Saturday, July 5, 2014

KOSELI - The most amazing experience of my life by Sejal

Hi! My name is Sejal and I am 22 years old and am a future dentist. It had always been a dream of mine to volunteer abroad in Nepal. I had a good six weeks to spend volunteering, but I wanted to make sure I was going through a trust worthy organization. After days of research, I realized I could not come to trust any NGO as they all seemed like money- making operations. This was when I happened to stumble upon the Koseli website. Finally something looked promising! The best part was that they didn’t want any money from their volunteers, but provided the option for volunteers if they wanted to give their own donation in the form of school supplies, clothes, or money.
After contacting Koseli and getting in touch with Neelam, I was convinced that I wanted my volunteering experience to be at Koseli. Before my volunteering began, I felt a mix of emotions; I was excited, energized, and optimistic, but at the same time I was scared and nervous. Would the students like me? Will the teachers accept me? Would I really be able to contribute to the betterment of these children’s lives? But it only took spending one day with the Koseli family to know I had made the right choice.
On the first day, I met Shambhavi who was nice and helpful and made me feel welcome. She introduced me to the other teachers who were also very kind, but slightly shy. The students were a whole different story! They were so excited to meet someone new and were extremely friendly and sweet. The children had just started their new term and were settling back into the school routine. So the first day I just spent time with the children by doing origami, charades, and playing football. The children were all excited to show off their talents to me as well as praise the talents of their fellow classmates.
After a couple days, a schedule was set in place. The children would arrive in the morning and begin their routine of showering, brushing, and dressing at school. They would then have their Nepali and Social Studies lesson and would then begin homework time. After homework time was lunch, which I was happily invited to join, and then English, Math, and Science. After Science would be about 15 minutes of meditation and then free time for the children before they went home at 5pm.
As exciting and gratifying teaching is, it is also a challenge. It was tough for me to teach initially as there was a language barrier. The kids spoke Nepali and little English, but I realized soon after that they were much better at understanding English rather than speaking it. However, I made sure to implement as much speaking practice as possible. I taught English, Math, and Science and discovered that the students learn better and gain teamwork skills by playing educational games. So while Science would be mostly lecture based, I would incorporate games into Math and English which kept the students engaged and eager to learn.
It was a pleasant surprise for me to see how intelligent the students are, despite the backgrounds they come from. I did not know what to expect when I started teaching and though I taught class four, I thought I might still have to start from scratch. However, I was shocked when they told me they knew addition, subtraction, long multiplication, and division. They knew what photosynthesis was and some students were even sincere in practicing their English. The best part about teaching was when I would accidently make a mistake on the board and the students would shout, “Maam, that’s wrong!” By the end of class time, if the students were on their best behavior, I would end class ten minutes early and play Bollywood music for them. The joy on their faces was priceless as they would all dance and fool around, and would even include me in their dancing.
What Koseli is doing for these children is beyond what words can describe. This school is giving students a chance to build a new life through care and education. The teachers all take their jobs seriously and want to see their students succeed in life. Exceptional students are even given the chance to be sponsored and attend a private school. Both Neelam and Shambhavi would ask my opinion on how to improve the curriculum and were proactive in implementing changes. This made me feel appreciated and like a part of the family.
As the days went by, I began to think of my class as “my kids,” and looked forward to seeing their smiling faces every day. As mischievous as they could be, they were also dedicated and respectful to their elders. On my last day, they all made me farewell cards. It was a small gesture which touched my heart and made me feel even sadder to be leaving. I am glad I went out of my comfort zone and explored a new part of the world and a new way of life. I met some amazing people at Koseli who are doing wonderful things to positively impact their community and I will be sure to return. This is an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life and will be sharing with my family and friends for a long time to come. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Koseli Newsletter 2013-14

Dear Koseli friends and family, 
Warm Greetings!!!

Thank you for being associated with Koseli and continuously supporting and nurturing the growth of the children in Koseli.  Koseli would not have been where it is today without your support. We would like to share our yearly events with you.
Introduction: Koseli means “a gift” in Nepali.  The aim of “Koseli” is to reach out to under privileged children whose family can barely afford one meal. Education, health, clothes and hygiene are in no consideration of their need. Koseli provides the children, a clean environment like that of any other school. The children are made to feel special while they are in the premises of the school. Their basic health and hygiene needs are taken care of; they are served a hot, wholesome meal in the afternoon and a snack in the evening before they leave for home.
The objective of education at Koseli is not to make these children literate but give them the power to dream. At Koseli, they follow the syllabus prescribed by the government of Nepal. There is a special focus on improving their reading, writing and communication skills. The children also learn computer skills in addition to performing arts like dance, music and theatre. Another impressive thing is that each child is being nurtured according to his/her interests and level of learning. Koseli School works from Sunday to Friday throughout the year.

Koseli Family consists of 8 board members, 13 Staff members and 110 students and our numerous supporters and donors.
We have children from age group for Nursery to grade 6. After that we transfer our children to study in main stream school with sponsorships. The highlights of the academic year 2013-14 are as follows:

Constructions: This year we have added another room to accommodate the growing number of children in school. The school has also extended the height of its boundary wall by two feet wire mesh to enable the kids play football without worrying about losing the ball. The teachers and elder students painted the walls of the school for a cleaner and refreshing look.
A beautiful reading room, called “The Kachhua Club” has also been added to the school. This room is donated by a British Non-Profit organization run by Mr. John Mathews, “The Children of the Mountain”.
We extend our deep gratitude to him.

Events: Like every year, we celebrated Dashain, Tihar, Christmas, Sarawati Puja and Holi in school with much fan fare.  An annual school carnival was organized for the children. The carnival is a much awaited event with swings, games, magic show and face painting. The students participated enthusiastically in all the events and presented songs and dances. All the events received support from Koseli supporters.

A fund raising FUN-MELA was organized by a school member, Ms. Sanjana Agarwal for a child’s treatment. Menuka, 14, has problem in the veins of her leg and the fund collected from the Carnival is being used for her treatment. The carnival was a fun filled event in which the students had a blast. It also helped in spreading a word about Koseli in the society and added new support members to our growing family.
This year, we celebrated  Holi with a cultural program performances by students, followed by a ice creams sponsored by Pulkit Bhimsaria and a hearty feast thereafter. The whole program was aired on Himalayan TV. Thanks to Dayaramji Agarwal to give a chance to Koseli Foundation to come in lime light of the general public. This program can be viewed on YouTube, “Apno Nepal, Apno Gaurab,” episode 132.

Introduction to living life beyond- Meditation and mindfulness: We are proud to announce that Koseli children have been following a rigorous mindfulness routine. This routine is introduced and run by Supathya-Learning to Care, a Kathmandu based Non-Profit run by Ms. Jun Maya Pandey & Sirish Bhatt. The routine focuses on spiritual development of the child. As part of this routine, the children meditate regularly for twenty minutes a day and write a gratitude journal. This has now become a part of school curriculum.

Achievements: Chandra Tamang  Studied at Koseli for 5 years and now completed his training from A-La-Carte and is working as an assistant chef.
Likewise, Dilmaya, 16 years old, too was a student for 4 years at Koseli and now she is towards completion of her training as a beautician. Dilmaya is the bread earner of her family and thus was very keen on doing a vocational course so that she could start supporting her family financially as soon as possible. She has been enrolled into a beauty training school, where she has 5 hours of training everyday.
Based on their excellence, 6 Students from Koseli have been sent to other main stream schools.
Over the years, 23 students have been sent to join in the various main stream schools on basis of their academic excellence/ progress.

Targets & Issues:
1. Restroom Problem: The restroom at Koseli is not connected to main sewage outlet, hence, get clogged every few months, and we hire people to clear them manually. We intend to re build the toilets and find a solution to not go through this expensive and tedious task each time.

2.Health issue.:- Suman Roka has problem in kidney and Respiration and needs regular medical support.
Menuka has malformation of the veins and abnormal growth of tissues on her leg.
-Raj and parbati also suffering some physical problem.
Koseli Foundation takes care of all the treatment and medication required for all the students.
Each month, we pay 8-10 thousand for medicine expenses.

3.Stationary:-We need text book for class Ukg for  new session. Every month we have expenses worth 22-28 thousand for stationary item.
4. Deficit: Koseli is facing a deficit of Rs. 1 Lac each month. To overcome this problem, Koseli Foundation is organizing a charity show, a play by Anupam Kher in near future.
We have about 12 Volunteers from St. Xaviers College, Reliance College, Thames College and Mega College coming to Koseli on different days. They share their knowledge and dreams with children, which definitely add a new energy to the daily routine of the school.
We have various volunteers visiting from overseas who run some wonderful programs and workshops for Koseli Family.
We extended our gratitude to Emily Larson  for doing a workshop on “Positive Mindfulness” for the Koseli Staff and Mr. Odin and Ms.Holly, who conducted sex awareness program for students.
Such  programs  are  highly beneficial for the growth and development of the children.
We welcome your ideas and suggestions on fund raising and benefits of Koseli.  
Follow us @ Koseli… facebook-nepal Koseli,

Future events and dates for the diary: KBHSK anupam kher fundraising program

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.