Our first Health Care volunteer has arrived in Pokhara which has finally given us a chance to get our new project off the ground. We have been welcomed into Santh Sansar, a center to help those with Cerebal Palsy, by the staff and students that attend. The center has a school bus that picks up the students each day so that they can attend basic lessons, have physio, and socialize with others in similar circumstances. This also helps give families a break and some much needed support. There is not a lot of help for families with children that have special needs here in Nepal and the management at Santhi Sansar do their best to keep it affordable for those families with little or no money.
The center was being funded by a group in Europe, but due to the financial situation at the moment, they have had to drasticly reduce their funding and Santhi Sansar is left wondering if they will be able to continue helping so many students from month to month. They have had to cut back their budget which unfortunatley has also included staff wages. Many staff have had to leave, and those that can afford to get by have stayed on as volunteers.
The staff at the center are amazing and where quick to invite us to there annual picnic for the students and their families. Normally this picnic is put on and paid for by the center and is held outside of the school grounds as an excursion. This year, however, the center was not able to afford such a luxury and the picnic looked like it would be cancelled completely. The parents got together and told the staff that this was a day that they and their children wanted and needed to spend with the staff and other families going through the same issues. They came up with the idea of the center charging a small fee for lunch (just enough to cover the cost of the food) and hold games that people could pay to play to help with a little fundraising. The picnic was also held at the center to cut out transportation costs.
100 people attended the small grounds at Santhi Sansar and fun was had by all. After a few traditional Nepali games (which of course Ruth, Lok, and myself joined in), people began to showcase their traditional Nepali dancing as well. Since they had put on a great dancing show it was decided that Ruth and I should get up and show them some western dancing. We did the only thing we knew how…….. nightclub moves! Luckily our audience was completely amused and a few of the teachers got up and joined in to help us out. Then a few parents stepped in and showed us some wonderful Nepali moves (which we definitely need to practise), and finally lunch was called (thank goodness!).
We are excited to help the staff continue their good work and hoping for more Health Care volunteers to join us soon to work with such amazing people.