Voluntarism in Jhumlawang

Dharma!

Academically, the word is understood as ‘religion’. However, in Jhumlawang, people use the word ‘dharma’ to mean ‘the good work’. It is specially used when the act is for greater good of the society and people.

These days, you can often hear village’s elders use a phrase “Dharma Garyachan!” They are using the phrase to express their joy and pride when they see new projects and programs in the village. Literally, the expression can be understood as ‘they have done good work’. Their pride outspreads as youths are getting more involved in volunteering for these projects.

Shyam Thapa, Sub-civil engineer, with Parshuram and Ajay
Shyam Thapa, Sub-civil engineer with Ajay and Parshuram

“Along with new projects and youths involvement in the village; voluntarism seems to be more organized and encouraging,” says Ram Bahadur Budha, Chairperson of JVF-Nepal.

Though new ways of voluntarism is being introduced in the village, the idea itself is not new to the society. In a small, closed society like Jhumlawang, the social voluntarism is of greatest need. Village people come together in almost every important events of life: in birth, in marriage, in death, in building houses, making roads, water taps, chautari and so on.

Voluntarism in Jhumlawang is generally done through ‘Jhara’. It is called for mainly in two different occasions; one is to assist individual and another is for the common purpose. Similar trend are being observed in volunteering. Generally, when calling for ‘jhara’, it is for everyone in the village (one member of the family is a must). But, recently, voluntarism is also done individually. The constant example has been the architect Ajay Magar.

Architect Ajay Magar in School Building Project
Architect Ajay Magar in School Building Project

Ajay, architect by profession, designer and supervisor of JVF-Nepal’s Community Health Center, Community Cultural Center and School Extension Project, has been spending long time supervising in the field. Recently, he was in Jhumlawang for 6 months, volunteering in the school project. His selfless act of serving the society has been highly admired. Among his admirers is Hom Jung Rana, Headmaster of Jhumlawang Primary School who likens him with the labourers of Dolpo.

“Not any Dolpo labour but the one who is most hardworking, most sincere, most dedicated and determined,” he emphasizes. Famous for using metaphors and similes, Rana’s comparison of Ajay to Dolpo laborer is wholly agreed upon by people who worked with him and people who saw him working.

“He worked more than anyone of us,” JVF-Nepal’s Field Co-ordinator Parshuram Budha seconds Rana, “He is a supervisor but he worked as a laborer, as a carpenter, as a collie, and what not!” He recalls working from 7 am to 7 pm, straight; sometimes.

“It is very difficult to keep up with him in work,” Laxman Budha, Field Sub-Engineer in the project says, “He gives his best and expects that from others as well.” Parshuram clarifies “Ajay believes in ‘If I do it, others will also do it’ motto.”

Jung Bahadur Kunwar, carpenter of the school project, says while it was a very demanding work, it was also a great learning experience for him and his team. “We knew only how to make square and triangle,” he states, “After working with him I have learned the possibilities of pentagon and even hexagon.”

Parshuram adds, “Ajay is an example for people who aspire to do something for their society.” He hopes slowly there will be more people who will follow his example in the village.

While individual voluntarism is a new trend in the village, group voluntarism has been of constant practice. Especially through Jhumlawang Youth Club (Laligurans Jana Yuva Club) group voluntarism has been prominent.

"United We Stand" ! Youth Members of Jhumlawang Youth Club
“United We Stand” ! Youth Members of Jhumlawang Youth Club

This year, youths spent 3 days for afforestation around the Jhumlawang Primary School. During Dashain, they collaborated with Jhumlawang Forest Committee in order to collect fund for upgrading school from Primary to Secondary level. Purna Gurung, a Youth Club member, was a Singaru (a dancer in a traditional dance Singaru which is only danced during Dashain). They collected Rs. 19,000 excluding the expenditure.

Again, in Tihar (Dipawali) – the festival of light, Youth Club led ‘Deusi-Bhailo’ program to collect financial support for school. Youths who had returned back to celebrate Dashain-Tihar joined the youths in village to go from house to house dancing, singing and making merriment while collecting ‘Daan-Dakshina’ (fund). In four days of Deusi-Bhailo they were able to collect the total of Rs 99,957.

“Through school we are working for our future,” Youth Club President Bhim Prasad Shrestha says, “Of course, wherever we are, we are coming together to work for betterment of our society, always.”

‘Deusi-Bhailo’ program to collect financial support for school
‘Deusi-Bhailo’ program to collect financial support for school

With time and the circumstances, Jhumlawangies have spread around the world; some in search of education, some in search of work and some in search of comfortable life. But, no matter where they are, through different means and medium they are coming together for betterment of the village. In their endeavor, like-minded organizations like Foghlaim, GRC Solidarity, Association Partages, and Association Humanitaire Partage et Soins have been supporting the community continuously.

Seeing new projects focused in education, health, culture and overall development of people in the village and full involvement of young generation along with assistance from different international organizations in these development works; it is no wonder older generation is full of joy and pride. However, their pride is not one sided. Well aware of elders’ contribution in establishing and sustaining school, acting as a bridge between generations to transfer traditional knowledge in the village, youths are equally grateful. And they say, ‘Dharma garyahun; gardaichhan!” – They did good work and they continue to do so!

By:

Smita Magar,

Jhumlawang, Rukum

Nov 12, 2014

 

All for Secondary Level School

Jhumlawang, Rukum

There is a 13 year old boy in Jhumlawang whom teachers and elder people of the village would prefer to avoid meeting. The reason is simple; his constant inquiry, “When is our school starting?”

The boy, Nabin BK, wants a definite answer. “I want to know whether I have a chance of studying in my own village’s school,’ he reasons. He is a 6th grade student in Shree Shahid Shukra Higher Secondary School, Sima. Every morning, it takes him more than an hour walk to go to school.

“It’s not exactly a problem but it’s a very long way to walk,” Nabin states, “I don’t get much time to do my homework.” Three hours of to and fro leaves him tired in the evening. He says if the school was in the village, he could spend more time studying and helping at home.

Janmala Shrestha, mother of Urmila, 5th grade student in Shree Primary School, Jhumlawang is equally eager to know when Secondary level will start in the village. “It would worry me less if Urmila gets to study in our own school.”  A JVF-Nepal member Janmala’s elder daughter Sharmila studies in Sima school. “How I wish the school extension process had started earlier,” says Janmala, “Sharmila would not have to walk such a long way, every day.”

Students studying in Sima complain of exhaustion and no time for study. While, parents are worried about their decreasing marks in exam. Also, when students join Sima school they are in their early teenage. This delicate phase of their children worries their parents. “Far from home, in another village, our children have been found to have forgotten their discipline, sometimes,” says President of Jhumlawang School Management Committee Sher Bahadur Shrestha. According to him students tend to be more prone to negative influence in neighboring village.

 All these concerns has led Jhumlawangies to start the process of establishing Secondary level (i.e. till 8 grade) in the village, itself. The last meeting of teachers, parents and School Management Committee on 18th September decided that it was time for upgrade. The school has begun its preparation to get a permission from District Education Department (DED). To get a letter of support and permission from five other neighboring Secondary school is not a problem. Getting three experienced teachers also doesn’t seem much of a trouble. The hurdle is as always, financial.

“To tackle it, for a start we have decided to collect Rs. 1000 from each house,” says School’s Headmaster Hom Jung Rana. The Jhumlawang Youth Club is collecting donation by playing Deusi Bhailo in Tihar. It has already collected some amount by performing Singaru dance during Dashain festival.

Headmaster Rana is looking after all the document-process of school extension. Excited as he is about this new venture, he argues it’s not only about the necessity but also of prestige. “We are known for educated ones in this area but we still do not have secondary level school,” he says, “We cannot always be with primary school; we have to march forward.”

NEW SCHOOL BUILDING
New school building alongside old one.

Parshu Ram Budha, JVF field Co-ordinator, says the students’ population makes it a compulsory. “JVF-Nepal realized this necessity a long time ago that is why we have already built the building,” The newly built school building is result of active participation of community members, diaspora members with JVF’s partnership with three organizations from three countries: Association Partages- FRANCE, Foghlaim- IRELAND, and GRC Solidarity- ITALY is giving hopes to villagers in ensuring the Secondary Level this year.

It takes three years to upgrade Primary school to Secondary level. First year, they have to sustain grade 6, then next year grade 7. In third year grade 8 is added, if successfully executed, the school gets the permission to upgrade to Secondary level.

This fact has not deterred Nabin from questioning whoever has something to do with school extension program. “I have siblings,” he says, “It will be great if they don’t have to go through all the trouble I am going through.”

-Smita Magar

Oct 11, 2014

Raj Bahadur Gurung

Raj Bahadur Gurung (1976-2014)- Founding Chairman of JVF-NEPAL

Raj Bahadur Gurung
(1976- February, 2014)

Founding Chairman,and
Field Co-ordinator
(2008-2014)
JVF-NEPAL

Raj Bahadur Gurung, one of the founding members of Jhumlawang Village Foundation ( JVF-NEPAL), and Field Co-ordinator tragically passed away on 6th February 2014 in a Bus Accident in Palpa,west Nepal.

Our Kathmandu Co-ordinator Purna Magar and he was on their way to Butwal from Kathmandu to visit our 3 scholars who have been studying JTA- Animal Science & JTA-Plant Science.

We are saddened and devastated with this tragic news. We lost a Great Community Leader, one of the most dedicated members who have been working days and nights to make sure that we make our community an example on “Sustainable Based Development” in Nepal so that others can learn from us.

We pray with our ancestors and deities to offer his departed soul rest in eternal peace, and give us strength to deal with this difficult time.

Our Kathmandu Co-ordinator Purna Magar was critically injured and now has been going through operation in Palpa Mission Hospital. We are praying for successful of his operation and speedy recovery !!!

Our prayers and thoughts are with all other families and communities who also lost their loved ones in this tragic accident and going through pains like we are.

6th February 2014

Condolence- Raj Gurung (1)Condolence- Raj Gurung (2)

Founding Fathers of our School with Byakul Maila

School Establishment Committee in 1978-1983:

Remaining members of the School Establishment Committee-1978 with Byakul Maila (Author of the lyrics of the National Anthem of Nepal) and first teacher of the school Mr Ram Bahadur Gharti Magar at the Felicitation Program jointly organised by Primary School Jhumlawang and JVF-NEPAL on 26th December 2011.

Mr Chitra Bahadur Budha
Mr Chandra Prasad Rana
Mr Gore Gurung
Mr Ram Bahadur Budha
Mr Tek Bahadur Shrestha
Late Mr Bin Raj Sunar
Late Mr Dhan Bahadur Thapa
Late Mr Mohan Lal Roka
Late Mr Tek Bahadur Rana