Project Namaste XI
Gyan Jyoti Secondary School
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
Pokhara Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PCCI)
WHAT WE DID
For the eleventh round of Project Namaste, we embarked on a humble mission to Pokhara, Nepal. As Singapore Management University’s (SMU) pioneer Overseas Community Service Project (OCSP), we once again set out with the mission of encouraging the Nepalese children to take ownership of their learning of English and to broaden their horizons outside their school curriculum.
After a long and fruitful journey, we would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to our sponsors for making this project possible.
With the sturdy support of Pokhara Chamber of Commerce & Industry, (PCCI), and with the hopes of building upon the educational framework of Gyan Jothi Secondary School that previous Project Namaste teams had established, our team returned to the Armala Mountain Range.
Since it was the third time that Project Namaste was visiting the school, this year’s team had a clear image of what challenges the students of Gyan Jothi Secondary School faced. For instance, we noticed from past experience that the students were more engaged in lessons when the program was conversational and interactive. Therefore, the education team developed a workbook that fostered participation in place among the students.
In the spirit of continuity, the team decided to take the same batch of students that we taught last year (grades 5 to 7). The children (8-16 years old) underwent our 2-week program, which was aimed at improving their conversational English but also expose them to the plethora of job opportunities in Nepal.
This year, our team managed to raise a total of 1000 USD for the school through our fundraiser that took place two months before our departure. The money was used for the purchase of reference materials as well as the maintenance of the internet connection that will be set up shortly. Additionally, with the support and generosity of our sponsors, the team managed to donate over 100 books to the school's new library.
Project Namaste XI
Project Namaste XI
Having participated in other OCSPs previously, I thought that this trip to Nepal would be just as the others had been. However, I was wrong. Nepal really shocked me with its beauty from the moment we arrived and it is really a country so pure, untouched and rich in culture. I found myself touched by the hospitality of the locals and how they were so excited to have us there. It struck me that these people had so little, yet they wanted to give their guests as much as they could - contrary to the sometimes selfish and aloof attitude of people we see in Singapore.
Overall, I would definitely say that I have learnt and grown a lot as a person throughout the course of Project Namaste. I found myself appreciating little things more and I realize that life is so much more than what we possess but what is more important is how we choose to live it. It would be so much more meaningful to lead a life with purpose and drive for a good cause.
Project Namaste has been one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life and I am immensely blessed to have been able to be part of it.
The 3 weeks I spent in Project Namaste XI were easily the best weeks of my 2017. Right from the get-go, I remember the wave of euphoria that went through me when I reached the entrance of Shree Gyan Jothi School. The sight of the children waiting eagerly for our arrival is vivid in my memory, and their delight upon seeing our bus was evident by the huge smile that was plastered across their faces. I had gone in expecting to spoon-feed them with answers, but their quick wit and eagerness to answer questions really took me by surprise.
I have always believed that it is a lot easier to teach someone academic content than to teach them values in life. Strangely, I had to invest quite a bit of effort into teaching the children of the school English, whereas they were teaching me life lessons every day, and they were doing this effortlessly. I can only describe my time in Gyan Jothi as humbling. I remember seeing a group of boys playing football in school, and all they were using was a beat-up, half-punctured ball. There were no goalposts, no shoes, no fancy grass, nothing. Seeing the children so contended with their simple way of life really made me realize how much more there was to the world that I had missed out on all this time.
All in all, joining Project Namaste XI has been one of my best decisions in SMU, and it has helped me come upon many revelations that I might have gone on not realizing for a very long time.
Project Namaste XI
Project Namaste Leader
From one edition to another, Nepal hasn’t changed much to me. The Nepalese still give more than they have and the kids still adore you because you inspire them that much and the landscape is still as breathtaking. The real beauty of the trip is knowing that you did your best to inspire these kids in any way you could and knowing that you forged a friendship of a lifetime. It’s being able to remember the smiles of these kids that are edged in your mind and hoping that one day you’ll be back to witness those smiles again.
When I look back and see how far I’ve come – from one edition to another, how I became more willing to care and share with others, I am beyond amazed. I came into the project thinking the kids would benefit a lot from our efforts, I have never been so wrong in my entire life because I received way more than I gave.
From the kids in school to the homestay, I will always be humbled by their warmth and hospitality.