Teachers and students celebrated this special day in a traditional Nepali way very close to all our hearts: the Papa’s House students organized and led a surprise program of activities and performances for their teachers. Though they call it Teachers Day, it is celebrated like Children’s Day, making their teachers dance, act and sing. They made us feel proud of the students we teach!
The museum, the Golden Temple, the Krishna Mandir (Krishna Temple), the Dhunge Dharas (the stone taps) and the fascinating small details of handmade arts and crafts made the tour of Patan's Durbar Square special. Ted Seymour and Laurie Levine organized the visit, initially inviting students interested in photography. As is turned out, seventy-one students signed up, which is the total number of students below grade ten. The photo lesson tour became the photo session tour--though only two of the resulting photos are shown here. The tour was organized after the end of the First Term Exam at the school and was a joyful experience for all of us.
The afternoon teachers participated in a workshop led by Ted, Laura, Justin, and Blanca for the higher grades of Papa’s House students (see July 13 event). Like any good teacher, whenever we learn something we want to share it with our own students, so these teachers led a sharing workshop for the women students on “Personality and Character.” The session started with basic questioning and discussion about the idea of personality and character and ended with the assignment of understanding the personality and character of each member of one’s own family.
On July 13, Ted, Laura, Justin, and Blanca organized an event for the grade ten and higher Papa’s House students. There were four different activities running simultaneously in different classrooms at the Chelsea Center: Ted led a workshop on “How to Start Your Own Business” in the first session and “Finding Your True Job” in the second. Laura dedicated her workshop entitled, “Choosing your Character,” to leadership wisdom. Justin led a workshop on “Budgeting your Dollar” a subject of very high need for the Nepalese students since no one here teaches any lessons like this and we really struggle with managing our budget. The workshop led by Blanca entitled “Fun with Confidence,” was full of activity, role-playing, and fun. These multiple and simultaneous sessions became a beautiful reason to bring all of the older Papa’s House kids together under the same roof. Oh, and did we mention that there was pizza?!
The daytime English teachers and the students were very excited about the arrival of our long-time volunteers Shaily and Saurya and the re-start of conversation classes for the women. Every year the two of them volunteer at the Chelsea Center when they come to Nepal during their vacation from school in the U.S. This year they led six conversation classes in only two weeks (June 15 to June 30)! The women were very happy to see Shaily and Saurya again and on the last day of the class, told them, “We will speak better English when you will come back to Chelsea Center next year!”
The best part about working with the kids is that you get to observe “Everything fascinates them like nothing else,” and if you are open, you realize you are getting back in touch with the child inside of you as well.
Information Technology(IT) professionals, Rahul Bajracharya and Pritishma Tuladhar came to the Center on June 22, and led a question and answer session about their field. Previously, Pritisma tutored our younger students for a year and Rahul was a computer tutor for our upper grade students for two years. The session was a surprise we prepared for the students because we knew they would love it. When the students realized that Rahul and Pritisma would arrive in the workshop hall within a minute, they began a countdown like it was the New Year's Eve they were waiting their whole life for.
The students asked a lot of questions about Rahul and Pritishma's personal and professional lives. The benefits of this interaction can be observed since some of our students already interested in IT decided they will study B. IT after studying management in the intermediate level, and others have started analyzing the options in order to make a choice between B. IT and BSc. CSIT studies in the future.
A completely new and one of the most awaited experiences for the students was the opportunity to interact with professionals in many fields on June 16. The best part of the event was that the students got an opportunity to interview someone in the profession of their choice. How could the excitement not be at the peak when you are going to meet someone who can respond to all the queries inside your heart, and you have prepared a lot of questions for them? A heartfelt thankfulness to all our volunteers who serve us in every possible way and on so many different levels.
Live music is very popular in Nepal these days. Since we are constantly introducing new type of activities, workshops, and events on Fridays, we organized the first "Musical Friday" at the Chelsea Center. "Mriduta" was the voice for the evening, meaning someone who has a melodious voice.
With the theme “Things Can Always Get Better,” this Friday was a reflection day for the daytime classes. Starting with the question, “How to make the learning process more effective?” we divided the participants into five discussion groups. We provided them with paper and pen, and they had to write about their experiences in class in three different categories. In the first category they had to include things that they are enjoying the most in their classes, second being the difficulties/challenges in learning and after group discussion, they had to write possible solutions in the third category.
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.
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.
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.
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!