The Task Ahead
July 2013 update:
The last 12 – 18 months have seen a constant stream of volunteers visiting Dadagaun Village school….
February, 2012: Nineteen Year 12 AKIS students (Al Khor International School) from Doha painted Dadagaun school and funded solar power. See the post on the Home page “Fantastic February…”
October, 2012: A voluntourism group of 4 adults with the Trek of Your Life ( http://thetrekofyourlife.com) provided computers, training and adult education. See the post on the Home page “Awesome October”. A most wonderful postscript to this visit was financial assistance to initiate a long held DVP goal of providing scholarships to students graduating from Dadagaun school and moving on to high school. See the post on the Home page: “2013 – Let the Scholarships Begin”.
February, 2013: More AKIS students visited and undertook a path construction project as well as providing the beginnings of a garbage management system for the village. See the post on the Home page: “School kids from across the world on a helping path”.
February – April, 2013 was a momentous period where, for the first time, DVP was able to provide some longer term volunteers to live in the village and work in the school. Their compassion and enthusiasm will long be remembered, by the friendships they formed, the significant donations they left behind and the initiation of a “kick start” secondary admission program. See the posts on the Home page: “Paul and Ged”, “See you again Paul and Ged” and “2013 – Let the Scholarships Begin”
April – May, 2013: Belinda and Teresa, professional ladies on an extended holiday from London, stopped by in Dadagaun for 6 weeks to try their hands at teaching English to non-native speakers. They did an outstanding job helping in the English lessons and undertaking an environmental science project involving a field trip in neighbouring Shivapuri National Park. And they left a super legacy behind. Their very generous fundraising efforts have provided computers, a printer, DVD player and other school equipment, internet connection for 2 years, repairs and maintenance at the orphanage and funds for a building program to provide a library/ computer room and assembly area on the third floor of the school. See the post on the Home page: “London Ladies – wow! factor in Dadagaun”.
July, 2013: Global Works Travel from Boulder, Colarado (www.globalworkstravel.com) sent Dance teacher Jessy, assistant Luiz and 12 enthusiastic teenagers to Dadagaun for a couple of days’ volunteering. Serious planning and preparation enabled these folk to make the most of their time gardening, sewing and enjoying other recreational activities with the village children. They also arrived with fun, educational computer programs which were very well received! See the posts on the Home page: “Team USA” and “Short and Sweet”.
So…. the Task ahead? Well, the school is now very well equipped with internet, computers, classroom equipment, sporting equipment, books, DVDs, educational resources. The orphanage too has received good support. We are providing a range of secondary school scholarships and more volunteer groups are scheduled for the coming 12 months. We continue to provide text books, exercise books, a full-time teacher and teachers’ aide and other material resources as needed. Our networks in Australia and across the world are expanding all the time. We are well supported with visitors from local travel company Escape2Nepal (http://www.escape2nepal.com) and US voluntourism travel organisation The Trek of Your Life (http://thetrekofyourlife.com).
A testimony to the improvements at the school is the rapid increase in enrolments and attendance over the last three years – the village parents are very impressed, the headmaster is proud to be offering “English medium” teaching and private school trappings such as uniforms and tracksuits, school diaries, private school texts, formal morning assembly, internet and computer facilities. The school is a central focus in the village. The building program will facilitate this expansion but actually it will not be enough!
The majority of the new enrolments are for pre-Kindergarten children… Nursery, as they call it. Not the best decision in my mind to open up the school to this age group, but obviously one the community wants. They are so proud of their village school, they so want to better the prospects of the next generation, they so believe in education as an institution….
My reservations stem from years working in child development and an understanding that 3 year-olds (and below!) require specialised resources and programs and lots of helping hands. They still have toileting and separation issues. The headmaster is aware of the problems now, after doubling the number of children in the KG room, and we are in discussions about solutions to the current problems: lack of space, shortage of staff plus noise and containment issues which impact significantly on the rest of the school.
The focus of Dadagaun Village Project for the near future is clearly needs-based: support for developing the early childhood program, continued support for the building project and secondary scholarships, provision of teaching staff and assistants (as well as needing early childhood teachers, they have been without a Science teacher since late last year), and continued attention to upskilling the existing teachers.
Volunteers and support to help along these lines will be welcomed with open arms.
JANUARY, 2012 UPDATE:
The school makeover in September, 2011 which occupied so much of our energy last year is well behind us now as Dadagaun Village Project looks to the future.
Also late in 2011 was a visit by four American professional ladies with backgrounds in social work, health and financial education. They did a voluntourism trek with the Trek of your Life (see link on sidebar) and were able to conduct a demographic profile of Dadagaun Village for us, gathering information primarily via interviews with the locals. From this information we have been able to formulate specific activities for Dadagaun Village Project to focus on this year.
1. Continue our endeavours to employ a native English speaking teacher in the school. As well as advertising for a visitor to Nepal to fill this role we will look at recruiting someone currently living in Kathmandu. This teacher could work part-time at the school and also take on some adult education at the community level (English language, health/ sanitation, computer education, child development).
2. Investigate roles for villagers who have expressed an interest in becoming more involved in our activities. There is the potential to employ one village mum as a teacher’s aide and to consult with a local accountant regarding management of donations and sponsorships. Employing a dedicated cleaner would be a support to the current efforts. Employing locals as supervisors for extra curricular activities may be a way to free teachers up for lesson planning and preparation.
3. We will also focus on assisting future volunteer groups implement the following programs:-
a. investigation and clarification about the British Agricultural Project.
b. adult education “intensive” courses on topics such as health/ sanitation (as part of this, provide support in developing first aid kits using local pharmacies), English conversation/ literacy, computer skills, sewing, building/ maintenance, sustainable farming/ agriculture and other vocational training depending on the skills of the volunteers and the resources available.
c. music, art, literacy or sport “camps” for the students
d. investigate alternative uses of equipment and sources of income for those (willing) villagers currently involved in the production of alcohol. Jam/ preserve making, fruit bottling, vege pickling spring to mind. This would involve sourcing jars, food hygiene, and developing marketing options.
4. Chrissy’s trip in February 2011 is to:
- help co-ordinate the students from Dohar with their volunteer work (painting outside walls, window frames and doors, perhaps classroom floors)
- purchase a multifunction printer and teacher’s desks for classrooms. Organise funding and purchase of 2012 text books
- meet builder and secure a guarantee (via payment plan) for the waterproofing of the school roof
- explore support and ancilliary staff options as outlined in 2. above
- work closely with KG teacher on curriculum. Organise visits for her to 2 schools in Kathmandu
April 2011 update:
Dadagaun Village Project has had a slight shift in focus after Chrissy’s visit to Kathmandu and Dadagaun in early April. See the post “The Way Forward”. We are no longer going ahead with building a workers’ cottage in Dadagaun. This has simplified the Project somewhat and enables us to concentrate on the primary goal of providing training for educational reforms at the school in Dadagaun village. It will be a much better use of precious funds!
In the near future, Kellie’s 28.84 Team are booked to go over to Nepal in September. Kurt and Chrissy will already be there to welcome them. We will do some shopping for materials in advance, ready to:-
- clean, prepare, anti-mould and paint the school walls,
- plane back, fill and finish the desks and benches,
- build bookshelves for each classroom, and
- construct soccer goals and a climbing frame in the playground.
After the working bee the hard-working volunteers will enjoy a week’s trekking in the Everest region.
Meanwhile, the focus of Dadagaun Village Project… is to recruit two special people, at least one an expeienced teacher. These people will be offered a moderate stipend, airfares, assistance with accommodation and transport. They will be asked to weave some magic! To observe the current processes at the school and to make a plan then implement some changes: train the teachers in a range of innovative teaching methods, introduce an early childhood curriculum, help develop a computer program, a library system, a music curriculum, art, craft and sport, basic health and sanitation education. It will be a great challenge, lots of fun and EASY TO SEE POSITIVE CHANGE!!!
All expressions of interest will be considered! Email: email@example.com