Chelsea Education and Community Center Report
By Prashanna Bista, Director
Bhagiratha Aama, our oldest student, joined us for the Annual General Meeting at the Chelsea Center. Since it is now more difficult for her to walk to the Center every day, she stopped taking classes some months back, but she said she will try to attend classes at times. She is carrying her school bag (with Chelsea Center logo on it).
Saya pretending to meditate
(for the sake a photo)
Saya actually meditating
Comings and Goings
Diwakar joined the Chelsea Center in 2018: an intelligent person, a compassionate teacher
Everyone—both teachers and the students—loved working with Pragya since Day 1
Diwakar worked at the Chelsea Center for five years. July, 2022 was his last month of work with us. On August 11, 2022, he went to the U.S. to do his PhD. We will miss him.
Pragya completed her master’s degree in social work. On her farewell day, she shared her experiences working with the Team Chelsea. She said she was glad that she had opportunities to take initiative at the Center.
Anupa teaches math and science to the students of grade 7 and 8. Anupa was one of the best students I ever taught at the Chelsea Center and is now pursuing her B.IT in Nepal. She is intelligent, hardworking, and full of joy and laughter.
Shweta joined the center as a replacement for Pragya. Shweta completed her master’s degree in counseling psychology, and is also working as a counselor for the students at an NGO in Dhapasi, Kathmandu.
Activities and Workshops
Bhawana getting prize after her team
won the Dashain Dictation Event
Joya and Suman making their first paper airplane
Community women preparing to sing Dohori Song
Kajal and her team presenting the finale
Kalpana Auntie singing Bhajan (Divine Song) on International Women’s Day
Samir Sir preparing to start the outdoor math activities
Special activities at the Chelsea Center from May through August included a picnic, meditation with Kritica, workshops for the children, a dental hygiene clinic, and a stress management workshop for the adult students. A more complete listing can be found on the NOH website here.
Bhumika and Anupa (holding hands, in the first row) were part of a mentoring program during the Dashain Aayo project in 2017, which included reminiscing about their school days and re-creating the experience for other children. All of those mentors are now serving their brothers and sisters as teachers in the afterschool program at CECC.
I remember having a conversation (back in 2017) with some of my fellow teachers, when I was working part time in the afterschool program as a Math/Science tutor at the Chelsea Center. We were discussing how wonderful it would be if someday the Chelsea Center would be led by children of Papa’s House after they grew up. Maybe not so in the leadership role (yet), but today, it’s mostly our Papa’s House young adults teaching at the Center. They are doing a very good job!
(Papa’s House Young Adults)
|% of Staff
Papa’s House Young Adults
(1 after-school teacher)
(0 after-school teachers)
(as of August)
Note: The total number of children in Papa’s House has decreased. The total number of women students (especially after the lockdown), and therefore, the total staff number has also decreased over the past few years at the Chelsea Center.
More than Academic Education
“I may not be intelligent in Math and English, but Art, I know I can do it. Because of the art classes I experience the confidence I never had,” said Tina (third from left). She is one of the best artists at the Center. “She is a rapid learner,” said Indra Sir, our art instructor.
For Children (after-school program):
- Art classes with Indra Sir
- Pranayama and meditation classes
- Students Lead: Once every month, students in grade 9 design and lead activities for other students at the center. This is to provide them opportunities to practice creative thinking, presentation skills, organization, team work, and taking initiatives.
- Teachers Lead: Teachers also do the same once in every 30 days. This is to develop our educators’ culture of thinking and doing beyond academics, or simply being creative with academics.
- External Workshops: Every month we organize one external workshop for the students (for both afterschool and women literacy program)
For Our Women Students (daytime program):
- Mobile learning class
- Dance class
- Conversation class
There is an increasing demand for a ‘Public Speaking’ class as well. We will introduce it next year (January, 2023).
Volunteers’ contributions also make a difference. In the past months we had:
- Michael leading conversation classes with women students
- Melani leading neuroscience ‘knowledge sharing sessions’ for children
- Kritica leading Yoga Sessions for children
- Muskan teaching Dance to women
- Badri sharing ‘Feedback on Writing’ for the children
- Rheanna conducting a Webinar for the young adults
- Bimala leading an Art Therapy session
- Ashok leading a four-week computer course for young adults
- Pragya teaching Guitar to women students, and many more activities, classes, and workshops
Activities and workshops continue to be the strength of the Center. All students (women and children) love attending the workshops and activities. We organized and led 21 workshops, events, and events in just the past five months.
I continue to lead 10 minutes meditation session for the students in the after-school program. Like I mentioned in my previous report, I have always wanted to teach them meditation but never really felt confident. My hope with this is to expose and equip them with basic meditation practices so that when they experience emotional challenges, lack concentration, and experience difficulty making decisions they will know there are some practices they can go back to. I often use affirmations to help them internalize ideas such as: respect, playfulness, conscious living, self-awareness and acceptance during the meditation sessions.
Dashain Aayo Project
This was the most successful event we have ever organized at the Center. The students’ presentation skills upgraded by two-fold, witnessed during the final presentation. I believed I had tried everything I knew to help children do better in their studies and other forms of learning. I had no regrets, but I never felt my effort came to satisfactory levels of fruition. The finale of the Dashain Aayo project was an important day for me; I felt much better that day. I felt I finally succeeded in adding desired value to their skill set.
Dashain is a joyful period; it’s a time to celebrate, meet and spend time celebrating with family members. But unlike the previous years, we will not have any students coming to the Chelsea Center during the vacation. In the past, we used to have students who stayed in Kathmandu during the vacation. Most of them have already graduated and are living independently. It looks like we will not have any activities during the vacation time in Papa’s House or at the Chelsea Center.
I have always wanted to create opportunities for children to meet people and learn from them. Online volunteering opportunities can make that dream a reality. During August and September, we had three different volunteers sharing their knowledge with our young adults and children.
- Rheanae led an information sharing session for six young adults. The students learned about the process for applying for studying in the U.S. and related scholarships.
- Melani is leading academic conversation class with students in grade 7, 8, & 9 once a week, where they talk about subjects, like, chemistry, neuroscience, and biology. My hope with this is that the students will get opportunities to interact, discuss, and develop conversation skills.
- Vibha and her team: We are exploring possibilities to learn online coding and writing with them.
- Michael continues to help Bhumika and Sita’s work with young children in the afterschool classes.
- We are working on a collaboration with Unlearn Academy (King’s College, Nepal) to organize an ongoing teacher training program for the teachers at the Chelsea Center along with prospective partner schools in Dhapasi.
Writing with Kailashi
Kailashi Chaudhary (Young Adult, Papa’s House) has started volunteering by leading writing classes for students of grade 7 at the Chelsea Center. Kailashi is an avid reader and a good writer herself. Through the writing classes she is giving back to the organization and also developing herself. Seventh graders are writing with Kailashi.
Quarterly Photo Gallery
Never late for learning
Community & Papa’s House
Young Adult (Papa’s House) Children
Back to the Center
We had a big drop in the number of community women attending Literacy Classes on a daily basis. After the lockdown was lifted, more students returned and new students continue joining. On 7th October, 2022 the total number of active students at the Chelsea Center reached 125 (community women). New students continue to join and old ones graduate after they have learned to read and write at the Chelsea Center.
More than 80 percent of the community women learned reading and writing their first alphabets at the Chelsea Center. Around and possibly over one thousand women students have benefited from our work at the Chelsea Center.
“Teachers at the Chelsea center has always been supportive and significantly contributed to our progress. I like the way they explain difficult problems to us in a simpler way.”
—Samjhana Chaudhary, Grade 9
“Most of the activities of Chelsea Center are bound to learning and gaining new experiences.”
—Suman Chaudhary, Grade 9
“Chelsea adds extra joy to my face and freshness to the mind.”
—Kanti Khadka, Grade 10
“Chelsea Center has become the storehouse of knowledge for all sisters in our community.”
—Bhawana Badu, Community Women
“I make sure that I go to Chelsea Center every day irrespective of any challenge, because I get opportunities to learn a lot of things and to share what I know. I also feel I have become physically and mentally healthier after I started coming to Chelsea Center!”
—Malati Pun, Community Women
“Chelsea Center is a temple for me.”
—Kalpana Ale, Women Council Member
“Working at Chelsea Center is pure joy!”
—Kailashi Chaudhary, Volunteer Teacher
“I am enjoying working at the Chelsea Center more than I anticipated. I learned a lot about myself and my ability along with it. I got to know about what it means to be a teacher through this experience.”
—Anupa Gurung, Math Tutor, After-school
“Feels like Deja Vu. The Dashain Aayo project and everything else at the Chelsea Center reminds me of my school days. I really miss those days; we would always be doing different kinds of activities before and during holidays. Seeing the kids growing up with so much improvement feels great! I am really proud of them and happy that they have got this beautiful chance to create great childhood memories.”
—Bhumika Rana, Tutor, After-school Classes
“Despite chaotic household responsibilities, they [adult students] come to Chelsea with big smiles on faces and an intense desire to learn.”
—Kabita Mahato, Women Education Instructor
Sign: Dashain Aayo Event!