Goodbye Great Britain; Namaste Nepal!

August 13, 2014
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Childsmile is a school-based charity celebrating its tenth anniversary since establishing at my secondary school- The City of Leicester College. Our vision is simple: improve the lives of the community in Nepal, taking particular focus on children. Nepal is a humble nation located in South Asia with a population of less than 30 million people. This Summer, 8 students including myself accompanied by 3 teachers from The City of Leicester College traveled on an expedition to Nepal in which we got stuck in volunteering with a number of projects. The time arrived for our voyage to kick into motion, we set off as sanguine, driven youths all sharing the same enthusiasm to as our school motto says; ‘Make a Difference.’

For the duration of our stay Blessed Home Orphanage became our temporary ‘Home Sweet Home.’ Blessed Home Orphanage, home to 17 buoyantly brilliant children has been Childsmiles biggest ongoing project and longstanding link. Through fundraising we have not only supported the children with basic necessities such as food and education but continuously strive to create an environment which reflects and enhances the kids characters-happy, loving and full of life. Bearing this in mind we felt it only appropriate to paint their living and dining room the brightest shade of yellow we could possibly find! By living alongside such incredible people I experienced the Nepalese life for what it truly is-meaning ice chilled showers, mosquito bites and treacherous roads suddenly became the new ‘norm.’ My brain began exuberantly rewiring until even the most ordinary or seemingly insignificant of things filled me with absolute contentment, materialistic items were but a distant memory.

I arrived in Nepal unaware of exactly what I was searching for, what I found was a country rich in spirit above and beyond what an ‘I Love Nepal’ t-shirt could ever capture. I found mothers abound with determination to fight for a society which empowers and recognises women instead of oppressing them. Childsmile funded the launch of a Women’s Micro-Finance Group which provides loans to women encouraged to invest into a number of micro-enterprises from tea shops to tailoring. Consequently the women gain financial security without dependence and enhance their social status. I found student’s hearts bounteous with hope and optimism as they aspire to pursue a career their rural parents could never prospect to. Childsmile delivered boxes loaded with items such as toys, stationary, jewellery and books for all the pupils at SouthWestern State School. Additionally we lead inventive activities at Bright Angels English School which allowed pupils a productive escape from the usual timetable of academic learning. I found workers rich in passion for the indigenous handicrafts they’ve cultivated using methods which showcase their heritage, tradition and culture. Childsmile opened a window of trading opportunities through a small import-export franchise aiming to generate income with businesses from a humble jewelry maker to Manushi-a fair trade organization with 700 producers in 8 districts. I found families with laudable amounts of will-power and fortitude to persevere defiantly through circumstances of sheer destitution-a virtue I could never value. Childsmile donated food and water supplies to a make-do refugee camp site for families displaced by a flood in their home village.

After journeying by foot, plane, mini-bus, canoe, motorbike and elephant our expedition met its end. Throughout my experience I was constantly thought provoked- unlocking realizations not only with the world around me but with myself. The gaping hole of self-fulfillment and purpose we’re all born with filled just a little more. My perceptions became vivid; the hazy blur of life slowed and I was able to find beauty in pictures and places I all too often overlook. I witnessed hardships and struggles no longer behind a TV screen but with my very own eyes, daring to share and become a part of tales rather than be satisfied as a spectator.

Thank you Nepal.

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Ray--yoThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 12, 2014 at 10:44 am
Thank YOU!
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