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Gorkha Development Scheme

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Meet Sobika, Yukesh, Asmita, Santos, Sargor, Ujjal, Krishna & Dipesh. 

These are eight of the fourteen children who live and study at Mahendra Jyoti Secondary School in Gorkha, Nepal. With disabilities ranging from physical disabilities to severe intellectual impairments, these children are all part of the learning support classroom at Mahendra Jyoti, which is run by a single teacher with minimal training in educating children with additional needs. Currently, the children's classroom and bedroom are one in the same, which doesn't leave much room for each child to have their own space and leaves little room for classroom activities. 

On my recent trip to Nepal as a GDS volunteer, I had the opportunity to work with these kids to find out what additional needs they had, and how they could be better supported. While my time at the school was brief, my hope is that future GDS volunteers can use the information I gathered to implement strategies and ideas to help give these children the best education, and ultimately the best chance at life, as possible. 

But doing this requires some help. After meeting the kids and thinking about their needs from an occupational therapist's perspective, I can think of an infinite number of items or activities that could help them learn and communicate more effectively. Some of the items I think would benefit these kids include:

- Flashcards/Picture cards: having cards that illustrate every day objects or activities (e.g. toilet, food, bath time) can assist a non-verbal child to communicate their wants and needs. 

- Theraputty: squeezing, pinching, rolling and even just playing with this firm putty can improve finger strength and dexterity, which is crucial for children when learning to hold a pencil correctly or when leaning to do up buttons. 

- Fine motor activities: games that involve manipulation of the fingers can greatly improve coordination and dexterity. These could include, dot-to-dot games, threading beads onto string or cutting with scissors. 

- Gross motor activities: encouraging kids to use their whole bodies can help them develop their proprioceptive and vestibular senses, while also improving their coordination skills. These can include ball games, hopscotch and skipping. 

These are just some of the things that could help these kids learn skills that could help them for the rest of their lives. GDS has been working hand-in-hand with the headmaster of Mahendra Jyoti for many years now, and we're all very eager to help these children in whatever way we can. If you can, please donate - even if it's only $5. To give you an idea of how far your money can go in Nepal, $55 can enable GDS to sponsor a child for a full year schooling. This includes sending a child to school with a new backpack, uniform, shoes, exercise books and stationary. 

Working with Mahendra Jyoti is just one of many incredible initiatives GDS has implemented in Gorkha. Along with their work in the school, they also run hygiene programs for primary school students in rural communities, they fund English training programs for primary school teachers and they facilitate women's health classes for mothers and babies in Gorkha. All of which I was lucky enough to experience firsthand. If you'd like to read more about the experiences I had as a GDS volunteer in Gorkha, you can read my report for the charity here:

 If you'd like to find out more about the GDS in general, check out their website here: 

Thank you for helping change the lives of children living in Nepal.


Elise Helen

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