TIME TO GIVE BACK

TIME TO GIVE BACK

SHE only intended to visit Nepal to see the culture, architecture and history.

She wanted a holiday off the beaten track, and chose Nepal on her way to India. The poverty and disadvantage touched her, but little did she know the country would call her back again five years later to help those in need.

“My guide brought me to this temple where there were people sitting around this open pot cooking their lunch. They spoke to him in Nepalese, asking if we wanted to stay for lunch. They were so kind. They had nothing but they wanted me to stay for a meal.

It was her first real experience of the kindness of the Nepalese people, and it stayed with her.

On her return to Brisbane she joined a small organisation called the Nepal Australia Friendship Association (NAFA).

“When I joined NAFA I had made up my mind that my commitment needed to be about education or helping women. I decided then that this was going to be what I was going to be able to give back. I was going to fund a project and, just like that, the perfect project funding classrooms presented itself.”

The three-room school had dark walls, with a dirt and rock floor, housing 35 students from nursery to class 3.

NAFA then invited Hockaday to accompany them on a trip to Nepal to see the completed project.

“I had brought little koala toys and my dentist gave me a whole load of toothpaste to take over for all the children. We were camping for a week with no hot water and no electricity - we had to trek everywhere. It was definitely an eye-opening experience and fulfilled a lot of dreams that I had.

"I couldn’t believe it. After smelling the ginger on my first trip to Nepal, I felt like the whole reason for me being there had come full circle," she says.

Hockaday says she plans to continue the work she has started in primary schools and wants to fundraise to continue sponsoring the children with dental hygiene.

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