Kehi Garoun has been working for the last ten years towards self-empowerment. Yet, somehow we are seen as yet another charity organization, adding to the very culture of dependence that we are trying to change. In our attempt to rethink our work, Nabin, Pravendra and Umanga attended a 3 day retreat on Reimaging Education in Ahmedabad, organized by movedbylove.org. The retreat was an experience of generosity, connection and learning. It was truly rewarding experience for our 'hands, hearts and heads.' Details of the retreat is here.
Inspired by our experience, we replicated a similar retreat for Kehi Garoun volunteers from January 27-29 to explore the potential of "inside-out change" - the social change that results from personal change. We did not have a rigid agenda, yet we had a prayer that each of us will get some clarity for oneself, and kindle heart-connections with others.
"EACH OF US GUARDS A GATE OF CHANGE,
THAT CAN BE UNLOCKED ONLY FROM THE INSIDE."
The retreat, thanks too all participants and volunteers, happened to emerge with a framework of how we can co-create possibilities of Inside-Out Change at the level of schools and colleges. There were many moments of inspiration and connections. Our first evening was rainy and cold but was made peaceful and warm by the volunteers who sat around, in the distant glow of a heater, to share their stories of inner change. Saturday was a busy day of breakout sessions and prayers and laughter. Many of us left at the end of the day with a piece of an inner sun shine. Sunday morning, a small group took a long walk through the flower-fields to Ichangu temple before saying goodbye to the inspiring location of Whitefield Residential School.
We believe that the retreat was meaningful for each of the participants. For Kehi Garoun, the retreat was a collective articulation of the model of change it has been exploring. We were reminded of how joyful yet difficult is the journey of self-care, social-empathy and humility. And in that spirit, we share this email with you to highlight:
The experience was so inspiring that Kehi
Garoun held a similar retreat on inside-out
change as soon as their team got back to Nepal.
The retreat started with simple introduction of all the participants and the volunteers. All shared their moments of joy in education. There were break out sessions on compassion quotient. We visited Sewa Cafe, an experiment in giving, and listened to Nemo's songs.
Annex: Kehi Garoun team stayed for an extra day to visit some interesting works in education. Our visit to the Riverside International School led us to integrate their "design for change" curriculum into our own Dignity Circle program. and also the "i can " challenge for the schools. We also heard about their salient lessons from Gandhian education from the Registrar of Ganghi Vidyapith.
Many children in public schools and orphanages continue to be deprived of basic materials that support their educational needs. One such common need is the school uniform, that many poor families struggle to provide to their children. This becomes a glaring need in the extreme cold of the Kathmandu winter, when many children lack a sweater to wear to school. This not only affects the health of the children, but also affects their motivation to attend school.
In this shivering season, you can give warmth to the children by donating Rs 450 per sweater. All 100% of your donation will be used for the purchase of the sweaters.
Kehi Garoun has started a new program ‘Education venture’ with the vision of improving the educational system. We are looking to work with schools as a consultant or as a part of school management itself.
Our education vision is to inspire the education community through the merits of the culture of self-learning.
नयाँ संविधानले के हाँसिल गरेको छ ? मधेशमा ४३ जना मरे र १००० भन्दा बढी घाइते छन् | काठमाडौँको जीवनमा ठहराव आएको छ | थुप्रै समूहले संविधानले उनीहरुको आधारभूत मानव मर्यादालाई वास्ता नगरेको महसुस गरेका छन् | कुनै पनि दस्तावेजले हरेकलाई चाहेजस्तो खुसी त दिन सकिदैन | एउटा अचम्मको कुरा के छ भने, कसैलाई प्रशन्न तुल्याउन नसकेको यो संबिधानलाई राजनीतिज्ञ हरुले पारित गरी छोडेका छन् |
नेपालको अघिल्लो पुस्तालाई भने संविधान भनेको छेपारो को रंग जस्तो लाग्न थालेको छ, जसको कुनै भर हुँदैन, त्यसैले धेरै चिन्ता लिईराख्नु जरुरी छैन | नेपालको यो पुरानो पुस्ताले गएको ६ दशकमा ६ वटा संबिधान देखिसकेको छ | सरकारमा भएको शक्ति ले एउटा संबिधान बनाउछ र केही समयमा सरकारमा नयाँ शक्तिको उदय संगै त्यो संबिधानलाई एक दसकको छोटो समयमै मिल्काईन्छ, यो कुरा को साक्षी छन् नेपालका पुराना पुस्ता | सस्ता चिनियाँ इलेक्ट्रोनिक्स उपकरण जस्तै, पुरानै संबिधानलाई मर्मत गर्नु भन्दा नयाँ संबिधान बनाउन सजिलो लाग्छ हाम्रा राजनीतिज्ञ हरुलाई | सानो समायोजनले हल हुने कुरालाई राजनीतिज्ञहरुले युक्तिसंगत रुपमा मूल्य हिन साबित गर्दिन्छन् | साथ-साथै पाका नागरिकहरुले बृहत राजनितिक उथल-पुथल जस्तै कट्टर राजतन्त्र देखी संबैधानिक राजतन्त्र देखी जनयुद्ध देखी दरबार हत्या काण्ड देखी गणतन्त्र देखी संघिय राजनिति देखी भूकम्पको वोरी-परी भएको राजनितिले ल्याएको राजनितिक परिवर्तन आदी सबै देखेका छन् | यथार्थमा पुराना मान्छेहरु त्यस्ता मान्छे संग वाक्क छन् जो संबिधानलाई ज्यादै गम्भीर रुपमा लिनछन् | उनीहरुले संविधान बिरोधि दंगा होस् वा संविधान समर्थक समारोह, दुवैलाई एकै नजरले हेर्छन् | उनीहरु अन्योलमा छन् कि किन मनिसहरु धेरै परिवोर्तनको चाहना गर्दछन् | उनीहरुको अनुभवले देखेको छ कि ५० बर्षको परिवर्तनको प्रतिज्ञाले सिमान्तकृत/ हराईरहेको मानिसहरुलाई कुनै मद्दत गर्न सकेको छैन | र उनीहरुले आफ्नु चीनालाई संबिधानलाई भन्दा धेरै महत्व दिईनै रहनेछन् |
For more pictures, click here.
Kehi Garoun is itself inspired by J. Krishnamurti, and proudly displayed J.K publications in the 19th Nepal International Book Fair at Bhrikutimandap, Exhibition hall, Kathmandu where more than 50 books and DVDs were displayed.
The book fair was held from 21st August to 29th August.
In 2011, we held 100+ events towards ‘responsible citizenship
+ accountable leadership’.
In 2012, we carry a voice that says ‘बाँच र बाँच्न देऊ’
June 2012: "बाँच र बाँच्न देऊ" - Kathmandu Cares For the Whole of Nepal
Challenge: Kathmandu is insensitive to plights of the rest of the nation; Only when Kathmandu suffers long bandhs do people here agitate.
Response: We learn to care about what's happening outside Nepal. We will support 'No-bandh' long as there is a bandh anywhere in Nepal.
What we do? Every Friday 6pm Thamel - Show that we care for that people all over Nepal are free. Stand for 15 minutes for Nepali everywhere.
May 2012: "बाँच र बाँच्न देऊ" - No to Ethnic Politics, No to Bandha
Challenge: Politician's ethnic-politics is turning neighbors-against-neighbors.
Response: Be Human - prove to yourself that your humanity is bigger than your ethnicity!
We may not change politicians but we can reassure the silent mass that not 'all' newars, limbus, tharus etc. want ethnic nationalism.Wiki - "An ethnic conflict or ethnic war is a conflict between ethnic groups often as a result of ethnic nationalism. They are of interest because of the apparent prevalence since the Cold War and because they frequently result in war crimes such as genocide."
What we do? Silent Rally - 10 am Thamel - Show that our silence is not your approval of ethnic-agenda.
Walk for "individual freedom and communal harmony", whichever ethnicity calls for bandh, people from same ethnicity come and rally against that. We can make this a citizen's habit.
2011: Responsible Citizens + Accountable Politics
Problem: Politicians have time and again pushed constitution deadline; we citizens seem to give them license to do just that. Unless we care for accountability, why would the politicians?
Response: We should become responsible citizens and contest better political alternatives.
What we did: We stood in silence for 15 minutes, promoting a simple message: "It is our responsibility as citizens to bring accountability from politicians." We did that over 100 times (daily for 3 months, and weekly for 3 months) at Durbar Marg. It was organized under the theme of मेरो देश, मेरै दायित्व! (Mero Des, Merai Dayitwa) in partnership with Nepal Unites.
Our response: Relief > Resume > Rebuild
As new academic session in schools start, students are in need of stationery. When their parents cannot afford to buy these notebooks, they are embarrassed to come to class , they can’t write notes in class, can’t do their homework and hence have no material to review later.
In the last few years, over 20,000 notebooks have been delivered with various stationery aids to over 3000 students in need from 30+ schools in Kathmandu. This year we are all geared up for 1000 plus students with 7000+ notebooks with other stationery aids.
This is the glaring reason behind most of the students in government schools lagging in studies. To avoid the embarrassment in class when teachers would ask for notebooks, to ignite the interest in students and motivate them to learn and to avoid putting pressure on their cash-strapped parents; since 2011, Kehi Garoun has been distributing stationery to government schools in Kathmandu.
KG provided mid-day meals (साझा खाजा) to some students who can not afford to bring lunch.
Since 2005, KG has shared over 21,000 meals with students who otherwise would have stayed hungry in their classes.
Children in need of meal:
After earthquakes, it is natural to help out in "Relief". In response to the recent earthquakes to hit Nepal, volunteers have provided health-relief packages to those in need. As of May 18th, KGNepal distributed health packages, tailored to women and children, to over 10,000 families in over 40 locations.
Yet, we all hope, "Rebuild" will start at some point. KGNepal intends to focus on 'Resume' that will connect the Relief phase to the Rebuild phase.
- How you can help the healing process? Earthquakes will continue to come. Hence, let us not wait around for another shock. Instead, let us calm our nerve, and limp ahead into daily life so that we may restore our trust in our own capacity to rebuild our lives.
- Why we should resume lives, and not wait for aid? If we get stuck in a relief-aid economy, that will displace a market economy. Efforts to 'resume' lives will ensure we reach a healthy rebuilding phase. First, we should not wait around for another specialist or another truck-load of relief-aid. Instead, let us go back to doing what we used to do before earthquakes. Meanwhile, there are two ways in which to help:
After brainstorming for two days and talking to experts, we learnt that one of the major challenges after an earthquake is mitigating the risk of an epidemic outbreak. People living in temporary shelters without access to proper sanitation or hygiene is the major cause for this.
Kehi Garoun, along with a group of enthusiastic volunteers, have come up with a plan to address this concern.
Board Member of Kehi Garoun and Lekhaa Services, an accounting firm.
The participated schools and teachers were as follows:
- Kanya Mandir H.S.S : Arjun Dhoj Aryal, Jibraj Acharya, Rup Bahadur Rana
- Baal Bikas Ni.Ma.Vi,: Kamala Pant
- Prabhat Ma.Vi: Surabhi Shrestha and Sital Rizal
- Kankeswori L.SS: Khagendra Paudel, Sabita Dhungel and Shrijana Pandey
- Bhakta Bidyashram S.S: Dipti Nath Koirala, Parasuram Timilsina, Sarita K.C, Ganesh Dutta Pant,
- Mahendra Saraswoti : Sachindra K. Jha
- Nepal national LSS: Anita Bhattarai, Babi Basnet
- Shree Arunodhya LS: Anju Subedi
- Shanti Nikunja Ma.Vi: Renu Shahi, Poonam Dangol,Anita Rajbhandari, Manaka Shrestha
- Kanti Ishwori Ma.Vi: Sita Sharma,Bharat Raj Marahatta
- Adarsha L.S.S: Antram Nath, Kalpana Bhusal
- Ranidevi L.S.S: Shamvu K. Ghimire
Dashain is the biggest festival for most people in Nepal , and celebrating Dashain for fortunate people like us is an annual event of meeting family and having fun. But for those less fortunate than us, it’s a different feeling, especially for children . So we, KG team and volunteers organized an event called "DASHAIN AYO" on 29th September, 2014 Balmandir, Naxal, to at-least try to give those kids an opportunity to experience the joy of this beautiful culture we have .
Deep appreciation and gratitude to all the volunteers for making "Dashain Aayo " a reality beyond imagination.
Here are the list of volunteers who actively participated on the event day.
The event mainly focused on giving the children a joyful Dashain experience. It included provision of lunch and gifts with various fun games and music.
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Oral Hygiene Report:
- On September 12th, 10 Volunteers from Nepal Dental Hygienist Association and KG staffs visited "Shree Adarsha School" and "Kamal Primary School" to raise awareness about dental problems, provide general checkup and give toothpaste and toothbrushes to 104 students.
- Total raised fund for the camp was Rs 10,000 from friends of Bipin Shrestha and Jasmine Basnet Tuladhar. R.B. Brush Industries (P) Ltd donated the toothpaste and toothbrushes.
After successful volunteers, you may become an office intern to get professional SKILLS in KG office. Interns receive a stipend and a experience letters at the end of their tenure. Beyond that, you may start your own project as a change-agent. You will get office-support, mentoring and fund-raising assistance to CONVERT your change-idea into action. Change-agents receive "Certificate of Appreciation" and will be promoted in print media.
For Volunteers, please note that KGNepal gives youexposure to causes, gradually enabling you to become a change-agent who undertakes independent projects. All have to start at Level 1 Volunteer. You will get hands-on EXPOSURE to social causes. Volunteers get recognized through KG website testimonials.
- Pabitra Sewa Samaj, Dhapasi
- CCRC Orphanage House, Imadol
- Lotus Children Home, Balaju
- Himalayan Children Home, Samakhusi
- Siddhi Sewa Shram, Teku
- Others, Lazmipat
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How volunteers helped 164 students in government schools who were facing Kathmandu's bitter winter without sweaters?
Ayush Manandhar, Chandan Nemkul, Nishan Neupane, Sara Sharma, Romisha Maharjan, Avritti Bhattari, Sarina Shrestha, Puja Shrestha, Sneha Shakya, Nischala Neupane, Aishwarya Dhakhwa, Nilima Mali, Millee Maskey, Prayush Shakya, Nikki Hamal, Rachita Tuladhar. Simron Shrestha
- Feb 17 - Volunteers visited Kankeshwori School in Naradeive and distributed 74 sweaters.
- Feb 13 - Volunteers visited Bhakta Bidhyashram School in Raktakali and distributed 25 sweaters.
- Feb 10 - Volunteers visited Shanti Shiksha Mandir School in Thaiti and distributed sweater to 31 students
- Feb 7 & 8 - Volunteers from Kusom raised fund by 'face painting' in Basantapur and Patan durbar squares respectively. They raised over Rs10K so we could visit more schools
- Feb 3 - Helped 34 students in Adarsha NiMaBi, Naxal. Students also showcased their talents in singing, poetry and jokes recitation.
- Jan - Preparations: On 16th, met teachers to plan school visits. On 10th, formed a volunteer group in facebook.
Sweater campaign started when KG Team was visiting Tarani School in 2012 and found that students there were shivering in bitter cold morning. The team collected some funds at the spot to buy sweater and donate to the students.
Categories of work