Newsletter – January 2012

Meet Answer’s Co-Director in Nepal, Jailina Mulmi

Meet Jailina Mulmi. Jailina started out working as a volunteer for Answer in 2006, then working part time for our organization, and now is Co-Director of Answer in Nepal. At twenty-six, Jailina has an impressive work experience from freelancing feature articles on Nepali Culture for Buddha Air Lines Magazine while a university student to Addiction Counselling and Advocacy.

Social Welfare Club nurtures responsible, conscious citizens.

One of the most exciting programs that ANSWER sponsors and Jailina directs is the Social Welfare Club. Every Saturday, ANSWER students from different schools in Kathmandu eagerly gather to attend Social Welfare Club. Our students watch movies on different issues every week and discuss the subject matters addressed in the movie. For example, they might watch Beatrix Potter and then discuss the caste system in England and around the world.  Follow this with the King’s Speech and The Blind Side and the children begin to understand the injustice of social hierarchies! They are highly encouraged to express their ideas voluntarily. In the public and private schools there is little emphasis on discussion and critical thinking.  Most schools emphasize rote learning and short answers.

Environmental awareness and community service are other important aspects of the program, as evidenced in the movie WALL-E. The animated Disney movie follows a robot named Wall-e, who is designed to clean up a waste-covered Earth far in the future. The earthlings left earth to live in comfort on a space ship, and in the end they return to participate in the clean-up. Jaolina points out that this carries a heavy message for Nepalis to stay in Nepal to help their country develop. Handicaps, physical, psychological, emotional, illustrate the importance of each person’s uniqueness and importance (contribution), like My Left Foot (CP), Beautiful Mind (schizophrenia), and a Hindi movie about Dyslexia. Discussions center on how life is enriched by its diversity. We need to include everyone!

When Jailina was referred to ANSWER by her professor five years ago, she immediately grasped the concept of Social Welfare Club and easily connected with the students. Her ideas such as passing out candies to get the students to overcome their shyness and respond to her questions in Social Welfare Club or expanding ANSWER to government schools (instead of using private schools) have been innovative and helpful. Her willingness to expand Social Welfare Club far and wide and to travel with us as the only female to remote regions  demonstrates her self-confidence and models Western standards of women’s rights to our girls. She has been invaluable as an advocate and counselor for our adolescent girls.

ANSWER students enjoy the morning watching the English-speaking films. Jailina brings in a snack to share – usually Momos (a type of dumpling native to Tibet, and in the bordering regions of Bhutan, Nepal and the Himalayan states of India) or Samosas (A samosa is a stuffed,deep fried pastry that is very popular in Nepal.) The main objectives of Social Welfare Club are to make students think for themselves, become aware of different social issues, improve their ability to express their ideas in a group and to prepare them to be conscious and responsible citizens. Earle calls Social Welfare Club the “Heart of ANSWER” and credits it with its high retention rate (100%) of its graduates in Nepal, and their membership and activity in ANSWER’s Alumni Association (AAA) to assist ANSWER in helping others–a story for another time and issue!

The budget for this important program is funded separately from your student sponsorship. If you would like to support this program, email Earle.

One thought on “Newsletter – January 2012

  1. It’s such a thrill to see our students grow up and becoming involved with ANSWER. I might have even met Jailina when I was there in 2008. I went with the Social Welfare Club to visit a hospital to learn about jobs other than doctors or nurses.

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