I arrived in Kathmandu on June 22nd and I am leaving in a just a few days on August 21st, 2017! I had three volunteering placements with VSN: the Orphanage, the Women’s Empowerment Program, and the CBIA teaching program. From Sunday to Friday from 11:30 to 1:30 I taught English and a little bit of basic math at the Volunteer Society Nepal’s Women’s Center. The roughly 12 women who attend ranged from 40 to 65 years old, and they have been going to the center for several years. None of the women in my class have had any education before the Women’s Center, and before they started going most of them could not write or read Nepali, so it’s really cool to see them read and write Nepali now.
In the morning and evening from Sunday to Friday I also volunteered with children at the orphanage. These are children who lost their parents to different circumstances and were rescued several years ago from the street where they were at a high risk of being kidnapped and trafficked. I help them with their homework and play games with them. All of the kids from the orphanage have a full scholarship to the CBIA school in Pepsicola. CBIA is a private school where I also teach English to grades 2 and 3.
A highlight of my trip has definitely been realizing I enjoy teaching. I also am so grateful I have been in Kathmandu for a long time because I have been able to form relationships with the different children and women I have met. I know their different personalities and how they learn, and this helps me to be a more effective teacher.
The most important thing I’ve learned in Nepal is that it really matters to be consistent with the vulnerable populations you are working with. I’ve noticed the longer I stay the more comfortable the kids and the women are with me and the more trusting they are.
I am a social work major, and this experience in Kathmandu has definitely influenced me as a social worker. I have lived in the U.S. my whole life, but now I believe I can be a more effective social worker because I understand some of the nuances and intricacies of a country completely different from my own. I now have more experience working with people whose background is very different from mine.