Sunday, February 7, 2016

Volunteer testimonial Koseli

During February and March 2015 I had the pleasure to visit Koseli School and work as a volunteer. In fact this was not the first time that I visited the school; In August 2013 I first came to know about the foundation through a college exchange programme, then later in April 2014 I volunteered at the school for a short two week period. Because of the great experiences on my previous visits I wanted to spend more time at the school this year, so I had arranged to stay there for almost two months.

Before arriving in Kathmandu I had made a few thoughts about how I would like to spend my time at the school. Under my previous visits I came to the understanding that because of language barriers it can be quite difficult as a foreigner to teach certain subjects – in many cases the children are actually much better off with the regular, local teachers. Imagine having to explain students in grade 4 the difference between area, perimeter and volume in a language they only have basic knowledge of. A native Nepali speaking teacher would be much better qualified for this purpose.
With that in mind I came to Koseli School with the hope of encouraging the students in arts and crafts activities, physical education and sports along with improving their spoken English skills. Earlier I had realized that because of a tight budget the school only has limited funds to buy materials and equipment, meanwhile employing teachers for these specific subjects are even more difficult.

Being back at the school and meeting all the students and teachers again was so wonderful. Entering the school ground and watching all the happy and curious faces turning towards me was a unique experience. Most of the older children even still remembered my name (although sometimes slightly mispronounced). They would come to me and with their particular Nepali accent say: “Hello Daniel Sir. How are you? Where have you been?”
After chatting with the students for a while I sat down with Deepika – a local volunteer who helps the school with administrative tasks, and we came up with a schedule for me to teach arts and crafts. After a few weeks the school would participate in an exhibition, and they were hoping to produce different items such as paper bags, decorated wrapping paper for gifts, friendship bracelets and other jewellery to exhibit and hopefully sell. During the following week I started teaching the students from grade 2-6 to make friendship bracelets made of thin nylon strings and rubber bands, and later on we decorated paper bags with rags from different clothes and fabrics. We would either sit on the floor in the office/library or outside on a blanket in shade of the sun. For the bags we also made our own glue to stick the pieces of rags onto the paper bags, and in general there’s a big awareness on the school to recycle and upcycle, which I think we could learn a lot from back in Denmark.
 The students showed such an energy and passion for making these crafts, and they were overwhelmingly happy to get to do something different and entertaining that it was rather difficult to get them to stop and start tidying up when the time was up. However, when I finally got through to them, they would clean the entire floor with all the strings, rubber bands, rags and other items within few minutes, being very disciplined about it.

After a couple of weeks I came up with the idea of holding a sports day with the theme Olympic Games. In preparation of the Olympic games I held training sessions for each class in the disciplines they would participate in, meanwhile we also created medals for the winners and flags for the countries, into which the students would be divided. After a couple of weeks of training the day finally came for Olympic Games to be held. The board members of Koseli Foundation and other associates were invited, and it was arranged as a big ceremony. The students were very excited about the day and were all cheerful and smiling. They would each sit in one corner of the school grounds with the other students from their given country and cheer for the participating students. In the preparations of the Olympic Games I had tried to teach the students about team work and team spirit, and it seemed like it had affected them a great deal; by the end of the day some of them had almost lost their voice caused by singing and cheering.

In general I had an incredible volunteer experience at Koseli, which completely exceeding my expectations. This was the third time for me to visit the school, and every time I go there I grow fonder of the place. There’s definitely changes that still need to be done – the foundation is relatively new and with a recently change in the administration of the school it’s clear they are still in the initial phase of establishing a proper education institution. After having met Neelam, the lady who now runs the school, I’m sure the foundation will have a bright future though. She is so passionate and sincere about helping the students, and she does everything within her power to better their lives. The teachers are likewise incredibly hard working and it’s clear they want their students to do well – the teachers come from similar backgrounds as the students and they know from experience the importance of education.

One thing that I’d advise the school to improve is the level of the spoken English. The children know surprising many words in English, and most of them are not even shy to use them. However, there’s a big difference between their level of understanding and their level of speaking – this goes both for students and teachers. If the school really wants to get the maximum effect of the help from international volunteers, they would need to help students and teachers to enhance their English speaking skills, so they will be able to participate in educational discussions. This progress is already initiated; twice a week a local volunteer hold English lessons for the teachers, and hopefully they will gain more skill and confidence in speaking English, which will affect the students as well.

This was definitely not the last time I volunteered at the school, and I’m excited to see the progress they have done on my next visit.

By Daniel from Denmark

Sunday, May 17, 2015


When the earthquake hit Nepal on 25th April 2015 a lot of children were displaced. Some lost their families and others with families had nothing to eat, no shelter and no school to go to. Koseli School Nepal - Hold A Hand started an online campaign to support the children displaced by the earthquake. Using the funds we have raised through our Indiegogo fundraising campaign, we are happy to report that we have admitted Dev Narayan, Nir Bahadur and Nirmala to Koseli School. (You will find their story shared underneath.) A big thank you to all our friends, volunteers and well wishers for supporting our initiative. We are trying to help as many earthquake displaced children at Koseli as we can and in the coming months we will induct more children. We will keep you posted about the progress. Please continue donating even if its a small amount as it will help us reach out to more and more children.

On May 1st, Tok Maya Shrestha, along with her children, Dev Narayan (10 years), Nir Bahadhur (8 years) and 2 girls, Nirmala (14 years) and Pramila (17 years) arrived in Kathmandu after the devastating earth

quake took away every bit of little possession they had in Sindupalchowk, Ghumthang VDC. With no place to live in, and no skills except farming, making a living in the city seems like a tough task for this family.
Given their dire situation, and using the funds we have raised through our Indiegogo fundraising campaign, we are happy to report that we have admitted Dev Narayan, Nir Bahadur and Nirmala to Koseli School. With the help of Praveena foundation, we are preparing Pramila for college studies!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

#Nepal EarthQuake Updates

May 4th Kathmandu
Our children are helping us deploy materials to the earthquake victims. Thank you to all those who sent us relief materials with so much love! We assure you it's reaching the people who need it the most.

May 3rd Kathmandu
The teachers in Koseli come from a financially low background and each teacher  has its own battle. Most of them go to morning college and then come to Koseli to work so that they can pay their college fees. The devastating earthquake and the aftershocks haven't not been easy on our teachers as well who come from various villages. A few of our teachers have lost their homes.

Suraj who joined us at the age of 20, three years back comes from Gorkha district.   He could not pursue his dream of studying engineering as his family did not have sufficient recourses. He happened to join Koseli by sheer luck and now his ambition to become an engineer has fired once again. After the earthquake struck Nepal, Suraj Sir went back to his village. He contacted us today and reported that his house is completely broken. 
Kumari Khadka is from Pyuthan village. Her mother was murdered by the villagers years back and hence she fled to Kathmandu. She has spent her childhood in an orphanage. She joined Koseli as a teacher and now dreams of opening her own NGO one day. The natural calamity that hit Nepal on 25th a April, did not spare her as well. She returned to her village to find out that her house was totally devastated. 
We are still waiting to hear from our other teachers. These teachers have no one else to give them hope and support. We urge you to help us rebuild their homes and lives. 

April 30th Kathmandu
Koseli Team has been helping the kids orphaned by the earthquake. Today, we visited an orphanage called Raksha Nepal. Raksha Nepal is a registered NGO running since 2004. They have been taking care of sexually exploited girls. Since the earthquake, the kids who have lost their families in the various small villages of Nepal are gathering here.  We managed to donate some blankets, mats and food at the organisation as some relief aid. They are expecting more than a 100 orphans in the next few days. We the team at Koseli School plan to induct orphans in our school to provide them a secure future. We plan to fulfill their food, clothing, education, medical, hygiene and sanitary needs.  We are expanding our vision and looking at their long term security and we are sure we will be able to help them build a better life.