Workshop at Future Star English Secondary School, Nepal

The last You.Com workshop that we would all be together for took place between the 27th and 29th of June, at Future Star English Secondary School, located between UNESCO world heritage sites, Swoyambhunath and Durbar Square.

Nepali volunteer Shrija was the one that approached the school about doing a workshop for their students. And for this one we experimented with a different style: the workshop lasted 3 days, the 1st day involved only a presentation on climate change, and there was a session for participants to do their own reuse&recycle projects.

 

Workshop schedule

Day I

12:30 Introduction to Tude, and to each other – facilitated by Dragos

12:45 Presentation on climate change – facilitated by Shrija and Ina

Day II

14:00 Session 1: Pencil Holder – facilitated by Naresh

15:30 Energizer game – facilitated by Dragos

15:40 Session 2: Paper bag – facilitated by Dragos

Day III

14:00 Session 3: Plastic Flower Pot – facilitated by Megha

15:00 Session 4: Sprout Garden – facilitated by Ina

15:30 Energizer game – facilitated by Ina

15:40 Session 5: Team Projects by Participants

 

The First Day

Because of the different format we were experimenting with, this day only involved theoretical knowledge, although we worked to make it as interactive as possible. The focus was climate change, with it’s cause and effects, and what we can do as a society and as individuals to mitigate them. This was designed to put the following sessions in context, present what we were going to teach them as solutions, not just fun crafting projects.

The power point presentation started with a short animated video explaining climate change for children. We started with that to grab their attention and provide a simple explanation, that we then expanded on as we moved forward with the presentation.

We had planned a very interactive session, with a lot of guiding questions for the students, but they were quite shy, so that didn’t work as planned. They started opening up more towards the end, as we moved to mitigating factors.

At the end of the session the participants formed teams of 5, and we explained that on the last day they had an 1 hour session to themselves, when they were to show us how to make something by reusing paper, plastic, cardboard or cloth.

 

The Second Day

The focus of this day was reusing paper, to that end we taught the participants how to make spokes out of newspaper and how to use those to make spiral pencil holders, as well as how to make a paper bag out of newspapers.

To save up on time, we had prepared in advance some of the materials needed, such as cardboard cut-outs for the paper bags, and extra spokes for the pencil holders. The participants were informed the first day about what materials they should bring from home, but not many did, so we had them work in teams of 5 (the teams they had formed the previous day), sharing their tools and materials.

The sessions seemed to hold their interest, and they grasped the steps quite fast, according to Turkish volunteer Deren who was the photographer for this workshop, and got to observe all the teams, while the rest of the volunteers were focused on assisting one or two teams.

Throughout the sessions there were teachers present, assisting the participants, and ensuring they were well behaved and attentive, just by value of being there. Many of the participants made very good products that they can be proud of.

 

The Last Day

The day started on a bad note, as Turkish volunteer Savas fell ill and had to be taken to the hospital. He was fine in the end, but we didn’t know this until later. As such the workshop started in an atmosphere of worry and uncertainty, and without two of our volunteers, as Naresh went with Savas.

When the kids arrived we were 5 volunteers left and no teachers to keep the clas in check. At first it seemed that the only problem was that someone else had to facilitate Savas’ session. That was a problem because it was something we hadn’t done before, how to grow a sprout garden in an egg carton. In the end we managed with some quick research and remembered conversations with Savas.

This sprout garden activity was designed to go hand in hand with the plastic flower pot, as the participants could grow the sprouts then plant them in the flower pots they had made.

The participants were a lot more distracted than during the previous days. During the last session, the one where they made their own projects, some teams had more complex projects, some more simple ones and some… hadn’t prepared at all. While some teams were working well together, focused on the project, others were more rowdy. The ones that finished early or had brought it from home were getting bored and walking around the class room. We had a very difficult time maintaining order and focus.

Once everyone had finished their project, each team went up front and showed their product while explaining the steps. The products were judged based on how well they reused waste, appearance and practicality, as well as teamwork. The winning team was awarded certificates and gifts, while all the participants received candy. Yet towards the end the atmosphere was so chaotic we didn’t even get a change to take the usual group photo.

This was quite a different experience from what we’ve grown used to, doing workshops in several school over the past months.

Ina, Deren, Savas, Drago’s