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.
Jun 2, 2009

NYOF's project to rescue girls from bonded servitude is spreading across Nepal!

Girls rescued by NYOF reflect on their troubled past
Girls rescued by NYOF reflect on their troubled past

Although the government of Nepal is undergoing more tumultuous changes, including a new Prime Minister, NYOF’s programs in Nepal are continuing to transform the lives of impoverished children and provide them with unimagined opportunities.

NYOF’s Indentured Daughters Program rescues girls from bonded servitude, sponsors their education, and provides each family with a piglet or goat to compensate for the income they would have gained from selling their daughter. We first introduced this program in the Dang district of Nepal in 2000, and we have virtually eliminated the bonding practice there. When we brought our program to Dang, fathers would boast about the number of daughters they had bonded away, local politicians would arrange labor contracts as favors to their constituents, the streets were filled with labor contractors coming to buy the girls’ services, and the bus park with frightened, weeping little girls about to be sent off they knew not where.

Today, nine years later, although a few girls are still bonded away in Dang, the arrangements are made between the fathers of the girls and the labor contractors on the sly and the family is looked down upon in the community. Thousands of liberated girls marched in a parade last January to celebrate their freedom, and at the rally that ended the parade, the Chief District Officer of Dang (similar to a Governor) declared Dang a zone free of bonded labor. For the first time ever in Nepal, the local police arrested the few labor contractors who dared to come to the district to make bonding arrangements. (The practice has been ruled illegal by the Nepali Supreme Court in a suit brought by NYOF.)

We recently visited the nearby Kailali district where the bonding custom is still prevalent because NYOF has not been able to start its abolition program yet. There, every January when the selling of girls takes place, men in leather jackets wearing dark glasses and sporting cell phones ride through the village streets on their motorcycles to buy child servants. One, a journalist, was there to renew the contract of a 16 year old. Another, who had engaged the services of a 10 year old in his home the previous year, also wanted to renew the contract and in addition, to buy another girl to work in his second home. The father refused an offer of $80 for a year of his daughter’s services, and the buyer went elsewhere to make his deal. As we discovered later, the father had already reached an agreement with another buyer for $95 for the year, half of it up front. (A price considerably higher than average.) All through these negotiations, Kausi, their daughter, sat silently and sadly on the bench in front of their hut, one parent on each side, as the adults haggled over the price of her future.

A couple of years ago, we extended our program to the Bardiya district, where it has been very successful - we have rescued about 1000 girls to date. With your support, we will soon eliminate the bonding tradition from Bardiya, and within a few years, from all of Nepal. Thank you for supporting some of the most disadvantaged children in Nepal.

Please let us know your thoughts about this project by providing feedback in our comments section!

NYOF rescued this girl and gave her family this goat
NYOF rescued this girl and gave her family this goat

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Jun 2, 2009

The government of Nepal is supporting NYOF's project for malnourished children!

This 15-year-old girl
This 15-year-old girl's baby is being saved from malnutrition

Although the government of Nepal is undergoing more tumultuous changes, including a new Prime Minister, NYOF’s programs in Nepal are continuing to transform the lives of impoverished children, and provide them with unimagined opportunities.

NYOF’s Nutritional Rehabilitation Homes are small hospitals where mother and child live while the child is built up to normal weight and health, and the mother is educated about nutrition and other matters relating to the health of her child. The mothers are also trained to pass on the knowledge they have gained to other mothers when they return to their villages. Field workers check up on the children after their discharge to be sure that their mothers are applying the principles they learned at the NRH to maintain the health of their children.

At the request of the Ministry of Health, we are building NRHs all over the country, and have just started construction of our ninth such facility in rural Nepal. The purpose is two-fold. First, we want to restore to health the thousands of children whose mothers cannot afford to bring their children to the city for treatment. The second goal is to establish throughout the country nutrition wards at government zonal hospitals with trained and dedicated staffs and ultimately to transfer responsibility for their financing and operation to the government.

Our plan, developed by our able and dedicated staff in Nepal, is to establish at least 14 NRHs, one on the grounds of the main government hospital in each of Nepal’s administrative zones, to train the employees, and to operate and support the facility for five years. At the end of that period, the hospital itself will take over its operation and financing.

Skeptics told us the government would never accept responsibility. But guess what – it’s happening! The first of these outlying NRHs, in Nepalgunj, reached its five year anniversary last December and the Ministry of Health in Kathmandu is providing funding for the local hospital to take it over. The second comes on line in July and we anticipate the same result. NYOF will continue to have a role in evaluation, monitoring, and continuing education, but the basic support will come from the government of Nepal.

Thank you for supporting some of the most disadvantaged children in Nepal.

Please let us know your thoughts about this project by providing feedback in our comments section!

Children at an NRH reading a book
Children at an NRH reading a book

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Jun 2, 2009

The far-reaching impacts of NYOF's scholarships

Children who can now go to school, thanks to support from donors
Children who can now go to school, thanks to support from donors

Although the government of Nepal is undergoing more tumultuous changes, including a new Prime Minister, NYOF’s programs in Nepal are continuing to transform the lives of impoverished children, and provide them with unimagined opportunities. I’d like to share with you a couple stories of children who received scholarships from NYOF. One is now improving the lives of thousands of people in Nepal; the other will soon be making a similar impact.

About 15 years ago, we learned about a gifted medical student who had a scholarship to the best medical school in Nepal, but whose parents could not afford to pay his living and ancillary expenses. We chipped in for the last year or two of medical school, and when he was offered a surgical residency in Pakistan, we paid his airfare and living costs. Fast forward to 2009: Dr. Harish is now head of a large hospital in Nepal and a passionate advocate of medical care for the poor. Twenty percent of all patients at his hospital receive free medical care, and he is brimming with ideas about expanding medical assistance to those who cannot afford it. We are discussing the possibility of establishing a Nutritional Rehabilitation Home at his hospital to alleviate the problem of the many malnourished children in the area, as well as other ways of helping his mission. A pretty good outcome for an investment of a couple of thousand dollars several years ago.

Then there’s Santosh. We met Santosh when he was a little boy in about the third or fourth grade at a school that many of our scholarship students attended. The headmaster approached us and said that Santosh’s foreign sponsor had terminated his support, and that the school would have to expel him if he was unable to find someone else to sponsor his education. He mentioned also that Santosh was super-smart, especially in math and science. We asked to meet the boy. It was clear from his appearance and demeanor that he was a severely neglected child, painfully shy, and that no one had taken the trouble to teach him even the most rudimentary social skills.

We agreed to sponsor Santosh, and as expected, he excelled in his studies at every level. We educated him at probably the best private college in the country. With success has come self-confidence, and he has evolved into a charming, very kind, brilliant young man. He has been admitted on scholarship to a first-class American university for graduate study. Santosh is determined to return to Nepal and use the skills he acquires to improve the economic situation of his country.

Now here’s the zinger - Santosh grew up with virtually no parental guidance. He has had to care for his mother and sister all his life. When his mother was pregnant with him, his father, a brilliant doctor, went abroad for education and never returned. His mother became desperately ill and unable to care for herself or her children. Ever since he can remember, Santosh has been the responsible head of his family.

Thank you for supporting some of the most disadvantaged children in Nepal.

Please let us know your thoughts about this project by providing feedback in our comments section!

Ajeeta (here with her mother) is now a nurse, helping the needy!
Ajeeta (here with her mother) is now a nurse, helping the needy!

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