A programme simply titled “Asian Development 2016″ was organised by the Humanist Movement Nepal, under the auspices of the Community – for human development. It took place on 4th to 6th March 2016, and included a first ever ‘made-in-Nepal’ peace march. No doubt inspired by the World Peace March held there several years previous.
This 2016 march brought together students from local educational institutions, including Saraswoti Kunj Boarding School, Suryodaya Boarding School, Punya Madhyamik School, Indreshwor Higher Secondary School, Siddhartha Yanasthali Institute and Gyan Jyoti School. The march started from Panauti town’s welcome gate and ended in front of the well known Jyoti Saccos Building.
The meeting itself started with an introductory programed followed by the Ceremony of Service officiated by Decler Hague who had arrived from Sydney, Australia, assisted by locals Archana and Bibek. A humanist song that was written by Suresh Saiju – national convener of the Community – was performed at the start of the programme by singing duo Surendra Shrestha and Rupa Sapkota.
Decler together with the others organized a seminar on ‘internal and external change’, giving the clarification that external change is inadequate without internal change so activists need to get ready for that internal change.
The programme continued with detailed information on the Community by the Indian chapter’s national convener Viren Shah, followed by an update of information on its activities in Nepal since 2006.
The first day of the meet culminated with a dance performance by Kalpana Lama and Siddhika Shrestha from Saraswoti Kunj Boarding School, followed by a short closing ceremony.
Second day: after a communal breakfast the day started with a ceremony officiated by Decler and assisted by Alisa. The notable First Nepali Humanist Movement member Ms Tulsi Maya Sigdel told participants about the establishment and early days of Nepal’s humanist movement in some detail while Suresh Saiju elaborated on its consequent activities.
After lunch that day Decler gave a seminar on Valid Action with the participants separating into smaller groups so each could have a better chance to join in the questioning and chats.
Everyone then moved to the town of Banepa to see the goings on at the 8th International Folk Culture Festival, travelling by bus kindly sponsored by Saraswoti Kunj Boarding School, and this granted time and space to hold an informal meeting with the Banepa coordination team. By six in the evening the participants returned to the venue and briefly discussed what could be learned from the festival and with this the 2nd Day meetings were closed, after a short ceremony.
3rd day; The third day’s programme started again with the Ceremony of Service by Decler and Suresh followed by the introduction of the Child Development Centre, presented by Suresh Saiju. Participants then brought up some suggestions for the betterment of the centre.
After lunch an audio-visual presentation set the scene for a forum where participants discussed several topics including violence, discrimination, and environmental issues, also women’s issues, among others, with the co-ordinator requesting each topic be summarized and then followed up with project plans. The co-ordinator of the programme spent some time answering queries and in time closed the three-day meet with a ceremony. At the very end of the day the national convener Suresh Saiju distributed tokens of love.
The 3-day-long programme was happily conducted with 43 participants in all, coming mostly from Nepal, but also India, Australia and Italy.