I was delighted to attend a ceremony for the first graduating class of women that took place in Nepal last month. 68 women graduates were all there. Of the 68 who completed the course, only 3 were still having problems getting a drivers license. 4 were now employed full-time as drivers and the rest have started a savings cooperative into which each will put some money. When there is enough money, they will buy a taxi, then 4 of the women will operate that taxi and use the income to help buy another one until all have work.
The course they completed covered how to drive a car, how to repair a car and personal self-defense. We plan to start another class for 32 more women in May. See the photos from the ceremony.
This past month 34 high school students volunteered to build a house for women at Her Farm. Previously, one volunteer from Colorado had spent two weeks putting in the foundation for the first "earth bag" house to be built in this part of Nepal. The students then spent one week and were able to finish 50% + of the house. Consisting of 4 rooms, each one 18ft by 18ft, it's a large structure that involved hundreds of hours of labor to complete. Earth bag housing is built using rice bags which are filled with dirt, stacked as you would bricks or cement blocks with barbed wire acting as mortar, then compacted with a heavy tamper. A steel and concrete ring beam around the top of the entire structure ties all the walls together for strength. It's an environmentally great way to build and provides a home that is also free from chemicals. We finished our earth bag house off with mud plaster and a metal roof. We've just to finish the floors inside the rooms and it will be ready for occupancy.
A few weeks ago the girls from hostel came to The Mountain Fund house in Kathmandu and entertained our volunteers with a dance show.
The next day we had the chance to see the performance they were rehearsing for in person when we attended the family day festival at Orchid Garden.
Enjoy the photos from both the practice dance at our house and the on-stage performance the following day. It's really amazing how these children, all from Kathmandu's poorest families can put on such a great dance show.
We have had some setbacks the past few months, I am sorry to report. The landlord from the first flat we rented to house the girls asked us to leave, claiming that 9 girls make too much noise. The current landlord is threatening to toss us out as well. In Nepal, people do not want to rent for children's homes and finding a cooperative landlord is an ongoing challenge. Perhaps one day we can purchase a home and be free of this constant threat that hangs over the girls.