Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF)

The Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF; formerly the Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation, NYOF) is devoted to bringing hope to the most destitute children in the beautiful but impoverished Himalayan country of Nepal. With a personal touch, we provide these children with what should be every child's birthright - education, housing, medical care, and loving support. Empowered to reach their potential, these children blossom, enriching the world we all share.
May 31, 2010

Indentured Daughters Program Site Visit

A group of students at NYOF
A group of students at NYOF's first school

Bill Brower is a Field Program Officer with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout South and Southeast Asia. On May 12-14 he visited sites in Dang and Bardia districts in western Nepal that are part of the Indentured Daughters Program of NYOF and its implementing partners (Help Society Nepal, SWAN and Friends of Needy Children). His “Postcard” from the visit:

Durgi and Kabita Chaudhry are living examples of the concept behind the Indentured Daughters Program at work. A few years ago, the sisters were rescued from a life of servitude and their family given two goats. That pair of goats quickly became seven goats. At the start of this school year, the family didn’t have enough to pay the school fees. (NYOF had been covering these fees, but this year the government is taking over the program, and budget delays caused a delay in disbursements.) So the family sold one of the goats to keep the girls in school. Success.

Realizing that just removing a girl from servitude doesn’t address the root cause of the problem, the Indentured Daughters Program of NYOF and its partners seeks to make the girls and, in some areas, their families more financially stable so that the pressure to resort to selling the girl for labor is reduced. They provide vocational training in sewing, making bamboo crafts and henna, running a restaurant, among others. They’ve also started co-ops run by and for kamalary (the local word for girls sold in to servitude) so that their families have a place to turn when expenses arise unexpectedly.

We stopped in many sewing shops, craft-making shops and a restaurant established by NYOF in conjunction with young women and run by these former kamalary. NYOF and partners often continue to support these businesses, for instance giving the seamstresses a contract to make the uniforms of other NYOF recipients, and a few voiced concerns about these guaranteed orders going away as NYOF hands over operations in the area to the government. If these businesses and their owners are to be truly independent and stable, they should be able to prosper without outside help.

The government is taking over the program, as it is doing with another NYOF program for rehabilitating malnourished children (see link below)--high official praise. I’ve written elsewhere that in the NGO world, imitation is the highest sign of a successful approach. As the delay in disbursing money for the program indicates, there will now be more bureaucracy to deal with but the government has far more and steadier resources with which to run and expand the program.

Which in speaking with the District Education Office in Bardia, it sounds like they are keener than I had expected to do. They talked about increasing the stipend the girls receive next year (perhaps doubling it). And they are interested in “flexible classes”, which would allow for older girls to catch up to their peers’ education level in special classes—sparing them the awkward situation of studying in a class of girls they stand literally head and shoulders above.

In Dang Province, where NYOF and its local partners have been working the longest, they claim the practice has been eliminated—evidenced by the fact that there are almost no girls younger than 14 in the local forum for former kamalary. In Bardia at least there has been a slight shift toward selling sons as the trade in girls is clamped down. NYOF has commissioned a report on this and while the number of indentured boys is far less than the number of girls who were until recently in servitude, it’s a problem that will hopefully soon also be eradicated.

Two NYOF trainees have 3 apprentices of their own
Two NYOF trainees have 3 apprentices of their own
Kabita with some of their goats
Kabita with some of their goats

Links:

May 16, 2010

An amazingly effective way to treat malnutrition

Sita with a healthy-looking Nischita
Sita with a healthy-looking Nischita

Bill Brower is a Field Program Officer with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout South and Southeast Asia. On May 10th he visited the NYOF Nutritional Rehabilitation Home in Kathmandu. His “Postcard” from the visit:

The approach to treating severe malnutrition that NYOF and its implementing partners have developed is truly impressive. When they started off in 1998 Som, NYOF’s Executive Director in Kathmandu, says they weren’t aware of a “manual from anywhere in the world” on how to treat these children. All their methods they developed themselves over time. They now have a manual of their own that they use to train staff in the new Nutritional Homes they’ve been starting—with government support—all over Nepal.

Children and their mothers are referred to the facility by local hospitals, unable themselves to provide anything but a bit of emergency care. Outside of fortified milk, the children are fed only foods available anywhere in Nepal. These children, according to Sunita of NYOF’s partner Friends of Needy Children, are not malnourished for lack of food but from ignorance: The mothers are feeding their children only white rice three times a day, or overcooked or fried foods lacking the nutritional value that kids need. So the mothers get trainings while their children recover—in what foods children need, how to prepare them, when to feed their children, how to grow certain foods.

The children are typically discharged at a healthy weight in just 35 days. What’s more impressive is mother and child are sent home with only the training she has received and one bag of flour, and there is a less than 8% relapse rate, according to Sunita. The easy answer might be to provide on-going food assistance, which would be costly and not solve the root cause of the problem. NYOF’s approach seems significantly more sustainable.

One of the mothers, Sita, was bouncing a healthy-looking, eight-month old Nischita on her knee. I asked her what she learned: Sita said she knew now that things like banana and egg yolks did not in fact cause colds in children. She also learned about hygiene and how to prepare nutritional foods, like jowolo. She said she will now feed Nischita five times per day. There are other children in her community who are malnourished and she said she would definitely share what she’s learned with their mothers. She said it would be easy for her since she is a teacher. Shree, another mother, gave a similar response saying she’d learned about optimal feeding times and how to prepare vegetables and a special type of flour.

I think this is a great project. I’m proud that GlobalGiving donors are supporting it. It seems an approach deserving of spreading throughout Nepal and beyond.

The Nutritional Rehabilitation Home in Kathmandu
The Nutritional Rehabilitation Home in Kathmandu
Nurses preparing medicines for a new arrival
Nurses preparing medicines for a new arrival
May 7, 2010

Update on NYOF's work with children in Nepal!

A girl in rural Nepal who is supported by NYOF
A girl in rural Nepal who is supported by NYOF

Read Olga's latest email from Nepal, about a trip to the jungle! In her May 2010 email, NYOF's founder Olga Murray describes the fun of bringing the younger kids NYOF supports on a safari in the jungle! She also writes about how the older kids nurture and look after the younger ones, and a very unique alarm clock. http://nyof.org/emails/2010-05-04_chitwan.html

Take a look at an excellent new interview with Olga Murray about what inspired her to help Nepali children, how it led to founding NYOF, and what motivates her to continue this life-changing work! http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=17850

Read about Manoj, a young boy from a deeply troubled family who was recently supported by NYOF, and the warm welcome he received from the other children. You can also watch a video in which Olga describes NYOF's projects to transform the lives of impoverished Nepali youth. http://nyof.org/emails/2010-02_olgavideo.html

A schoolteacher in a classroom funded by NYOF
A schoolteacher in a classroom funded by NYOF

Links:

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