Spiny Babbler

Beginnings

Spiny Babbler was established in 1991 as an English poetry journal by Pallav Ranjan. The first edition received widespread media coverage and included 70% poetry from around the world and 30% from Nepalese poets in translation. The journal also made use of line art. The most established of poets as well as new and young poets found space in the journal.

Poetry and art have been a strong feature of Spiny Babbler since. During readings, live music in the form of classical work, fusion, and experimental approaches were an important part of the sharing. The finest of established and new poets, writers, artists, musicians became a part of Spiny Babbler integrated arts presentations that involved poetry and its performance, discussions and sharing, art and exhibitions, music-theatre-moving pictures.

Working with the arts

The journal came out at intervals, books were published, events were held covering visual and performing arts as well as literature. A global network came together and an art gallery established. While working with pure arts, Spiny Babbler made the effort to reach out through its creative efforts to people at risk, youth, and communities.

Nepal was promoted through the Cultured Tourist Program held at Yak & Yeti, Hotel Annapurna, Kathmandu Guest House as well as a host of other restaurants and tourist frequented locations. Nepal asides, young minds of 20 nations worked across six continents, 10 Nobel laureates and 100 other poets from Europe contributed from 24 nations and were translated into English, Australasian effort saw the engagement of creative writing departments of 22 universities.

Being independent

Spiny Babbler earned its keep. Using the Outreach and Communication Center which opened its doors as editorial services in 1994, it provided international development organizations working in Nepal essential research, writing, editing, translation, illustration, design, publishing, web servicing, and video film products and services.

This allowed Spiny Babbler to retain a level of independence and the ability to be explorative, experimental, and innovative. Creativity required risk taking, financially, psychologically, and physically, as often new exercises do not necessarily succeed. However, despite ups and downs, Spiny Babbler stayed true to its commitments often going down but rising up to the task in hand, sticking to the ideas brought forward.

Making an impact on human life

More than 750 youth contributed as volunteers and they came mostly from Nepal as well as 14 nations around the world. Maternity hospital (Thapathali), Kanti Children's Hospital (burn and cancer wards), Lagankhel Mental Hospital, the Hospice where terminally ill patients were sheltered were some of the locations where the arts were used to make a positive impact on human life.

More than 120 school were engaged through its education focus program. Communities of Sankhu, Thaiba, Taudaha worked with us for longer periods. Shelter homes for girls at risk, children of prison inmates, substance abuse rehabilitation center, children from the street saw arts, education, and knowledge sharing delivered to their doors.

Projects and programs

Development organizations wanted to work with Spiny Babbler. Projects were undertaken with USAID, ARD Inc, International Labour Organization, World Vision, UNDP-SGP and others. As projects were delivered, the organization changed, priorities deviated, and the use of the arts, education, and knowledge sharing went further than they should. There was need to return back to the roots to recover the original intent with which we had started.

A sequence in time had to pass before Spiny Babbler felt it was prepared to take on projects and programs again. Recovering creativity, financial stability, independence, and spirit, the organization is again working with partners and donors while staying acutely aware as to why and how our foundations were set. With experience in working with education, gender issues, environment, social justice, Spiny Babbler looks forward to contributing towards human lives.

Working with the young

In 2007, a club was put together to offer young people the opportunity to be with Spiny Babbler and enjoy and learn from our experiences in Social Responsibility; History and Culture; Fitness and the Outdoors; Science and Technology; Outreach and Communication. Young people from the finest schools of Nepal joined the program with parents feeling the need for further intervention as well as people in Nepal from more than 20 countries around the world.

The club grew into a small school that was formalized as Evolution High School in 2011. The school offers creative, specialized education to young people adhering to government of Nepal set standards while adding on to the existing curriculum the range of services, educational opportunities in the Spiny Babbler tradition.

The present

Spiny Babbler features a not for profit wing that works to impact human life positively through the use of the arts, education, and knowledge. Its Evolution High School offers boarding facilities, education from preschool, school (up to grade 10), and club activities for young people from other schools and a global community. Its Outreach and Communication Center has provided knowledge management services and products to the best of international development organizations working in Nepal.

Spiny Babbler is led by founder Pallav Ranjan whose efforts at arts, culture, and human justice promotion have been appreciated by prime ministers, social workers, artists, writers, and the independent media. The organization is working to consolidate its work areas in order to contribute as far as its resources allow.

Spiny Babbler topical coverage

Education
Preschool and care for the very young
Schooling from grades 1 and 10
Club offering after school, weekend, and holiday engagement

Environment
ICIMOD, Ford Foundation, Alternative Media Project
APMN, Young Minds of 20 Nations
Global Environment Fund, UNDP-SGP, Taudaha Wetlands Protection

Culture
UNESCO, Seven Wonders of Kathmandu
British Council, Modern Poets of Europe
Australian Embassy, Anthology of Australasian Stories

Gender
Global Fund for Women, PEN International, Shakti
ICIMOD, Women of the Hindu-Kush Himalayas
UNDP gender manual
UNICEF regional guidelines on violence against women and girls

Children and youth
International Labor Organization
World Vision
Save the Children

Human justice
UNDP, Rule of Law Programme, Mediation
ARD Inc., Corruption
USAID, AGCR, global conflict

Knowledge management
Over a quarter century, more than 100 efforts
concluded for international development
organizations working in Nepal to achieve human justice.

Some Spiny Babbler efforts

  1. Nationwide Poetry Festival. 2001. Involved 7 location readings and gatherings of poets.

  2. Nationwide Art Tour. 2011. Involved 19 locations from the furthest east to the west on the topic of the internet and E-opportunities.Most of these places had never seen an art show. The tour took perhaps the largest painting ever displayed in the nation at 54'x8' with other paintings, books and video films by Spiny Babbler.

  3. The art gallery in Kantipath established in 1997 and moved to Bakhundol and now locating in Freak Street has seen the display of work as well as sharing and lectures by national and international personalities.

  4. Readings and performances of poetry by prominent Nepalese creators as well as
    selected international poets and writers. Madhav Prasad Ghimmire, Bairagi Kaila, Iswar Ballav, Bhuwan Dhungana, Modhnath Prashrit as well as emerging and new poets involved.

  5. Spiny Babbler in Australasia's six nations involved 22 creative writing departments of universities across the region. The effort resulted in "Anthology of Australasian Stories" and helped many young writers gain a foothold in the literary community of the Australasia.

  6. Spiny Babbler in 24 nations of Europe involved 103 poets in translation writing on the topic of persecution and peace. The effort involved 10 Nobel Laureates or their estates and came up with "Modern Poets of Europe."

  7. Spiny Babbler in the United Kingdom worked with some of the most prominent poets writing in English and came up with "Selected Poems of the United Kingdom." The follow-up workshop by the editors in Nepal led to "Creating Verse" focusing on the work of new poets writing in Nepal in English.

  8. Spiny Babbler across 20 nations involved young people writing on mountain related issues. Involving six continents, the two and half year effort resulted in "Mountain Forever," ICIMOD, and "Young Minds of Twenty Nations," Spiny Babbler.

  9. Conserve the Taudaha wetlands using the arts. Working the Global Environment Fund, UNDP, Spiny Babbler worked for a year and half in the village area and today the lake area is one of the most popular visitation sites for the people of Kathmandu.

  10. Conserve the culture of Sankhu using the arts. The local clubs and schools of Sankhu worked with Spiny Babbler to document and exhibit the most important cultural and natural wealth of this settlement that precedes the Lichhavi period (pre-fifth century)

  11. Arts and nature conservation came together through the three-year Alternative Media Project. Working in Thaiba in tandem with similar efforts going on in five nations, the project tested the use of poetry, music, theatre, puppetry and other mediums in nature conservation.

  12. Support working children and those involved in their care, Child-to-Child in project association with ILO involved more than 80 schools holding workshops, orientations, sharing guidelines, collecting life experiences and resulted in "Welcome to the World."

  13. Helped improve lives working with those in extreme need: Kanti Hospital burn unit and terminal care unit; Mental Hospital patients; ROKPA shelter for street children, PAM the young of prison inmates; PIN Nepal for the girls who need care and others.

  14. Awareness related video, print, music, and art effort include: Goreto Nisafko for UNDP Rule of Law Programme; UDLE urban city management video; PASRA women in enterprise video; Nepal Peace Trust's 5 institution documentary from across Nepal; ARD Inc. three docudrama project; Habitat for Humanity special feature; SAARC women's income generation unit and others covered Dadeldhura to Baglung to Ilam. These outputs are content intensive.

  15. Other efforts include the use of the arts to address corporal punishment and child nutrition with World Vision. Ngos, private sector