Shari Davis & Ellen Currin are InTheField Travelers with GlobalGiving who are visiting our partners’ projects throughout Nepal. Their “Postcard” from their most recent visit in Nepal:
A two-hour bus ride from The Mountain Fund’s volunteer house in Kathmandu took us to the site of their women’s cooperative farming project. A few of the volunteers were participating in a home-stay program in the village, and we first dropped of their belongings, then began our two-hour hike to Mankhu Village Farm. This site contained the land and housing for their farming project, where women suffering from domestic abuse are provided safe housing and farmland for themselves and their children.
We spent the day digging and planting around 100 trees on the sloping land owned by the Mountain Fund. The organization’s local staff organized and supervised our planting efforts, explaining the trees will provide food and shade for animals, which can provide additional means of livelihood for the women.
It was HOT. We were sweaty and dirty by the time we finished. Our Nepali family made it worth the effort, fetching us fruit from trees, turning a fallen log into an amusement park ride, and leading a game of javelin with our planting equipment. It was a bit of a miracle we got any work done at all.
I only wish we could see the impact of these trees during the coming years, shading the valley of the women’s cooperative farmland, feeding the animals, and helping provide a fresh, new start for many deserving families.
Shari Davis & Ellen Currin are InTheField Travelers with GlobalGiving who are visiting our partners’ projects throughout Nepal. Here is their “Postcard” from their most recent visit to Orchid Garden in Nepal:
“This is my dream!” These were the words of greeting from Bina Basnet as we arrived at her school and daycare, Orchid Garden. She explained to us that the space we were seeing- the brightly colored school buildings, children at play in the yard, the classrooms full of learning- were all a part of her life dream.
Orchid Garden serves over 200 children, providing schooling, meals, daycare and housing to Nepali kids in need. Those attending the school ranged in age from 8 months to 12 years and could be seen sitting in circles with teachers, or at desks practicing writing in the many small classrooms of Orchid Garden.
Bina started our tour by showing us the art projects produced by children in the school. She explained students also attended art class, dance class, and Spanish learning class in addition to normal studies. The classrooms were clean and organized, each with a carpet and drawings outside depicting colorful hand washing messages drawn by the kids.
Bina explained much of the funding from the school came from volunteers coming to visit the school, seeing the needs of the children and sending donations back to Orchid Garden. She explains that she is lucky to afford the teacher’s salaries and rent for the land, though she has limited funding for the children’s meals and school supplies. “This is where we need money.”
We walked into the kindergarten classroom and Bina shouted “Where are we?”
“Nepal!” The students yelled enthusiastically in response.
“Who are we?”
Bina explained that much of her family was in the US waiting for her to join them. When asked about her future, she replied, “Once Orchid Garden is in a stable place, I will move out of Kathmandu to a rural village, and help those children in need. This is my dream, you see.”
Shari Davis & Ellen Currin are InTheField Travelers with GlobalGiving who are visiting our partners’ projects throughout Nepal. Here is a “Postcard” from their most recent visit in Nepal:
While visiting the Koseli School, it was impossible to ignore how happy all the children were to be learning. As we entered each classroom, we were greeted with songs and dances. “The most important thing is to smile,” founder Renu Bagaria explained, “first they must smile, then they will learn.” The children are smiling because they have been given a unique opportunity to escape the slums and receive an education.
But the Koseli school cares about more than simply educating children; Renu explains that she wants to “bring them back to life.” In the morning, this means providing baths and breakfast for each child. In the evenings, creative activities are arranged for the older children to keep them off the streets. The students receive all these things, as well as uniforms and school supplies, for no cost.
The staff goes above and beyond to take care of the children when it is needed: We met one child who had a broken arm, and we soon learned that Koseli staff sat with him in the hospital for two days because his parents were busy working.
Older children are not turned away, but rather Koseli staff work with them one-on-one to prepare them for the future: We heard the story of Ishwar, a young man from a mountain village who was destined to be a low-wage porter for trekkers passing through. After studying at Koseli, he now knows conversational English, is also learning French, and can now be employed as a bilingual guide.
Before leaving the upper-Kindergarten class, I asked the young students if they like Koseli School.
They answered me as a chorus, loud and strong:
“Yes! We love Koseli School!”