•      Sun Jun 23 2024

African Scout girls gush-We will take home Nepal’s culture and language

Kathmandu, April 19 : Christine Uwizeye did not have anything except for some set of clothes in her bag and a sheer curiosity about Nepal when she first came here from Rwanda four months ago.

She gleaned information about Nepal in Google that Nepal is a mountainous country. All she had in her imagination was the image of lush verdant hilly areas and snow-capped mountains of Nepal while she boarded flight from Rwanda.

There were no similarities between the languages and living style between Nepal and Rwanda. Armoured by confidence to learn and to teach others, a quality she imbibed from her involvement in the Scouts movement, she landed in Nepal which was going to be her second home.

What to learn and how to learn? She kept peddling these questions in her mind and started learning Nepali language due to her passion to learn. Although not so well versed with the foreign language, she can confidently introduce herself in Nepali language at present.

Within four months, she has educated herself about the Nepali language and cultures. According to her, it’s imperative to learn language and lifestyle of anyone if you want to build rapport with anyone. “Language would bridge people and it instills a sense of belongingness among people,” the Rwandan teenager observed.

Along with her, four others Scout ladies from Ghana, Malawi, Madagascar and Uganda are currently in Nepal at the invitation of Nepal Scouts. These five ladies are not also learning Nepali language and cultures but also sharing their experiences in schools. Reyshma (as in Reshma) Salim from Malawi frequently faces question regarding the origin of her name in Nepal. Her name generally piques curiosity among any Nepalis she interacts with. “How could an African lady have name like Reshma?” They wonder.

She described that her name had a bearing with her family historical connection with India. Her grandmother was of Indian origin and thus she named her granddaughter Reyshma.

Another reason why Reyshma is fascinated towards Nepal is its proximity with India. She feels a ‘connect’ with Nepal which borders India which is related to maternal side of her family. “I feel like I am at the home of my mom’s parents,” she confided, praising the Nepalis as kind-hearted ones. Felana Rakotonandrasana of Madagascar is fascinated by the natural beauty of Nepal. She has captured some beauty of Nepal in pictures.

Similarly, Nepal’s adventure has allured Eugenia Fiador of Ghana.  Youth Programme Officer of Nepal Scouts, Saru Gosai, shared that the programme was organised with an objective of empowering girls.Also the Country Coordinator of YESS Girls Movement, Nepal, Saru mentioned that there are two world scout organisations—World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) and World Association of Girl Guides and Girls Scout (WAGGGS).

There are different initiatives under this WAGGGS. ‘YESS Girls Movement’ is one of the initiatives. This is south to south youth exchange initiative. One exchange programme is of six months and another is of 10 months. Thirteen countries including Nepal and Bangladesh are associated to it. Scouts of different countries exchange experiences of each other’s countries visiting as a volunteer.

Five girl scouts have arrived Nepal from Africa this time as volunteers under this programme.  They would observe the working style, lifestyle, language, activities and surroundings during their stay in Nepal. Similarly, five Nepali girl scouts have been working in five different countries. This programme was launched in Nepal in 2018. The number of Nepali girl scouts sending to foreign countries under the programme has increased to five from three. Nepal had started sending and inviting girl scouts from 2020. Earlier, Nepal used to invite girl scouts.

Saru further said that participant scout volunteers of Africa launches different education related awareness programmes in different community and private schools and make the student understand about the importance of being a scout. Green Tech Generation campaign is under this programme where information oriented activities related to environment are carried out.  Similarly, mensuration related education is imparted under ‘Red Pride’ programme. A new programme has been added this year which is related to science, technology, engineering and math.

This programme was added with an objective of increasing participation of girls in this sector. ‘Yes girls can say no to cyberbullying’ is the main theme under ‘Yes girls can campaign’. They have been teaching the ways to be safe from different violence taking place from online in recent period, underlined Saru. (Madhu Shahi/RSS) #nepal