In December, we were honoured to have training input from a new member of SHN - Mel Cash (pictured with students). Mel is founder and principal tutor of the London School of Sports Massage (LSSM), the Institute of Sports and Remedial Massage (ISRM) and author of 3 massage books - including one of the leading international textbooks on massage. He has trekked and climbed many times in Nepal and has a reputation as both an entertaining and inspirational teacher.
Joining Mel was Manicon Pillai, a 2nd year student at the ISRM (he presently works in IT as a Network Specialist) who is also a brigade member volunteer with St John's Ambulance UK. Manicon taught the students theory, was a 'body' for their practice sessions with Mel and helped to promote the clinic locally by distributing leaflets and flyers. During his time in Nepal he also volunteered at the HRDC disabled children's hospital in Kathmandu.
(Left to right: Laxmi, Lalu and Govinda)
During the freezing winter months (and in the absence of any electricity to run the heaters), Mel took the opportunity to concentrate on some clothes on (or dry massage) techniques.
And until the chilly temperatures eventually prompted Mel to donate some new gas-run heaters (on behalf of the ISRM), lessons outside in the garden with Manicon were a great opportunity to warm up in the sun.
The students have learnt a huge amount and all have grown tremendously in confidence. By the looks of things, training sessions were a lot of fun for everyone!
Pictured is Chiran,playing a game Manicon invented where locating the right bone brings a sweet-shaped reward.
Despite their size, the girls are surprisingly strong and are learning to use their body weight. Pictured below is Laxmi, learning to use her elbows and forearms to best effect.
Chiran is presently our star pupil.
With Lalu, (who now prefers to be called Swasti) not far behind. Govinda is good (although sometimes can be a little overenthusiastic!)
Laxmi is also making great progress, developing a more 'gentle' style to suit her tiny frame. She already has her own little speciality - face massage!
The best news is that Samrat passed his final exam on the 28th and saw his first two paying clients the same day. They gave great feedback and Mel and Manicon both said he looked really happy and proud. BIG thanks to Mel and Manicon and even bigger congratulations to Samrat. He struggled to begin with but was so determined to improve his situation and has worked really hard. We too are immensely proud of him and can't wait to see more of our students follow in his footsteps.
For the next fortnight our students will be coached by trained therapists Chiran J and Anita until Vanessa, our next volunteer(another ISRM trained therapist) arrives.