While in Pokhara, let’s visit Patry! Patry, from Spain, volunteered at Pestalozzi in the UK for almost a year through the European Voluntary Service Programme. She taught the students Spanish, participated in numerous extra-curricular activities, supported the students and Student Programme staff and also ran workshops on Emotional Intelligence.
‘At Pestalozzi International Foundation I learnt a lot of things. For me the most important one was that if you love what are you doing anything is possible. The staff there were amazing and the students were brilliant and very hard working. They fight for their future with the organization’s help and being a part of that for me was a gift. I also learnt how big our hearts can be and how easy it is to help other people. Always head, heart and hands!
Not everyone is as lucky as I have been, growing up in a peaceful place, with a family that loves me and provided me with a good education. If I, we, can help others who are less fortunate, then why don’t we do it? The thing is that it is working thanks to the Foundation and their amazing work.’
On completion of her time in the UK Patry was keen to volunteer overseas, so we directed her to the Pestalozzi Children’s Education Centre based in Pokhara Nepal, which supports 36 students who attend local schools. Although the organisations are not related, they both follow the ethos and teachings of JH Pestalozzi. The project director is Phuntsok Tashi, who himself was a student at Pestalozzi in the UK between 1963 and 1978. He attended Sedlescombe Primary School, Claverham Secondary School and Bexhill Grammar School, where he completed his A Levels. He went on to study at the University of Nottingham where he gained his degree in Economics. Phuntsok Tashi was at the helm of the Pestalozzi Children’s Village in Dehradun for a decade. It is wonderful to see him still so actively involved.
Patry has spent a month volunteering at the centre in Pokhara, time that she feels has passed too quickly. Her main task has been to practice English with the new students, who have quite a basic level. She has made this as interactive as possible to engage the children using games, songs and also through the preparation of a Christmas play. Patry has also shared fun activities including some river swimming, momo making and visits to local places. From her interactions with the six new students who were around during our visit Patry is clearly enjoying the experience as much as the young people are enjoying having her around.
‘I have shared this month with great people, from the office staff, to the 36 students who come from very poor backgrounds, and have had the opportunity to help develop and improve their schooling. It feels like being part of a big family.’ Having the opportunity to volunteer has clearly been important to Patry. ‘I feel that if you want to change something, the first step is to be a part of it. Education for me is something very important, not only for the future of the children, but also because it is the door to make that change and improve our own world.’
Gracias to Patry, thu-je-che to Phuntsok Tashi and dhanyabad to the staff and students for the warm welcome.
The centre is keen to welcome new volunteers, particularly native English speakers or those with a very good level of English, to support the students with classes and activities. If you are interested in volunteering at the Pestalozzi Children’s Education Centre please contact the centre directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pestalozzi International Foundation, Philips House, Drury Lane, St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex TN38 9BA
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