composure in handling the toddlers, most notably in Bhairabi, as well as older students. The team made learning very interesting and engaging for the students by using various non-conventional techniques such as by singing a song, acting out stories, demonstrating science experiments (otherwise only theoretically taught through rote learning), playing games like hangman and so forth.
In addition to teaching in the schools, the volunteers were exposed to the local culture and the way of life in the remote village. They also paid a visit to the local blacksmith, temples, a hilltop with a stunning view of Arupokhari and neighboring villages, the Stull River and the Arughat market. The witchdoctor (the village shaman) who performed a ritual of casting spells and warding off the evil was quite a spectacle. Hiking through the woods and visiting Sambhav Nepal’s projects in Balodaya Primary School and Sitala Primary Schools were also some of the highlights of the program. The locals, especially the children, were very hospitable towards the volunteers, as they entertained the guests with folk songs and dance. The short mountain biking trip on the muddy tracks in the outskirts of Kathmandu and the farewell dinner concluded their ten-day stay in Nepal.
The schools and the next-of-kin of the students convey their gratitude and have also congratulated the UNSW volunteer team for their outstanding contribution. They have expressed their interest and are eagerly anticipating the next volunteering mission through the Arupokhari Volunteer Program in the coming months, thanks to the UNSW volunteer team.
The Arupokhari Volunteer Program – launched through collaborative efforts of Sambhav Nepal and Ace the Himalaya (a trekking company) – have met the expectations of the volunteers. We would like to heartily thank the volunteers for their dedication to share their knowledge. We are grateful for their benevolence, despite the inaccessibility and hardship of the region during the troubling monsoon season. Sambhav Nepal, on behalf of the schools , the community and Ace the Himalaya, would like to wish the UNSW Global Village Volunteer Team all the best for their endeavors.
The following is the picture gallery of the volunteering trip. There are four parts to this series:
- Getting There
- Official Meeting and Volunteering Activities
- Arughat Excursion
- A Visit to the Village Shaman
Getting There Official Meeting and Volunteering Activities Arughat Excursion A Visit to the Village Shaman
Teacher Training Program 2011 Conducted by the Australian Rotary Team
On behalf of the Dharapani Secondary School, the community of teachers and the humble well-wishers of the Arupokhari village, Sambhav Nepal would like to express our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude towards the Australian Rotary Volunteer Team for its significant contribution to enhancing the educational infrastructure of the region through the Teacher Training Program 2011. The advanced and powerful pedagogical methods and materials that have been presented with such great generosity will invariably embellish the future of the children. We will ensure what you have professed will achieve its purpose. Arupokhari is forever indebted to your gratefulness that has had a tremendous impact in the progress of this otherwise forgotten village. A one-week Teacher Training Program was conducted in Dharapani Secondary School of the Gorkha district Nepal from December 31, 2010 to January 7, 2011. The team of 4 trainers and 2 organizers, all of whom have extended expertise in the educational field, are members of the Rotary International Club, Australia. It was a great honor for the entire village to have celebrated the New Year’s eve with the generous and selfless volunteer team. There was a turnout of more than 60 participating teachers (of 21 schools) from Arupokhari and nearby villages. Some travelled as long as 5 hours each day, to and from the training venue, which in itself is an indicator of how valued and successful the training program was. Following are the Aussie experts who spent their precious time, far from their family and in the remote village of Nepal, professing their knowledge and experiences on teaching:
- Mary Brell ( Rotary Club of Orange Daybreak ) BEd, DipEd, GradCert in Mgt, Certificate IV in Workplace Assessment, is a free lance learning and development consultant and trainer.
- Denise Flockton ( President of the Rotary Club of Wagga Wagga Sunrise ) BA, DipEd, GradDipCompEd, MEd is Head Teacher of Social Sciences at Wagga Wagga High School.
- Richard Jackson is the Chair of International Service at the Rotary Club of Wahroonga, District 9680. He is one of the main supporters of Sambhav Nepal’s projects and also a member of the organization’s team. Dr Anne Prescott ( Rotary Club of Wahroonga ) BA, MSc, MEd, PhD, DipEd is Senior Lecturer in Mathematics Education in the Centre for Research in Learning and Change at the University of Technology Sydney.
- Dr Graham Tyson ( Rotary Club of Bathurst Daybreak ) BSc(Hons) MSc, PhD, FAPS, is Associate Professor of Psychology and Sub-Dean for Graduate Studies, Faculty of Arts, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst.
- Judy Tyson BEd(Hons), Dip Ed teaches at La Salle Academy in Lithgow.
Mr. Sridhar Chettri (the Sports Department Head of St. Xavier’s School – Jawalakhel, Lalitpur, Nepal), Mr. Amit Gurung (a teacher at Bhimodaya Campus – Arughat, Gorkha, Nepal) and Mr. Prakash Aryal (Ace the Himalaya staff) were the prime translators who ensured that the lessons were well heeded by the participants (teachers), and that the trainers were aware of any issues the participants might have had.
The teachers were divided into groups based on the level they taught: Primary, Secondary or High school; and on a couple of occasions by the subject matter they taught. This method proved very effective as the trainers needn’t be redundant, in addition to not having any trainee get left out. All the trainees unanimously maintained that the training program was immensely helpful in their careers. The innovative and advanced techniques, using appropriate education materials, were unheard of in a village like Arupokhari. Moreover, the books, puzzles and other studying materials donated to the Dharapani Community Library by the trainers will go a long way in attaining intellectual prosperity in the village.
Welcome Ceremony Training Session Closing Ceremony The program was facilitated by Ace the Himalaya which was responsible primarily for providing the camping, food and transportation services to the trainers as well as arranging translators for the event.
Key Donor Allan Waldon along with 3 donors visited project sites
Key Donor Allan Waldon, his daughter Samantha Waldon and the donors Warren Sly, Dympna Sly and Ray Sleap visited the project site. During their trip in the village from January 9 to 13, 2011, they visited nine schools in Arupokhari and one in Aruchanaute. They observed the progress of the projects as well as assessed further needs of the schools and the community. The possibility in which the projects could be expanded was also mulled by the donor team. The support they have been providing to this backward region is phenomenal. The locals, especially the school children, were very exhilirated during the donors’ presence and were eager to socialize with them.
Renovation of Balodaya Primary School Complete
Sambhav Nepal has completed the final phases of the renovation work at Balodaya Primary School, Arupokhari-2, Gorkha. The project started in May 2011 with the help of the donors Warren and Dympna Sly. The main objective of this project was to repair the walls, cement-plaster the pavements and the classroom floors. The window frames have been repaired or replaced depending on the extent of the damage. Lastly, the furnitures were repaired and the building repainted. There are nearly 100 students currently enrolled in the school, who will benefit directly from this renovation project. The school had struggled to accumulate adequate funds for maintenance of the physical infrastructure, yet through the benevolence of Australian donors and well wishers, this noble task has been successfully completed. We hope the renovation yields a positive outcome in the community and motivate more children to attend school in a safer environment.
BEFORE: The condition of the school before Sambhav Nepal’s intervention –
AFTER: The renovation of the exterior of the school is completed –
2nd Phase of the Renovation of Jalakanya Primary School Complete
In the second phase of the renovation of Jalakanya School, the exterior wall was cement-plastered and a new gate was installed. Free stationery was distributed to students.
Refurbishment of Sitala Primary School Complete
The refurbishment of Sitala Primary School has been completed. The interior and exterior walls and the floor was cement-plastered and painted. The wooden doors and window frames were replaced. Likewise, the compound was barred with bamboo fencing and a school entrance gate has been constructed. Free stationery was distributed to all the students of Sitala.