Global support for students’ sounds in Nepal

Gerwig_Gonzalez_school_keyboard_0519Something a little different. This is an article I wrote for Nepali Times about a musical family from Germany that visited Kathmandu to support music education in Nepal:

The original dream of Gerwig & González was to bring a grand piano from Germany, and fly it around Nepal from one school performance to another using a military helicopter. That idea was not very practical, so they settled on an electronic keyboard to leave behind in Nepal after their visit. Continue reading

Building up Nepali girls’ confidence to fight patriarchy

Photo of rows of women and girls observing self-defence moves at a course in Nepal on 29 April.

Women and girls attend a self-defence training organised by a municipal office in Kailali district, Nepal, on Monday 29 April. Photo: THT

Self-defence training for girls in Kailali (District), read the headline in a Nepali newspaper earlier this week. Similar titles appear in the media every few months, and I wonder: What about the boys and men? Why is it that girls and women, who are the targets of harassment and attacks, must also take on the burden of defending themselves?

The easy answer is: no one else is doing it. That’s not to say that authorities in Nepal are ignoring growing reports of sexual violence and harassment – a hotline set up by the Women’s Commission has reportedly counselled 8,000 survivors of violence since December 2017 – but that there’s little evidence of a collective will to address the patriarchal attitudes prevalent here that can result in the targeting of girls and women. Until that happens, it’s better that women and girls are trained to deal with these incidents. Continue reading

World’s largest residential school plays a positive role – researcher

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Morning assembly at KISS. Photo (c) Pulitzer Center.

I’m amazed to learn that 22,500 students attend a single residential school for indigenous children, in eastern India.

Anthropologist Christine Finnan spent six months at the Kalinga Institute for Social Sciences and as you’ll read, she was extremely conscious of the history of residential schools in places like Canada and the US when she started her research.  Continue reading

Young people breaking down barriers between indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians

I love this video!

The young people in it start from a basic truth – the forerunners of the current Canadian government made treaties with the indigenous people already living on the land. This makes us all treaty people. Continue reading

Should Canadians treat First Nations like charities?

ski-doo_blog_140213A teenage girl working as a page in Ontario’s legislature hears then lieutenant-governor, James Bartleman, talk about how, growing up as an aboriginal person in a small community in northern Ontario, books were his ‘ticket out of poverty’.

Bartleman went on to describe how the shortage of books contributed to lower education outcomes in many Ontario First Nations, and how the situation endures today. Determined to do something, the girl and her sister begin collecting books to send to remote northern First Nations. To date, their organisation, Books with no Bounds, has delivered more than 15,000 books to such Ontario communities, and earlier this month the sisters, Emma and Julia Mogus of Oakville, received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal from Mr. Bartleman.

Good for them. I sincerely mean that. They are doing something, they are acting on their beliefs.

But … Continue reading