Yesterday we went to visit the office of Bihani, the Social Venture that we are going to organize with an event for elderly people in Lalitpur. Bihani means morning in Nepali language – the beginning of a new day.
Bihani is a social venture born out of the need to create a positive outlook to life and living meaningfully. Their focus is on individuals above 50 who want to re-engage, re-explore and re-live a new beginning or create a rewarding second half of their lives based on their past experiences.
LIKE THEM ON FACEBOOK!!! The lady boss from there told us like 10 times to like them on facebook, so please let’s help :))
They told us that in Nepal, old people kind of stop living their lives. I mean, the usual flow that you would meet is like this: you are a child, you study, then you make your family, you have children, and then after you have children all your life revolves around them and their education and their well-being. Until here everything seems fine. But what happens is that even after your children are not children anymore, but young adults let’s say, people here don’t change their lifestyle. They continue living for them, keep saving money, don’t spend anything on themselves and actually stop living their lives. After they don’t work anymore, cause they are old, they just stay all day long in their houses and don’t do anything. Because they believe their life has ended, and they live through the achievements of their children.
I think this may sound familiar to other nationalities also. Because it’s not happening only here, in Nepal. It’s happening everywhere in the world, on different levels, when parents don’t understand their new role, after their children become adults. And forget how to live for themselves also.
Now Bihani is very busy with the earthquake relief, but in their normal activities they have created a kind of a HUB for the old people – they have creative spaces where they can read, a kitchen at their disposal if they want to teach a cooking class for example, a big yard where they have Ti-Chi lessons and ZUMBA (yes!!!)
The thing that I liked the most was that they also created a platform for elderly ENTREPRENEURS – and they support them in promoting their hand-crafts in the social media – they create facebook pages and simple websites for them to be able to sell their products and thus have an active life and moderate incomes, even if they are old.
First photo is made by me, the other two are from their facebook albums. You can see here PHOTOS from one of their twice-a-month Bazaars, where they sell the products of the entrepreneurs.
So in Wednesday we are going to organize an event for a group of elderly people which they are working with. The event is going to be called RECONNECTING PIECES: one story at a time. The purpose of the event is to bring together elderly people, their care-takers, the international volunteers (us) and local AIESECers in order to create a space of sharing funny stories – and thus all of us to change a bit our perspective over the earthquake. To look at the bright side also and to look towards the future.
What’s the smallest step you can do towards recovering and reconnecting the pieces thorn apart by the earthquake? This is one of the questions we are planning to ask them in our session.
Also they will have sharing spaces where to tell funny stories that happened to them during the earthquake and immediately after – in Romania we have an expression – “sa facem haz de necaz” (to make fun of trouble). Also we looked at sharing and storytelling as a form of therapy. They will feel – not only know – that they are not alone in this. We will put together the individual effort and transform it in collective power to move forward.
I hope they will have a great time, but mostly I hope they will retake the exercises proposed by us with their friends and their families, playing it forward in order to reconnect the pieces, one story at a time.
#stillNepal #stillSmiling #IAmInNepalNOW
P.S. Their dog is amazing. Her name is Lari, and she is very friendly and warm.