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.
Apr 29, 2014

Breaking taboos around mental health

Children learn to protect themselves from bulllies
Children learn to protect themselves from bulllies

In a country where talking about mental health is taboo, Chhori Maharjan has started a new dialog. As director of NYF’s Ankur Counseling Center - the only such center for children and young adults in Nepal -- Chhori is proud of the center’s role in changing attitudes towards psychological treatment.

“In Nepal, everyone thinks that counseling is only for psychotic people,” Chhori said in a recent interview in her office in Kathmandu. “We have worked really hard to help people understand that counseling can help everyone. We make counseling easy and accessible for our children and youth. We let them know that it is OK to talk about and share their feelings. This is what we are changing.”

The center has treated more than 3,900 children and young adults in NYF’s programs since it opened in 2006. Some children have suffered unspeakable trauma, and have found healing through Ankur’s innovative sand and play therapies.

“We are a pioneer of children’s counseling because we are using therapies that work for children,” Chhori said. “Children don’t really have words to explain their experiences, thoughts and emotions. We encourage our children to express themselves through play therapy.”

The counseling center is part of NYF’s holistic approach to caring for the children in our programs. In addition to food, shelter and education, many of these children need help rebuilding their lives and are learning to write new stories for themselves.

Mental health professionals and academics in Nepal are also flocking to the center to learn about the latest therapies. Center staff regularly offers trainings for teachers, therapists who work with children.

More than 2,500 caregivers and teachers have attended training sessions at Ankur.

Children share their feelings at group counseling
Children share their feelings at group counseling
Ankur
Ankur's dynamic director Chhori Maharjan
A child
A child's sand play creation

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Apr 29, 2014

From severe malnutrition to blooming health

Jal when he was admitted to the NRH
Jal when he was admitted to the NRH

When you meet the children we serve, you appreciate the miracles that happen at the Nutritional Rehabilitation Centers. Jal Bahadur is one of the children who got a new start in life at an NRH. Last April, NYF workers found him during a Nutrition Outreach Camp. His mother had died four months earlier, and his deeply impoverished father struggled to care for Jal and his older sister. Three-year-old Jal was so malnourished he could not talk, walk or even stand up.

Within 20 days of care at the center, Jal had put on weight and regained enough strength in his legs to walk. His father learned the basics of good nutrition and took this information back with him to share in his rural village.

Thanks to your support, Jal and thousands of children like him have a chance to lead a healthy life.

A healthy Jal after 20 days of care
A healthy Jal after 20 days of care

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Apr 29, 2014

Paying it forward

Rajan and Choodamani
Rajan and Choodamani

When Choodamani was a boy he burned his foot and became partially disabled. His social worker wrote to us explaining that his school was far away, across a river — too far for the boy to limp there on his own. The letter quoted 12-year old Choodamani saying he wanted to be "the Charles Darwin of Nepal!" So we brought this ambitious young boy to start a new life at J House, our home for boys, where school would be easily accessible and he would be well-cared for

Choodamani eventually became our very first J House graduate, and we're as proud as any family would be. After high school, he got a job in a hospital as a physical therapist while he took classes at college. He eventually became a leader in Nepal's emerging disability rights movement, and served on Nepal's National Federation of the Disabled.

Choodamani and another J house graduate, Rajan, recently teamed up to start a day care center and school for children of poor families in Kathmandu. Most of the parents who send their children to Choodamani and Rajan's center are disabled themselves or work in very low-wage jobs — so they normally couldn't afford a school like this for their children.

But Choodamani and Rajan raise funds to keep tuition at the center low and to provide scholarships. Now dozens of children are getting the education they need to create a path out of poverty — and parents can go to work knowing their kids are safe and thriving.

Thank you for helping young people like Choodamani live full and independent lives.

Namaste!

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