Better lives for 1,000 families in Ramdhuni, Nepal

by Educate the Children
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Better lives for 1,000 families in Ramdhuni, Nepal
Better lives for 1,000 families in Ramdhuni, Nepal
Better lives for 1,000 families in Ramdhuni, Nepal
Better lives for 1,000 families in Ramdhuni, Nepal
Better lives for 1,000 families in Ramdhuni, Nepal
Better lives for 1,000 families in Ramdhuni, Nepal
Better lives for 1,000 families in Ramdhuni, Nepal
Better lives for 1,000 families in Ramdhuni, Nepal
Better lives for 1,000 families in Ramdhuni, Nepal
Flood-damaged rice must be washed and dried
Flood-damaged rice must be washed and dried

We are all well, WELL aware of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on nonprofit activities worldwide. ETC is no exception: We had to start our new program cycle later than, and at a scale smaller than, originally planned and then ramp up from there - always with public health and safety squarely at the forefront of our minds. We're very proud of the progress to date, which you can read about in the previous reports (below) if you haven't already done so.

A new challenge arose in mid-October. Although the monsoon season is normally over by then, Nepal was battered by several consecutive days of rain. The river near some of our villages rose 20+ feet (6 or more meters). Some homes and schools ended up with several inches - or in some cases, more than two feet - of water inside, although the river is well below street level. Some crops were also damaged or destroyed, including much of what was expected to be a bumper crop of rice. Many local residents told our staff that they'd never seen flooding like that in their lives.

Some of our women's group members kitchen gardens were damaged, but fortunately it's not too late for them to grow a late fall/early winter crop, so we have recently redistributed seeds to members of the six affected women's groups. We'll also do what we can to support flood-damaged classrooms and schools with replacement supplies.  

In non-flood-related news, we've also started a pregnancy support program that currently serves sixteen women. They'll receive pre- and post-natal support for themselves and their infants, including information about best practices in well baby care, encouragement to make good use of their local health post, and some nutrtious meals.

Our women's groups remain both active and enthusiastic. One group, Radha Krishna, has already proactively taken on a community improvement/clean-up project. This is something we certainly encourage over time, but we normally don't see it happening quite this soon during a program cycle. They are providing an immediately useful service as well as setting a great example for other women's groups and for their neighbors and other community members alike!

Finally, we're delighted to say that ETC will be participating again this year in GlobalGiving's Giving Tuesday campaign. There will be $1 million - yes, you read that right - in incentive/matching funds. All day long on November 30th, from midnight to 11:59 p.m. Eastern (US) Standard Time, your online gift of any amount up to US$2,500 will help ETC gain a share of that $1 million. 

As always, we thank you very much for your continued interest and support. We hope that you enjoy these quarterly reports. If there is a particular topic that you'd like to see addressed in a future report, please do let us know! 

Working together to plant a vegetable garden
Working together to plant a vegetable garden
A flooded classroom at Ram Janaki School
A flooded classroom at Ram Janaki School
Cushions & papers drying outside Ram Janaki School
Cushions & papers drying outside Ram Janaki School
Pre-/post-partum women enjoying a nutritious meal
Pre-/post-partum women enjoying a nutritious meal
Radha Krishna women's group community clean-up
Radha Krishna women's group community clean-up
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Distributing fruit tree saplings
Distributing fruit tree saplings

When ETC began working in four wards of the Ramdhuni Municipality of Sunsari District in late 2020, we knew that it would be a huge challenge. Everything we had wanted and planned to do was just going to be that much more difficult, more expensive, and slower because of the pandemic.

With that in mind, we consciously chose to revise our original plan. We began by working with fewer women, families, and schools than would normally constitute a full constituency, in order to be sure that we could do the work well under the very difficult circumstances. And we began offering the most needful activities earliest: public health support (soap, masks, and other COVID supplies and accompanying informational resources) and quick-results agricultural activities for family nutrition and a bit of extra income (e.g., kitchen gardening and poultry farming support). Take a look at this recent Facebook post for a basic timeline of what we've already accomplished.

And now - thanks to the continued interest and support of good friends like you - we are going to be able to scale up our work as we had hoped and planned to do! This summer and fall, we'll be roughly doubling the number of our women's groups and group members. This means that we'll be working directly with from about 1,000 or more women, up from about 500 currently. New groups are already being formed. We'll get these new participants up to speed in kitchen gardening and other basic agricultural activities. For new and current members alike, we'll add some additional agricultural activities that are longer-term in their development, such as larger-scale market gardening training and fruit tree sapling provision and related training and support.

The schools are slowly working on reopening to students, although the teachers and administrators are already working on enrollment and related matters. Once the students are back, we'll be able to get our student sponsorship program fully operational once again, and we'll provide more supplies and other tangible support for the classrooms. In the meantime, we are looking into using Zoom to provide distance training and development opportunities for teachers - it'll be a first for most of them!

Again, NONE of this would have been or will be possible without such good friends as you. Thank you!

Microcredit loan from women's group
Microcredit loan from women's group
Using any available space for a kitchen garden!
Using any available space for a kitchen garden!

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Children in one of our partner schools
Children in one of our partner schools

...and already there's so much to tell you about!

ETC's work in four wards of Ramdhuni Municipality, Sunsari District is ramping up fast, after a delayed start due to the pandemic. We're delighted to report that, as of March 2021:

  • Women's empowerment: We've formed 22 women's groups with a total of 522 members. The groups are already well on their way to collecting their first 10,000 rupees (about US$86 at the current exchange rate) for their self-managed microsavings funds. This amount, when reached, will be matched by 10,000 rupees from ETC and 5,000 rupees from the local government - a really wonderful show of support from the latter! The ward authorities are very glad to have us working there and have expressed themselves ready and willing to be active partners, which is a huge help.
  • Sustainable agriculture: Each women's group has chosen its Leader Farmer, who will serve as a liaison and source of information for her peers. The kitchen garden training and planting is underway, and we are coming up with creative solutions to support kitchen gardens for any women's group members whose families own no land and have literally no available space outside their homes that they can use. We've also begun chicken and duck livestock training.
  • Children's education: We have begun distributing school supplies and classroom materials at each of our thirteen partner schools, which have a combined total enrollment of well over 2,000 students.

This is a great start, but stay tuned - there's plenty more to come! Considering the schools, for example: Although the actual buildings are on average in much better condition already than was the case when we started working in some of our past project areas (meaning that the walls and floors are generally solid, there are proper windows and doors, etc.), there is still plenty of room for improvement in other ways. For example, in some schools there are not as many teachers as there are grade levels, which means that we should offer the teachers who have students at more than one grade level a variety of types of support for their various duties. Many of the schools can also use infrastructural upgrades such as additional/better toilet facilities and access to clean drinking water.

We greatly appreciate your continued interest and support. We say it all the time, and it's really true - we could not do any of this without you! Thank you!

Hands-on kitchen garden training
Hands-on kitchen garden training
Chairwoman and treasurer, Ram Janaki women's group
Chairwoman and treasurer, Ram Janaki women's group

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Organization Information

Educate the Children

Location: Ithaca, NY - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ETC_Nepal
Project Leader:
Lisa A. Lyons
Executive Director
Ithaca, NY United States
$23,618 raised of $35,000 goal
 
224 donations
$11,382 to go
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