The school is located in the beautiful village in Lalitpur district, Chapagaun. The school is the community based institution where the children are from the same locality. The majority of the people in the area are from Newar culture.
The school is providing Nepali curricular education for 300 students.
Association for The Welfare of Intellectual Handicapped (AWIH) is a registered charity which was established in 2004 in Kathmandu,Nepal. The major activity of the organisation is to provide Centre for children with Intellectual Disabilities i.e. Inclusive Development Centre (IDC) which is the day care centre for learning difficulties and providing them care and home visit to the home.
KCH, Kanti Childrens Hospital is a pediatric hospital in Kathmandu. It provides treatment for children till the age of 14. Music therapist Anna Joshi- van Eck is working twice a week on the burn ward of this hospital during the dressing changes. These dressing changes are very painful and Anna is using music as a tool to distract the child and decrease their pain. How often Anna sees the children depends on the severity of the wounds.
Anna experiences the benefit of music therapy during the dressing changes. In the first contact with the children, music has the strength to attract. It distracts them from their anxiety associated with their previous traumatic experiences. After the first interaction with the child Anna adjusts the music to the physical expressions and needs of the child. For example, she adjusts the rhythm to the breathing of the child and the melody to the sound of the voice of the child. This reduces the heartbeat and the muscle tension, which calms the child down. Through listening to the child and adjusting to the child you give it a sense of mastery and control in a situation where they do not have control of. Beside the Music Therapy sessions during the dressing changes Anna also give music therapy at the bedside in order to avoid that music and the music therapist are not only associated with dressing changes.
The difficulty Anna experiences has to do with the language. Although Anna can speak basic Nepali, she would like to have deeper conversations with the parents of the clients and the staff of the hospital.
'Aamaghar' is a children home situated in the small town Godavari at the southern side of the Kathmandu Valley. Our music teacher Jimi Joshi goes there every Saturday to teach guitar and piano. He teaches small groups of children who are between 10 and 15 years old.
Class topics inlude: the basics like chords, rhythm, fingering, so that they can play and sing by themselves as soon as possible.
The classes are very practical and hands on; the students enjoy the short hour so much they always ask if Jimi can stay longer. Jamming is another part of his work at Aamaghar, it helps students to increase their confidence level and to make them more motivated towards music and performance. Jimi and the students spend some nice time jamming together. Some students are very motivated and learn fast, others find it more difficult to focus have difficulty remembering the lessons. Jimi struggles sometimes with the different age groups in his class but with patience and kindness he is able to motivate them all.
New Life Children’s Home is another home were Jimi goes to to teach guitar lessons to around seven teenagers between 14 and 16. He teaches guitar notation, fingering exercises, chords and let's the students choose their own songs. This class takes place after regular school hours, sometimes the students arrive late or are very tired because children at Nepali schools make very long hours and have a huge amount of homework. After the part where Jimi teaches about how to play the guitar, he is also making them jam together. This is the highlight of every class. He sees they love this part of class where they can finally express themselves in a musical way and find enjoyment and fulfillment in what they are doing.
The word ‘’Koshish’’ means ‘’making an effort’’ in Nepali. Koshish is a Mental Health Organization that was established in 2008. It is a nongovernment organization that helps people with a mental health illness and psychosocial problems. Most of the people who work at Koshish have experienced a mental health illness themselves. Examples of these mental illnesses are schizophrenia, depression, personal disorders, bipolar disorders and anxiety disorders. In Nepal mental health disorders are unknown and most of the time a taboo. People who suffer from mental issues are often rejected. Also the professional knowledge about psychiatry and treatment is very poor. At Koshish there is only counselling and no psychological treatment, the symptoms are suppressed by medication.
Koshish has two different departments. One is the Transit Home, a closed department, named by Koshish as ‘’House of Hope’’. The transit home offers space for twenty women who are usually rescued from the street and are getting shelter there. These women have a history of, for example domestic violence, abuse or prostitution and are all traumatized and suffering from different mental illnesses. The second department is the Peer Support Group. This is a free walk in selfhelp group, for people with mental health problems to share their experiences. The amount of people in these group varies from week to week, mostly around 15 people show up. Every week our Music Therapist Anna Joshi van Eck and assistant music teacher Jimi Joshi give Group Music Therapy Sessions at both departments of Koshish. They have seen that just making and listening to music helps the clients to relax and to escape their sorrow for a moment. In the support group they experience that music therapy, especially rhythm and physical movements (body percussion) gives them the opportunity to ground and to make contact with their bodies instead of being stuck in their heads. This gives them a feeling of strength and relieve. This feeling of strength makes them capable to take musical initiatives, to express their feelings and make themselves heard.
The difficulties experienced by Anna and Jimi are surely the lack of musical instruments. It will be great if the clients can transfer their body percussion skills into real percussion instruments.