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Danielle Cheeseman

Danielle Cheeseman

From 01/01/2010 to 22/02/2010

My experience of volunteering at Kavre Deaf School Banepa

Volunteering at Kavre Deaf School Banepa has been the most amazing and rewarding experience. Kavre Deaf School is located in Banepa, about 35km from Kathmandu. There are approximately 40 children at the school. I stayed with a homestay family in the village and taught English and computer skills at the deaf school. I have met the most inspirational people. Everyone was so welcoming and made me feel a part of their deaf community. I loved teaching – each day was so much fun and full of laughter! The children are so talented and have taught me so much about the Nepali culture, art and craft, dancing and the Nepali deaf culture. During my time at the school I attended festivals, local fairs and art and craft education programs with the children. The homestay is a wonderful opportunity to experience the Nepali culture and form close friendships.

Nepali sign language is fun and easy to learn. I came to Nepal knowing no Nepali sign language, and after 2 months I could understand almost everything. I would recommend future volunteers to learn the American one handed alphabet before coming to Nepal, as this is used the school.

There is so much to be done for the Deaf community in Nepal. The school is in great need of volunteers to help with the development of the deaf community and deaf rights. Nepal’s deaf population is one of the highest in the world with 16-24% of the total population deaf and only 1% having access to education. Few of the deaf population have access to sign language, and only few are able to attend the limited number of deaf schools. Deaf students often travel several hours each way to attend school.

There is no curriculum designed for deaf learners and there are no universities for deaf people in Nepal or provision of interpreters. There are limited employment opportunities, negative views of the deaf community and limited access to education and transportation for deaf people – volunteering is really a way for you to help make a difference. Teaching the children skills; like English, computer skills, photography skills, will help these children have a better future. The school is in great need of laptop computers and any other teaching resources – everything is really appreciated and will make a huge impact to improve the children’s education.   This really was the most incredible experience – I would come back tomorrow!

I recommend volunteering at the Deaf School to everyone!!   Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.   Danielle Cheeseman – AUSTRALIA

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