A Pioneer in Psychological Therapy for Disadvantaged Children in Nepal
Psychological counseling in Nepal is in its infancy, although many children suffer from emotional trauma. In particular, disabled children, orphans, and homeless youth suffer from oppression and discrimination, and are in need of counseling.
To meet this need, the Nepal Youth Foundation established the Ankur Counseling Center in 2006. Ankur has become a pioneer in psychological therapy for disadvantaged children in Nepal. Ankur’s counselors, who have Masters degrees in clinical psychology, provide psychosocial therapy to underprivileged children. This counseling is enabling children who have endured unimaginable hardships at very young ages, many of whom depend on scholarships from NYF, to fulfill their potential.
In addition to individual counseling, Ankur’s therapists run group therapy sessions and workshops for youth. These are particularly beneficial to the boys and girls who live at J and K House, NYF’s children’s homes, many of whom face similar emotional and behavioral challenges. The therapy sessions teach children about interpersonal relationships, self-esteem, and leadership, and the workshops cover topics such as stress management and drug abuse.
Ankur is the first center in Nepal to use sand play therapy, a form of psychological therapy which transcends language and is therefore particularly suitable to the needs of children. Barbara Jones, NYF’s loyal volunteer, has donated two valuable sand play collections for this purpose and has trained Ankur’s counselors to utilize this type of therapy. They now train other psychologists to use sand play therapy.
The Center complements its psychosocial counseling with a wide range of trainings and workshops for hundreds of people every year who work with children. The participants, who come from throughout Nepal to attend the trainings, include not only professionals and students in the field of psychology, child care workers, teachers, and parents, but also Buddhist monks and women’s groups. Additionally, Ankur offers internships to college students in Nepal who are pursuing degrees in social work. The interns actively participate in many of the activities at the center and gain a greater understanding of the importance of psychosocial care.
Ankur has established a second counseling center in Western Nepal for girls NYF has freed from childhoods spent in indentured servitude. Many of these girls have been severely traumatized and their emotional needs have largely been neglected. NYF has trained dozens of rescued girls to be peer counselors, and they have formed support groups with hundreds of members. Ankur’s counselors travel throughout the program area to monitor the support groups and arrange further training for the peer counselors.
Although NYF established the Ankur Counseling Center to help underprivileged children, it now provides counseling for everyone in the Kathmandu area, maintaining its emphasis on children. The income generated through this counseling helps to fund the free treatment for disadvantaged children, helping the Center become sustainable.
A Pioneer in Psychology in Nepal
The Ankur Counseling Center is breaking down barriers about psychological therapy.