“We don’t have to think big and do big to make an impact, just being yourself and sharing what we have can also influence change”

-Being a fellow at Samaanta Foundation, I have got opportunities to feel the impact of serving the community for a change as it serves me. With this gratefulness and respecting the core value of Samaanta, which is “empowering communities”, I have been utilizing each opportunity I get to serve people with the knowledge and skill I have.

With the support of Samaanta and my co-fellows, we engaged in the community last month. The motive of doing community service was to help in influencing change, motivate individuals and to serve forward the opportunity that we got from Samaanta Foundation. 

While doing a preliminary study, we decided to visit a school, Gyan Jyoti Adharbhut School located in a village at Lalitpur. The school is about 5 hours of ride on a bus from Kathmandu. We observed that, even Lalitpur being a neighboring district to the capital city, most of the parts are still rural; no proper means of facilities and quality education. Realizing the gap, we decided to  organize a program in one of the schools. Based on our expertise and skills, we facilitated an interactive session with the children about self-care and relevance of basic first aid Kit. 

As the village is quite far, we had to stay in the community. We stayed there for 2 nights and returned to Kathmandu on the 3rd day. I am really grateful to the people who believed in us and collaborated with the program. The way they welcomed us was very heart touching and the delicious dinner just blew my mind. It was around 5:30 pm when we got there; we stayed at Baguwa homestay. We then enjoyed a fire camp and discussed our program for the next day. 

The next day was our event day, the day to execute the session we had planned for so long and travelled 162 Km from Kathmandu. We arrived at the school; it was under construction. It was lagging in terms of developing technical infrastructure. But the involvement of teachers and their participation in the session made me believe that at least students are getting a good education. Despite being a government school in a rural community, students were studying in English medium up to the primary level. 

The students were from class 4 and 5. The session was in the periphery of making first- aid kits with basic self-caring resources such as soap, bandages, cotton, etc. Along with that, we discussed various misconceptions regarding first aid. We presented audiovisual aid to make it more interesting and engaging. We even did a reflective discussion session after the video. And the fun part was the balloon racing game, where participants were very excited. Personally, I enjoyed that game a lot with kids. The feedback from students was also impressive. We carried a feedback session by allowing the students to rate on our overall program in the three categories: i.e Best, Average and Worst. The majority of the rating was in the best and then on average. We also discussed the overall session with the teachers, and they also gave positive responses.

 After the session, we had to reach another homestay in Malta village; around 2 hours of walking distance. Nature was indeed beautiful along with the divergent contouring cliff. Even Though we were tired after the whole session and all walking, we were immensely satisfied and happy. Likewise, the first day we reached the second homestay at around 5:30 pm. 

It was my first experience of travelling so far by a public vehicle. Even the roads were under construction; the narrow roads were scary but adventurous. Working in a new community and experiencing life in a new environment was the most challenging thing for me. But along with these challenges, I have got an opportunity to learn many things. Further, I got to see the natural beauty of the village along with the harsh reality related to it for the students. I found out that students have to walk for 2 hours everyday to reach their school.

My experience in community engagement was great. It was amazing to see students’ involvement and enthusiasm. The impact of our work was reflected in their performance and conversation. We don’t have to think big and do big to make an impact, just being yourself and sharing what we have can also influence change. Therefore, I want to express my gratefulness to each and every individual who has supported and believed in us.

-Manisha Deshar (4th cohort)