Help vulnerable families rebuild homes in Nepal

by GoodWeave International
Help vulnerable families rebuild homes in Nepal
Help vulnerable families rebuild homes in Nepal
Help vulnerable families rebuild homes in Nepal
Help vulnerable families rebuild homes in Nepal
Help vulnerable families rebuild homes in Nepal
Help vulnerable families rebuild homes in Nepal
Help vulnerable families rebuild homes in Nepal
Help vulnerable families rebuild homes in Nepal
Help vulnerable families rebuild homes in Nepal
Help vulnerable families rebuild homes in Nepal

Dear GlobalGiver,

I am pleased to announce that Shusma Pokhrel, an expert in child protection and advocacy with more than 20 years of experience working in Nepal, has recently joined us as the new Executive Director for Nepal GoodWeave Foundation.

Prior to accepting this appointment, Shusmaserved for more than ten years as Director for Family Based Care Program and Advocacy at SOS Children’s Village in Nepal. Prior to that she was the National Child Safeguarding Focal Point for SOS Nepal, and was involved in the Task Force at South Asia Coordination Group to End Violence against Children. In these capacities, among others, she has gathered a wealth of experience working with at-risk children, collaborating with other non-governmental organizations, advocating for the rights and protection of children, and engaging with government policy makers at the local, regional, national, and global levels. 

Beyond policy expertise, Shusma brings practical experience in implementing effective programs. I am very excited about the future we can work toward together as we deliver on our vision to end child labor in NepalShusma brings with her strong leadership with a proven track record, and a life-long commitment to protecting and promoting the rights of children. Her passion, coupled with her creativity and enthusiasm to ensure GoodWeave Nepal Foundation remains the leading organization in promoting responsible sourcing, bringing visibility to the informal supply chain, and giving voice to marginalized children and workers are welcome additions to the GoodWeave team.

I have had the chance to work closely with Shusma in her first few weeks in the position, and know that she is heartened by the impact that GoodWeave Nepal Foundation has had in the country. “GoodWeave Nepal Foundation has a vital role to play in partnering with the private sector to clean up supply chains, promote better working conditions, and ensure that children are going to school rather than work,” shesaid to me. “As the leading organization in promoting responsible sourcing and eliminating child labor in Nepal, GoodWeave Nepal Foundation has been a driving force in shaping the national agenda and restoring childhood to at-risk children. Much has been done, and I will be relentless in delivering on our mission. Collaboration and partnership are essential.” 

Over the almost 25 years working with 70 brands and carpet importers in Nepal alone, GoodWeave -- with visibility into almost 425 producer sites -- has rescued over 1,200 children from labor, provided quality education to over 4,600 rescued and vulnerable children, and certified free of child labor more than 450,000 rugs. Most recently, GoodWeave has expanded into the brick sector in Nepal where its reach continues to grow. And, GoodWeave’s impact goes beyond reach numbers as it has been a leading voice in positively influencing societal norms and behaviors to eliminate child and forced labor.

Now that Shusma has taken the lead, we are re-evaluating some of our programs in Nepal. This partnership with Build up Nepal has faced challenges and roadblocks that make it difficult to continue. So, while we re-evaluate, we are closing this GlobalGiving project down. Our commitment to rebuilding the lives of weavers affected by the earthquake remains as strong as ever, and we will continue to look for opportunities to help them in the most effective way.

I hope you’ll keep in touch with GoodWeave as we move forward; you can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and our website (www.goodweave.org). As always, I am so grateful to you and the GlobalGiving community for helping us come this far.

Until next time,

Nina

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Dear GlobalGiver,

For this report, I want to focus on a collaboration and reflection – one that sprang from the hard work of our team in Nepal, and one that inspires me today. On April 5th, GoodWeave joined the National Business Initiative and UNICEF Nepal to host a “National Dialogue on Responsible Business” in Kathmandu. This event focused on the role of businesses in creating safe, responsible, and ethical business practices, especially around issues of child labor. The event was successful and inspiring – over 60 participants from the government, civil society and businesses came together at the National Dialogue on Responsible Business to acknowledge existing good practices while define a new “business as usual” for Nepal that will contribute to a child-labor-free future.

I am always heartened to see businesses, NGOs, and governments coming together to make change. But the most inspiring words to come out of the week were not my own: one of GoodWeave’s board members, Amol Mehra, attended the event and had a chance to visit GoodWeave’s programs. His reflections are below:

GoodWeave Nepal

The staff that we met with at GoodWeave Nepal could not have been more kind, patient and committed to the work they are doing. From the inspectors to the head of the transit home, there was a deep pride in being affiliated with GoodWeave International... It was inspiring to see their resilience and dedication.

The GoodWeave Schools and Transit Home

These visits were perhaps my most treasured. We visited a school supported by GoodWeave with over 90 children. The children seemed so happy even with the incredible struggles they have been confronting. Their smiles and chants of “NAMASTE!” as we walked through their classes will remain with me. It’s incredible to see how directly the work GoodWeave is doing is impacting their lives.

The transit home was equally profound. The students were furiously working away on their lessons and seemed grateful to have a sanctuary of calm to learn, grow and live. The staff that ran the center were top notch and had such a positive relationship with the kids.

The Big Event

The National Dialogue made clear to me how GoodWeave International is positioned in Nepal as a key driver of reforms on child labor. Every single participant referenced the good work of GoodWeave International, including the Labor Minister.

Hope and Pride

Ultimately, I leave this week feeling much hope and pride. Hope that this work will put an end to child labor and give kids a chance to live fully realized lives. Pride in that I am affiliated with an organization that is really making a difference - and at scale.

I hope you all will have a chance to experience GoodWeave in action, to meet the local staff and to hear for yourselves the melody of “NAMASTE!” from smiling children.

I join Amol in the same feeling of hope and pride for the future of Nepal, and children all over the world. As always, thank you for your support – it is only because of you that we can create inspiring stories like these.

Warmly,

Nina

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Dear GlobalGiver,

As I’ve mentioned in previous reports, every project has its share of challenges. This project is no exception – for the last few months, restructuring on internal governance has slowed progress on construction of homes for weavers. The communities are still moving forward, having received the training they need to produce bricks and build homes. Each community still has around 7,000 bricks with which to support families in need. But new trainings have slowed while we create a better management process, and make sure the program is running effectively.

When challenges like these arise and start to feel overwhelming, I find it helpful to take a step back and ground myself once again in the stories of children we are able to help. One such story comes from a young girl we rescued from a carpet factory years ago. Today, her life has changed dramatically.

Nirmala was the only daughter born to a very poor family of farmers in rural Nepal. There was not a single day when there was enough food for all of them. Some days, there was none and she would go to bed hungry.

At the age of 10, out of desperation, she ran away with friends to Kathmandu and eventually started to work in a carpet factory. Her hands became bloody and bruised, but she was never paid a single rupee.

A GoodWeave inspector found Nirmala and brought her to our transit home for rescued children. When she arrived, Nirmala didn’t even have shoes on her feet. Our social worker and counselor, Rajendra, remembers her early days at our center. “We were focused on making her laugh and play. And slowly, she started coming back to normal.”

Nirmala is now 17 and in the 9th grade at LAB School, a topnotch academic institution in Nepal. After years of missed classes, she is catching up to her peers. She recently started to journal about her life. The cover of her diary declares: My True Story Begins Now.

Nirmala’s story is one of hope and change. GoodWeave’s programs work to create this change for children and families across Nepal, including those weavers who are receiving trainings and homes through this project. While the road to recovery is long and complicated, it is stories like these that make the process worth it. I am grateful for your support through each and every turn in the road. You help these stories of change begin.

 

With gratitude,

Nina Smith

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Dear GlobalGiver,

Last week, I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family in the U.S. As we gathered, everyone took a moment to express gratitude – to show what we were thankful for over the past year, and to share our hopes for the year to come.

For my part, I am grateful for the continued incredible support I see from the GlobalGiving community. With your help, GoodWeave has been able to change lives for so many vulnerable children and families in Nepal.

As mentioned in the previous report, the first community-selected beneficiary for a rebuilt, earthquake-resistant home was a man named Arjun, a carpet weaver who lost his home in the 2015 earthquake. Arjun is now safe and well in his new home, and the project is moving ahead with three more model houses in progress. These three homes will soon be transferred to beneficiaries, bringing security to three more community-selected families in need. Ultimately, that means safer families and fewer children exploited for work.

It also means a healthier Nepal, because these housing reconstructions help the entire community. As homes are built, community members learn skills and gain additional income. As a result, we see sustainable change – higher wages across the community ensure a profitable future for workers, who can then focus on their families and children without constant financial worries.

On behalf of the whole GoodWeave team, thank you. This project would not be possible without your support. Communities across five villages in Sindhupalchowk, Nepal have benefited from your generosity. As we move into the holiday season and look forward to 2018, these families are facing a new year that looks entirely different from the last two: one that has stability, and a chance to focus on the future.

All my best,

Nina Smith

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Dear Global Giver,

For the past several weeks in Washington, DC, we have been hit with large thunderstorms. As thunder claps and rain pounds the concrete, I find myself deeply grateful for the solid roof over my head.

For so many families in Nepal, a torrential downpour still means hours of trying to stay dry in a corrugated tin structure. It means leaks onto floors made of tarpaulin, because two years after the earthquake many families still do not have the means to build their own homes. But today, I write with a success story: one family who no longer has to worry about monsoon season, and an entire community that benefited from the rebuilding work.

Arjun, the first community-selected beneficiary of GoodWeave’s project to rebuild homes in Nepal, was a carpet weaver by trade when he lost his home in the 2015 earthquake. Now, thanks to the trainings provided by GoodWeave and Build up Nepal, Arjun and his family officially have a house to call their own. The last Compressed Stabilized Earth Bricks locked into place, and they are now protected from the weather and danger that comes with living in a temporary structure. Moreover, this new home is earthquake-resistant; if disaster ever strikes again, Arjun and his family have a much better chance of not having to rebuild from the ground up.

But Arjun’s story is just the beginning. In the process of building his home, another 25 members of the community received training in CSEB production. Eight of them were employed daily. This job, in combination with other household earnings, helped these workers earn over 800 rupees each day (for reference, the minimum wage in Nepal is approximately 265 rupees per day).

As GoodWeave grows to reach more communities in Nepal, we want to be sure that we stay true to the very heart of our organization: ending child labor by unraveling the system that makes it seem necessary in the first place. By helping these workers find stability and a profitable job, we ensure that they will never feel the need to send their children to work.  Children can then focus on their studies and, by extension, their futures.

The next time it rains in DC, I will be thinking of Arjun and his family, now safe and warm because of your support. Thank you for your continued commitment to this project, and I look forward to sharing the stories of more families that find safety and stability through this work.

With gratitude,

Nina Smith

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Organization Information

GoodWeave International

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @GoodWeave
Project Leader:
Kimberly Trauner
Washington, DC United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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