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Report on the Nepal Study Tour


(Meeting with students at the Special Education
and Rehabilitation Center)

From Saturday, August 30 to Saturday, September 6, 2014, seven undergraduate students undertook field studies in the South Asian nation of Nepal. This constituted the Practicum for Convivial Global Society. As preparatory studies before the tour, the participants, including myself, gained a basic knowledge of the country by each researching an area of interest and giving presentations to the group, as well as hearing lectures by a Nepalese doctoral student at Ochanomizu University and an expert who have been active on the ground for many years in Nepal.

During the tour, we divided into two groups to visit local NPOs, a primary health center and Tribhuvan University, among other organizations, conducting interviews at each. The NPOs, which were founded by Nepalese women, included a school for children with disabilities, shelters for survivors of trafficking in persons and for children whose parents are in prison, and a group involved in environmental work. At the Special Education and Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Children (SERC), the staff of 32 have developed educational and rehabilitation programs individually tailored to each of 90 students ranging in age from 2 to 16, and they evaluate the results and review the programs every three months. Furniture adapted to the students’ needs is made by hand on the premises, and the staff provide warm support and teaching. Given the dearth of specialists in Nepal who have expert knowledge of children with disabilities and the limited publicly financed special education facilities and budget, SERC funds its work through the students’ tuition fees and scholarships, devoting much managerial effort to maintaining the personalized support it provides. We also learned about problems such as the uneven availability of support for people with disabilities, especially in rural areas. At the shelter for survivors of trafficking in persons, Maiti Nepal, we learned about the preventive work they do through public awareness campaigns, orientations for those in a position to intervene such as bus drivers and police officers, and literacy classes for at-risk children. I realized that trafficking is not a problem limited to those directly affected, but one that can be greatly reduced by increasing the awareness of the whole community.

(A visit to a vegetable garden using home compost at
WEPCO Nepal, which works to protect the environment
through waste management)

Taking part in the study tour brought home to me the importance of the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” We were there on the ground ourselves, observing with our own eyes and ears, using our own brains, and experiencing the places we visited with all our senses. I recognized that the discoveries one makes in this setting are truly new and unexpected, and they could not have been made solely by sitting at a desk studying.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Professor Yoichi Sakakihara and Ms.Komada for arranging the study tour, and to everyone who assisted us in Nepal. Thank you for this very valuable opportunity.

(Yu Yamashita, Second year student,
Division of Liberal Arts and Humanities and Global Studies for Intercultural Cooperation,
Faculty of Letters and Education)

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