Looking back at our two ESD weeks with Umbrella Organisation Nepal

participants making organic manure

In November 2019 we invited Tsewang Norbu Lama, director of Umbrella Organization Nepal (UON) and Rajani Gurung, former beneficiary of the association, in Luxembourg for two weeks to participate in meeting and exchange workshops with young people in Luxembourg, as part of an education for sustainable development (ESD) project. 


ESD in Luxembourg has been a focus of our organization since 2016, after a first round of schools visits and the development of our Nepal-Koffer (a set of materials and games that are designed to present Nepal) and the film Tara.


As a support for our workshops in the schools this year, we partnered up with UON and Marc Hammer, a Luxembourguish film maker, to film “Rajani”, a movie talking about the inspiring journey of Rajani. Born in a remote village in Nepal, Rajani was separated from her family at a very young age and went through difficult times before being taken under Umbrella's wing. Now 20, she continues her studies in social work to help other girls in return.


Over the two ESD weeks, we visited 9 schools, primary and secondary, we visited scout groups and we met friends and supporters of the ONGD-FNEL on the Charity Dinner or for the Lunchbreak organized by the “Cercle des ONG” regarding responsible volunteering. In total, around 400 students and scouts participated in our activities, most of the time in groups smaller than 15 which allowed us to have an interesting question and answers round.


We typically started by greeting the students, with a tikka and a scarf, to directly introduce them to Nepali culture. Then we briefly introduced everyone, our work and the story behind the Umbrella Organisation Nepal project. After this, we used the movie "Rajani" as visual support to launch the discussion. “Rajani” touches on many different aspects of Nepal : the way of life, the everyday activities but also the everyday hardships of the locals, evidently, the film also describes the struggles of any young girl growing up in Nepal today. With all this input that seems so far from what we know from here, questions quickly came streaming in. Especially the younger pupils were often very surprised about how much life in Nepal differs for our daily life. Questions ranged from the food, transportation and behavior of the monkeys to child marriage and the reason UON does the work they do. Even if sometimes, classes were quieter, they seemed nonetheless very interested, thus we got positive feedback, which of course, encourages us to further look into the way we can raise awareness in Luxembourg.


There are so many different aspects of Nepal, and most of the times, the time we had was not nearly enough to properly answer the questions, many teachers asked us for additional material (for example the Nepal Koffer or the pedagogical dossier we prepared), which made us very happy. All in all, it was an intense two weeks, though all participants would agree that it was very much worth the effort, because we not only took an important step in raising awareness about sustainable development but also have we exchanged many ideas. Rajani and Tsewang said themselves that they too learned a lot from the way our schools work and our approach to education as well.