After working as a Social worker in London for almost two years I decided to support a charity in Nepal with my existing skills. My plan was to go to Nepal as a volunteer for a month in an care as well as educational project for children who cannot live with or have lost their families.
I have been selected by ICYE UK and the Project called HOPAD – Child and Woman Promotion Society to go to the Kathmandu District to support their organization and ICYE-Nepal is hosting organization. I had join the program during June 2016 for 4 week. The aim of the charity is to give young people the opportunity to go abroad and expand their horizon culturally and personally. I faced structural and cultural struggles that I had to overcome in my time in Nepal – A new country, new rules, new habits, new lives. This made me grow professionally and personally. HOPAD is providing shelter, food, education and clothing for around 20 young people. It is a privately lead organization as the government does not necessarily support Social Work in Nepal. My work contained of looking after these children on a daily basis. I was living with the young people and my main activity was supporting them with their education and fun activities.
The experience I had in Nepal was one of the most challenging and rewarding in my life so far. I learnt what it is like to live in a culture so different from my own. The experience was fulfilling in a sense that I got the chance to see a country from a different, not just a touristic perspective. However I learnt that only going for one month is not enough to actually show value and respect to the children and culture there. I believe that being there for longer can have a better impact and makes the volunteer have a better understanding as well. I think that these exchanges and these volunteer opportunities are important to expand our personal knowledge about countries and cultures and to become more open minded about people. The world is changing and societies are becoming more multicultural, meeting a culture through volunteering is a good opportunity to build bridges between your own country and the one you are volunteering in.
The children and the organization management empowered me and put light to what it is like to be in care in Nepal. I learnt much more from them than from any textbook and I am deeply grateful for them playing such a great part in my development.