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 Children  Nepal Project #20891

Ama Ghar Displaced Children Fund

by The Ama Foundation
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Ama Ghar Displaced Children Fund
Ama Ghar Displaced Children Fund
Ama Ghar Displaced Children Fund
Ama Ghar Displaced Children Fund
Ama Ghar Displaced Children Fund
Ama Ghar Displaced Children Fund
Ama Ghar Displaced Children Fund
Ama Ghar Displaced Children Fund
Ama Ghar Displaced Children Fund
Srijana will be able to eat more gelato in Milan!
Srijana will be able to eat more gelato in Milan!

Srijana came to Ama Ghar from the Sisters of Charity, who found this beautiful and brilliant little girl languishing in the streets of Kathmandu with a mother who was mentally ill and unable to care for her. Through the Nepali Social Welfare System, Srijana came to Ama Ghar as a six year old. The rest of her story is a testament to the power of love - and of a small girl's determination and belief in her dreams.

As a child, Srijana quickly became a leader among her peers at Ama Ghar. She was particularly good at math and strategy games... but her biggest talent was her amazing artistic ability. Not only was she the house chess champion, but she created paintings, drawings, even mandalas that looked like the work of an adult artist, much to the amazement of all.

As Srijana grew up, she knew she wanted to use the artistic force that drives her to create a livelihood for herself... the staff encouraged her to be a graphic designer or a website designer or an illustrator - but she discovered that what she really loved was designing clothes! She designed and made clothes for her brothers and sisters, went to fashion design school and was even chosen as one of Nepal's top young talents and her dresses were featured in a fashion show with two other rising stars.

But as often happens with talented young people around the world, the reality set in when it was time to find a paying job. Srijana taught fashion illustration and even worked in the office of a textile factory to learn more about the business of fabric and fashion. She never stopped dreaming that she might one day be a well-known fashion designer like her hero - Nepali fashion superstar Prabal Gurung, with whom she shared a surrname and a vision. She was told that in order to break into that world, she'd have to have an advanced degree and recognition outside Nepal.

Through sheer force of will she applied for and won a scholarship to Raffles Milano Instituto Moda e Design for a ten month intensive Masters course in Fashion Design and Business in Milan. The Ama Ghar staff helped her to get her visa, a donor and mentor pledged to finance her expenses, found her a place to live and sent her on her way... and now she is living with a sweet Italian grandma, studying in Milan and on track to achieve her dreams.

None of this would happen without the support of friends like you. There are so many other brilliant and beautiful children who are lost without this kind of support - when you donate to Ama Ghar you are saving lives and realizing dreams... one child at a time.

Srijana with her designs as a Rising Star
Srijana with her designs as a Rising Star

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Rosina and her little sister Leela at rice harvest
Rosina and her little sister Leela at rice harvest

Nepal is a country of mind-boggling natural beauty... but nature balances those brilliant white Himalayan peaks, sparkling azure lakes and lush hillsides with the ever-present danger of earthquakes, fires, floods and landslides. Many children in our Ama Ghar family have come to us because they have lost their homes and families to natural disaster, and all of us who love them marvel at their resilience in the face of these tragedies.

This is the story of Rosina, one of our most resilient children, who came to us, along with her younger brother, as a result of the earthquakes that devastated Nepal in 2015, when she was only 11 years old. Because they lost both parents, both children were quite badly traumatized, but they bounced back and found security in the hugs and love they received from the other children, the staff and even our Ama Ghar dogs.

Rosina was held back from school at first because she came from a small village and hadn't received much education. She was put into a classroom of slightly younger children at Pashpanjuli, our local government school. No sooner had Rosina begun to adjust and move forward with both her learning and social skills when tragedy struck again. The torrential monsoon rains had loosened soil and rocks on hillsides already weakened by the earthquakes... and in August, 2016, as she sat reading in her classroom, a landslide roared down the hill behind the school, killing one of our Ama Ghar children, and badly injuring Rosina and three others.

The Ama Ghar family pulled together once again, visiting Rosina and the others in the hospital, keeping vigil at their bedsides, playing games and reading to make them smile. Within two weeks, Rosina was back at Ama Ghar, and within a month was ready to start playing and studying once again.

Now, at age 16, Rosina has skipped a grade and is doing very well in school. She is a Tae Kwon Do champion who also likes to sew, dance and play games with her brothers and sisters. Amazingly, she is always smiling - she is a great role model for her younger sisters and a model of strength and resilience for all of us. We have no doubt that her ability to bounce back from the worst of circumstances will serve her well in the future - and we'll be there to support her every step of the way.

Without your help, we couldn't have brought her home in the first place, and we certainly couldn't have afforded the medical care that it took to bring her back to health. Together, we can perform miracles! Thank you so much.

Rosina, second from left, arriving at Ama Ghar
Rosina, second from left, arriving at Ama Ghar
In hospital after the landslide
In hospital after the landslide

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Buddha, who is now eleven years old, came to us in 2015, along with his sister Rosina, after they lost their home and family in the earthquakes that year. Of the fifteen new children who came to Ama Ghar at that time, he was probably the most quiet and shy. When surrounded by a group of his boisterous Ama Ghar brothers, he tended to  stay back, observe and live in the happy little world of his own imagination.

He does enjoy sports, though, so it was no surprise when he expressed an interest in participating in our morning Tae Kwon Do sessions - which the kids call TKD. Tae Kwon Do has brought an exciting new kind of exercise and sport to our children's world - both boys and girls have really enjoyed it as a new way to express their physical selves - and maybe imitate some of the martial arts super heros that they admire.

Buddha has absolutely excelled at TKD - the instructor comes once a week and noticed right away that Buddha was particularly attentive to using the proper technique instead of just leaping around like some of the boys... and the staff noticed that it gave Buddha newfound confidence to be the best at something. 

He began to go with the other boys to upper level training and even participated in municipality-wide competitions. We were all so delighted and thrilled for him when he recently won the municipal championship at his level! This photo shows the quiet pride that this slight but strong young man felt when he showed off his championship medal and certificate.

It is our mission to not only give our children a loving home and education, but to help them to believe in themselves, to believe that what they do has value. We never know what is going to appeal to a particular child, but Buddha has certainly made a big jump in his confidence and self-belief. We can only afford to offer these types of activities to the children because we have the support of good friends like you. We thank you - and Buddha thanks you, too.

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Jenuka was about three in this early photo.
Jenuka was about three in this early photo.

Jenuka and her sister Menuka were two of our very first Ama Ghar children. They lost their family as the result of an accident and came to Ama Ghar with the first group of children in 2001, when Jenuka was only two years old. She was a beautiful, lively little girl who was carefully watched over by her older sister and grew up with lots of hugs and attention from her older Ama Ghar siblings.

Since she was a tiny girl, Jenuka has loved to dance, and her bubbly personality made her popular with her peers as well as her brothers and sisters. She also enjoyed expressing herself through writing, but she was never very serious about school. In fact, we worried that she would not show sufficient academic achievement to move on to higher education.

Jenuka's teenage years were exactly as you might expect for a beautiful, bubbly, dancing, non-academic teenage girl, testing her boundaries at every turn. But after she turned 18, she appeared to have an epiphany - she loved to write and she began using her writing skills more and more. In fact, she even wrote a blog that appeared on the Ama Ghar website when we had an internal "blog competition." Ultimately, she found her calling and decided that she wanted to become a writer.

We are very proud to announce that Jenuka not only passed all her exams to enter higher education, but she has received a scholarship from the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation to study journalism. At 20, she is currently in her second year of a Bachelor's in Journalism and has been writing articles for both digital and print publications in addition to her college assignments. And she stil loves to dance!

Just like the family of any teenage girl, our staff has breathed a sigh of relief - once again, our mission of providing these children with family love, education, support and mentorship has paid off, and we see a bright future ahead. That future would not be possible without help from you, our Ama Ghar family - thank you.

Now she's 20 years old and mentoring others.
Now she's 20 years old and mentoring others.

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Saraswoti smiling with visitors
Saraswoti smiling with visitors

When our little Saraswoti came to Ama Ghar as a result of the 2015 earthquakes, we were concerned about her. She seemed to have not only the PTSD symptoms that many of our children have when they arrive, but also some possible learning disabilities.

She was a bit shy and seemed comfortable mostly when she was around our Ama Ghar dogs, Tika, Siddhi, Jordi and JuJu. Interestingly, Siddhi, who has only three legs, is an earthquake survivor, too - so perhaps they have a special bond. Saraswoti spent so much time with them, we began to call them the Ama Ghar "Dog Whisperer".

Whether it was the support of her Ama Ghar family, her rapport with the dogs, the counseling she has received or all of those things - Saraswoti's progress in the last year has been amazing. Here's a quote from one of our Ama Ghar visitors about her:

"Cautious and hesitant a year ago, this year, she has truly grown and blossomed into a outgoing, smiley girl who even led all the children in dance routines. She has a wonderful affinity with dogs and Tikka, Jordi, Siddhi and Juju all adore her. We were thrilled to hear that Saraswoti did particularly well in her exams and is making excellent progress."

We are thrilled about this, too - Saraswoti, who is named for the goddess of knowledge and learning - is taking charge of her own education as well. As with all of our children, our goal is for her to grow up to be a happy, healthy, self-supporting adult. Thank you for supporting us in that mission.

 

Saraswoti
Saraswoti

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Organization Information

The Ama Foundation

Location: Berkeley, CA - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Bonnie Ellison
Berkeley, CA United States
$74,386 raised of $75,000 goal
 
685 donations
$614 to go
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