Charavee Basnet Chettri
Gold Award Participant
Rato Bangala School
I completed my International Award Gold with 9 of my batch mates. The ten of us completed the same requirements, went on the same adventurous journey and conducted the same residential project, but I can confidently say that each of our journeys was extremely unique and personal, paving our own road to personal growth. I had volunteered in a children’s home for my Service for a year, taken up basketball training for Physical Recreation for 18 months and learnt the guitar as my Skills for 12 months.
Apart from these requirements, we had trekked to Mardi Himal for our pre-qualifying adventurous journey trip. This trip was particularly helpful in not just teaching us ways to cope with the increasing altitude with the correct medication, but also in mentally preparing ourselves for the qualifying adventurous journey that we initially felt could be even more challenging. So for our qualifying adventurous journey, we did a trek to Langtang valley. By car, we entered the Shivapuri National Park and were stationed to a lodge in Syaprubesi for the night. Our second stop was at Lama Hotel, then at Kyanjin Gomba in the Langtang Valley. We were met with chilly yet refreshing breeze, unpredictable route with more uphill paths than I would have preferred. Each day would render us utterly exhausted, so each night, after we freshened up, we would gather in the eating area in the lodge of each stop, drink hot beverages and play ‘UNO’. We really bonded as friends, and as people. What struck us most from this trip was the devastation caused by the 2015 earthquake. Seeing how the villagers had not given up hope and were resettling a little further away was inspiring and made us realize how privileged we were and I experienced an effusion of emotion especially of gratefulness.
We decided to conduct the residential project, our next and last requirement, in Shree Janakalyan School in Kavre from November 14 to November 18 of 2018. The whole group of participants were divided into two sub groups, one that led the environmental project whereas the other led the social project. I was part of the environmental project with a main theme of waste management. When we were planning, we decided to give the grades 9 and 10, assuming a greater maturity in them, a presentation regarding how poorly waste is managed in contemporary societies and how we as citizens and more importantly as youth can use various ways of managing waste, either through its segregation before disposal or recycling and reusing materials. We made sure to include statistics regarding different countries or regions who are the most efficient in waste management to the least in the world. For the grades such as 6 and 7, we decided to do a more interactive activity which we demonstrated how plastic bottles (from water or soft drinks) can be reused without immediately disposing it. The students were taught to make broomsticks out of large plastic bottles as a useful household object, and also pots for flower plants out of plastic water bottles as a decorative piece. Around 8-10 such pots were hung around the school compound. And for the youngest students who were preschoolers, we decided to teach them and sing along with them Nepali, catchy song that carried an important message about the environment. With such activities clearly divided among the 4 days of our stay in Kavre, we completed our residential project. We chose such a topic, because we believed that it was important to sensitize the population, and especially the youth regarding such a pressing issue of the 21st century. Every naively ignorant action is adversely affecting the environment the absence of priority towards waste management is ultimately doing so. Very evident is the pathetic waste management system of Nepal, and with the intention to disseminate such knowledge to the whole area through the rural school children, we pursued this knowledge. Supporting more and more modern and effective ways of learning that are more visual- oriented and highly interactive, we decided to raise awareness in exactly such ways rather than the conventional textbook versions. When conducting our project, what stood out to me very distinctly was the difference in the propagation of knowledge (or the education system in general terms) in the village area like Kavre and city area like Patan. Their course did not provide a deep understanding of aspects like the environment like ours did. The course did not provide the eclectic mix of aspects that I consider crucial to understanding and internalizing the environment or any topic for that matter, and so I was glad that we were pursuing a project that would not be redundant.
(Impact) The whole of the Gold Award Journey was indeed a longer one perhaps because of which I believe that it has a deeper impact. Each activity and each component of this award has shaped me in its own way. Firstly, from my Physical Recreation and Skills activities, I came to understand the vitality of perseverance. It was impossible to improve overnight and that rendered me frustrated and even exasperated initially thinking “what’s the use when I cannot see any sort of progress and change?” It took me repeated edifications from my activity coaches that it takes time for my three-pointer shots to land or for my fingers to shift more smoothly between chords to internalize that it does take time and I need to have patience. My Service activity also taught me a lot about patience. The greatest achievement from Service would have to be the development of my interpersonal skills and rapport building skills, because in one confined space I was interacting with people from varying age groups and gender groups and in very different ways: there were stubborn nagging toddlers at one end who needed to be treated with tough love occasionally and there were mature adult supervisors at the other end who need to be interacted with a certain level of respect and diplomacy. There was a sort of decorum and discipline embedded and required in each of these activities. Looking back, I can say that I am more confident in my individuality for which I am immensely thankful to the Gold Award for.