Thursday, November 8, 2007

HFHI Nepal, in its efforts to build better habitat successfully, carried out its Volunteer program with Lincoln School for the second time. It was a five day program held October 8-12, 2007 at Patalekhet VDC, Kavre District. Twenty five students, five teachers, the Habitat team and the local community participated in this endeavor. Four houses were built and everyone worked in groups. The students were from the tenth grade and the program was a part of their annual Explore Nepal program. The program was not only successful in its efforts to build better habitat and serve deprived families but it also gave a broader perspective to the young minds. It helped them understand better the essence of selflessness and the joy one gets by helping others. Therefore, it was motivational and was an added encouragement for them to help society more.

The participants were mostly students but the presence and active involvement of teachers, leaders of the community and HFHI-Nepal staff made students more enthusiastic and motivated to contribute their valuable time to the community.

The team stayed at Mirabel Lodge in Dhulikhel which was half an hour away from the work site. The team was formally welcomed by the local community. The selected site is a hilly area full of ups and down but this did not deter the team of international students from working with a spirit of enthusiasm.
The added value to the program was the uniqueness of the schedule which was prearranged with R&R activates, like a visit to a religious place, arranged outdoor game as well as a cultural program. Therefore, the schedule of the program did not only consist of monotonous construction work but the above recreational activities now and then set to make them fresh and to have more interaction with the local community.

volunteers enjoying passing mud, carrying stones
The daily work consisted of different kinds of construction like digging foundation, carrying/passing stones, mixed/passing mud, carrying timber, carrying bucket of water etc. Some volunteers also got the new experience of building walls.

On the second day, the team visited Namo Buddha as a part of recreation after their work. This gave them an opportunity to visit one of the biggest stupas of Nepal and this as another opportunity to know about the other faiths.

On the third day, the students of Lincoln played a football match with the local students of Patalekhet. This was a fun experience for everyone.

On the fourth day, the locals of the village presented a cultural show for the volunteers’ team. This taught the students yet another aspect of the cultural life of Nepalese.

On the fifth day, the volunteers were given certificates as a token of appreciation. This was a motivational factor for the team to work harder and better. The participants felt proud of themselves because their work was extensively admired.
The team also visited all the houses of the home partners’ families. The community gave a farewell and thanked the team for their efforts for contributing their valuable time, energy to affect a change and helping them by building houses. Similarly, the students paid their respect to the community who had shown their love, care and support to them while admiring their work. The opportunity for the students to learn of the village lifestyle of Nepal was most valuable. Moreover, both the local and student teams shared their feelings and it was an emotional moment to observe.

From Daniel, a student at the Lincoln school, “It was a lot of fun working with and getting to know the local community. It was fun to play football with the local school”

Namgyal Lama from Lincoln says, "I think it was an excellent experience outdoors and I think I would love to live here after my retirement and someday I would love to build my own house and put my print in it"

Sita Lama a Home partner added, “It was really a wonderful experience for me working with international people who I had never met in my life and I am feeling proud that these 14-15 years old, very young students built home for me. So I have to preserve my house as they have contributed their sweat in this house”.
Additionally, the common feeling was, "It was great; we had lots of fun, learned new things, gained new experience and helped the people. we really liked digging."

group picture after farewell

Not only the volunteers, the home partners also had a very wonderful experience. Four houses were built for the community. This process had the effect of getting all members of the families to work together. On the other hand, they got a chance to work as a team with people from a different part of the world. The volunteers too explored a different aspect of Nepali people and lifestyle. Such programs indeed develop the society. It was also heart touching to see the volunteers tolerate the hardships of the work with the aim of helping the society. Notwithstanding a previous injury, one of the teachers’ from the school still volunteered to help; it did not stop him working even though he was in pain. After all, the pursuit of humanity drives our emotions on one way or the other and we work for it. Students of the Lincoln school were also very generous and donated an amount of US $1,000.00 as a local contribution to HFHI-Nepal in addition to the construction tools to the home partners.

Therefore, this program initiated by HFHI-Nepal was a wonderful experience for many. Firstly, it developed the community with their active participation. Secondly, it helped young minds learn about the Nepali culture. It also encouraged them to help more and serve more. For Habitat, it was, above all, a worthy achievement and encouragement. It was a matter of pride for the community as well to work interculturally in their local environment.


AC said...

The Habitat Nepal team is doing wonderful work! Congratulations on a successful effort in Kavre.

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