Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF)

The Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF; formerly the Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation, NYOF) is devoted to bringing hope to the most destitute children in the beautiful but impoverished Himalayan country of Nepal. With a personal touch, we provide these children with what should be every child's birthright - education, housing, medical care, and loving support. Empowered to reach their potential, these children blossom, enriching the world we all share.
May 6, 2013

Reclaiming their Childhood

Receiving Tika
Receiving Tika

The Nepal Youth Foundation is excited to unveil our new website! Please take a look and let us know what you think.

Impoverished Children Celebrate Dashain

Dashain is the biggest and most important Hindu festival in Nepal (over 80% of Nepalis are Hindu). During this 15-day celebration, people all over Nepal make ritual offerings to the goddess Durga and receive tika. Tika is a paste made from a red dye, yoghurt, and rice. Elders generally apply it to the forehead as part of a blessing. People from all over Nepal, and Nepalis from all over the world, return home to celebrate with their families.

Dashain can be a particularly difficult time for children living with HIV/AIDS, since many of them have been abandoned and stigmatized. The Nepal Youth Foundation believes that children have a right to a happy childhood and to take part in their cultural traditions. The NYF and the New Life Center form a new family with the patients, allowing HIV/AIDS-positive children to reclaim their childhood.

HIV/AIDS in Nepal

Even though national and international efforts to combat the spread of HIV have blunted the HIV/AIDS epidemic, a recent estimate shows that over 50,000 Nepalis currently are living with HIV/AIDS. Those who are infected face stigmatization and discrimination. Children who contract HIV/AIDS are forced from their schools while women may be abandoned by their husbands and families. This stigma leads many to not seek testing and attempt to hide their symptoms. The U.N. has estimated that more than 80% of Nepalis with HIV have not been diagnosed.

Impact

Thanks to generous donors like you, the Nepal Youth Foundation has paved the way in caring for children with HIV/AIDS. Children with HIV/AIDS come to our New Life Center suffering from malnutrition and opportunistic infections. The New Life Center provides them with vital medical treatment while educating their caretakers, most of whom are also have HIV/AIDS, about living hygienically and cooking nutritious meals. This training helps them to lead fulfilling lives and reduces the risk of developing the diseases that can make HIV develop into AIDS. During the time spent at the New Life Center, the children and their caretakers receive, free of cost, lifesaving medical treatment, food, and housing.

During the nearly seven years it has been open, the New Life Center has served more than 140 HIV-positive children. These children are able to live the happy childhoods that HIV/AIDS would take from them. Last year, 70 children were helped, while their mothers joined a series of classes taught by NYF nurses and dietician to learn about nutrition, health, and home-based care of their HIV-positive children.

The New Life Center can house 18 children and their guardians, who live there for several months. It is the only facility in Nepal that provides comprehensive and holistic care for children with HIV/AIDS.

In addition to malnutrition, children admitted to the New Life Center also suffer from opportunistic infections, such as tuberculosis and hepatitis. Instead of just treating their symptoms, the Center uses an innovative, three-pronged approach of clinical, nutritional, and psychological therapy. On the clinical front, patients receive anti-retroviral drugs to combat the HIV virus. Additionally, their other infections are treated. Second, a nutritionist plans complete, well-balanced diets. Finally, professional counselors work with the children and their parents to boost their self-esteem and cope with the stigma of living with HIV/AIDS.

Sustainability

To help the children and their caretakers live healthy lives after leaving the Center, the caretakers attend training sessions to learn about nutrition, sanitation and hygiene, the children's dietary needs, reproductive health, and illnesses that people with HIV/AIDS commonly contract. The goal is for the caretakers to be able to keep their children, and themselves, as healthy as possible by avoiding dangerous diseases and eating well-rounded meals using inexpensive, locally available food. For their part, the children participate in a number of enrichment activities, such as celebrating Nepali festivals and visiting the zoo.

After several months the patients' health problems have been alleviated, and their caretakers have been fully trained, they are healthy enough to return home. Many are able to live productive lives for years by practicing what they learned at the New Life Center. If their health worsens and they need additional treatment, which can sadly happen with HIV/AIDS patients, they can return to the Center for free follow-up care. The program truly gives new life to children living with HIV/AIDS.

Funding for the New Life Center comes from a variety of sources. In addition to donations, the Center's staff has taken the initiative to raise money from a number of sources. They print and sell t-shirts and postcards, and even have made use of two donated cows. The cows are a source of nourishing fresh milk for the children, and excess milk can also be sold to generate additional income.

The New Life Center’s comprehensive care model is a key to its success. Many children arrive at the Center with full-blown AIDS, including illnesses like tuberculosis, malnutrition, and hepatitis, and return home with only HIV, ready to go to school and enjoy a happy childhood. If children with HIV live hygienically, eat a nutritious diet, and try to avoid infections, they can typically expect to lead full and meaningful lives for around 25 years. By that time, it is likely that additional treatments will be available to extend their lives even further. 

Links:

Apr 5, 2013

The Gift of Education

Although 70% of Nepali children enroll in primary school, many of them drop out before the 5th grade. In the rural areas where we work, the dropout rate is very high. Often, a family simply can’t afford the cost of the school uniform and school supplies, or even the very small school fee. Furthermore, many parents expect their children to work on the family farm or do housework all day.

IMG_1148
In several rural districts in Nepal, the Nepal Youth Foundation grants scholarships to children to cover their school expenses. This is the first generation in most of these areas to receive an education. The cost – about $100 a year per child – is an incredible investment. An education will best prepare these youngsters for the very difficult future that awaits them, since an increasing number of the next generation in Nepal’s overpopulated hills will inherit no land and will have no choice but to find their fortunes competing for jobs in the cities.

We’ve seen some interesting ripple effects from this program. Our scholarships motivate parents other than those whose children we support to send their children to school, too. There is social pressure in the village when some kids go to school and others do not. (Keeping up with the Joneses, Nepali style.) Some parents hope that their children will also be sponsored if they start school. Headmasters tell us that there are noticeable rises in general attendance after we bring our scholarship program to their schools.

Our field workers visit the schools regularly to check on the children and to see how the school is functioning. To do the job, they walk the mountain paths of isolated rural areas, sometimes ten hours a day, stopping at various village schools along the way to survey the situation and discuss problems with the headmasters and students.

The Nepal Youth Foundation supports children until they can support themselves. After they graduate from high school, we provide them with college scholarships or vocational training.

Links:

Feb 7, 2013

Rescue Children Suffering from Severe Malnutrition

Nursed back to health
Nursed back to health

Expanding

The NRHs are located in 12 districts throughout the country. The total capacity of 12 NRHs is 143 beds. With an average of 30 children staying days and a ninety percent occupancy target, these NRHs have a capacity to serve 1570 malnourished children per year. NYF is currently managing 7 NRHs with 84 beds capacity.  Four new NRHs are underway in Baglung, Dang, Butwal and Dailekh.

Two week long intensive training sessions for the staff of NRH-Bharatpur (recently established on April 27) was conducted by the experts from Kathmandu NRH. All the NRHs are operated in the same model of the Kathmandu NRH and hence, Kathmandu NRH has been acting as a resource and training center for the outlying NRHs. An orientation was also organized in Bharatpur in which representatives from District Health Office, local health posts, doctors, nurses, and other medical personals were invited. The purpose was to expand network and disseminate information about the NRH and its working modality amongst the associated people and institutions. 

Nutritional Outreach Camp

NRH Kathmandu conducted two Nutritional Outreach Camps in these 6 months: 609 children were screened out of which 432 (71%) were found to be in normal health condition and 29% were malnourished. Education on nutrition and health was provided to the mothers/guardians of the children, especially those with malnutrition. The severely malnourished children were referred to the NRH for further treatment.

Within the 7 NRHs under NYF, 490 children, 278 boys and 212 girls, were admitted and provided nutritional care. Among them 88% (431) belonged to age-group under 5.

Likewise, 519 children (277) male and (242 female) were discharged: 387were discharged officially after they reached normal weight, 81 were discharged on request, and 38 were referred to the hospital and 13 left against medical advice.

460 care takers were trained about food, nutrition, health hygiene, and sanitation through demonstrations and practical sessions.   

939 follow-ups were carried out and most of the children’s health conditions were found to be satisfactory. Few children were still malnourished due to poor economic condition and/or chronic medical complications. 12 death cases were also reported in this period which is quite high as compared to other times.

NRH Kathmandu provides vaccination to those children who did not have chance to receive necessary vaccines prior to their arrival at NRH. During this quarter, 14 children were administered TT, 23 were administered MMR and 30 children received vaccine against Meningitis.

In coordination with the hospital and District Public Health office, NRH-Surkhet has started to provide immunization services to the children of Surkhet and adjoining districts. The addition of this facility has made it easier for the people to know about our facilities when they bring their children for vaccination and we have been able to identify and treat more children as a result.   

For those parents who were unable to stay at the NRHs, counseling was provided on feeding appropriate balanced diet to recover the weight of the child. These counseling sessions have proved to be quiet effective as majority of the guardians reported good improvement in their children.   

In case of the 5 NRHs which are handed over: 282 children were admitted and 275 mothers/caretakers were educated in nutrition and health in these 6 months.

 

Dietician Training for Health Professionals

The highly positive outcome from the previous Diet Management Training (especially for staff from zonal hospitals) encouraged us to give continuity to this project and hence, a 2nd training was conducted (September 23 - October 2, 2012), this time aiming to build the capacity of the district hospitals.

The core components of the training were:

  1. Basic knowledge of nutrition
  2. Diet management for specific age groups and physical status
  3. Diet management targeted at patients with specific diseases
  4. Management of acute and chronic malnutrition

After the completion of the 10 days training (1st phase), the trainees went back to their workplaces. The Manager of the Kathmandu NRH and the Nutrition Coordinator for Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF) then carried out follow up of the participants in their respective workplaces. The follow up showed that the participants were effectively implementing the training content in their workplaces (hospitals and NRHs) through sharing of the training content with the hospital management team and the staff, displaying posters and other information on diet and diseases in hospitals, diet counseling for patients, menu preparation for patients and improving the management of the hospital kitchen. 

 

Malnourished baby
Malnourished baby

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