The Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation (NYOF) uses an integrated approach to address the multitude of challenges facing Nepali children and empowers them to fulfill their dreams. To learn more about how NYOF’s diverse programs provide education in rural villages, nutrition, loving homes, and much more, visit http://www.NYOF.org .
Olga Murray, who founded the Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation (NYOF) 20 years ago, just turned 85. We celebrated this combined anniversary and birthday in San Francisco with around 200 of Olga and NYOF’s friends and supporters.
Watch ABC TV's VIDEO about NYOF’s work in Nepal and Olga's party!
The video shows the results of the decades NYOF and Olga have spent helping Nepali Children, including rescuing girls who have been enslaved as bonded servants.
NYOF has rescued close to 10,000 girls from slave-like servitude, and more than 3,500 have been saved in the current year alone. NYOF will soon eliminate the tradition of selling Nepali girls into bondage. Read this news article about our accomplishments:
"Happy Birthday Olga Mummy!"
Watch this adorable VIDEO of the children of J and K House, the Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation's excellent homes for children, sending Olga Murray birthday greetings.
Read Olga's latest email from Nepal, about a trip to the jungle!
In her May 2010 email, NYOF's founder Olga Murray describes the fun of bringing the younger kids NYOF supports on a safari in the jungle! She also writes about how the older kids nurture and look after the younger ones, and a very unique alarm clock.
Take a look at an excellent new interview with Olga Murray about what inspired her to help Nepali children, how it led to founding NYOF, and what motivates her to continue this life-changing work!
Read about Manoj, a young boy from a deeply troubled family who was recently supported by NYOF, and the warm welcome he received from the other children. You can also watch a video in which Olga describes NYOF's projects to transform the lives of impoverished Nepali youth.
This is going to be an exciting year for the Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation. Next month, our staff will fan out over the five districts in west Nepal where girls are enslaved as bonded laborers to carry out our dynamic awareness program against the bonding custom. We will have a new weapon in our arsenal this year in addition to the piglet or goat we give the parents as incentives – the new government program to pay for the education or vocational training of all the girls we rescue. This is the culmination of a decade of lobbying the government by NYOF! We will emphasize to reluctant parents that their daughters will be eligible for a fully funded education by the government if they will consent to bring them home from their labors. Our plan is to rescue thousands of girls who have been or are about to be sold. Within a few years, we plan to completely eliminate the horrible tradition of selling Nepali girls into bondage. Those of you who have contributed to this cause have our eternal gratitude.
We still need your generous support to liberate the bonded girls and conduct our awareness campaign, because the government funding will not be used for these purposes.
We are deeply grateful for the contributions you have made. 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!
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. One successful program sponsored by NYOF is a henna-growing project. The Dang District, where thousands of the liberated girls live, is ideal for growing henna, a profitable crop in Asia. (It is used by both men and women to give a reddish tinge to black hair and to paint designs on the hands and feet for special occasions.) Some of the liberated girls have formed a co-op to grow henna, have purchased machinery to process it, and are making a profit. We plan to increase the number of such projects.
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.
The vocational training staff makes an effort to maintain personal relationships with students in the training programs. Many of them are orphans or have no family support – an important advantage in getting a job in Nepal. We teach them general life skills such as compromise and negotiation, as well as specific skills to help them search for employment. After the training is completed, staff members guide them through the process of searching for jobs – which can be extremely daunting given the high unemployment rate – and facilitate interviews with potential employers.
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. I’d like to share with you a couple stories of children who received scholarships from NYOF. One is now improving the lives of thousands of people in Nepal; the other will soon be making a similar impact.
About 15 years ago, we learned about a gifted medical student who had a scholarship to the best medical school in Nepal, but whose parents could not afford to pay his living and ancillary expenses. We chipped in for the last year or two of medical school, and when he was offered a surgical residency in Pakistan, we paid his airfare and living costs. Fast forward to 2009: Dr. Harish is now head of a large hospital in Nepal and a passionate advocate of medical care for the poor. Twenty percent of all patients at his hospital receive free medical care, and he is brimming with ideas about expanding medical assistance to those who cannot afford it. We are discussing the possibility of establishing a Nutritional Rehabilitation Home at his hospital to alleviate the problem of the many malnourished children in the area, as well as other ways of helping his mission. A pretty good outcome for an investment of a couple of thousand dollars several years ago.
Then there’s Santosh. We met Santosh when he was a little boy in about the third or fourth grade at a school that many of our scholarship students attended. The headmaster approached us and said that Santosh’s foreign sponsor had terminated his support, and that the school would have to expel him if he was unable to find someone else to sponsor his education. He mentioned also that Santosh was super-smart, especially in math and science. We asked to meet the boy. It was clear from his appearance and demeanor that he was a severely neglected child, painfully shy, and that no one had taken the trouble to teach him even the most rudimentary social skills.
We agreed to sponsor Santosh, and as expected, he excelled in his studies at every level. We educated him at probably the best private college in the country. With success has come self-confidence, and he has evolved into a charming, very kind, brilliant young man. He has been admitted on scholarship to a first-class American university for graduate study. Santosh is determined to return to Nepal and use the skills he acquires to improve the economic situation of his country.
Now here’s the zinger - Santosh grew up with virtually no parental guidance. He has had to care for his mother and sister all his life. When his mother was pregnant with him, his father, a brilliant doctor, went abroad for education and never returned. His mother became desperately ill and unable to care for herself or her children. Ever since he can remember, Santosh has been the responsible head of his family.
Thank you for supporting some of the most disadvantaged children in Nepal.
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