British Girls’ Philanthropic Journey in Nepal Sparks Cultural Exchange
In a heartwarming display of cultural exchange and philanthropy, three young girls from the United Kingdom have embarked on a transformative journey to volunteer in a rural school in Nepal. Their inspiring story sheds light on the significance of fostering mutual understanding and cooperation between nations.
Ranya, Zain, and Reiya Shrestha, driven by a passion for making a positive impact, decided to spend their post A-level break dedicating their time and efforts to the Saraswati Secondary School in Kavre, Nepal. The trio also contributed significantly to the Kumar Balaram Memorial Free Hostel, exemplifying the spirit of giving back to society.
This endeavor is not merely a personal one, but also holds historical importance. Nepal established diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom back in 1816. The Treaty of Friendship signed in 1923 further solidified the bond between the two countries, marking the inception of a longstanding and cordial relationship characterized by respect for each other’s national interests and aspirations.
The United Kingdom, being the first country to establish diplomatic relations with Nepal, has been at the forefront of promoting people-to-people ties to strengthen the bilateral connection. Notably, the UK was also the first country to establish its embassy in Kathmandu, while Nepal reciprocated by setting up its legation in London in 1934, which later gained Ambassadorial status in 1947 A.D.
Through the publication of the girls’ diary, we aim to encourage young generations to engage in cultural exchange and embrace philanthropic activities. This experience not only showcases the dedication of these three individuals but also reflects the essence of friendship and cooperation between nations.
As their journey unfolds in the pages of their diary, readers will witness firsthand the profound impact that cultural exchange and philanthropy can have on shaping a brighter and more compassionate world. It is hoped that this inspiring account will inspire more young individuals to participate in similar initiatives, fostering global harmony and understanding.
The three of us woke up at around 7am. The day started off with barefooted gardening. At first, we weren’t too comfortable with this but once our feet touched the soil and we began to plant, we felt free. The feeling is similar to curling your toes in the sand. The kids lead us to a different farm plot, where the aim is to plant rajma seeds. Firstly, we used a ho to dig in straight lines; we aimed to make rows in the land. After that, we were shown how to plant the seeds. Secondly, we were given miniature ho to dig through the plot and place two bean seeds inside the ground. Once gardening was over, Reiya and Ranya went to shower while I did our laundry. Back in England, it is fairly rare to see a house without a washing machine built in. However, this was not the case here. My laundry equipment consisted of a bucket and a bar of soap. I thought to myself that if the kids can do it, so can I. I carried everything down the stairs and got to work. My makeshift laundry room was the shower room, which perfectly fit everything. I wasn’t going to lie to myself by saying I was not excited. I genuinely had fun washing our clothes as crazy as it is to say. Since there was a lot of clothes because of the three of us, I made two rounds of washing. The process began with putting as many clothes I can appropriately fit into the bucket and partially filling it up with water with the shower head. Then, I grabbed the soap bar and got to scrubbing. The water in the bucket had gotten soapy so with this, I squeezed and squeezed the clothes inside the water. After that, i emptied out the murky soapy water and rinsed the clothes out with water repeatedly until the leftover water was clear. This process took a very long time and I was grateful for every second of it. I hadn’t usually thought about how difficult it is for others to stay clean. However, the kids here are as fresh and clean as ever and I couldn’t be more impressed. The laundry process by hand is tiring, and one needs strong hands for it. The kids here not only have displayed strong hands but strong hearts as well. During the time I was wringing the clothes out of their water content, I saw Sudin shyly lurking around the near stairs. I popped out of the shower room to say hello, and he eagerly greeted me back with an adorable smile. I figured he would be on his way because the kids are always busy but to my surprise he stayed. He told me it was time to eat. However, he didn’t say it to me. Instead, he clasped his hand together and motioned food to his mouth. I told him I wasn’t particularly hungry and that I needed to finish laundry. He didn’t understand, so, to communicate with me he brought his hand to his stomach and made circles while shaking his head (a way of reciprocating to me that I wasn’t hungry). I rubbed my stomach and shook my head in agreement. He didn’t seem satisfied and this isn’t the first time. Sudin, and most of the other children, always illustrated his concerns for whenever the three of us didn’t feel like eating and this is something I will never forget. With perfect timing, Ranya and Reiya made their way up to me right as I finished washing the clothes. As a team, we wrung the clothes as well as we could and hung them up on the rails underneath our room. There is something about doing your own chores in such a limited way that makes it so rewarding. The next thing we did was go back down to the children and Yalina didi and we played a round of Ludo. This game was unfortunately cut short as it was time for music class! We made our way to the hall not knowing what to expect. Some of the children brought their pens and books thinking it was another english lesson but we ended up dancing for a whole 2 hours! The children were absolutely amazing even though many of them had never even heard some of these songs. What looked like expert choreography was actually freestyle. Yalina didi and the children helped us dance to Nepali and Hindi music while we tried our best to keep up. With all of the fun we had, we didn’t even realise that 2 hours had passed. After we learned how to dance Nepali style, it was then our turn to perform for the kids dances that we know together. The kids were super excited and sat neatly in a circle cascading us. Reiya and I were on the spotlight and we had so much fun dancing for the kids. It’s memories like these that help me enjoy life to the fullest. We then had to go down for food again. When we were done it looked like it would start raining so we made our way up. This was very fortunate as when we were half way up the stairs it was drizzling but as soon as we took in the clothes that were drying outside it was absolutely pouring! We hoped that the rain would go soon so we could go back down with everyone. Unfortunately it only got worse. The rain was so loud we felt the walls vibrate. Rain always felt so tedious in the UK but this was next level and also somewhat of a norm here during the monsoon season which really took us aback. However, there was something about prolonged that made it feel peaceful. It was just us three and the sound of pelting rain. Back in England, rain is very normal and common so we take its peace for granted. However, over in the mountains in Nepal I walked out of the room and watched the rain pour over the mountains for a while. It was calming and my soul felt nourished. The power ended up going at around 3 pm while the rain become more and more torrential. We played cards and UNO amongst ourselves waiting for the rain to stop so we could go down again but that didn’t happen. We left our room at 7 to have dinner using an umbrella and that was when the power finally came back. At this point it was quite late so we made our way back to our room towards the end of the day. Yet again we had another peaceful sleep.