The maiden project in Dec 2006 started out with a fundraising exercise in Singapore which garnered enough funds to construct a library prior to our arrival. The rest of the funds raised were used to purchase school uniforms and new furniture for the students and school respectively.
We painted both the library and the school building in a manner that was attractive and conducive for learning and taught the children English and simple arithmetic through usage of interactive game sets.
As part of our social enquiry, we also visited the Nepal Tourism and Hotel Management College to learn more about the Nepalese’s higher education system. We also shared about the life and culture of Singapore.
WHAT WE DID
Project Namaste I
Janata Primary School
Armala VDC - 2, Tumke
Kaski District Gandaki Zone, Nepal
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
Pokhara Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PCCI)
More than the mountains and the lakes, it was the people of Nepal that left me with the most indelible memories and lessons on sincerity, spirit, and grace. I’ve never encountered such hospitality, such strength and such character, all these while they face poverty and adversity daily. On top of it all, the opportunity to have cultural exchanges with people from such a faraway land has truly been a one-of-a-kind experience. Watching weddings and dances, trekking down hill terraces in the rain, having homestay with the villagers; we've certainly shared a unique adventure of our own!
Unexpected physical threat: we were aerially bombarded at night by stones from mischievous and drunk villagers supposedly from another village. When the stones started landing on the ground, we’d thought it was just some kids playing with stones nearby, till we realized that the stones were pretty large, and there were no kids around!
Everyone scrambled out of their tents and into the concrete classroom for protection. The girls remained indoors while the guys did guard duty outside. On hindsight, it was pretty funny considering that some of the guys switched into “army-mode,” setting up plans for night-patrols, emergency exits route, and gathering all our weapon (kitchen knives, what else??!) for our protection till the village head could come down the next morning. The subsequent days, we had a security-force from the village every night outside our tents to assuage our security concerns.
Ow Yong Chaan Hoa
Co-Leader, Project Namaste I
Naresh Nathaniel Navaratnarajah
Project Namaste I
Leader, Namaste II
For me Project Namaste has been an epiphany of sorts. I went with the idea that we were going to help those who were less fortunate than us. However, I soon realized that it is not they who are less fortunate but it is us, for we have been spoilt by the city. As hard as it may seem to comprehend but Nepal shown me what really is important in life. Enjoying the simple pleasures in life with a picturesque backdrop as the setting has provided me the much needed direction in life at a time where many of us, I am sure, are really just lost sheep in the city.
Project Namaste I
I can say with absolute affirmation that the experience I took back with me from Nepal was definitely many folds more than the “service” that we rendered to Janata Primary School. Despite the lack of expertise in the areas we sought to provide help in, the school community was highly appreciative of our efforts and reciprocated with such commendable hospitality that allowed me to feel true warmth and sincerity I had never experienced before. The sense of fulfillment that it brought about was one that material things cannot match up to. I bid farewell to the skepticism of service learning.