Outdoor activities for COTS Nepal

By Col Stocker

Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP) is a registered non-profit non-governmental organisation with the mission of ensuring the future ecological and cultural prosperity of Nepal and its people by maximising the benefits and reducing the negative impacts associated with tourism.

Over the last few years the Alpkit Foundation have been delighted to help support their Porters awareness program and training workshops. Towards the end of 2021 they applied for support towards an outdoor project where they wanted to take 21 girls staying at 'Children Off The Streets (COTS) - Nepal' hostel for a day at the National Botanical Garden, exploring, learning and engaging with nature.

Manisha Gautam is Funding & Program Research Associate at KEEP and she explains a little about the aims of the project.

“All these girls staying at the hostel are economically poor and most of them even don't have parents. We wanted to provide opportunities for physical activity and also to stimulate imagination and creativity, help them to develop problem-solving skills and encourage interaction with others and the environment. Helping them get outside and letting the children explore the outdoor environment in a whole new way is one way to offer an emotional boost and can help them feel less tense, stressed, angry or depressed. Overall this really does provide benefits for child health, wellbeing, development and educational attainment.”

With an award of £250 they were able to organise transport, entry and coordinator fees in order to offer the girls a chance to enjoy the fresh air and spend quality time outdoors. By exploring the National Botanical Garden Manisha saw this as a great way for them to also learn to appreciate and enjoy nature, which then would likely see them grow into adults who value and protect our environment. By the sounds of it they had a fantastic day too. 

“We originally planned it for two days in the beginning but due to the tight schedule of children as they have exams coming near, plus the cold, we completed in 1 day. We arranged transportation for them from hostel to the botanical garden and back, provided lunch and snacks as well as a diary and pen. We arranged balloon games, let them explore the garden and show their creativity.

They not only got the opportunity to showcase their creativity with nature art but also learned new ideas and sharpened their minds. The response of the director of COTS Nepal and the children was very overwhelming . They both were requesting for such activities in coming years as well. Director Hari Prasad Sharma was very thankful to us (KEEP) and Alpkit Foundation for making it possible. We believe project was very successful.”

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