The boy in the photos is Shiva Rana (not his real name), and he was born in Kanchenpur, one of the nine districts where NYOF has established a Nutritional Rehabilitation Home (“NRH”). These are small hospitals dedicated to restoring the health of malnourished children. His mother gave birth to Shiva, her fourth child, at their hut in a shantytown settlement. Her health was fragile and her breast milk insufficient, so little Shiva started out life without adequate nourishment. When he grew old enough to consume solid foods, at times the family was so poor that they did not have food to offer him. His mother took him to a local shaman (a common practice in poor rural areas in Nepal where there are no doctors), but Shiva continued to deteriorate.
She finally took him to a hospital nearby, where he was diagnosed as suffering from acute malnutrition. The hospital referred him to the nearest NRH. At our doorstep appeared an exhausted, malnourished mother carrying a tiny 11 month old baby weighing only 10 pounds, his face distorted by constant crying, with no appetite, a dull complexion, and severe diarrhea.
Although all 10 beds at the NRH were occupied by children in similar condition, our staff found space and admitted him because of the severity of his condition, and went into action. As she does for all the children, our dietitian prepared a special diet tailored to his needs as well as a feeding and nursing schedule, and the doctor attended to his medical problems.
While Shiva was being restored to health, his mother was instructed daily in the preparation of nutritious food inexpensively and easily available in her village, and about all aspects of child care – the importance of hygiene, the symptoms of illness, etc. She stayed with Shiva at the NRH and was offered food that was nourishing and plentiful. Voila – after 34 days, a healthy, smiling baby and a happy, well-nourished and educated mother.
Shiva’s mother kept repeating that it was hard to believe that her half-dead baby could be transformed so quickly into a bouncy, vigorous infant simply by proper diet and care, and she vowed that she would continue to follow the practices she learned at the NRH to keep him and her other children healthy. Our field worker has made several visits to their home, and he reports that Shiva is in the pink of health. And all this for an average cost of $340.
We are deeply grateful for your support. Please give as generously as you can, so that we can continue to help kids in Nepal to uncover and develop their full potential. We have a proven track record in making the most of your donations – you can do more good with a dollar in Nepal than almost anywhere else, and we spend a very small percentage of donations on administration (as evidenced by our four-star rating from Charity Navigator). We hope you will help us in our efforts to make a difference in these children’s lives.
Please let us know your thoughts by providing feedback in our comments section! Also, please tell your friends, family and colleagues about NYOF’s accomplishments!
NYOF’s Nutritional Rehabilitation Home (NRH) program is still thriving! The Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation (NYOF) operates nine NRHs throughout Nepal, which treat severely malnourished children while training their mothers in child care and nutrition, so the problem does not recur. When these plump, happy, healthy babies return with their moms to their villages, the neighbors come over to find out how this amazing transformation took place! NYOF teaches the mothers to share their newfound knowledge with others, so the impact of this program spreads far beyond the mothers and babies who are treated at the NRHs.
We are preparing to build our tenth NRH in rural southeastern Nepal. With your continued support, everyone in Nepal will soon have reasonable access to these facilities, even those living in the very remote corners of the country.
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We are deeply proud of the successes and accomplishments of the many students in our programs. Take, for example, the girls in rural Nepal who we have liberated from bonded labor at the age of 16 or 17 and who have never been to school. It would be too uncomfortable for them to be in a class with first and second graders, so we place them in an intensive literacy course for nine months and then train them for a job – preferably one which will allow them to start a business of their own.
Early on, we created a sewing program for these older girls. The success of this program is guaranteed because they make school uniforms for the thousands of girls we have liberated and now support in school. (The Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation (NYOF) pays the education expenses of former bonded girls, including two sets of school uniforms a year.) So there is no shortage of work for them. Better still, many of the girls we have trained have left the program and started their own sewing businesses in nearby villages.
We have also trained formerly indentured girls to run small shops, repair bicycles, etc. Many of the girls are remarkably entrepreneurial and have started their own businesses to generate income.
Higher education is not the same stepping stone to job opportunities in Nepal that it is in most Western countries; even people with advanced university degrees have difficulty finding work. Our limited funding is sometimes better spent on providing more children with elementary and high school educations and on efforts targeted at eventual employment and self-sufficiency.
The unemployment rate in Nepal hovers around 50%. Thus, for many youngsters, guidance and training in a specific career path is far more helpful than years of higher education. We offer counseling to explore their strengths and interests, and then support them in training for 20 different careers, such as electrician, lab technician, cook, or midwife. These jobs often pay better than the office jobs many college graduates hold out for.
Our vocational programs actively encourage women to pursue careers that in Nepal are traditionally restricted to men. At a technical training school in Kathmandu, NYOF sponsors the only female in the plumbing course. Once she’s employed as a plumber, she hopes to serve as an example to others that women should not feel that certain careers are off-limits.
A number of our vocational trainees who have found decent paying jobs are attending college on their own nickel. One of these is Bashudev Basnet. His father died when he was very young, and his mother earned a living by operating a small tea stall at the bus park in Kathmandu. We supported the education of Bashudev and his brother. After he finished high school and passed his college entrance exams, he enrolled in our vocational program as a cook and he found employment at a fairly snazzy restaurant on the fanciest street in Kathmandu. He was such a good worker that after only a month on the job he got a raise. He has enrolled in college in the morning and then goes to work on the day and evening shift. Not only that, he is now able to support his mother.
We are deeply grateful to you for standing with us. Please give as generously as you can, so that we can continue to help kids in Nepal to uncover and develop their full potential. We have a proven track record in making the most of your donations – you can do more good with a dollar in Nepal than almost anywhere else, and we spend a very small percentage of donations on administration (as evidenced by our four-star rating from Charity Navigator). We hope you will help us in our efforts to make a difference in these children’s lives.
P.S. Watch a video about Ramchandra, a student whose life was transformed by NYOF and who has a truly inspirational outlook, at http://www.nyof.org/newsroom/video.html#ram
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.
NYOF’s Nutritional Rehabilitation Homes are small hospitals where mother and child live while the child is built up to normal weight and health, and the mother is educated about nutrition and other matters relating to the health of her child. The mothers are also trained to pass on the knowledge they have gained to other mothers when they return to their villages. Field workers check up on the children after their discharge to be sure that their mothers are applying the principles they learned at the NRH to maintain the health of their children.
At the request of the Ministry of Health, we are building NRHs all over the country, and have just started construction of our ninth such facility in rural Nepal. The purpose is two-fold. First, we want to restore to health the thousands of children whose mothers cannot afford to bring their children to the city for treatment. The second goal is to establish throughout the country nutrition wards at government zonal hospitals with trained and dedicated staffs and ultimately to transfer responsibility for their financing and operation to the government.
Our plan, developed by our able and dedicated staff in Nepal, is to establish at least 14 NRHs, one on the grounds of the main government hospital in each of Nepal’s administrative zones, to train the employees, and to operate and support the facility for five years. At the end of that period, the hospital itself will take over its operation and financing.
Skeptics told us the government would never accept responsibility. But guess what – it’s happening! The first of these outlying NRHs, in Nepalgunj, reached its five year anniversary last December and the Ministry of Health in Kathmandu is providing funding for the local hospital to take it over. The second comes on line in July and we anticipate the same result. NYOF will continue to have a role in evaluation, monitoring, and continuing education, but the basic support will come from the government of Nepal.
Thank you for supporting some of the most disadvantaged children in Nepal.
Please let us know your thoughts about this project by providing feedback in our comments section!
The Nutritional Rehabilitation Homes are small hospitals devoted entirely to restoring very malnourished children to health and educating their mothers in nutrition and all other aspects of child care so that the condition does not recur. Since half the children under five years of age in Nepal are malnourished and this is a leading cause of death in this age group, these centers provide a critical service. Because of the help provided by our doctors, nurses, and nutritionists, children who are admitted looking as though they cannot survive much longer, leave the NRH an average of five weeks later as bouncy, plump little kids, brimming with life. We use only food easily and inexpensively available throughout Nepal to work these miracles. After discharge, a field worker visits the children to be sure they are maintaining their weight gain.
We began this project ten years ago with a small facility in Kathmandu above a children’s clinic. Later, we moved to larger quarters, with 23 beds. At the urging of the Nepali government, we have been establishing such centers throughout the country so that children who cannot come to Kathmandu can also get help. At present, there are six NRHs in different parts of Nepal, and we are building three more, some in areas which were not possible to work in during the Maoist insurgency.
Over 3000 children have been restored to blooming good health over the years at the NRHs, and their mothers trained in the principles of child care. The average stay is five weeks, and the average cost is only $300.
Taking the Show on the Road
Last year, we began a pilot project to try to head off malnutrition by taking the tried and tested methods we have developed at the NRHs to remote areas of the country. We established free camps in rural areas, distributing leaflets in advance to the remote, roadless villages in the area, inviting children, their family members, and women of childbearing age to the free camp. Doctors, nurses, and nutritionists were in attendance, all experienced in imparting knowledge about children’s health to usually illiterate mothers. All the children who attended the camps were assessed and the mothers were taught to prepare a nourishing and easily digestible mix of locally available food. Children who were only moderately malnourished would be helped by this formula. Those who suffered from severe malnourishment were referred to the nearest NRH. Two follow-up camps will be held to assess the success of the program.
An interesting aspect of the project is that the mothers-in-law and sisters-in-law of the mothers and prospective mothers were also urged to attend. In Nepal, the tradition is that after marriage, a wife goes to live with her husband’s family. From that day onward, she is subject to the dictates of her in-laws in almost all matters, including child rearing. The ten years of experience at our NRHs has taught us that some mothers who have returned to their villages fully instructed in good child care practices, were unable to apply their knowledge because their in-laws insisted that traditional methods of nourishing children and maintaining their health be followed. Therefore, the in-laws in the family are also encouraged to attend the training sessions.
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