Art Aid Nepal was started after the devastating Gorkha Earthquake that shook Nepal in 2015. It brought together artists from all around the world who wanted to volunteer and help those affected by the disaster. They worked together on an anthology book called HOME, which was then published to raise funds for the initial project. Its initiative was to encourage creativity and provide a form of healing for children through art.
In 2016, the first phase of the project was conducted by the Children Art Museum in Chuchepati. The second phase of the project was conducted by #MakerKT as a series of workshops in four schools around Kathmandu Valley in 2017. The four schools were: Adarsha Kanya Niketan Secondary School (Mangalbazaar), Padma Kanya Vidyashram Secondary School (Dillibazaar), Shree Bal-byabasayi Secondary School (Siphal) and Nandi Higher Secondary School (Naxal).
The objective of the#MakerKT workshops was to encourage tool-use among young girls and create healing by making. The students made a “home” out of a wood cabinet and a lampshade and, in the process, learnt the basics of woodwork, painting, circuitry and paper art. All of these required different skills which intimidated the girls at first, but as the days went by we could clearly see their increased confidence when they were able to build and create new things every day. Based on our questionnaire, the most significant change was in their interest in using tools. While the answers from the first questionnaire showed their skepticism and hesitation when it came to tool use, in the last questionnaire their answers showed their confidence.
We were not only able to conduct the sessions and help them build the physical products, but we were also able to build social skills such as team work, leadership, empathy, self-confidence, recovery and reconstruction within the five days we spent with them in each school.
The sessions were after school, as we did not want to disturb the curriculum. We made sure at every session they knew what they were doing and why they were doing it so that in the future they could continue it on their own. A lot of the participants had used a hammer, a wire cutter and even a paper cutter for the first time and knowing that these girls learnt how to use them properly and make something meaningful with it which they could take home was our greatest accomplishment.
We had a lot of fun working with the young girls. Their energy and enthusiasm and especially their beeming pride when they finally showcased their work before taking it home on the last day made this a very memorable and rewarding workshop series for all of us in the team!
If you want to know what our plans with Art Aid Nepal are for the future, check out: www.makerkt.com/artaidnepal