Saturday, July 27, was a very special day for me(Prashanna), for my teacher L.P. Bhanu Sharma visited the Chelsea Center, to meet and interact with my students. It was an important occasion for the students too, for they have waited long to meet him. L.P. Bhanu Sharma is a meditation teacher and a life development expert at Jeevan Vigyan (a leading socio-spiritual organization in Nepal), and principal of one of the best management schools in Nepal ,“The Apex College”. On this day, addressing the students’ inquiries, Mr. Sharma shared with our students (grade 9 to 12) some meditation tools and his life experiences to live a joyfully productive life.
Everyone in Papa’s House loves to dance. At the end of every major event, the students perform a free dance, and they never get tired of dancing. July 26th marked the day for the first dance night at the Chelsea Center. Colourful lights decorated the workshop room, and the students danced freely for one hour (7 pm -8 pm). It was an exuberant celebration.
We played the final match of the Intra-Chelsea Football Tournament on July 19th. Team A (Captain Sujan), and Team B (Captain Saroj) played the final match. Sujan’s team become the winner of the first Intra-Chelsea Football Tournament. Like many other endeavours, the success of this tournament has made it possible for the Chelsea Center, to take another step towards holistic educational approach.
The joy of putting tika on each teacher’s forehead, thanking and blessing the teachers, and offering sweets: this is how our women students celebrate Teachers Day at the Chelsea Center. In the afternoon the teachers used those sweets to celebrate the day with our younger students in the after-school program. We also led some fun-learning activities (including having partners deliver a minute-long speech on the topics they got in a lucky draw) and watched a movie of all the extra-curricular activities we’ve done recently at the Chelsea Center.
Taking another step towards the broader world of Information Technology, and leadership, the IT club organized an introductory workshop for the students below grade 10. Saurya is one of our long-time volunteers, and a student of Computer Science. She led the workshop to teach a simple programming language “Scratch” with our young learners. This language was developed by MIT.
Having Prekshay, mentor for the IT Club, show up on the website launch day was a heart-warming surprise for the members of the club and a boost to their confidence. The team explained the basics of making a website to their audience of brothers and sisters. During the Q & A round, one of the 10th graders asked, “When will you be teaching all these things to us?”
There was another opportunity for the Papa's House children to connect with the families of the local women in the community who take classes at the Chelsea Center in our Auntie Program. It's such a positive experience for our children AND the families who welcome them that goes well beyond the length of their visit together.
Enrollment of local women increased when new classes opened up in late June. Students are eagerly practicing their English and public speaking skills among the various offerings at the CECC.
Our recent Class 10 graduates received their School Exit Examination (SEE) results last week. They received much praise from their teachers at Skylark School AND the Chelsea Center and, in return, the graduates expressed their gratitude to their mentors with words and sweets.
Photographs tell stories, and this makes photographers the storytellers. Most people love to be photographed, while a few love to take one. A group of young photographers in Papa’s House formally started Photography Hub on June 2. While this platform will inevitably develop leadership skills in the pioneers, it will further inspire many photographers (the storytellers) in Papa’s House.
After the SEE graduates' visit to Foundation of Sustainable Technology (FoST) last April, we planned a second visit for seven of the women students. They, along with one mentor teacher, participated in the introductory session where they learned the basics of reusing and recycling the waste material that we create in daily life, working in homes and in kitchens. After the visit, the students shared the experience of their visit with other students at the Chelsea Center.
Teachers and students expressed their gratitude for each other with a rousing game of football (soccer) on the grounds of Papa's House. There was spirited competition, lots of laughs, and much appreciation for each other.
Ten young adults from Papa’s House participated in the Empower Social Entrepreneurship Program, organized and led by Karina Jansen and her team. The two-week intensive program provided the platform for our students to connect to participants from different business schools, work in teams, and learn from Nepali business leaders in the area of Social Entrepreneurship. On 23rd May, the participants received certificates for successfully completing the program.
“Four years ago, I used a computer for the first time at the Chelsea Center. The simple coding Rahul Sir taught us fascinated me like anything, and I started enjoying coding the most,” said Anupa during her presentation on June 2nd. Srijana, Sita, Rajan, and Ashok shared similar stories. Back then, Ashok was in class 10 and the others were in grade 6. Now they are helping each other become computer experts!
The team made a formal announcement to start the "IT club" at the Chelsea Center. In this club, one can learn and share skills in programming, coding, and other basic computer skills.
The words in our social studies textbooks are meant to explain vividly the beauty in the diversity of Nepalese culture. Witnessing the beauty during Diversity Day at the Chelsea Center is an entirely different experience. It was a day full of laughter, joy, and celebration.
“When I see a monk, I want to become one; this mostly happens when I see a monk kid.” This was Apsara’s (grade 8) comment upon seeing a group of monk children dressed in their attire. While not sure of Apsara’s monk pursuit, one thing is for sure: the kids looked adorable in the dress when they joined our trek to Nagi Gumba Monastery.
It was a long trek, and the participants were tired, but they made it. Upon reaching the top and witnessing the pride of the victory and the confidence they had gained, it was clear that the efforts were worth it. This was the first of the seven Gratitude Tours we will do this year, promoting the theme of Gratitude for the Nepali year of 2076.
Thinking Out Loud is a platform where we lead interactive brain-storming sessions among the teachers and the students. Here we bring a topic and encourage discussion among the participants. On 22nd May, we introduced the platform to the students in grade 8, 9, and 10 and their participation was even more active than our expectations.
While English language is a challenge for the students in government schools, Nepali is a challenge for the students in English-speaking private schools in Nepal. At the Chelsea Center we are working on both languages. On 17th May, the after-school teachers Samir Khan, Sushil Dumre, and Pawan Rai led an activity to promote learning both English and Nepali language.
There's nothing like a family gathering on a Friday night! Staff, children, extended family, and volunteers packed the community room of the Chelsea Center to view Toni Thomson's poignant documentary What It Takes to Be Extraordinary, about the development of Nepal Orphans Home. Part home movie and part celebration of family, the film brought smiles and tears. What an occasion!
This year's Summer Camp Finale was a wonderful presentation of talent and self-confidence! Led by new Chelsea Center teacher Meenashi, the participants practiced poise and relaxation techniques. The audience was in awe of the composure displayed by these young women in their final production. Each of the participants performed a song, dance, recitation, or demonstration to rousing applause of appreciation.