All of us at Women LEAD have had an amazing week working with the incredible Field Innovation Team (FIT). After a series of virtual trainings over Skype with the LEADers, the FIT team officially arrived here on June 2nd, 2015 to work with us for a week on youth empowerment and community rebuilding after the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on 25th April, 2015.
The first day of the workshop began with the FIT team working closely with our LEADers and familiarizing them with the Youth Empowerment Curriculum. The Youth Empowerment Curriculum was packed with an exciting set of fun, interactive and educational activities designed to foster teamwork and develop leadership amongst the students. The activity ‘Story of You’ was a powerful medium where the LEADers got a unique chance to become authors by writing their own book that contained their personal experiences about the earthquake and the inspiring moments that they remembered from it. LEADer Anjali shared that the activity was a cathartic outlet to the mental trauma that they had boxed inside them. We also had a theater instructor Lisha come in and conduct a physical activity that was based on trust. Her session also included an expressive way of emoting the way they reacted during the time of the earthquake.
After our LEADers were trained, we set out to conduct the activities out in the local community from where our LEADers are from. We partnered with All Hands: a volunteer organization that was constructing Temporary Learning Centers at Assapuri School in Kavre district. Our LEADers immediately bonded with the students there and conducted fun activities from the curriculum such as the Marshmallow game, which allowed them to work better in teams by building the tallest tower. Another
game they played was Monster Man, which encouraged them to use their power of imagination and unleashed their creative side. They also played a fun health game called ‘Diarrhea’ which taught the students to be hygienic by washing their hands and keeping the disease at bay. Rather than limiting learning to just books, the Youth Empowerment Project emphasized making learning a really fun and collaborative experience. Our LEADers also got a hands-on experience to do physical reconstruction work by building a bamboo-based temporary learning center. They did an incredible job, working in energetic teams to gather the raw materials such as bamboo from the forest, to drilll holes, lift rubble and chop bamboo.
Our LEADers also coordinated with their schools in their local communities to conduct the project. One of those schools was our alumni Tara’s school in her community at Harisiddhi. We got to partner with an amazing team called Circus Kathmandu, the only leading circus organization in Kathmandu, who led an adrenaline filled dance workshop for the students and also amused them with their acrobatic stunts. Similarly, we got the opportunity to work at our alumni Anjali’s school in Khokana. When we asked one of our alumni about her experience working with FIT, Samikshya shared, “Being a part of FIT was a very enriching experience. The students were initially shy but after they got a chance to share their story in front of their friends, their confidence level increased. There were students who wouldn’t talk to each other, especially boys and girls. But our games such as snap pass and tie the knot acted as an ice breaker and connected them to each other. It is very nice to observe and experience that positive change in the students with whom we have developed a special bond within just a few days.”
FIT summed up their experience working with Women LEAD as an incredible journey. “There have been so many highlights, but the most special moments were observing the Women LEAD trainees and alumni excitedly take the lead in their communities, showing that this project will continue on after we depart. That is the greatest gift of all.” We are incredibly grateful to FIT for giving us and our LEADers a unique opportunity to help our communities.