Guest bloggers Elizabeth Jenkins, Yvonne Sutton, Melanie Evans and Sonia Boghossian fill us in on their latest updates from Nepal…
Our community engagement at the Swapna Vatika School in Kathmandu, Nepal has been both challenging and inspiring in so many countable ways. We’ve had the opportunity to engage collaboratively within the school environment to apply our current knowledge and teaching practices outside our typical context. Before starting our placement, we collectively established our goals in collaboration with Challenges Abroad and the Future Sense Foundation. Over two weeks, we were provided the opportunity to deliver a range of life skill workshops and a restoration project that would benefit the children and their interaction with their outdoor environment.
Our goal for the workshops was to identify complex problems within the community and devise lessons that discussed meaningful solutions, more specifically caring for the environment and ourselves. Delivering these workshops proved to be challenging and incredibly rewarding. We were faced with language barriers and differing teaching perspectives and approaches which required us to consider and adjust our previous beliefs. This experience encouraged collaborative and strong relationships between fellow students as we shared teaching strategies and practices to inform our lessons. Rewarding to both our students and our own learning, this opportunity has provided us with a plethora of memories and insights into the beauty of the Nepalese culture.
Our restoration project required us to create a mural on a brick wall in the outdoor environment. In collaboration with members of the school community we designed and painted an interactive artwork that encompassed the interests of the students. Although this was a big project, the appreciation from the school community and support from ACU staff only cemented the incredible opportunity we were embarking upon.
Our ACU team come from various backgrounds, some of us experienced travellers and for others this was their first experience overseas. However, this only heartened our growing friendships and solidified our reasons for applying for this community engagement program.
Overall our community engagement in Nepal has enlightened and encouraged us to make decisions that challenge our own perceptions of teaching. Our involvement with this engagement has granted us with new found understandings of ourselves and contexts different to our own.