Bill Brower is a Field Program Officer with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout South and Southeast Asia. On May 3rd he visited the Orchid Garden daycare center, an organization The Mountain Fund sends volunteers to in Kathmandu, Nepal. His “Postcard” from the visit:
I love meeting with organizations who’d rather not be working with GlobalGiving—that is, organizations that understand the importance of financial self-sustainability, even for non-profits, and have a plan to get to the point where they don’t rely on philanthropy. It’s even more impressive when that organization is providing a service to a poor community. Bina Basnet, the dynamic founder of the Orchid Garden daycare center, says that it’s “not good to be always asking people for money.” She has a few approaches in mind to move toward not having to.
She employs four quality teachers from the area and hopes to build a “reputation for excellence”, so that middle income families, who are more able to pay, will also send their kids to Orchid Garden. Bina thinks they may be able to make things in the school facilities, for instance food dishes, that they could sell locally. She wants to start offering an adjacent flat to volunteers who come to work at the daycare center. Merely offering her service allows parents to work more and hence be more able to pay (currently about 30% give a nominal sum). And on a bit longer (and more aspirational) timescale, Bina hopes to help empower the next generation to change Nepal.
According to Bina when some funding for the new building fell through, she decided to go ahead anyway, borrowing money from her cousin. The building is now complete and opened in time for the recent start of the new school year. GlobalGiving funds will therefore be going toward helping Orchid Garden pay back this money.
Unfortunately due to the general strike called by the Maoists, there were no students at the school the day I visited, but the new building is much more like a proper school than the old building. There are separate rooms for the different age groups, age 2-6 years, (younger kids are in the old building) with benches and desks and tables, storage areas, plenty of light and a fresh coat of paint. Throw in a meal during the day and it’s not a bad value for 0 rupees for low income parents.
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