Monthly Archives: October 2017

Fair Connections FoundationĀ 

Finding time to blog is something I really need to do as it’s one of the best ways to keep people updated on the work that I’m doing with both Fair Connections the company and Fair Connections Foundation.  This post will focus on telling those who supported me last year on what was done with the money raised and what my next plans are.  Over the summer, as well as having a much needed holiday, I have been working with three LJMU funded interns. Josh, who is entering his final year of Media Production, has worked on some of my film clips from Nepal and has produced some excellent short films to show case the work that I have been doing.  Meeca, recently graduated from Education Studies, has been helping develop and brand the lesson plans that support both the story sack, Fairis book and Baby Monkey puppet set. Finally Karla, who is competing her Sociology degree, is helping me develop the business side of the company and will be helping me promote the educational products to schools in the next few months.

Fair Connections Foundation

Some of you may know about, or may have donated to, my Foundation. This Foundation was set up to enable me to work with organisations like the Pahar Trust  Nepal and Global Action Nepal so that we can provide more puppet story sacks, books and training in Nepal.  Schools in Nepal who had received the GIFTS sack and training in 2015 gave great feedback and asked for more resources and training.

For more information on the Fair Connections Foundation please visit the web site

Fair Connections Foundation

So last year I raised more than two thousand pounds and this was used in February to pay for the Baby Monkey puppet sets, Baby Monkey and Adventures of Fairis a Nepali Frog books to be made in Nepal.  More than 30 schools received the Baby Monkey book and puppets and training was provided in both Pokahara, with the support of Chrissy from the Pahar Trust, and in Sikles with support from Kiran Bohara.

It’s so important to provide training to teachers and not just give them the puppet sets as this space provides the opportunity for teachers to build their confidence, develop their own ideas and suggest new ways to use these and other resources, in a fun and engaging way. Training sessions provide a good opportunity for teachers to gain news skills but also to connect to other teachers working towards improving the quality of education in their schools. When I return to Nepal on a LJMU British Academy funded research trip later this month I plan to visit some of these schools to see how the resources are being used and to help share their ideas within the wider network. I will feedback here as a blog in November.

This video shows how fun and interactive the training is and captures the impact that it has on the teachers.

Training with puppets in Pokhara

Click here to see the video play – and thanks to Josh Blewitt for great editing

Story Sack training in Pokhara

In the Sikles sector teachers came from surrounding  schools in their own free time to have further training and to see how the puppets could be use in both the primary and secondary schools.  It also provided me with an opportunity to talk about my current research with Kay Standing into menstrual  health and the teachers have asked me to go back and share more information on this when I’m next in Nepal. Again watch this space for blogs on this and follow me on Facebook, Instagram or twitter for updates and please comment and give me feedback !

We had two small book launch events in February to celebrate the publication of the two books with supporting puppets sets – one written by myself and one by Susan Green from the Pahar Trust.  At the launch in Pokhara Ramesh Karki and the headmistress Anita Sigdel brought children from Srijana Residential Higher Secondary School for the Deaf. These young students acted out the story of Fairis as a drama using the puppets, sign language and art work that they had made which really brought the story to life.  This school would really benefit from a friendship link to a UK school with experience of teaching and supporting young deaf people – if you have any ideas or contacts please get in contact with me.

Pictures do not do justice to the play that these talented young people performed – a massive Namaste to all of you who did such a good job šŸ™šŸ¼

If you would like to buy the Baby Monkey šŸµ book and puppet set or the Adventures of Fairis a Nepali Frog šŸø please visit the Fair Connections company web site.  

If you would like to donate to more schools receiving the puppet story sacks and training then please visit the Fair Connections Foundation Web site and don’t forget to add gift aid to make your money go even further !

Also please comment when you donate if you have particular schools you would like to support so we can help you develop your connections with places that are special to you ! 

One of the things I love about my work in Nepal is when organisations come together to work together and share good practice. Working at Liverpool John Moores University has enabled me to travel to Nepal on a regular basis and I work hard to marry my academic work with activist work.

More blogging posts coming soon 

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Intonation, Nepali and story tellingĀ 

I have loved sharing the Baby Monkey book and talking about Nepal over the past few days in primary schools in the Isle of Man who have links with the Pahar Trust Nepal. There really is a special relationship between the Isle of Man and Nepal with some of the towns being twinned.  The Pahar Trust Nepal has built over 130 schools in Nepal over the past 24 years and has created new and exciting links between these schools in Nepal and schools in the UK and Isle of Man.

Going into primary schools and showing young people the impact that better schools and better classrooms have on children in Nepal is always rewarding and I’m filled with admiration for teachers who work so hard to support young children in their learning – it really is a very tiring but massively rewarding job. So to all teachers out there a very happy #WorldTeachersDay šŸ™šŸ¼

One thing which children are always amazed to learn is how children in Nepal from a very young age not only learn how to read and write in Nepali but also learn to read and write in English as well – imagine having to learn two alphabets ! One of the things that I love is that the Nepali alphabet is phonetic so once you learn the shape and sound you can start to build up worlds very quickly though half letters can be a bit more challenging. Children love to learn how to say their names in Nepalese and pick it up very quickly.

Nepali alphabet from book

It’s also very easy to teach children in primary school how to say their name in Nepalese. Learning to say my name is …. and my name isn’t …… takes no time at all.

Another factor when learning how to speak any language is the impact of voice, tone and emotion.  The key message in the Baby Monkey book is the importance of being politie when asking for help. Baby Monkey wants his mummy. Before reading the story or using the puppets it’s always good to get young people to practice all the ways you can say – I want my mummy – get them to use happy, sad, upset, angry and even furious voices before you read the story.

For the Baby Monkey story to work the voice used needs to be one of rudeness and anger.

The concept of politeness translates very easily into Nepali as different conjugations of the verb are used to indicate if you are saying please or not. By adding NUS onto the base of the very you are actually saying please !
Let’s take the example of asking people to stand up or sit down and the use of – nus- in Nepali

This can be a fun game for children to do and I am always amazed at how quickly children pick this up and how quickly they can use it with other verbs – examples of which are found in the back of the Baby Monkey book.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog and feedback and comments dinus šŸ™šŸ¼



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Taking students to NepalĀ 

I’ve been to Nepal 30 times over the past 30 years and really want to make time this year to reflect on my experiences and maybe even write a book – but my focus at the minute has to be on finishing the small research project on Mensutral Health and developing the Fair Connections company and Foundation. I’ll blog on this soon to update you all but before I do that I just wanted to reflect on how amazing it is that my job has allowed me to take so many people to Nepal. This year for the second time I led a field work module to Nepal for final year students studying Sociology or Criminology and Sociology

Whilst taking a large group of people to Nepal has many challenges the fact that the students had all developed their own research proposals and went with a positive attitude to learn from local people and to build on the research skills they had developed in their second year meant that once again I too learnt many new things about the country I love so much. Sometimes blogging and pictures just can’t do justice to the impact of visiting Nepal. 

In June I presented a paper at LJMU Teaching and Learning Conference on the impact of international field work on students and contacted students from past years to gain more insight into this. It was so rewarding to hear from ex-students how life changing this experience had been for them and how it had impacted on their future careers.

Whilst developing the presentation I utilised the skills of my intern who was working for Fair Connections, Josh Blewitt in Media Production at LJMU and he produced this excellent short video which to me captures the impact perfectly.

Click here for link to video

 Also reading the blogs and coursework produced by my students further reinforced my commitment to international field work wether it be to Nepal, Brussels or in 2018 to Amsterdam. Field work is so much more than a holiday – it’s an opportunity to connect to local people and to put your sociological imagination and skills into practice in a real world setting. 

It’s one of the reasons I love my job so much  !

Here is one of the students blogs from this years visits

Click her to read more of this blog 

If my students who went are reading this want to share their blog posts please let me know and I can add them here or add the links to this post in the comments below as you should all be proud of the work that you did and I know others will enjoy reading them as much as I did ! If you want your work to be shared as a PDF again let me know and we can get this back to the people in Nepal who so kindly shared their time and passion with you all


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