Hi! This week has been fantastic, I had some really interesting experiences seeing what technology within education can do for inclusive education, had a great interview with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, and I went to the Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple).
Below you see some photos from the Monkey Temple I went there together with Hanna, she is an MFS student from Stockholm University doing her research on water resources in Kathmandu Valley. The Monkey Temple provides a panoramic view of the city and valley, it is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Kathmandu.
I had the opportunity to meet with Mr Narad Dhamala from the Inclusive Education Section (Center for Education and Human Resource Development) and Ms Sarala Poudel previously Curriculum Development Centre, both working for the Nepal Ministry of Education, Science & Technology. It was a very interesting meeting about how the Government of Nepal work with inclusive education, challenges and future plans. Also, Ms Rajuna Singh, an Australia Awards alumni was my translator for the interview, so helpful and important work! The Ministry is responsible for all overall development of education in Nepal, formulating educational policies and plans and managing and implementing them across the country through the institutions under it. www.moe.gov.np
Rajuna Singh used to work as a teacher within computer education, teaching at a special school in Kathmandu. Through Rajuna I got in contact with two of her former students, Umesh and Darshan, both youth with severe intellectual disability. Of various reasons, none of them have been able to go to school in the last two years. For Umesh it is that he is now too big and his mother can no longer carry him up two sets of stairs (they live on basement level) and to the bus stop. Instead, after training with Rajuna and through donors in Europe, both Umesh and Darshan have received computers adjusted to their needs. Umesh controls his computer through a joystick control by his foot. He has learned how to type using his feet and can now communicate without problems online, he even has his own YouTube Channel called Umesh TECH – check it out as it is fantastic!
Darshan can not talk verbally, however through technology he can now communicate through his computer. He has learned how to write with his nose, he wrote really quick and it was easy conversation for me to speak and he to type back. He is a great writer, now he has written over 150 poems – all in English! Now Umesh and Darshan both study English from home, one of the best things is that they are still connected online and through Facebook keep in touch with each other. They are two fantastic people and I feel priviliged I got to meet them both.
Namaste, It is my second to last week in Nepal and I am trying to squeeze in as much as possible before heading back home. In my last blog post I forgot to mention that I attended the ANZAC Day memorial service organised by the Australian Ambassador at his residency @ the Australian Embassy on April 25. Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”. It was an interesting event to take part of in Nepal.
This week I have done some interviews as well as been touristing around a bit. On Saturday I attended the Le Sherpa farmers market which is where a lot of the expats go every Saturday morning. It is a nice place to grab a coffee and sit down on the lawn and chat to people. On Sunday I attended the Yellow House farmers market in Patan which was also really good. I ended up buying two shirts that are designed and made in Nepal.
I got to meet the next batch of Australia Awards Nepal Short Course on Inclusive Education in Practice Awardees heading off to Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. It was lovely to meet the scholars at their Pre-Departure Briefing held in Kathmandu just two days before they were off to Australia. My project in Nepal is in interviewing alumni from this course (2016 and 2018 participants), hence very interesting to attend this event and learn more about the scholars selected for 2019.
I had an interview with Australia Awards Nepal alumni Mr Ganesh Kc and Ms Jamuna Subedi from Independent Living Centre for Persons with Disabilities, Kathmandu (CIL-Kathmandu). It was such an inspiring meeting! CIL-Kathmandu promote and protect the rights of people with disabilities through advocacy, peer support, and awareness raising of the concept of ‘Independent Living’ in Nepal. www.cil.org.np
“The right to participate in every aspect of life” “The only special need that I have is to be loved and accepted just the way I am”
I also had a great meeting with Mr Lakpa Sherpa, Principal at the Laboratory School (Lab School), and how he works with advocating for inclusive education. The Lab school is the first public boarding school in Nepal (established 1956) and is a successful integrated school where visually impaired and sighted students share the same classroom. www.laboratoryschoolnepal.com
And I also had an interview with Mr KP Adhikari and team at the National Federation of the Deaf Nepal (NDFN). I learned so much about inclusive education and the development and challenges within deaf education. NDFN is the national umbrella organisation of the deaf community in Nepal working for policy intervention on such as deaf rights, sign language, telecommunication facilities, awareness raising and training. www.deafnepal.org.np “I can talk with my hands. Can you?”
Hi! This week has been busy with several interviews and catching up with Nepali friends in Kathmandu. I had an interview with Mr Raju Basnet and Mr Ramesh Pokharel, two Australia Awards short course in inclusive education alumni from the National Federation of the Disabled Nepal (NFDN). NFDN is an umbrella body of persons with disabilities and represents more than 300 member organizations in Nepal. They do an amazing job working with advocacy, awareness raising, and capacity building within inclusive education. www.nfdn.org.np
This week I also got to learn how to make Nepali momo’s (like dumplings), my favorite food in Nepal :). It was my friend Rajana that invited me home for lunch and together with her mother and sister we made soo many momos. I ate way too many momo’s but they are so yummy! I have known Rajuna since 2017 so it has been great to be able to see her now while I am in Nepal.
I also had the opportunity to meet with NB Limbu, Director and founder of the Nepal Association of the Blind (NAB). NAB is a national umbrella organization of the blind with over 3000 members across the country. They work to raise awareness and advocacy around inclusive education through providing i.e. computer training, digital accessible information system, and capacity building training. www.napnepal.org
I was invited for a lovely Easter BBQ Nepali style which was great. We all had to wear topi (the hat on our heads) and ate lots of yummy food and drank Namaste Nepali beer. Really nice evening.
Namaste (hello in Nepali)! This week being back in Kathmandu has been very busy. I have had a couple of interviews as well as attended several events organised by the Australian Embassy in Nepal (my host organisation). It was also the Nepali new year. According to the national Nepalese calendar Bikram Sambat it is now 2076.
Each year the Australia Awards Nepal program organise a return home and reintegration workshop for all the alumni that have recently returned from their studies in Australia. I got to meet Rajuna, which I helped to mobilise to Australia 3 years ago when I worked in Adelaide, Australia on the AA program. So good to see her again!
I got invited to attend the Australia Awards Nepal inspirational talk program with famous Dr Sanduk Ruit. Dr Ruit is an Australia Global Alumni and today an eminent eye-surgeon and restored the sight of more than 120,000 people across Nepal and beyond. He work to help the poorest of the poor. He has received several international Awards and it was an honor to be there and listen to him.
Then I also completed two interviews this week. The first one with the AutismCare Nepal Society and I got to interview two alumni, Sijan and Dr Sunita that both have attended the short course in inclusive education. I got to see their school, a school for children with autism that at this stage are unable to go to a mainstream school.
My second interview was with Sagar, he worked for the National Federation of Disabled, Nepal (NFDN) for many years before he earlier this year resigned to work with his project Sangai Hami (Together We) – People with and without disabilities together! Sagar is a great inspiration!