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Fatimah Lokman

Fatimah Lokman

From 01/08/2014 to 14/08/2014

To be honest, before I left for Nepal, I was extremely scared and nervous. I do not know anymore from Nepal and I do not know for sure whether VIN is the right organization for me. With all the talks on some volunteering organization being scammers, it is difficult to not have doubts. I chose VIN because of two reasons. Firstly, it was due to the price after doing some research via internet, I narrowed down the organization that offered an affordable price and VIN was one of them. Secondly, VIN offered women empowerment program and I am very interested to work with women. If thought, it would be different then my usual experience with children. Overall, my experience with VIN had been good. I can’t speak for the other volunteers but from what I assumed while I was here, the other volunteers and I were treated kindly. During the induction, we were taught on how to immerse ourselves with the culture as well as on how to take care of our health and safety. Thus if your main worry is that you will get robbed by VIN and left by the streets, I can sure that VIN will not do that. Out of all the many things that I love from coming here, I personally love two things. Firstly, the other volunteers coming here alone at a rather young age were pretty scary and on the way to Nepal, I mentally prepared myself to travel around Nepal alone. But, in contrary, I was never really alone in Nepal. At the hotel in thamel, I had a lovely roommate from France and together with 6 other volunteers; we would travel around Kathmandu together and have dinner together. When I was in Jitpurphedi with my host family I was with 3 other volunteers. There are other volunteers who were placed alone but ever so, we still meet each other after work. We even travelled to chitwan together and had a lovely experience. Secondly, I love my host family. They were extremely lovely I recommend crying with my amma the night before I left and had a dance fast with the whole family before we slept. It was rather difficult for me to be fat with so much rice especially in the morning as I had a rather small appetite but amma and Shila my Nepali sister cooked the food with so much love. Should never worry about being starved. You would be fed a lot. In terms of my program, women empowerment program, I personally felt that I didn’t do much help the women. Even before learning for Nepal, I didn’t expect and make a significant difference. For me personally, I just wanted to observe how VIN empowers women and I can say that VIN does try to empower the women. I have a huge respect for Nepali women for the amount of hard work that they put everyday and their dedication to their family. I don’t speak Nepali; it was rather hard for me to converse with the women. Women here to be compound with children do not speak English. However, it is still very interesting to present classes on time management and Malaysian culture with the help of interpreters. I also had my hands on the women cooperative annual report and auditing during my stay here. I also tried some construction work and visited the schools in jitpurphedi. The children are extremely lovely. Thus, in conclusion, if you are interested in working under women empowerment program, my advice would be to not have expectation. Just give it a try and observe and learn as much as you can. I personally hope that I did. If you are looking for a more hands-on-job, construction work would be a lot of manual strength. From what I observe, VIN is an organization that tries hard to help the community. It is not perfect and you may have doubts on how the funds work. The way the volunteers and I did as well. If so, I would advise you to do more research on it. But, I personally would like to think that my money is being allocated accordingly and I understand that although it is volunteering organization It still needs funds to work and more in the community. It has been a lovely experience and I will remember this trip for life.

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