As the only psychological counseling center for youth in Nepal, the Ankur Counseling Center is spreading its message – and methods to people who work with children.
Last year, it provided nearly 300 teachers, counselors, and child care professionals with training in a range of topics, including bullying, child rearing practices, clay therapy, peer counseling, psychological intervention, self-esteem, and counseling for people affected with HIV.
The center takes seriously its responsibility to teach adults who work with children how to create psychologically healthy environments.
One six-day-training, called “Psychological Intervention for Understanding and Dealing with Children and Youth”, was offered to 24 teachers from a school in Nepal. Another session for intern counselors examined strategies for helping HIV affected children and their mothers.
The center is also expanding its peer counseling program, and last year trained 10 more young people to serve as peer counselors in their youth hostels. There are currently 50 peer counselors who work girls who were formerly indentured as household servants in a practice known as Kamlari.
Thank you for helping us help these children.
In a country where talking about mental health is taboo, Chhori Maharjan has started a new dialog. As director of NYF’s Ankur Counseling Center - the only such center for children and young adults in Nepal -- Chhori is proud of the center’s role in changing attitudes towards psychological treatment.
“In Nepal, everyone thinks that counseling is only for psychotic people,” Chhori said in a recent interview in her office in Kathmandu. “We have worked really hard to help people understand that counseling can help everyone. We make counseling easy and accessible for our children and youth. We let them know that it is OK to talk about and share their feelings. This is what we are changing.”
The center has treated more than 3,900 children and young adults in NYF’s programs since it opened in 2006. Some children have suffered unspeakable trauma, and have found healing through Ankur’s innovative sand and play therapies.
“We are a pioneer of children’s counseling because we are using therapies that work for children,” Chhori said. “Children don’t really have words to explain their experiences, thoughts and emotions. We encourage our children to express themselves through play therapy.”
The counseling center is part of NYF’s holistic approach to caring for the children in our programs. In addition to food, shelter and education, many of these children need help rebuilding their lives and are learning to write new stories for themselves.
Mental health professionals and academics in Nepal are also flocking to the center to learn about the latest therapies. Center staff regularly offers trainings for teachers, therapists who work with children.
More than 2,500 caregivers and teachers have attended training sessions at Ankur.
NYF’s therapists make house calls – 56 last year to be exact.
To make sure that Nepali children traumatized by the experience of child slavery, domestic violence and hunger receive the treatment they need; the counselors visit the children at their homes and hostels where they live.
During each individual or group visit, therapists use specific interventions to help the children heal their psychological scars and learn to live happy lives.
Counselors at Ankur Counseling Center also conduct therapy sessions and group at the center in Kathmandu. Last year, NYF counselors treated 1,617 children from our various programs. In addition, we are expanding the use of group counseling sessions to help children develop their social and behavioral skills. NYF counselors conducted 76 such sessions during the fiscal year ending June 2013.
Center counselors also trained 45 former Kamlari (indentured servants) as “peer counselors” to help other former slaves rebuild their lives. They have conducted numerous workshops, group therapy sessions as well as individual counseling.
Thank you for helping to make these house calls possible.
Many Nepali children we support have endured harsh trauma from their experiences with child slavery, domestic violence, and hunger.
That is why we created the Ankur Counseling Center in 2006 help to help these children heal their psychological scars and learn to live happy lives.
Last year, Nepal Youth Foundation counselors treated 1,617 children from our various programs. In addition, we are expanding the use of group counseling sessions to help children develop their social and behavioral skills. NYF counselors conducted 76 such sessions during the fiscal year ending June 2013.
Santoshi, a 16-year-old former Kamlari, turned to the center for help battling severe depression. Her family was pressuring her to marry but she had bigger plans for her life. With the help of peer counselors, she was able to make her wishes clear to her family and the depression has lifted. Santoshi is enrolled in a vocational education program plans to build a career. (Santoshi let us share her story and photo.)
Part of the center’s mission is to expand mental health care in Nepal and to dispel stigmas surrounding mental health. To that end, Ankur’s manager, Chhori LaLaxmi Maharjan studied in the United States last year and shared new “best practices” with NYF staff as well as students and teachers in the psychology department of Tribhuwan University. In addition, center counselors offered workshops and trainings to 360 child-care and mental health professionals covering topics ranging from Advanced Sand Play to trauma counseling.
Thank you for your support of Santoshi and thousands of others like her. Namaste.
Even when the Nepal Youth Foundation is able to rescue a child from hunger and want, it is not always as easy to rescue that child from the nightmares that remain in the wake of harsh trauma, domestic violence and extreme poverty. Ankur Counseling Center (ACC) was established in 2006 as a place to give the children of NYF the psychological counseling needed to recover their mental health as they are being restored to physically healthy, happy lives in NYF's other programs. In addition, ACC offers outreach for other children suffering psychological pain and has provided counseling and therapy to 4,000 children as well as training and orientation for 2,400 adults. ACC trained 45 former Kamlari (indentured servants) girls as peer counselors and these therapists now work with 1,156 young women in 91 support groups.
One of only a few such facilities in Nepal, ACC and other organizations are urging the Nepali government to include mental health in its government health policies. The center's staff work with clients to help them overcome the stigma surrounding mental health.
Thank you again for your support of the Nepal Youth Foundation. Namaste!
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.