CFFN Members Bring Aid, Raise Funds in Wake of Earthquake

CFFN is pleased to announce that the organization raised a sum of $2220 to help with Nepal Earthquake relief efforts. This amount will contribute through the Canadian Red Cross Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund. With the Canadian Government matching all donations, we were able to make $4440 worth of impact in Nepal! We would like to make special mention of Jason Dai and Amanpreet Minhas for their generousity.

Red Cross Donation check

 

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Book: Why School? by Will Richardson

World War I was an important point in the world’s history, and certainly one for Canada, both as a nation and as a nation of the world — so much so that The Great War was a major unit in the grade 10 Canadian history curriculum. Just like every other unit, there was a test at the end, to evaluate what we students had learned. To prepare I frantically poured over the class textbook and my notes, collecting important dates, places, people and events, and using them to draw out timelines.

I didn’t do well on that test; however, I ultimately cleared the class with an 83%. I credit part of this eventual success to an assignment, ironically tied to World War I. That assignment had us write a paper blog (I mean diary) of a soldier caught up in the war. Presented on tea-stained, oven-burnt paper, bound inside dirt-covered, paper-machéd cardboard covers, my diary was simply titled, “La Guerre Mondiale” (thankfully I caught a grammar mistake at the last second and added that last ‘e’ before submitting it). It detailed the desire to go home, the awful state of the trenches, loss of friends, and an impromptu sports game with both sides on Christmas Day.

In the days when Google was just getting started, well before things like Wikipedia and Call of Duty, I was researching and trying to envision what it would have been like to be in the front lines. I took the most complete picture I could piece together, peppered on WWI details and threw in my views on war and how I would feel losing my friends to gunfire. I wrote it all out. I did well.

This experience falls directly into Will Richardson’s premise in his short-length book Why School?: How Education Must Change When Information and Learning Are Everywhere (SEE: Book at ted.com). In his mind, the age of Memorize and Mumble is over. Knowledge and the ability to connect with others is no longer scarce. “If we have an Internet connection,” says Richardson, “we have fingertip, on-demand access to an amazing library that holds close to the sum of human knowledge and, equally important, to more than two billion people with whom we can potentially learn.” Why would we limit our youth’s studies to a handful of books and facts that likely leave very little long-term impression?

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I’m Traveling to Nepal

After being involved with the Nepalese Canadian Association of Ottawa (NCAO) and Canada Foundation for Nepal (CFFN) throughout the past decade, and getting to know many of the Nepalese families who have moved to Ottawa, I finally have the opportunity to see Nepal for itself. While I’m there, I will get to see some of the capital city, Kathmandu, as well as the countryside where the best way to get from one village to another is to trek.

It all started about a month ago when a friend of mine wanted me to go to Japan to visit a mutual friend. This trip was feasable – and how often will I get an invite to Japan? Just as I was about to make that happen, it was brought to my attention that the Non-Resident Nepali Assocation is holding their every-other-year conference around the same time as the Japan trip. At this confence, I would be able to present an update to a project that I’m leading on behalf of CFFN. Also, I could see CFFN’s Community ChildCare Centre first hand, and also work on the Open University venture. Since I’d already be halfway around the world… Why not go the extra mile (well couple thousand miles)?

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The Super Continents (Pangaea)

By Reshma Dahal

The aim of this article is to inform readers about the process in which the continents of the globe drifted to their current positions explaining the geological discovery and its impact to human kind.

The Earth is a truly extraordinary planet. There are rivers, the lakes that flourish onto the beaches. There are colossal mountains which stand strong and proud marking their territory. The hills, the forests, the seas; they are all remarkable puzzle pieces that unite to create the spherical globe, which we call Planet Earth.

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The Power of Exposure

By Geeta Thapa

In the Year 2008, I took one semester off from my regular Bachelor’s Degree program to re-visit Nepal and I utilized part of this time as a volunteer at Janata Higher Secondary School. As it happens by pure coincidence, there I meet a five year old girl, Ashmita Chhetri. To have grown up in Kathmandu, I had many apprehensions and unknowns in my mind and I had no expectation that I would have a lasting impression from a five year old child.  However, a brief conversation with this little girl left a new impression and outlook about people in me. There was something about Ashmita; we developed an instant bond and time after that became different.

Ashmita would hold my hands and take me to the school from my temporary residence at Madi, every morning, at 9am. During the one hour walk uphill in the mornings, I learned that, despite her young age, she has taken on many responsibilities of her household. She woke up before 5am and swept her house while her parents left for field work. Her mother would bring morning meal to start and Ashmita would look after it, controlling the fire in wood burning kitchen, until the food is cooked. The meal would be ready when her parents came back. Such sincerity and the burden of so complex responsibilities at such young age!

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CFFN-Related Wallpapers for you!

As a nice extra to go with those pins in my previous entry, I have made available a few of wallpapers that you can use on your desktops! The first one is from last year, while the other three are brand new. It’s interesting for me to see just how many of the assets that I’ve created that I can use and alter again and again. For example, the third wallpaper is heavily based on the CFFN scroll I made a couple of years ago!

Having new assets is also important. The CFFN letter design (second wallpaper) is completely new… but it was first used to create the buttons. The last one is also brand new, but is based on the AGM flyer from this year.

All these little things help to create a visual vocabulary for us as an organization.

Enjoy!

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Newer CFFN Radio Site

As we expanded the scope of the project to include several show types and wanted to add written content in Nepali, the template became more cumbersome than useful. Even uploading content had become a chore.

What I’ve done is moved everything over to the more powerful Blogger tool. The first benefit is that everything is customizable, so any extra content pages we need blend right in. Also, integrating Nepali is easy because it supports unicode. Uploading content should also be a bit easier, especially since people can do it with their own Google accounts. Perhaps the most important benefit of the new system is that visitors can get to the content they need in fewer clicks – this is especially true of older archived content.

CFFN is due for a full redesign, so I don’t know how long we’ll use this particular set-up… but for now, it’s an improvement!

It looks like a subtle change, but there’s a lot more here than meets the eye. Please check it out and leave any feedback you have! While you are there, listen to the programs! The most recent show is an interview with Michael and Tineke Casey, two bright and delightful people making a great contribution to Nepal.

And in the midst of all this change, I managed to design a logo for Epilogues/Yatra Nepal show. It was heavily influenced by a badge I saw for a wilderness park. The yak, though, was my idea.

Making Presentations Available Online

There are a number of presentations that CFFN members have given over the years and I would very much like to make them available for viewing online. So far, I have come up with a couple of solutions, both of which come with their strengths as well as their shortcomings.

The first solution comes from AuthorStream. They allow users to upload presentations with animation, timings, and narration. It then converts it into a viewable movie format. For a fee, you can turn it into a watermark-free video, upload to YouTube, etc. This seems to be a great way to share a presentation (Aside from the audio quality, that was recorded at a poor quality level on my part and has nothing to do with the site) – easy to share and embed, nice full-screen option, comments, etc.

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Blogging CFFN

The social media and information revolution is the ultimate grassroots movement. Youtube, Twitter, the blogosphere, Flickr, Picasa, Digg, Delicious, Reddit, Wiki, Facebook… they’re all part of a network where the people choose what’s important – and that’s what becomes the news of the day. It’s the great neutralizer of this era, where the young labourer and the seasoned lawyer have equal say in the world; it’s the quality of the content, not the person behind it that grabs people’s imagination. Suddenly, great ideas don’t need big budgets and big-name backing to gain traction to change the world.

So many of these qualities and ideas are the foundation to what CFFN stands for and what it sets out to accomplish. As CFFN grows under its new mandate, it will begin to utilise many of these tools to connect with people with similar ideas and interests, those who would like to see or be part of the change to change the world.This blog is a step in this direction. It allows CFFN contributors to introduce themselves and share their ideas, personalities, opinions, stories, and other developments in a direct way. We’ll also be able to share porject and organizational developments, behind the scenes information, and thoughts in a way that will hopefully show the people behind CFFN.

Thank you for reading and welcome to CFFN.

On The Eve of SLC

I assume the English teachers of rural Nepal are quite busy these days as the so called iron gate of the academic career of Nepalese students is closing on them. Not different from past years, English teachers must be happy to see a huge crowd of students, especially those from the government schools, hurrying to take tuition class of English. Everyone preparing for SLC takes English tuition at least for one month and most commonly for two months before the exam. Every student preparing for the SLC examination must be hurrying for the tuition. They must be busy the whole day attending the tuition classes of English, math, and optional-math. This season is in fact a golden one for the English and Math teachers to earn money, the best to harvest the fruit of their business.

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