Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Students roll up sleeves, and it all kicks off in Nepal

By:- MSH Volunteer Jo Young                                                                                            

More than 50 students at Quest International College (Hotel Management) rolled up their sleeves and donated blood as part of a joint venture between Red Cross Nepal, and My Small Help this week. It’s the second successful event that that has been run at the college and MSH hopes to continue with one of these camps four times a year.
It was lovely to see the students get so excited about being able to make a donation. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to donate (Jo Young, volunteer) because I have been in Nepal for less than 90 days. However, it did mean that I could run a tight ship in the refreshment suite where apples were cored and chopped, bananas, biscuits and boiled eggs plated up, and cartons of juice issued to the students after they had donated. Due to their involvement in the hospitality industry the students couldn’t wait to get involved so within minutes they were happily shelling eggs, tidying up the rubbish and distributing the snacks  to their peers.

Nineteen-year-old Guna Shrestha from Kumaripati was one of the first to donate blood. She said: “I am so happy that I was able to spend a little bit of time doing something so worthwhile. My father and my brother have both needed blood in their lives so I know how important it is. I will definitely donate again in the future and I’m really pleased to see that the Red Cross and My Small Help have come to the college because that makes it so much easier for us to donate in a comfortable and accessible environment.”

Kolin Shrestha, Director of Quest International College said: “It is very rewarding to see these young people motivated enough to make these donations. It’s a habit that we would love to help cultivate. If we think about it we have no idea when we might need to receive blood from the bank so it’s only right that we offer what we have when we’re healthy. A simple accident or illness might leave us in need of blood.

“This is the second time that we have run the blood campaign at the college and we will always be happy to be involved in this type of programme, and to help our students to become more socially aware and responsible.”

The MSH staff worked steadily to encourage students to make their donation, to give them some support whilst doing so, taking photographs, and assisting students to fill out their consultation form. As a reward, and what turned out to be a somewhat surreal experience, we were then escorted to the top floor of the college where students run a mock restaurant as part of their training. The students who had moments before been jovial and carefree were now immaculately suited and booted and on their best behaviour as they served up delicious Indian cuisine and tended to our every need as a diner.  Overall it was a very satisfying day with many students promising to encourage their friends to donate next time, and two of the girls asking how to become volunteers with the charity. For MSH staff it’s back to planning how best to focus efforts for 2011, and students at Quest are training for a sporting event next week, which leads us nicely to the children at Marybert School and Orphanage who earlier this year had a kick around and lesson in footballing tricks.

Italian born Mattia Marzaro, a good friend of mine who was visiting Nepal for the first time, kindly offered to help raise some funds for the orphanage from his football peers back home. So, for two hours Mattia, President of MSH Raju Maharjan, and volunteer Andy Reynolds from England, thrashed a ball around the playground hotly pursued (and often beaten) by a merry little band of children. Mattia has already successfully raised more than 50 Euros back home, and more photos can be seen at www.justgiving.com/childreninnepal Whilst the boys showed off their footballing prowess the girls took advantage of some peace to play badminton.

MSH always welcomes fun and innovative ways to raise funds so if you want to try your hand (of feet, like Mattia) then please get in touch and let us know. We are grateful for all donations and you can rest assured that our work ethic is to minimise overheads so that the children are always the direct beneficiaries.