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.
Dhanyabad. Your support has changed the lives of 124 Limbu women and their families. This morning we received a report from one of our partner organizations, the Limbu Language Development Association, and are delighted to share the news that two adult literacy classes and two women's community groups were established by local Limbu women.
These groups are focusing on improved vegetable production as a means of increasing their family’s income: selling ginger, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes, all high value crops, in local markets. Having learnt to read and write in their own language, they are now ready to move onto learning Nepali as the next step to accessing wider markets and networks.
As one of our key roles is to provide leadership development training, and support and encouragement for women in the literacy classes, we are delighted at this achievement and encouraged that women from surrounding villages have requested this program for themselves. Continue to check our website, http://www.ldcnepal.org for updates, and share our work with others who share your passion for empowering women in rural Nepal.
We have just returned from a project evaluation trip to Dang, where our community motivator, Ms. Parvati Chaudhary, and I visited women-led community groups in five villages. We were encouraged by the transformation we saw in the women, and the progress made by the communities - the progress you have made possible through your contributions. I want to hare some highlights with you:
The 178 women in these groups are taking the lead in making positive changes to their communities and advocating for change. One group plans to build an easily accessible Learning Centre in the centre of the village to enable young mothers to participate in the adult literacy classes and activities held there.
Listening to the hopes and ideas of women for surrounding villages - with the change that we have already witnessed in just five villages, the collective effort of women, district-wide would be unstoppable!
28 Tharu women were provided with goats through the community groups. The rise in confidence from contributing economically to their households was… we look forward to seeing this change multiplied in the women who are gifted the goat’s offspring in the future.
Visiting our partner NGO’s new office: The local government donated land and resources to strengthen Help Society Nepal’s capacity and presence in Dang - this a huge accomplishment and the government’s recognition of their hard work and effectiveness as a local organization is extremely encouraging.
Saying, “Not yet” to the women from villages we don’t currently work in. Systemic change only comes from the collective power of committed individuals - until our work reaches all the villages in the district, we cannot effect the regional change we’ve been working towards for the past decade. Women from the surrounding villages are asking for us to work with them as well. It’s very difficult for us to say, "Not yet" this as we would like to partner with them but that would require additional funding.
Please consider if you could make a contribution to enable additional women led groups to be established and trained. It costs US$ 1,350 to establish and support one women group per year.
The women’s group that is building a new resource that would make it possible for young mothers to attend literacy classes close to home requested our help to buy 120 tin sheets for the roof and support truss. It costs US$ 1,470 to buy the construction materials. One tin trunk library is for their resource centre (books need to be kept in a tin-box to prevent mice from nibbling the pages) for their library. One good tin trunk library would cost US$ 480.
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.
On 12-13th Oct 2010 we were able train 56 Tharu women from two women led community support groups. Our focus for this training was to strengthen their office skills, review issues that affect each community and enable them to make stronger links with other organizations. Help Society Nepal members Mrs. Saraswati GC and Mr. Bhauna Chaudhary facilitated the training.
Each group now has constructed their own building in the community, close to their homes and one group is able to rent out one of the rooms to a local businessman that provides income to cover the group’s overhead costs.
At the end of the training each group made a six month plan that included working with us to implement the Get-One-Give-One" female goat gift program.
The topics covered in these trainings included:
Saving and Credit:
We would like to take each of these groups to visit outside of Dang district as their request to visit established community groups, so they can see what they did and how they tackled community issues. Meeting with other groups is important as it creates a space to share their success stories and concerns.
Funding ($125 per month) for one dedicated community support staff member would enable us to provide in depth support to each community support group the project works with.
Please do continue to check our website. http://www.ldcnepal.org/ for updates on our progress, and share the link with friends and family who you think might be interested. Thank you again for your continued support to the women in Nepal.
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