This post was originally published via Changing the Story (CTS)’s #YouthChangemakers series on 1st October 2019, as part of the CTS sub-project Examining the Interpretations of Civic National Values Made by Young People in Kenya and Nepal. 

Changing the Story is an AHRC GCRF project which asks how the arts, heritage and human rights education can support youth-centred approach to civil society building in post-conflict settings across the world. ‘Examining the Interpretations of Civic National Values Made by Young People in Kenya and Nepal’ was closely linked to the methodologies used in the CTS MAP project, and contributed to Nepal becoming one of MAP’s current country focus. Find out more about Changing the Story and see the original post here: https://changingthestory.leeds.ac.uk 

Written by Samjhana Balami

Hello, I am Samjhana Balami from Nepal, currently a management student and a freelancer. I am an introvert in nature but always ready to learn if get a chance. In the process of learning, some months ago​, I got a chance to assist ‘Young Changemakers CTS Kenya-Nepal Phase 2 program’ project.

Being an undergraduate student the project theme was vague for me to understand and was beyond my course curriculum and work area. My role was centered on photography, videography and filmmaking. Being a fresher at first I was nervous as I met experienced, talented people involved in this project. I also had a feeling that I do not belong to this project but the first meeting with the team gave me confidence to carry on with the work. Everyone was so humble, down to earth and fun too. With such great team members I got a great opportunity to learn and improve myself.

Although my role was on film making, I was equally given a chance to interact with the audience. I wasn’t bound to my role only. The field work in urban and rural schools created a kind of nostalgia for me. When I was a student in school, I was supposed to focus more on my textbooks. The case was not only of mine but of the whole education system. We, the students were guided as per the syllabus of the textbooks only. Extra curricular activities (were considered) a learning platform but only textbooks were a source for academic teaching. Being the part of Changing the Story (CTS) I found that teaching could be done with various means and resources. I have never thought art could also be a medium for teaching. I was astonished to see how the students were learning about the civic values through the medium of art. Both the technology and art used in teaching during the CTS program could set a reference to our education system.

During all the sessions, I found excitement and interest in every student to learn something different. Everyone was active and giving their best in each tasks. I have seen the joy and amazement in them when the technology and arts were used in teaching and learning. The Ipad introduction and its use in reflection recording, community understanding reflection through graffiti art/dramas/poems/songs, several creative games etc gave them a platform to share their thoughts, talents and also advertise their knowledge. Though the session was for a day I could sense the learning will benefit them throughout life because at such small age they are given ideas and knowledge on civic values which is very rare in our country context.

The activities were fun as well as an effective learning platform for both the students and us. It was a great experience being a part of such an amazing project with amazing, enthusiastic people. This project gave me the knowledge of ‘Learning by Doing’. It became a great opportunity to learn the scenarios about which I was unaware. It changed my perception towards teaching and learning. It made me realize how the technology and arts could be a medium in academic activities. I got an opportunity to personally experience the situation of education system of two different sectors; Urban & Rural. It added an experience to my career and helped to improve my skills. I believe, the things that I have learned should also be the learning of others. As it has changed my way of thinking regarding education, it could also bring changes in others as well the system.