On Thursday, March 31, eight Hudson Valley “Youth Ambassadors” boarded a charter bus in New Paltz destined for JFK airport. The group, part of the Maya Gold Foundation “Heart of Gold Adventures” initiative, headed to Nepal to participate in a variety of service, cross-cultural and educational programs. Many of the teens conducted fundraising events to support their participation and all are bringing donations for their visit to the Ganesh Primary and Secondary School, in the suburbs of Kathmandu and to the Tinkanaya School, in rural Benighat. The teens will be visiting both schools during the two week trip.
The purpose of Heart of Gold Adventures is to offer teens an educational experience that includes cultural awareness and appreciation, service to others and experiential learning in a foreign culture, so they can be empowered to gain a greater sense of themselves and the world. The Youth Ambassadors will work alongside leaders and youth from the Himalayan Children’s Charities (HCC) and the Sisterhood of Survivors Network (SASANE), both Nepali NGO’s that support youth through a variety of programs. The Youth Ambassadors will also take part in lectures offered by professors from Kathmandu University and Mahatma Gandhi Central University, visit the US Embassy in Kathmandu and attend local craft workshops. They will visit several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, attend a Dharma Talk at a local Buddhist monastery, learn about indigenous Newari culture, complete renovation work at a rural school and visit a Tibetan refugee settlement to learn about the occupation of Tibet and the culture in diaspora.
The Youth Ambassadors will be reporting on their trip through daily Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts on the Maya Gold Foundation social media pages (@mayagoldfoundation). All are encouraged to follow their trip and interact through online comments. Upon their return to the Hudson Valley, each teen will be sharing their experiences through individual community presentations on May 22 and 26 at Elting Library in New Paltz.
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