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.
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.
We understand each person has his or her own ideas and skills. That is why we look forward to communicating with you one-on-one after you submit your interest.
Are you interested in Volunteering for the Giving Program? We need volunteers to edit profiles and rate the students needs. You can do this on your own schedule, and even remotely. In additional, you may be asked, based on your location, to deliver Gifts.
Changemakers of the Month
To make Kehi Garoun an environment where people can grow and develop, Kavita Srinivasan guide the staff and interns on presentation skills. After an initial session where insights on presentation skills and tools were shared, participants scheduled their own presentations in the following week. Each presentation is followed by a feedback session to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each presenter, and what they can do to improve their presentations skills.
Kehi Garoun team looks to improve purposefulness and productivity of individuals. “The One Thing” is the title of a book written by Gary Keller, towards that end. Kehi Garoun team read this book, followed by a gathering on 21st June 2013, to discuss its implications in each of their lives.
The book dismisses many commonly held beliefs about success, such as the benefits of multitasking and discipline. It’s primary take away is the question: “What is the ONE THING I can do, such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
The staff discussed how the principles in this book applied to them personally and professionally. This was done in the beautiful environs of the Tea Lounge, which is a standing example of a place which could as well have been designed keeping the principles of THE ONE THING in mind!
Lives we touched...
6. ON LIBERTY
"Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere."
On 24th May 2013, Kehi Garoun organized a program for our network teachers to talk about the impact of stationery distribution program. Since 2011, Kehi Garoun has been distributing stationery supplies to economically challenged students. The main agenda of the program is to find out what the teachers have to share regarding the outcome of stationery distribution to 30 government school students. Among 22 participants, 12 teachers participated and gave their valuable feedback.
Teachers concluded that with such program, the students have been regular to school, keep their notebooks clean and tidy. Also, most teachers feel that the stationery really has created huge impact for teachers and mostly for the students who receive it.
Karan Pratap Shah, a student from Symbiosis India, worked as a full time interns at Kehi Garoun for one month. He worked on issues related to the marketing and communications of Kehi Garoun. He focused on getting the team to revise the marketing strategy, make plans to promote Kehi Garoun in local media, print brochures and banners etc. His contribution would surely help Kehi Garoun's marketing in future. We wish him all the best for his future!
Lives that we touched...
"Relationship is the only thing that we have, and without understanding that relationship we can never find out what reality is or God is. So, to bring about a complete change in the social structure, in society, the individual must cleanse his relationship, and the cleansing of relationship is the beginning of his own transformation." JK
Full update page is here.
Sophiya lives with her aunt. She has a poor economic background. She comes with bare feet in school and doesn't have proper uniform to wear. In a week, she used to be present only for 2-3 days. And according to her teacher, Ms. Bimala Acharya, she covered her face due to shyness.
Through KG Gifts, she has been given sweater on the cold winter, supported by Siddhartha Maharjan. She has been encouraged to come to school, says her teacher in an excited tone. Nowadays, she is regular to school and studies with the whole heart. She stands first/second in her class. Now that she has received a KG gift, she says she wants to study hard and doesn't want to put any burden to her aunt.
Ms. Bimala says she has been exhilarated and happy to see Sophiya improving and being a confident girl. Ms. Bimala is also praised by the school's principle. With KG Gifts, she really feels empowered to do something for their students
KG is planning to set up a KG Trust Fund. KG Trust Fund is an independent trust to support KG. It will be managed by a board of Trustees, independent of KG, made of individuals contributing to the fund.Please visit KG Trust for more information.
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INSTITUTIONAL:In March, KG made a few small achievements:
In our blog, you can read updates of activities conducted by our enabling team.