Past Projects

Project Namaste XIII

WHEN

December 2019

WHERE

Kalika Higher Secondary School

Kahun Village
Nepal​

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

Pokhara Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PCCI)

WHAT WE DID 

As the thirteenth instalment of Project Namaste, we returned up the mountains to Sree Kalika Higher Secondary School to expand on what we had accomplished in Project Namaste XII. The excitement and hospitality we received from the teachers and students brought about a great start to our journey.

Before we embarked on our journey there, we held a fundraising campaign to raise funds for the students in Nepal. With the Sponsorship department’s ardour and determination, we managed to find remarkable sponsors for our project, which in turn allowed us to exceed our goal and bring the campaign to a success.

We then kickstarted our journey with the mission to encourage Nepalese children to take ownership of their learning of English and broaden their horizons outside of their school curriculum. Our education team came up with an exceptional theme for the kids this year: Dreams and Aspirations. The kids were passionate as they described their ambition, and it was heartwarming to know that each one of them had dreams relating to giving back and serving their nation. In addition to that, we added a side topic on hygiene, incorporating games and a dance to share with them the importance of being hygienic in order to stay healthy. 

Apart from that, the headmaster had suggested to paint the walls of the school. Hence, the marketing team skilfully planned and executed painting murals of the wonders of the world. Not only did the results turn out amazing, the process of painting the walls allowed us to interact with the students and work with them. The students were always offering to lend a helping hand, and their maturity and consideration allowed us to have a trouble-free time with painting the walls. 

 

Our journey had been a smooth sailing one, owing to the Logistics department for their meticulousness in overlooking the project and ensuring the safety of each member. Moreover, we deeply appreciate Sree Kalika Higher Secondary School and PCCI for their warmth and cooperation in enabling this project to continue being the longest-running Overseas Community Service Project (OCSP). 

Every year, the members of Project Namaste leave Nepal feeling heavy (because of the new friendships forged there) yet appreciative, for what we have experienced and learnt is irreplaceable, and this journey will forever be etched in our hearts.

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REFLECTIONS

Charmaine Lee

Project Namaste XIII

Carmen Choo

Project Namaste XIII

Lydon Ong

Project Namaste XIII

Project Namaste Leader

1 year ago, I decided to take the leap and grabbed onto the daunting opportunity to lead 18 other SMU students on an overseas community service project to Pokhara, Nepal. And that marked the start of my Project Namaste XIII journey. 

Though we faced patches of hiccups along the way, the experience made it all worthwhile. As a leader in XIII my role and responsibility was different than as a member in XII. As a leader, I had to oversee many aspects of the project from administrative matters to the various programs. Learning to work together with my fellow co-leaders to deliver the best outcome for the members was another learning curve I had to beat – which we did eventually. 

Despite that, this experience is one that I will never forget and one that wouldn’t trade anything for. This was an opportunity to not only give back to the society but to inspire the next batch of Namaste members as well. It was an amazing platform for me to practice my leadership and to get out of my comfort zone.

 

This year, we also managed to have Mr. Yogesh Bhattarai, Nepal’s Minister of Tourism and Culture, recognise Project Namaste’s past thirteen years of efforts. 

So, to the future batches of Project Namaste, here’s to many more years of “Moving Mountains”.

“To be blessed with the gift of giving is the greatest gift of all”. This sentiment sums up my Project Namaste experience. We often take for granted the opportunity to give and don’t realise how much we have been receiving. As we were greeted with kindness, passion, enthusiasm and great hospitality throughout our stay, I found myself learning a lot more than I had given.

One key takeaway is to be grateful for the academic stress we feel through a challenging but well-structured education system in Singapore. In teaching the students and engaging in conversations, I realised how eager they were to learn the harder topics like Mathematics and Science. They were not afraid of the challenge, but lacked a good education structure to translate textbook material well enough for their understanding. This made me reflect on my attitude towards my academics, and instilled feelings of gratitude instead of dejection when I face academic stress today.

Another takeaway is in learning that material contribution comes after understanding the community in their shoes, not ours. As a member of the education team, I was mainly responsible for the lesson plan delivered. We worked on enhancing students’ eloquence and projection of the English Language. However, I realised that we were trying to correct a way of speech which works in their community. This got me thinking that despite its benefits and importance, what we were delivering may not be as useful or impactful for them and it might be better to rethink our educational approach for the following year.

Overall, the Namaste experience was an invaluable one that helped me mature as an individual. The depth of the experience and raw emotions that were sparked go beyond the parameters of community service, and inspired a more open-minded, humble, and grateful perspective in me.

I will always be grateful to have been given the opportunity to be part of Project Namaste, for the journey had brought me through an adventure of personal growth and self-discovery.

I remember the day Anusha (the girl beside me in the picture), brought me down to visit the city’s famous bakery. We had trekked all the way down the mountain, but not once did I feel tired. My focus had been diverted to her openness in expressing her love and appreciation for her life. Despite the lack of necessities here (that I have taken for granted in Singapore), despite the difficulties she was facing (such as achieving her dream of studying overseas), she held no resentment for these obstacles. Rather, she kept a heart of gratitude and determination. All the other students shared the same sentiments. They were always cheerful and lovely, and not once did I hear a word of complain from them.

This made me realise how much I had taken for granted in life. And yet, despite the luxury and privilege I have been given, I lacked the gratitude that they had. This experience has made me understand what genuine appreciation actually is, and how a tweak in perspective can change your whole outlook on life.

I was told that this trip would make me gain more than I could give, but what I expected to gain had exceeded my expectations completely. Needless to say, Project Namaste is one that I will forever cherish in my heart.

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