Hannah- Working in Nepal
I’m 2 months into my 3 month stay here and I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by! It can take a little while to settle into Kathmandu life, the dust and chaotic nature of the city can be a bit much at first; but you’ll quickly find that there is a lot to love here, from spending weekends exploring the temples of Kathmandu valley or enjoying an after work sunset with a Gorkha (Nepali beer) in hand from a rooftop in Patan. Plus, having the opportunity to escape the city and heading for a short trek in the Annapurna’s was incredible, and something I would encourage everyone to do.
Before applying to Street Child I had worked alongside other human rights organisations, in Australia and Kenya working on content creation and small scale research projects. My academic background is in Sociology and International Relations so I was really looking to use my research skills and apply them to a larger international context than I had previously been involved in. I chose to volunteer with Street Child as they offered just that, a chance to contribute to meaningful and interesting work, collaborate with a local team and gain valuable insight into the development sector from the ground.
As part of the research team I have been working alongside our local staff on a large scale research project investigating the education opportunities currently available for Musahar people in the Terai region. Musahars are the most politically marginalized, economically exploited and socially ostracised group in Nepal. As such, their access to education is severely constrained. Street Child have conducted this research to work with the community towards providing a better alternative.
Being involved in this project has been truly fascinating, humbling and at times incredibly challenging. Spending time, in the extremely hot and humid, but beautiful, Terai region was all of these things at once. Work in the field is full of surprises, and changing conditions mean you need to be prepared and adaptable. As a foreign volunteer you are sometimes limited in your capacity to communicate, and having to rely on a translator can seem like a constraint. But it is all part of the experience, and coming up with creative ways to work around barriers is part of the fun.
The work I’ve done has been hugely rewarding, and getting to know our local team is a huge bonus and definitely a highlight of my experience!