Shree Risankumane Basic School has around 83 students attending the school and four teachers- one supported by the government, one HELP funded and the remaining managed by the community. The school offers education from grade 1 to grade 5 with children aged between 3 to 12 years.
The people in the village place high value in education, which can be reflected in many students attending the school with lot of energy and enthusiasm and their keenness to learn in their classrooms, despite poverty and scarcity.
You will be expected to teach from 10 AM to 4 PM with an hour of lunch break in between; each subject period lasts 45 minutes.
NOTE: Following the devastating earthquakes in April and May in 2015, several of our partner schools including Shree Risankumane suffered major damage, which destroyed much of its infrastructure including classrooms, toilets and the playground, as well vital educational resources such as whiteboards, desks and benches. As quickly as possible after the quakes, we helped to build over 225 temporary classrooms across 45 schools of which Risankumane is one of them. The 2015 April-May earthquake had left the school building totally damaged, following which, HELP constructed Temporary Learning Centres for the Risankumaune students. Now five new classrooms have been constructed for the students (20x16).
Risankumane is one of the 15 schools HELP has signed an MoU with Department of Education and HELP is currently working on fundraisings to help build permanent classroom building for the school.
All the textbooks except (of course) Nepali are in English. However, for all the subjects and classes, the medium of instruction is mostly Nepali.
(Compulsory) Mathematics- arithmetic, algebra and geometry more significantly divided as you go to higher grades.
Science- basic ideas like living and non-living things, plants, etc. in junior classes while textbooks in senior classes have physics, chemistry, biology and astronomy lessons.
English- stories, poems, biography and similar texts and grammar
Social Studies- society- the issues and proposed solutions, geography, history, organizations.
Nepali- stories, poems, biographies, Nepali grammar and similar texts
Reading - Very few students can read the texts in their books and comprehension is very limited
Writing - Only a handful of students can manage to write in some of the simplest English sentences, and the ones they can are mostly memorized ones from their textbooks, so actual understanding is fairly limited
Speaking- Only very few students can communicate with volunteers; but it gets easier as you go to higher classes where the students aren’t shy and they very much enjoy volunteers' company.
Reading- Very few can read their textbooks with frequent pauses
Writing- Only very few can write the simplest forms of correct sentences and the ones they can are mostly memorized ones from the books and understanding is fairly limited.
Speaking - Can manage to communicate with the volunteers but the children aren't shy.
Teacher’s level of English: Only two of the teachers can manage to communicate with the volunteers, but they enjoy trying to speak in English. Speaking to them can be a huge encouragement for the teachers to and may help them improve their language skills in the process.
Exams: Teachers construct questions and exercises from the textbooks. They have simple monthly tests and more important exams every 4 months.
Quite an enriched library, for a remotely located village, comprising 400 books-- mostly simple story books.
Colors and drawing papers available; but in limited stock so needs constant replacing/addition.
Extra- curricular resources: The outdoor games that can be played include- Football (gently), volleyball, badminton, Frisbee, softball. Badminton, rings and skipping are popular among the girls.
All classrooms have whiteboards.
How to teach effectively: The school owns a textbook for each school subject. You can copy a list of topics from the textbooks that you feel you would like to teach using the materials you have brought and/or the techniques you have acquired and teach in your own way. This will give the local teachers an idea of how to teach rest of the chapters in the book in an interactive way. You can be an inspiration for the local teachers. It is best if you plan your lessons with the local teachers during the evenings and teach together. While your new interactive methods can give ideas for local teachers to teach effectively, they can help you with the context of the village, children and schooling in general.
The children love doing homework, so keep giving them some creative assignments that summarize your lesson and the kind they can complete in limited study time they have at home. Try encouraging the students to take benefit of their environment through activities such as herbarium, collection of wild fruits and flowers, etc. You can bring stickers that you can paste to the exercise books of students who do the best homework and class work to encourage them to do better, further; and to encourage others to get the stickers. This really excites the students and the class environment hence inspiring them to be keen for the lessons while being disciplined.
Things that could make teaching easier for you: Card games for improving vocabulary and to teach sentence structures, teaching aids to help teach proper pronunciation (as most of the teachers learn English pronunciation in a wrong way, the children learn it wrong as well. It is a wonderful opportunity for you to make the children’s basic English up to date). White board markers would also be useful.
Dhundeni is 2 hours uphill walk (during the monsoon season), from Bhumeshwori School (Kiul) which lies just off the Kathmandu-Helambu road, and is around a 4-5 hours bus journey from Kathmandu. However, during the dry season, it might be possible to get to the village directly on a jeep (5 hours drive) on a newly extended road from Ganesh Bazaar. The village has a rainy summer (JUN-AUG), quite a cold winter (DEC-FEB) and warm sunny days during the remaining months. The village has sporadic electric power supply.
Volunteers stay with the family of one of the teachers supported by HELP, the house can be reached after a five minute walk from the school. Volunteers are given a private room but have to share with other volunteer/s who teach/volunteer together. There is a communal tap outside the house for washing clothes/ showering and a squat toilet inside the house. You will often see a lot of children around, who love to come and join you in the mornings and evenings, playing and chatting. The host family will provide three meals a day, typically consisting of rice, lentils and some sort of curry.
The village is mainly inhabited by the people from Tamang community, whose ancestral history can be traced back to Tibet and can be seen by the presence of stupas, monuments and Buddhist flags around the village. There are roughly 100 houses that lie in a cramped setting on a terraced hill around 1800m in altitude with a total population of around 5000. The main occupation of the villagers is farming and they mainly grow crops like rice and wheat in the irrigated fields that lie off their village and maize and millet in the fields that that lie within the village.
Although economically backward, the people there have a rich cultural heritage and they love to share their hospitality, which one can experience by attending one of the occasional village festivals or by visiting their homes when invited.
Visit Chanaute- two hours downhill walk and meet fellow volunteers across HELP partner schools- Churetar, Ichowk, Bhirkharka and Bhumeshwori
Visit Bhirkharka School in the village adjacent to Dhundeni- around 30 minutes gradual uphill walk on a newly extended road
Visit Sermathang village- around 4 hours walk from the village that offers magnificent views of some of the Himalayan peaks. Along the enjoyable way to the village lies a massive golden statue of Guru Rinpoche on the top of the hill.
Hike to Kakani, a touristic spot that offers very good views of some of the Himalayan peaks and Kajhe, a Hyolmo village close to Kakani.
We did a lot of singing and playing guitar with Sangay, our host and a teacher at the school. I had never taught children before let alone children who don't speak English. I found the experience very rewarding and had lots of fun.
Jonathan Hyde, CU ELST Volunteer at Dhundeni 2012
Working with children so friendly and enthusiastic to learn while living with a very welcoming host family was very special. The sharing with the teachers to improve teaching at the school was very fruitful and was starting to show effect at the end of 3 weeks of our teaching. Spending the weekends swimming in the nearby stream and climbing trees with the children was very special.
Lauren Hutchinson, CU ELST Volunteer at Dhundeni 2012
Gina Plant Cabrita: email@example.com
Matthew McConkey: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mebh Conneely McInerney: email@example.com
Dhundeni was one among the first batch of schools HELP selected in 2010 and the community has been very actively supportive to the ideas of improving education quality. In all the works we have done so far, the villagers have made encouraging contribution which we believe is important for sustainability and long term development of the school.
7 new classrooms- meaning all the classrooms in the school
2 additional teachers- 1 fully paid and the other paid partially
Drinking water supply
Mini library facility
Music and sports equipment
Classroom management including desks and benches, whiteboards and Notice boards
After the earthquake, HELP supported the school by constructing Temporary Learning Centres
Five new classrooms (20x16)
Fleece Distribution under winterisation
Chair Person- School Management Committee
9810304483 ( Sangey Tamang)