During my career break from architecture, I volunteered in the Tibetan Medicine School of the village Jharkot (Nepal) in April-May 2011.
I taught Art in the morning and English in the afternoon, but soon extended this with extra time spent helping out with the children’s self-study, playing games during the breaks, watching their morning and evening prayers and reading them bed-time stories.
They showed me the best places to view the valley, took me to the archery competitions and introduced me to their local religious events. They really looked after me like a sister.
Despite the closeness, I was a demanding teacher, I flooded them with homework, but they never complained. Moreover, they said: ‘That’s OK Miss B! You can give us even more if you want, we will do it!’ And they did!
They really treasured being able to study. They were so aware that this was their big opportunity to improve their lives. Being children they were naughty sometimes, but there were nonetheless kind, lively happy kids with a highly developed social awareness and sense of community.
I heard from the school manager that many children had to be turned away mainly due to the lack of space. They couldn’t possibly accommodate any more students and their existing accommodation is not all that comfortable. The school had plans and dreams of new bigger premises, as an architect I have been focusing on designing educational buildings since 2002 and was in the ideal position to assist them.