Our Tharu and Limbu books are in press and will be delivered to our office for distribution early next year. Each book contains 30 local and traditional stories, which were collected from the Tharu and Limbu communities by local project staff. It's powerful when those who know the stories and have retold them countless times see them written down and understand that there will be no danger of the stories being lost. Because the Tharu and Limbu world is changing, each story is not only written in the local language, but also in Nepali (the national language) and English. Children will be able to practice their reading skills in three languages using stories from their own villages. This is much better than reading stories from outside their culture. These books will also be used in adult literacy classes. At that point, we expect to hear a lot of discussion over the details of the stories. These books will allow community members of various generations to continue engaging with stories from their own culture, while learning new literacy skills. The acquisition of coveted literacy skills through these stories puts new value on local culture. Both the Tharu and Limbu communities are excited to see and read their own stories in written form. They are eager to make sure their traditions and stories, which up to now have only been passed on orally, are written down for future generations. It's this kind of enthusiasm which makes it a pleasure for us to partner with these two communities. Of course none of it would have been possible without your support as well. Thank you for your continued support to these minority communities in Nepal. Please continue to check our website, http://www.ldcnepal.org/ for updates on our progress, and share the link with friends and family.
We are excited to share progress in Tharu communities in Dang. We are encouraged by the community activities and progress of women led groups made possible through your contributions. Thank you. Highlights 276 Tharu women are associated in eight community cooperative groups and other women are interested in joining or starting a group to improve their socio-economic status. Groups meet each month to share progress and make plans for the coming month. The Get-One Give-One, goat gift program is run through these groups and this month 26 families received a baby female goat from group members who received goats last year. Each groups consists of about 26 women who received three days of self-help group management training from our staff. This training is focused on good record keeping, planning and implementing skills for community activities. Challenges Group members are requesting basic literacy classes in their own language (Tharu) and then in Nepali, the national language. For three literacy classes need funds to recruit one project supervisor and train three class facilitators. In addition the each class will require teaching and learning materials. Thank you for your continued support to these women communities in Nepal. Please continue to check our website, http://www.ldcnepal.org/ for updates on our progress, and share the link with friends and family.
We continue to be encouraged by the transformation we see in the Tharu communities we partner with which have been made possible through your contributions. Thank you.
I would like to share a few points I noted as outstanding from my last visit to these communities.
250 Tharu women associated in seven community cooperative groups and committed to improve their economic and social status working together. Among them 60 families received a female goat through the community cooperative groups. Each family that receives a female goat must pass on one of the goats’ offspring to another family in the community.
One community group built their own Learning Centre. These centers provide the local communities with a place to run literacy classes and other activities. During my conversations in the community I learnt they donated the land and each family provided free labour for the construction. We donated tin sheets for the roof and cement.
Here's what some of the women said that "to provide good education to our children and improve our socio-economic life, first we must be literate in our own language and second language, Second, we need to unite and work together in a group to access internal and external resources."
Our Tharu partner NGO, Help Society Nepal moved to there own building after the local government donated land in recognition of their contribution to the Tharu community. Owning there own building will reduce overhead costs.
Women participants commented that learning to read and write in their own language before becoming literate in the national language was important and hoped that we would continue to provide them with new teaching materials and books for their library.
Other communities are also requesting literacy and livelihood activities. It is difficult for us to say 'Yes' without additional financial resources to meet their expectations.
Thank you for your continued support to these women communities in Nepal. Please continue to check our website, http://www.ldcnepal.org/ for updates on our progress, and share the link with friends and family.
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:
Families and farm animals dotted the countryside of Dang Valley where most people were out in the fields, planting rice for the next harvest. We were on the back of motorcycles driven by the staff of Language Development Center, who were leading us to visit three of the 55 villages their project currently supports.
We visited three of the many communities where Language Development Center works. At each one, we were brought to a Community Literacy Center (CLC) where the project helps support literacy training, farming and livelihood initiatives, and micro financing programs run by women of the CLC. The groups we visited ranged in size from 40 members to over 70, though most members were busy in the fields and would resume CLC activities after the August planting season. Each CLC had a building to run their activities; the supplies were partially funded by Language Development Center though the labor came from the communities themselves. The enthusiastic project leader Pushker, led us to each of these villages and arranged meetings with people of the CLC who came from the fields to speak with us.
The women sat on rugs or blankets in a circle and spoke of the bonds created through working together as a group, and the impact of the get one, give one program, where families are given goats, and in turn are expected to gift goats to other families once theirs are bred. This program has been very successful according to the women of the CLC and they are now in the 4th generation of “goat giving,” providing livelihood to more and more members of their communities. The women also spoke about running a micro lending program for members of their community and two of the CLCs were currently in the process of being established as formal cooperatives with the government. In the final village we visited, the women hoped to use their cooperative farming skills to open a grocery store in the near future, selling their extra produce as additional income.
It can be easily said that we only saw a glimpse into the work and impact of Language Development Center. From the energetic and spirited project leader, to his dedicated staff, to the many women who came from the fields to speak of their group’s activities and community impact, we had a truly memorable visit.
We know that women who can read and write have more self-confidence and have stronger families. By the end of March, 128 Tharu women had completed the literacy classes in their own language. This is the first step to becoming literate in the national language and a huge step for these women.
In tandem with the literacy program, our project also extended into sustainable livelihoods. We were able to provide sixty Tharu families with a baby goat or piglet to breed and eventually to sell for additional income for their families. Every family has agreed to donate the first offspring to another family in their village. We would love to expand this component of the project.
To work towards financial stability for families, seven villages formed women led finance groups. The 250 women in these groups have made an impact on not only individual families but on each village. We provide training for these women to learn, save and give loans within their group - $2000 to date. This has strengthened an environment where community members work together to make their villages a better place.
One village concluded that they needed their own community centre for their literacy classes, as well as a library and a meeting place accessible to the entire village. A community effort has been organized to clear the land, make mud bricks and build the walls. They are asking for help to buy tin sheets for the roof. Ideally we would like to not only provide the roof, but help them and five other groups buy books for their library.
Your previous support to these Tharu women helped them embrace new ideas, develop new skills and increase their confidence and ability to tackle many hardships. Our next phase consists of the following:
Your part in the project has made a huge difference for these families and communities. This has provided essential tools for grassroots capacity building initiatives. Thank you.
Please consider passing on this opportunity to build a better future for these Tharu women, their families and communities to others you know.
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