Blog Post by Foundation Didis: Prakriti and Prabriti Nepal

Prabriti & Prakriti (left to right) on a trek in a remote region of Nepal.

New Year’s already stepped into our life, and as the whole world was saying goodbye to 2012 and welcoming 2013, schools in Nepal were busy with exam season.  The school students of Nepal are busy with exams at this time. The (Didis – older sisters/mentors) wanted to wish our Bahinis (younger sisters/Rukmini Scholars) a Happy New Year and also wanted to know about how their examination were going.  We were also curious to know what changes they went through in 2012.  We conducted a Didi-Bahini Meeting on January 3rd 2013 at A School for Community (ASC) to get feedback from our Bahinis.

Didis and Bahinis discussing academics

At around 12 pm, after the scholars completed their exam, we met with the Bahinis at the ASC library.  We welcomed the scholars, wishing them a Happy New Year, and they did the same to us. We were happy to see our Bahinis, and noticed some of the changes in our Bahinis. Before, they were very shy and had trouble replying to our greeting, but with this past year they are able to respond very well to people and greet them with a smile.

 they were very shy and had trouble replying to our greeting, but with this past year they are able to respond very well to people and greet them with a smile.

After an icebreaker session, we then started with the discussion session asking the scholars about their exams and their progress in academics. The Bahinis replied that they felt they had done better in their exams and were putting their best efforts to improve on those subjects where their performance was below what they wanted. When asked about their best subjects — in classes they were good at — most of them replied “Economics“ as their favorite subject because they found it to be practical and easily understood. When asked about their most difficult subjects, Mathematics and Science was the reply.  When we asked why, the Bahinis said that they could not easily relate to such subjects with practical life and could not easily understand thing like theorem, logic, and formulas.  The Bahinis told us that they had to memorize a lot to pass those tests.

Didis and Bahinis enjoy discussing extracurricular activities

When asked about their best subjects — in classes they were good at — most of them replied “Economics“ as their favorite subject because they found it to be practical and easily understood

After hearing about their challenges, we tried to motivate them by getting them to ”learn with understanding.” We advised them to study and then try to think about how those topics may relate to them in their daily life.  Simple math like adding and subtracting is easy to relate, but more complex theories of math and science is not so easy.  Prakriti talked about her experience in Chemistry class where the students were learning about acids and bases.  The lectures were difficult to understand, but when the teacher used litmus paper to demonstrate how the work, it became more interesting and easier to understand.  The Bahinis became very interested in using experiments for their science classes also. This is something the Didis will discuss with the school and Rukmini Foundation because experiments like that helps students to see how complex topics in science works.  Activities like that makes those subjects fun and interesting rather than boring and tiring. The Didis will ask the school to provide equipment for learning through experiments.

The Didis advised them to study and then try to think about how those topics may relate to them in their daily life.

After hearing about how to make the lessons relate to real life, the Bahinis were very interested and excited about those difficult classes.  The Bahinis then made resolutions for the New Year.  Almost all of the scholars said that they would improve their studies by thinking about how the academic topics could be related to their life.  For more difficult concepts, the Bahinis said that they would communicate more with their teachers and ask them for help in understanding.  Before, our Bahinis would not approach the teachers even when they were having difficulties in class.

The Bahinis also showed interest in extracurricular activities while making their resolutions. One of the Bahinis, Rabina, expressed her interest to play badminton and football in the upcoming year as her resolution. Usually the boys are the only ones playing sports, but some of the Bahinis are also interested in sports like cricket. The Didis encouraged Rabina and other Bahinis to participate in sports.  After seeing our Bahinis being able to express their interests in front of a group and discussing their ideas freely, the Didis were filled with happiness. Those scholars who were so shy just a year ago now don’t feel any hesitation to share their ideas or interests. Hearing their inspiring resolutions, the Didis were also inspired.  The Didis also made a resolution to overcome our own weaknesses in 2013.

Hearing their inspiring resolutions, the Didis were also inspired.  The Didis also made a resolution to overcome our own weaknesses in 2013.

After we talked about academics and extracurricular activities, we asked the Bahinis to share something interesting and personal.  One of our Bahinis, Dikshya was so eager in sharing her incident with a snake and how she was able to scare the snake away. Our Bahinis are very brave and clever as they can tackle these kinds of problems on their own.

Bahinis are more open and talkative now

The Bahinis enjoyed sharing their personal stories.

As we were close to the end of our meeting, the Didis also asked about how the Bahinis were finding the electronic book readers (Kindle/Nook) that were brought to them by our Honorary Chairperson, Laxmi.  The Bahinis expressed their excitement in having those available in the library and thankful for them.  However, they also said that due to power outages (load shedding), most of them have not been able to use them.

the Bahinis are excited about the eBook readers, but issues like power outages (load shedding) is limiting access.

Finally, at the end of our meeting. our Program Manager, Mr. Nabin Aryal, visited us. When he asked how our interaction session was, the Didis talked about what we discussed and also mentioned about the challenges with eBook readers.  Mr. Nabin Aryal said that the foundation would look into those issues and try to help the Bahinis have more access to the devices.  The Didis then asked one of the Bahinis to volunteer to give an ending speech. Sushmita volunteered to do so and gave a very nice speech about what the Didi program means to the Bahinis.  Sushmita talked about how thankful they were to the Didis who came to meet with them during their own exams.  We were all very impressed and inspired by her courage in speaking in front of a group without hesitation. Our Bahinis not only know how to speak informally in front of a group, but are also able to give a speech in a formal manner.

Our Didi program is not just a mentoring program for the scholars.  In fact, it is an opportunity for Didis like us to interact with young students to learn about their problems and also helps us in socializing with them to find ways to help them.  It is inspiring for us more than them.  Having seen the progress in the Bahinis academics and communication skills, the Didis are inspired to do better in our own academics and work and we look forward to more of these meetings.

Prakriti and Prabriti Nepal
Rukmini Foundation Didis

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