Bina Thapa, aged 21, is one of our female coaches working for the Khelaun Khelaun programme in Lamjung, Nepal.
Bina gives a first-hand account of how playing sport at a young age has shaped her life and how the Khelaun programme has positively impacted the communities affected by earthquakes.
Bina: Firstly, it is a great privilege to share my past and present experience to all of you. I was born in Tarapu, Lamjung which is 190 Km west from Kathmandu.
In my opinion, sport is so important for communities and children in Nepal. Nepal is still backward in certain areas of development, especially with the high number of people here facing issues like illiteracy, unemployment, drug addiction and depression. Sport is a tried and tested way to improve these problems, to help people to be engaged and promote positivity.
When I was at school it was not easy to get into sports. Ever since my childhood, I was very keen to participate in sport but I had to request several times to get a single chance to play because sport was not available to everyone.
I began running when I was about 8 or 9 years old and when I moved to Amar Secondary School I participated regularly in my school's sport activities and the annual competitions. I was a talented player compared to the other students and as such my sport's teacher and school tended to prioritize me for competitions.
This has provided me with a great platform to learn and build self confidence. After participating in several competitions, I was selected in district level competition on behalf of my school for the President Cup.
Because of my good performance and participation in the President cup, I was selected for a regional level Volleyball tournament which was held in Pokhara. Our team was successful and took the second place.
Sport gave me a huge amount of confidence, but there weren’t wasn’t always many sport opportunities outside of school, especially when school finished. Following a number of 'non-sport' related jobs I really wanted an opportunity to follow my passion of sport.
Fortunately, I got the chance to work on the Khelaun Khelaun project. This project taught me a huge amount about sport which I did not know in the past i.e. exact rules and regulations, theoretical aspects of both volleyball and badminton etc.
However, it is not just teaching volleyball and badminton to teachers and students that I enjoy the most. This opportunity has shown me how sport can teach life skills whilst educating children and the communities about a vast amount of issues. I am so excited that in my role as a coach I get to teach about gender issues and other topics that historically never get spoken about, such as women violence, girls trafficking, child marriage, early marriage and menstruation to students and the community.
I really believe that sport is an important tool to make people physically healthy. It also helps people to realise new talents and build up their skills and team work etc. The opportunity to participate in the Khelaun Khelaun sport and education programme has hugely helped to increase my personal and professional skills.
Khelaun Khelaun has changed people's perceptions of sport. At the initial phase of launching the programme, there was a poor perception of sport. They thought sport spoiled their children's studies. But slowly and gradually through the addition of Khelaun Khelaun, we found that children now regularly attend schools, have become active and understand the meaning of things like respect and team work etc. This is largely owed to children's participation in the sport programme, and as such has really changed perceptions of sport. Now the community are so positive and supportive, and they want the project to remain till they continue the programme themselves.