November/December was a busy time for the Nepal team, not only because of the arrival of 6 new volunteer groups but also with the arrival of a new baby! A big congratulations to Om and his wife, on the birth of their son, Logic.
Om Baral: “We are so excited to have a child after around a decade. After our first daughter, Lochan, now it feels that we have a complete family with a new arrival. He has brought us a bundle of joy and happiness.
Nov/Dec Groups in Numbers:
The Nepal team are proud of their efforts over the past 2 months, with the hub receiving a record number of 61 volunteers! See below for some selected highlights and achievements for each group.
• Total volunteers: 61 (including 4 academic staff members)
• Beneficiaries reached: 765
• Direct volunteer hours: 1,856
• Sessions delivered in 4 partner schools and 1 community (Kharpu)
Central Queensland University Public Health Practicum
At the beginning of November, the Nepal hub welcomed a group of 7 public health and environment students and 3 academics from the Central Queensland University. Over the course of their 3 week program, this passionate and enthusiastic group conducted research and then a needs assessment to determine the key environmental health issues facing the local community. The group’s valuable research revealed that the families of many of the students in our partner schools used plastic to start indoor fires.
Furthermore, the group was overwhelmed by the amount of plastic waste they saw being burnt around Dhulikhel and were motivated to create interventions to address this. The first intervention aimed to educate student’s on ways they could reduce and reuse plastics. The activity involved make hanging pot plants using discarded plastic bottles- the students loved this! The second intervention created, was a class which taught students of the health and environmental effects of burning plastic. Both interventions were very successful and the Nepal team are excited to see them continue to be implemented by future volunteer groups.
Griffith Public Health Practicum
15 students from Griffith University had a very productive 3 weeks at the Nepal Hub, working in Kathmandu and Dhulikhel and in two of our partner schools (SK and PS).The volunteers were a mix of Nutrition/Dietetics and Sexual and Reproductive Health undergraduates and postgraduates. Their needs assessment and research report they produced will go on to be a fantastic resource for the Nepal Team going into 2020. The group developed two nutrition interventions, one focusing on teacher training with a second educating students on the importance of a balanced diet. The group also developed an intervention on the menstruation cycle and its purpose. This intervention was delivered in mixed male and female classes in order to help break cultural taboos.
A group highlight was visiting the Beyond Beijing Committee in Kathmandu, a women’s rights organisation which promotes gender equality, women empowerment, and lobbies policy makers. Volunteers were really inspired by the women at this organisation and their determination to make change.
Volunteers also enjoyed visiting community households in Dhulikhel where they were able to experience the living conditions of rural Nepali families and try some delicious local dishes.
8 students from Universities in Western Australia delivered a Sustainability Challenge program at Shreekhandapur High School. The group delivered a range of engaging sessions on topics such as waste management, air pollution, and renewable energy sources.
The groups highlights included rebuilding the school garden, planting 3 orange trees, dozens of flowers and herbs and working with the school’s Eco Club to ensure the garden remains cared for.
Melbourne Health Promotion
The Nepal hub loved having this group of 12 volunteers from the University of Melbourne. They were an extremely well organised and hard-working group, who made deep connections with the grade 5 and 6 students at Purna Sanjeevani School.
They delivered a range of very impressive and influential health promotion sessions, which the students loved! For example, they covered topics such as, teeth brushing, hand washing and human anatomy. They were a very creative group, who used models and images wherever possible. Furthermore, they painted a colourful toilet block mural which depicted all the lessons and topics covered by the groups’ sessions.
Overall, the Nepal team and staff and students at Purna Sanjeevani school are proud of the group’s efforts and extremely thankful for their contributions.
WA Health Promotion
At the end of November, a group of 9 volunteers from Western Australia delivered the first ever program in our new partner school, Harisiddhi Basic School. The group delivered a series of health promotion sessions to the students in grades 4-8. The volunteers covered sessions such as handwashing, teeth brushing, nutrition and human anatomy, which were all well received by the students and teachers. They also painted a colourful mural, outlining the 5 steps to handwashing. Most notably, before arriving the volunteers fundraised some money which they used to buy resources for the school, including reusable sanitary pads to be distributed to the students. The volunteers ran a session with the female students about all things puberty and periods!
The girls loved the session and were thankful for the pads. The Nepal team were very impressed with the success of this menstruation program and hope to run similar ones with students in our other partner schools.
Our Community Challenge group delivered a successful 2-week program at the rural Shree Swet Ganesh school. Their sessions focused on improving students conversational and written English. Some of the topics they covered included building past/present/future tense sentences, pairing appropriate nouns and adjectives, and creative writing exercises. Teachers were really impressed by the complexity of the topics the volunteers were addressing in their sessions.
A group highlight was their dance day, this activity provided a great opportunity for students to practice their conversational English outside the classroom and for everyone to show off their dance moves!
This year, thanks to Eliza and Luke, Om and Neeru have been introduced to a number of Christmas traditions such as mulled wine and watching the Christmas film, ‘Love Actually’!