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Trustbuilding Youth Camp in Nepal

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During a Trustbuilding Youth Camp in Nepal, 35 young participants from different communities joined various activities to build trust and a more profound understanding between them.

by Nishma Gurung, Suraj Shrestha, Manon Michelle Monhemius

On 8-10 July 2002, the trustbuilding team in Nepal organised a Trustbuilding Youth Camp in Giranchaur, Sindhupalchok. The 35 participants came from over 15 different districts; around half were from the hilly region and half from Madhesh Province, the southern part of the country. Various activities were organised during the camp, like camping, hiking, planting trees, cultural exchange, and listening and sharing sessions. Participants Nishma and Suraj share their experiences and learnings. 

TBP Youth Camp Nepal
Story by Nishma Gurung, student of Goldengate College, Kathmandu

I have never been to the Terai side of Nepal. Of my friends, only a few are from the Terai community. Not because I dislike the people from Terai, but because I never had an opportunity to meet, interact and be friends with the people of the Madhesi community. I always had prejudgements and stereotypical thoughts about the Madhesi people, which made me hesitant to talk to them. However, after getting to know more Madhesi people personally, I realised I had been wrong—an uncomfortable realisation.    

Attending the three-day residential Trustbuilding Camp by Initiatives of Change Nepal was a fantastic opportunity. Already during the first day, through the team activities, we bonded as participants from different communities. Working together during outdoor activities and group work, I got to experience the Madhesi people's kindness and how down-to-earth they are - an opposite reality from the stereotypes and prejudices I had learned. Listening to their part of the story made me very emotional, as I realised my perspectives of them were so inaccurate.    

Before, I never really gave much thought to the Mashesi people and the issues between our communities. Now that I have built this connection and bond with them, I feel that next time when someone is speaking poorly of Madhesi people and their community, I, as a friend and a fellow Nepalese citizen, will take a firm stand for them, as we are Nepalese with equal rights.    

I am delighted and beyond grateful to have been a part of the Trustbuilding Camp. Thank you so much for such a wonderful opportunity. 

Trustbuilding Youth Camp, Nepal
Story by Suraj Shrestha, youth coach and counsellor

About a year ago, I heard about Initiatives of Change for the first time. Being a youth coach and counsellor, I was intrigued and curious to learn more about the movement and programs. Then I had the chance to be part of the Trustbuilding Camp!   

For some youth from Terai, it was their first visit to the hilly region. Some of them were scared of the bumpy roads we passed on our way to the camp in Giranchaur, where locals welcomed us. We ate typical food from the area and engaged in different activities.    

The three-day camp invited us to participate in different activities such as self-reflection, cultural exchange, community work, and adjustment to a simple way of life. I had a wonderful time together with new friends from the Terai region, the IofC team, and local people.    

Before joining the camp, I was somehow aware of the stereotypical images of people from southern Nepal. By the end of the camp, I realised that my ideas about the Madhesh people were mainly wrong. As I connected with them and as we shared stories about our life experiences, I got to know them as inspiring young people who are keen to learn. They are very appreciative people with good analytical skills. My new friends from Terai spoke their minds clearly and confidently and are open to learning new things. Their presence somehow motivated me to be myself even more.    

I feel thankful for my participation in the camp, the Iofc Nepal team and my new friends for creating a space to explore myself and learn from new people.