The latest from Nepal – Jan/Feb 2020!

Written by our Nepal Team

Happy New Year!

The Nepal Team wishes all FSF hubs a happy and successful new year.

On January 30th Nepal celebrated its first major festival of the year (it didn’t take long!) called Shree Panchami (Saraswati Pooja) which celebrates the arrival of spring.

Volunteers from all challenge groups were able to take part in the celebrations which also
mark the beginning of the school year.

The Nepal Hub in Numbers (January – February)
Total volunteers: 25 (including 2 academic staff members)
Beneficiaries: 489
Direct volunteer hours: 457
Sessions delivered in: 4 partner schools

Griffith Public Health Highlights

This January, the Nepal hub welcomed a small but enthusiastic group of 3 volunteers and 1 academic, from Griffith University in Queensland. This group completed a 3 week public health practicum, during which they conducted research and developed a needs assessment to determine the key health issues in Dhulikhel. The volunteers worked with grade 6, 7 and 8 students at Shwet Ganesh and Harisiddhi Schools, as well as local community members. The volunteers uncovered that many students lack information regarding how to treat common diseases, such as rabies, hook worm and mumps.

Furthermore, teachers expressed a desire for having access to more visual aids to assist in teaching students about such diseases. To address this, the volunteers created power point presentations which included images and information regarding common diseases, how they are contracted, what they look like and how they can be treated. These interventions were extremely well received by the students and staff at both schools. Apart
from this, the volunteers wanted to address the issue of a lack of soap in schools. Their research uncovered the traditional practice of using ash to wash hands, if soap is not available. The staff were impressed by this idea and plan to use this in the future. The Nepal team are proud of the team’s efforts and can’t wait to see the long term impacts of their intervention sessions organised for their benefit.

ACU Brighter Futures Highlights

Brighter Futures volunteers, from the Australian Catholic University, were the first Psychology students to work with the Nepal Hub. The group were based at Shree Shwet Ganesh school, in Chaukot, where they worked with grades 5 to 8. At the school they tackled issues like
bullying, anxiety and depression,
breaking the taboo around mental
health. The group produced a
fantastic mural which promotes
respect, kindness, and encouragement to all students and
teachers. We are really excited to hear that Joel, the groups academic staff member, is planning on sending another Psychology group from ACU in June/July 2020 to continue the work the volunteers carried out at the school.


Health Promotion Highlights

Over the January, February period the Nepal hub had the pleasure of working with 4 health promotion volunteers from Melbourne. Although small, this was a hardworking group who successfully delivered valuable health sessions to the grade 4 and 5 students at Harisiddhi Basic School in Dhulikhel. Their sessions were interactive, engaging and fun, and covered topics such as, hand washing, teeth brushing, body parts, bones, muscles, physical exercise and environmental health. Although the students level of English is very low, the volunteers successfully engaged the students in all activities and used their creativity and resilience to run valuable sessions about health and the human body. Highlights of this program, include singing and dancing with the students to the hokie pokie, the Nutbush and the macarena! Apart from this the team also completed a beautiful,
colourful mural on the school’s toilet block. This mural is adored by all staff and students and significantly brightens up the school. The staff and students at Harisiddhi School greatly appreciated the work of these volunteers and were very sad to see them go. Staff even expressed wanting the program to last for 2 months rather than merely 2 weeks!

Engineering Challenge Highlights

In January, the Nepal Hub welcomed a team of 6 Engineering Challenge volunteers from Curtin University WA. The group were based at Purna Sanjiwani Lower School, in old Dhulikhel, where they worked with students from grades 5 and 6 for 2 weeks. During their time in Nepal the volunteers were able visit Dhulikhel’s water treatment plant where they were given a tour by the plant’s manager. This fact finding trip informed their later sessions on water filtration and sanitation which involved making a model water filtration system from a plastic bottle filled with sand and gravel. Over the course of two weeks they also ran sessions on waste segregation, waste lifecycles, and soil erosion. All sessions incorporated STEM style activities which promoted problem solving and critical thinking. A group highlight was completing a waste segregation system and an instructional mural which will help keep the school stay clean and promote better waste management. Before leaving the Engineering team also produced an infrastructural needs assessment which will help inform any future construction projects at the school.

Community and Sustainability Challenge Highlights

The Nepal hub and students and staff at Shreekhandapur School are so appreciative to have welcomed volunteers, Lauren and Ray from Queensland, this January. These enthusiastic, hardworking volunteers completed a combined community and sustainability challenge with grade
5 and 6 students. The volunteers delivered sessions covering topics such as waste management, air pollution, anti-bullying, dealing with stress, environmental sustainability, land and sea animals. The team’s commitment to the students and the program was very inspiring, and they proved that
small groups can have just as big an impact (if not more) than bigger groups. The staff at Shreekhandapur School commended the volunteer’s teaching style and were pleased that their students got the opportunity to learn environmental awareness from them. Apart from this the team also made Eco Bricks with the students, which they used to make a garden bed on school grounds. The students loved this activity, and now feel motivated to make more Eco Bricks in the future. On the final day of their program, the group assisted Om in distributing 1 reusable water bottle to every student at the school. All 300 students at the school, will now be able to bring safedrinking water from home, without harming the environment!

Hub Goals for 2020!

This year the Nepal Hub plans to take action to reduce its carbon footprint with the long term goal of becoming carbon neutral. On Thursday 30th January we took our first step towards this goal by planting 40 saplings at our partner school ShreeShwet Ganesh.
Over the next 40 years we can expect these trees to sequester around 50 tonnes of CO2 (based off an estimate of 1 tree absorbing 2.5 tonnes of CO2 over a 40 year period and the assumption 50% will not survive the full 40 years).

Over the next year we will be looking into a number of schemes which will significantly increase the number of trees we plant.

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