Friday, February 28, 2014

Volunteering experience by Odin & Holly

Before we started our volunteering in Koseli School, we were full of uncertainty and questioned a lot. How would be the students, teachers, school like? We hoped that our work could target on the students' need. What do the students need? Would the volunteering be effective in helping the students?Or...
 After our first volunteering day, we realized that the School was welcoming. Entering the school gate, we were surrounded by a few students , who were curious about who we were, where we were from, etc. Since then, we had run a 5-day volunteer work , conducting education about the issues such as safe sex, drug prevention and bullying; introducing Hong Kong culture and making some handicrafts . We also played some 
Hong Kong games with the students. Surprisingly, they enjoyed the games very much and had much fun which was what we wanted.
 Besides the welcoming atmosphere, we also were deeply impressed by the school’s seriousness and openness. Before our volunteering, we had a long discussion with the School about in what way our volunteering could benefit the students. The School also invited us to put an element of conflict management and bullying into our volunteer work. We felt that the School trusted us and valued our volunteering.
 In order to stress that the students should have more profound understanding on the consequence of drug use and unsafe sex, the School allowed us to include some photos, such as the wound of drug-abusers , infected sexual organs , dead infant caused by abortion; and teach the students a proper condom use. This openness deeply impressed us.
 Students, on the other hand, were funny, polite, energetic, curious and attentive. It was really a nice and encouraging experience of getting along with them whose cultural backgrounds were different from us. Not only we taught them some knowledge, but also we learnt a lot from them. For example, they requested us to write the Chinese version of their names on their palms. We, in turn, learnt how to speak Nepalese. It caused some laughter when we pronounced their names incorrectly.

Indeed, we could have such a wonderful and smooth volunteering experience thanks to the opportunity given by the School and the teachers' assistance. Five days were short, yet, full of joy and memory. We do really miss the students! Hope they grow up well and have a good future.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bill and Sandra and their experience at Koseli

After finishing my liberal arts courses, I was on my way to do some volunteer work in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Although I had already traveled extensively, this would be the first time I had a chance to fully embrace a culture totally unfamiliar to me. I wanted to work with young children and teach English. I had a chance to experience all this for an entire month at Koseli School.I was assigned to UKG or Upper Kindergarten with children ranging in age from 7-12. Although teaching did not start until noon, I often came early to be with the children, to observe how they started their day and get to know them better.Being a teacher from the States, at first glance I was surprised at the scarcity of available educational tools, but I soon realized you do what you can with what you have, and more doesn’t necessarily mean better.
The children followed a routine just like students in the States do. Mine learned English, Nepali, math, and had art and gym periods. However, children seemed to be more responsible here-and respectful. They asked permission to enter any room and greeted all visitors; they swept their rooms with a broom and proudly kept it in order; their tooth brushes were hung by the windows; they ate the food that was given to them (without grimacing)and cleaned their plates afterwards;they did things they were told to do without questioning or having to be asked twice. It was refreshing. And I learned teachers are very revered here.
Although I encountered some practices that were quite different from the ones I was accustomed to, I can now understand them better as I am more familiar with the culture. I don’t view them as “wrong” anymore, just a different way of doing things. All year long I thought about the children at Koseli. As I started my pre-teaching classes in a local school, I gave these na├»ve students an introduction to the Nepali culture and shared some stories of Koseli School and the students. Later in the year as I completed my degree in Early Childhood Education with the Teacher Work Sample, I again introduced new students to Koseli, and they learned about the similarities and differences between them and these other children who lived thousands of miles away.
As soon as I graduated, I decided to go back to Koseli, to revisit the children who inspired me to become a teacher. I wanted to try out all the new techniques I had learned over the last year. I wondered if they would even remember me. Yes, they most certainly did remember me and we had lots of fun with creative activities. My only regret is that I was not able to spend more time with them. For all who are interested in volunteering their time here, do it. You do not need to be teachers by profession to make a difference! Everyone has knowledge to share, and these children reap the benefit of having such diversified people visit with them. They are eager to learn and such a delight to be with.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

My Volunteering Experience - Sarah Melody

Hi, My name is Sarah, I am 24years old from Australia, and would like to privilege of sharing my wonderful experience with Koseli School. My first day at Koseli started with entering each classroom in which the children would almost chant “good morning ma’am, you are welcome to our class,” this instantly putting a smile across my face I would eagerly sit in each class for around fifteen minutes to get a feel for the school’s morning routine. I first noticed the importance of the children’s hygiene and presentation, one by one the children would show their teacher, firstly showing that they had done their hair neatly, then their teeth, then their nails, lastly showing their clean handkerchief, if the children did not meet the teacher’s requirements they then have to go wash, brush ect, again. At the beginning I thought this was an unusual routine, and perhaps a little time consuming. As my day went on and I learnt about some of the backgrounds of these children and there lack of resources to hygiene, I began to realise that the hygiene process was just as important as the learning process. The children would come on a morning, their clothes dirty, hair messy, they would shower, brush their teeth and hair, and change into the koseli uniform, this was such an important ritual for the children these basic steps that a western child would think nothing of, would help prevent these children from diseases and teeth problems.
After lunch, I meet with the two students that I would be teaching, Bhuwan and Suraj. As my background education is not teaching it is in Sociology and Peace and Development studies, it was agreed upon that two students would be the most beneficial for both the children and myself. It also allowed me to bond with these children, get to know them, their sense of humour, their limits, their individual personalities. This becomes important when the language barrier is there. Both these children live on the school premises, they were found begging on the street and living in extremely poor conditions. This school truly is a gift to them. It was so much fun everyday thinking of fun English games and activities to get them motivated and excited, I would even attempt to throw in a little science and maths. Of course everyday has its challenges, but the motivation these children have to keep going everyday and learn and to try provide themselves with the opportunity for a future made everyday so unique and worthwhile. I was lucky enough to experience one of the two a year outings, due to lack of funding only two is within the schools limits. We cramped into a bus, yes the whole 120 of us, and out of the city we went to some beautiful botanical gardens. One of the teachers informed me that on these outings they let the children “get in touch with nature”, in other words let them go wild. And we did. We sang songs and played games, it was magical watching them be free, happy and without a care in the world. On the trip the children got supplied a light snack which consisted of a banana, a juice and some butter biscuits, they loved it. We even sat and did a meditation all together.
Another more intimate outing I got to experience was with my two students, I was allowed to take them with me to Buddha Janti, (Buddha’s birthday) a celebration held at a monkey temple. They could not get around the festival quick enough to see and experience everything there, we spun over 100 prayer wheels, lit butter lamps for world peace, the boys had a Nepalese tea and biscuit that is offered for free as a way of good Karma. The devotion of the teachers, who themselves all have a story to tell is the backbone of the school. The children truly do come first. Renu, the founder of Koseli comes everyday and helps assist with Mindfulness class. These classes are great to watch, the children read out journals they wrote that morning, they describe a scenario in which they felt happy, and one in which felt sad, this was very entertaining. Then they would meditate. Renu’s enthusiasm was beautiful to watch, her care and motivation for the school and each individual child was written all over her face. It is interesting how you can travel to the other side of the world, to teach these children, and in the end you walk away with probably more wisdom and knowledge than the children did. The experience is one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I would like to thank the children and teachers for welcoming me into the school and allowing me to have this journey.