Our students are very interested in creative writing. There has been a lot of growth in their writing skills since the first edition of the Papa’s House Magazine, during the Australian Summer Camp, the Local Summer Camp, in all the activities with Carola, and then the second edition of the Magazine. On June 8, Waro Basnet, a content writer for The Himalayan Times, led an orientation session as an introduction to creative writing classes. He shared three stories of his life, connecting to his journey as a content writer in the leading newspaper of our nation. All the students and teachers who attended felt inspired to action. Waro will volunteer at the Chelsea Center for the next year starting from June 10, 2018, and will lead creative writing classes for the students from grade 6 to 10. The students are most excited to learn with him.
Papa’s House students are learning managerial and other life skills at a younger age than most Nepalese youth. The brothers at Papa’s House planned, prepared, and performed on Sisters’ Day, under the leadership of Ashok. They made the day special for all the sisters. The meal prepared by the chef team of the brothers training in Hotel Management was delicious. The funny dance and the drama added laughter to the program. Games and activities made the program interactive. Ashok shared his childhood memories of the brothers at Papa’s House, touching all the hearts of everyone listening. What could be more joyful than watching all the Papa’s House youth, once again under the same roof and sharing the one story of different individuals?
"She is just sixteen years old and is doing so many wonderful things; I too want to do something like that," said Muskan, one of our Papa’s House grade 9 students after attending the Public Speaking workshop led by Trinayana. The experience was similar for all of us who attended the workshop, including the teachers. Trinayana is an Intermediate (10+2) level student who, starting at the age of thirteen, runs a fundraising organisation called "Shuffle" in Kolkata, India. She has also been tutoring underprivileged children in public speaking and creative writing in her locality as well as certain regional charities in the city. Trinayana’s workshop was special in the sense that our students could see a reflection of themselves in her, and thus their own possibilities. "These students' receptivity is so unique and exceptional," said Trinayana’s mother who accompanied Trinayana for the workshop at the Center.
"The Chelsea Center is the place where we speak up, where we can express without fear, a place where we learn," said the women during the sharing session of the workshop entitled “The Leader Within” led by Jashima Thapa and Team Chelsea. The individual testimonies of the women after each program empower all of us to provide even more opportunities for these eager learners. Jashmina herself reported, "It was fun and the women enjoyed participating in the activities. . .and from the beginning they were excited to learn."
Yoga, Pranayama, and Meditation is the most ancient science of Nepal. It is inseparable from the country’s culture, tradition, history, religion, and the way of life. On May 25th Prashanna Bista, Director of the Chelsea Center led an introductory session on Yoga, Pranayama, and Meditation for sixty women. Prashanna has been a practitioner of the science for the last five years and a trainer of "Jeevan Vigyan Pratishthan”—one of the leading socio-spiritual organizations in Nepal.
The session was an amalgam of theory and practice. After sharing the basic understanding of the science, he gave a forty-five minute tool to practice for twenty-one days. If the students complete this phase and find it helpful, Prashanna will share some advanced tools to exercise for 108 days.
Bringing the whole community under the same roof of the Chelsea Education and Community Center, we celebrated the diversity day. Nepal is rich in cultural diversity and on a day like this at the Center, one can see the diversity of the whole nation. With the experience of previous year’s celebration, the Team started preparing the event. There were twenty-seven groups—each group prepared their traditional food and dressed in their cultural costume.
‘Bhote’ community students from Eastern Nepal prepared their own food which was something new to the uniquely dressed ‘Doteli’ community students. The joy of sharing a part of their food with their teachers is something the students will never want to miss on this holiday. The students prepared the food at home and brought it to the center to share with others. Singing and dancing are the inseparable parts of all these celebrations at the Center.
More than just a place where students read, Chelsea Center has become a platform where we learn, share, express and celebrate.
Anuja Koirala and Kabita Mahato (daytime teachers at Chelsea Center) gave a presentation to sixty women about the Diversity Day celebration at the Chelsea Center. They started the session with a game in which they divided all the participants into four different groups and provided each group a paper and colored pencil. Each group made their drawing with the different colors they had. The presenters introduced the concept of Diversity Day after the activity. At the end of the presentation, they showed the photos from the last year's Diversity Day sharing an overview of what it would look like.
When the presenter is skillful, any presentation can become interesting. Shreya Upadhyay, the Director of Volunteer Nepal led an "Email Etiquette" workshop for the 45 students from grades 7 to 10 and 14 of the teachers at the CECC. No one expected a workshop on this topic could be so exciting and participation so active. Starting with the basics, Shreya shared different elements, format, and types of email writing. Questioning the participants was the tool Shreya used throughout the workshop, which all enjoyed. It was fun! Apart from the things we learned about the email writing, the students and the teachers said they learned about better presentation skills during the session.
Jashmina led Team Chelsea in offering a workshop with the women which started with an interactive energizer followed by fun activities like "privilege walk", "being a man" and role plays. The objectives of workshop were to understand how society perceives the roles of men and women, what "privilege" means and how it affect one's position in the society, to analyze how violence and power support each other, and to reflect on their own privilege and create change in society.
Experienced teacher and Director of Operations, Sunita Pandey, led an engrossing workshop for the morning teachers focused on the traits of an effective teacher. Included in her list were: Enjoys teaching, makes a difference, spreads possitivity, stays organized, embraces change, has standards, and more. Next she segued into lesson-planning, breaking curriculum expectations into manageable chunks with critical questions shaping an organized learning experience. Feedback from participants after the presentation indicated they valued her insights and look forward to follow-up sessions.
The 18 Class 10 students experienced the confusion of learning something new when they tried to trace their way around a maze while looking in a mirror. Frustration, embarassment, encouragement, laughter, and even cheating ensued which all made for a thoughtful discussion of what it means to learn. The series of workshops led by retired teacher Carola Drosdeck continued for two subsequent sessions and included public speaking opportunities and a discussion of the defining characteristics of passive, aggressive, and assertive actions. Here's to asserting yourself!
The evening teachers at the Chelsea Center went to Skylark School to meet with the principal and the math teachers for classes 7, 8, 9, and 10. The discussion focused on how to collaborate on the shared goal of improving student progress and confidence. Plans for follow-up meetings are already in the works!
Flower Clown (alias Ron Fowler, from Cleveland, OH, USA) returned to Papa's House for another delightful performance. This time he focused on his incredible balloon twisting skills, with every child (and a few adults!) leaving with a unique balloon sculpture. He was accompanied by Lindsay Young from Wales, but more often found on the streets of Bhaktapur entertaining crowds. We are so grateful to both of these balloon artists!
Summer Camp offerings included classes in dance, writing, photography, vlogging, public speaking, science, and drama. Today's finale was a showcase for the learning that took place all week long. There was much enthusiasm displayed among the performers and the audience was delightfully entranced!
During her April visit, and with the assistance of her friend Daphne, Board Adviser Cici Caillet led two sex ed workshops, one for the 8 to 10th grade girls and one for the college girls. Both were well attended and the girls' questions showed a need and curiosity to talk about women's issues. The workshop included a discussion about biology as well as practical concerns and relationships. The aim was to open a dialogue about a topic that is often considered taboo in Nepal. The presentation sparked more one on one discussions afterwards as well.
A special field trip to Bhaktapur was planned near the end of Summer Camp. Two buses departed from Dhapasi Height with a lively group of children and adults, all ready for sightseeing in this historic city. With a stop first at Changu Narayan, one of seven World Heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley, the group enjoyed a picnic on a scenic hillside. Traveling on to Bhaktapur, they wwatched potters at work and of course enjoyed the famous curd.
The wonderfully energetic volunteers from Maleny High School helped the students wrap up their Afternoon Summer Camp experience with wide-ranging production! From card tricks to dance productions, from game demonstrations to heartfelt personal narratives, the performances were a wonderful tribute to teamwork, creativity, and learning. Despite threatening skies throughout the afternoon, the rain held off and smiles abounded!
Anne and Dan McCadden and their niece Elizabeth Early co-led a computer workshop during which students learned new strategies and tricks using Excel.