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 scholarships for disabled students are providing unimagined opportunities

Laxmi in her wheelchair can go to school because of NYOF
Laxmi in her wheelchair can go to school because of NYOF

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.

In Nepal, disabled children are often seen as cast-offs, as pariahs or as punishment for "sins" of the family. They seldom have an opportunity to prove themselves as productive members of society (Only 30% of disabled people are educated). From its inception, NYOF has paid special attention to these children, whether they are blind or deaf, suffering from conditions such as cerebral palsy, or have other challenges.

NYOF supports many blind and deaf students in Nepal, and some with physical disabilities. The youth enrolled in this program are generally very capable and motivated students. 96% of them successfully passed their most recent end-of-term examinations; five of them obtained the best grades in their class, four ranked second, and three were third.

NYOF’s social workers maintain personal relationships with all of the students who receive scholarships and carefully monitor their academic progress and personal lives. They bring the students for health check ups when needed, and purchase any needed items for the children such as warm clothes, shoes, and books. The social workers also meet with the students’ principals and teachers every three months. For students who have parents, social workers visit the parents and determine if the living conditions are appropriate for the children and conducive to studying. ----------------------------------------- One student’s story: Laxmi Kunwar

My name is Laxmi Kunwar. I am seventeen years old and I am studying in grade nine in Kathmandu. I was not born disabled. Two years ago, in my village, I fell from a tree when I was collecting fodder for the cattle. My spinal cord was badly injured, and even after surgery, I am still paralyzed below the waist. I came to Kathmandu to undergo a lot of physiotherapy, and now I can move around in a wheelchair, but I can’t stand on my feet. I was the best student in my class, and I had a lot of dreams for my future career. Because of the accident, my dreams were ruined. My father sold almost all of our family’s property to pay for my treatment, and now we only have a few cattle, a small house, and a small piece of land.

I was searching for an opportunity to continue my studies, and fortunately, I got a scholarship from NYOF. My happiness crossed all boundaries when I learned that NYOF would support my education. I will utilize this support for my study as well as I possibly can. I want to thank NYOF for this support. ------------------------------------------ Thank you for helping NYOF transform the lives of some of the most disadvantaged children in Nepal.

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

One of the best students at the Kathmandu School for the Deaf
One of the best students at the Kathmandu School for the Deaf

Links:

Apr 6, 2009

More about NYOF's scholarships for needy children

Education is the only real ticket out of poverty for destitute, disabled, or orphaned children in Nepal. But education in Nepal isn't like it is in Western countries. Imagine not even being able to go to school or learn the basic skills needed to participate in society, to get a job, to create a better life for oneself. Without an education, a child in Nepal is destined to lead a life of extreme poverty and backbreaking labor.

An education is the only way to break the bonds of poverty, low caste, and disability. This is especially true of girls, who are often illiterate, married off before they are 14, and spend the rest of their lives bearing children and working endless hours. The literacy rate is very low, especially among women, and there is little assistance available for school expenses.

We are committed to support impoverished children until they are able to stand on their own feet. From the first five college scholarships given personally by NYOF's founder, Olga Murray, to boys from an orphanage in 1985, the number of students in our scholarship program has grown to more than 4,000. In fact, the Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation is now one of the largest non-profit providers of scholarships in Nepal.

Why don't many Nepali children go to school? Government schools are often insufficient and the families cannot afford such simple items as the school uniform, supplies, and the small school fee. Private schools cost more than most families can afford. Often the family needs the money the child can earn by working. Abandoned children, of course, are forced to beg instead of study. Where schools do exist, there are often few trained teachers.

NYOF makes education possible for Nepalese children who have no other hope. We currently give scholarships to students from kindergarten through medical school.

Jan 27, 2009

Indentured Daughters Story

Sumitra recounting her life before NYOF was able to send her to
Sumitra recounting her life before NYOF was able to send her to

Sumitra – who sold herself into slavery for an education

Most of you know about our Indentured Daughters Program, which liberates girls (some as young as five) from bonded labor. These little girls are sold by their parents to a labor contractor (for an average of $50 a year), who places them with families in far-off cities as domestic servants. Many suffer terrible abuses – beatings, back-breaking labor, sexual abuse.

A few months ago, our staff working in the area conducted in-depth interviews with some of the girls we have liberated. I was appalled at the things we learned. Here is just one of many stories: Get out your hanky.

Bonded at age five

Sumitra (not her real name) was sold by her parents when she was just five years old to work for a family in another district, and her younger sister was bonded to the same family a couple of years later. The girls were physically and verbally abused by the entire family. They slept on the floor on a rush mat, with only a thin sheet as a blanket, even during the coldest season. They were fed scraps of food and suffered constant contempt from the family they worked for because they were considered to be of a lower caste. The children tolerated the situation for seven long years until they could bear it no longer, and decided to run away, back home to their parents.

Their parents were not very pleased at their daughters’ return, for they were fearful that the employer would demand they give back the money they had already received as payment for the girls’ labor for a year. Nevertheless, they were allowed to live at home for a while.

Sold again

Then Sumitra’s parents sold her again, this time to a joint family, consisting of a couple, their married children, and their spouses. The wife beat Sumitra mercilessly, and when the husband tried to intervene, the wife became jealous and the beatings became even more brutal. The adult children began to tease her and call her their stepmother, and the villagers picked up on the taunt. Although it is illegal to have more than one wife in Nepal, in rural areas it is not uncommon for a man to marry two or even three women, often much younger than the first wife. So the ridicule contained an implied threat that she would indeed be married off to the father, a man in his 60s. After suffering under these conditions for a few years, she again ran back home.

This time, her parents not only refused to send her to school, but wanted to arrange a marriage for her so that they could be relieved of the burden of supporting her.

Sumitra is an exceptional girl. Her desire for an education is the central goal of her life. She bravely resisted her parents’ attempt to marry her off (she was only 13 or 14 years old), and, instead, decided on a bold move which would relieve her parents of the burden of supporting her and at the same time fulfill her intense desire to go to school: she offered to work without wages for an employer who would enroll her in school. A family came forward that accepted the offer, and she went off to work for them. However, they did not keep their promise. They refused to enroll her in school, but she finished her work as quickly as she could and sat in on classes at the local school.

As it happened, the family lived in the Dang District, the area where NYOF has been working since 2000 to eradicate the bonding custom. One day, Sumitra met a group of girls who had been previously liberated from bonded labor by NYOF. She told them her story, and they knew just what to do. Our office was nearby, and they marched over and told Man Bahadur, our manager of the Indentured Daughters Program, about Sumitra.

Man Bahadur spoke with Sumitra, who said she wanted to go home. Throughout their conversation, she burst into tears whenever she talked about her past. He then went to the employer’s house and gave him a choice: He could either release Sumitra from her labors on the spot, or Man Bahadur would call the police. The bonding practice is illegal in Nepal, but persists because of poverty and local custom, so that was a real threat. We have an excellent relationship with the local authorities, who have pledged to assist us in our liberation efforts. Of course, the employer chose the first alternative.

A happy ending

Man Bahadur and some volunteers returned with Sumitra to her home in the Bardiya District. Her mother was not too pleased about her return because, she said, they did not have enough to eat even without Sumitra’s presence in the family. But our staff spoke with her at length and convinced her that she was damaging her daughters by bonding them away. The family received a baby goat to make up for her lost wages, and they signed with a fingerprint an agreement to keep Sumitra at home and in school.

NYOF will support her education through high school, and the NYOF staff continues to monitor her situation. Last year, NYOF extended its liberation program to the Bardiya District, and Sumitra is one of the most active and committed of the returned girls who are helping us to eradicate the bonding custom in Bardiya. She acts in street plays to bring awareness to other girls and their families about the dangers of selling children into servitude.

Sumitra happy now that she is attending school
Sumitra happy now that she is attending school

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $10
    give
  • $18
    give
  • $65
    give
  • $137
    give
  • $225
    give
  • $260
    give
  • $520
    give
  • $780
    give
  • $10
    each month
    give
  • $18
    each month
    give
  • $65
    each month
    give
  • $137
    each month
    give
  • $225
    each month
    give
  • $260
    each month
    give
  • $520
    each month
    give
  • $780
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF)

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF) on GreatNonProfits.org.