Was excellent to have the opportunity to visit the centre near Boudnath and see the work being done to support women in Nepal. It was set up by ex students from Padma Kanya Campus in the late 1980’s to provide support for marginalised women i
As well as providing a home for women and young girls the foundation also trains and supports women making the most amazing scarves and shawls which are for sale at the centre.
It’s always a pleasure visiting Kadambari College and this visit was no exception. Myself and Lucy Woods gave a presentation and workshop on qualitative research and used the inspirational women interviews we have been collecting to show how qualitative data can be analysed.
I also took the opportunity to thank staff and students for the work that they had done the previous year on a British Academy Small Grant project mapping the needs of the elderly in Nepal – certificates of thanks were presented and I hope we can continue to work together in the very near future. An interaction session is planned between students from Liverpool John Moos University and students studying social work for March 2013 … look forward to seeing you all then !
Meeting Indira who established and runs PAN was a real honour – she has such an amazing energy and spoke with such passion and common sense it really was inspiring. The work she does campaigning for women in prisons to be able to keep their children with them as well as the home and support centre she runs for children whose mothers are in prison is nothing short of amazing. She has also helped a group of young men establish and run a mountain biking company that do tours of Kathmandu and furthers afield – well worth checking out if you have time to spare whilst you are in Kathmandu and a great way to get to know Nepal better – it’s found just past Sams bar – keep heading out of Thamel and its on your left
The atmosphere in the home was welcoming and had a warmth and homeliness about it providing a safe space for young people to be young people and grow up in a loving environment. The focus in every room is on learning through play and enjoyment and developing a sense of respect and pride to take into the world …..I’m looking forward to returning and seeing more of the work being done by Indira and her team ….. Ramro sangha bonus
Participating in the the IAU workshop on Higher Education Institutions and Education for All was a real honour. A number of speakers spoke about the importance of Universities engaging in the EFA agenda and supporting the work being done by the many developments agencies and community organisations to help Nepal reach the MDG set for 2015. The workshop element divided the participants into three groups to consider the different issues and explore how universities should be working in the field of research, teaching & learning and finally how and who they should be engaging with in the community.
Some of the most interesting issues were raised in the question and answer sessions such as the importance of having local teachers in schools in Nepal and the need to have mother tongue support available, especially in the early years of education. My experience of education in Sikles has shown me the importance of having a mix of local and non local teachers as well as a mix of both male and female teachers to create a positive environment for students to learn in.
One of my key passions is the need for education to be child friendly and the curriculum to have value to the young people within the education system. I had the opportunity to share the fantastic Better Classrooms Better Learning book with many of the people there and for anyone who wants to know more about this please contact B K Shreshtra at Global Action Nepal.
One of the key issues to emerge from the workshop was that education needs to be of high quality and develop young people as active social citizens with skills they can use in the workplace – the system as it stands is churning out students who can remember facts but lack the skills needed to get a job! An example provided by Howard Green from Pahar Trust made this point to me the previous night when he said he had travelled all over Nepal and heard so many children say they wanted to be a doctor or a nurse or lawyer …. But without plumbers, electricians and builders where would the doctors do their work, how can they operate when there is no electricity – and my own example who will fix all the broken toilets !
My most noteworthy input to the debate was in the University and Community dialogue session where I was surprised to see that previous participants had highlighted young women as the most important target audience we should be working with but young men had not been included. First of all the whole question about who Universities should be engaging with is a nonsense as in each community the needs will be different and all universities should take a ground up approach and seek advice from those with whom they wish to meet- you can not divide communities up this was as they are complex and changing and unique – I would argue that staff and students from Universities need to go to the communities to learn from them rather than to teach and to listen to local people rather than lecture them …. that aside to target young women and not young men makes no sense at all and led to a hot debate about why young men are not targeted by universities and indeed by the development establishment at large.
My basic point was that if we only work with and empower young women then where does this leave the men – we need to work with young men to change their attitudes toward the opposite sex which leads to the high levels of exclusion and harassment that is experienced, not only in Nepal but in many many societies today. Until all men respect young and old women alike and consider them to be their own mothers, sisters or daughters, we will remain living in a society where the harassment of young women is seen as being acceptable. RESPECT is what we should be promoting both between men and women – young and old – educated and non educated – and between all different ethnic and indigenous groups – once we have this then we will have really achieved something worth sharing.
I think I made my point and young men were added to the priority list – looking forward to seeing the action plan that results.
Was lovely to spend a day wandering the streets of Kathmandu walking from Swayambu all the way back to Durbar square and then on to Nanglos bakery at Sundara Tower – via squares and temples and hanging out with young kids with impressive dance skills – and meeting old friends and new …..
Was excellent to see so many familiar faces at a wedding I was whisked off to – had no idea whose wedding it was and it turns out I knew the mother of the bride and all the women who I have worked with from gender studies were there – all looking gorgeous ! Went to visit Padma Kanya Campus the next day and need to think about ways we can continue our connection to help develop gender studies even further in Nepal – the masters in gender studies is now running in Dili bazaar so that both men and women can enrol on the course – would be great to evaluate it and find ways to enhance research in this area …. Watch this space
Urban art behind the zoo – had an excellent urban tour from Shreejeeka with Shika – a must do for seeing different side of Kathmandu and also lots of great art exhibits in and around Patan as part of the Kathmandu Earth Body and Soul exhibition – check out http://www.artmandu.org
A must see for anyone in Nepal in December time an annual event show casing Nepali and international films …. Attended the opening ceremony and film Who would be a Ghurka – and attended the debate about the relevance of Gurkhas in Nepali society today … A sense of pride or part of a post colonial world ? Missed the closing ceremony film as I had to go to the airport to …ironically miss my flight …. But that’s another story …. Excited to hear that KIMFF will travel all over Nepal in the next year to spread the joy !