Ambience International School (AIS) has just begun its third term for 2014. The students have returned from a month-long nationwide holiday for the Festivals of Dashain and Tihar, the longest school holiday in Nepal. Dashain is a festival with an emphasis on family gatherings and renewal of community ties. People reunite from all parts of the world, as well as different parts of the country, to celebrate together. Both students and teachers at AIS normally return to family in villages throughout Nepal during this time; which may involve upwards of 15 hours of travel by bus and foot from Kathmandu. Tihar is similar to Diwali, the Festival of Lights, commonly celebrated by Indian communities. However, Tihar has an emphasis on seeking blessing of wealth for one’s family and blessings for the animals that are commonly helpful to traditional life in Nepal such as the dog, cow and buffalo. At present AIS is preparing for a Science exhibition, which will take place in about a fortnight. Recently the school held an awareness programme on the earthquake risk in Kathmandu Valley; a Scout Graduation programme; and a school debate considering the controversial topic “Should students be punished?” This topic is very pertinent in Nepal, because extreme corporal punishment is still common in many Nepalese schools, although actively discouraged by the teachers at AIS. There has also been an “I carry my own bag” programme, which has seen the banning of the use of plastic bags within the school and raising awareness of the harm plastic bags do to the environment of Kathmandu. Soon, the students of Classes 6, 7, 8 and 9 will be going on a day trek in the hills surrounding Kathmandu valley. The older students, Classes 8-10, are preparing for their National examinations which will take place in March 2015, the end of the school year. At present, they are studying for mock exams on the 2nd and 3rd of January 2015.
The Humanist Society of New Zealand holds regular monthly meetings on the first Monday of each month from 6pm, from February to November.
6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Atuakore: Maori Atheists and Freethinkers
Thistle Inn, Wellington