Project #6724

Home and Community for Orphans in Nepal

by Global Family Village, Inc
Candle lighting -community culture-sharing event
Candle lighting -community culture-sharing event

Hanukah in Bungamati, Nepal

After 6 years celebrating Hindu, Buddhist and Christian Holidays in Bungamati, Nepal, this year we added a different ethnic spice to the end-of-year celebration­. On December 31st, among all the other holidays going on we shared the Jewish holiday of Hanukah! In honor of the elders of the Bungamati community who have been so supportive of the activities of the Bungamati Family House, including being surrogate grandparents, we lit candles, shared blessings, were treated to a dance performance and ate Latkes (Jewish-style potato pancakes with sour cream and apple sauce)!

The lighting of the 8 candles started with the eldest of the elders and continued with the children and then the chairmen of the Bungamti Society and Global Family Village-Nepal.

The program was attended by over 120 local community people (including Grandparents involved in the project and children) as well as officials from GFV Inc, GFV-N and other partners. We reflected back on the 6 years, how far we have all come, creating a family setting for children that is supported by a caring community. A thriving Early Childhood program was rebuilt after the earthquake with unflagging technical support from our team of Early Childhood experts headed by the Nepal Country director..

Unfortunately, even 20 months after the earthquake most people in this village and many other villages are still living in temporary shelters. The HomeStay program that was just beginning was halted. We are all waiting for government funding to come in and then we can start a campaign to raise sufficient funds so that the houses can be made suitable for tourists. That will be great for the women of the household because they can earn some income for their families, it is important for the families involved and indeed the whole community will benefit.

Glancing back & moving forward...beginning the countdown -

We have been supporting the Bungamati community using a sustainability model whereby we offer technical and financial support for empowerment and growth. We reduce the financial support every year. The technical support continues for as long as necessary and wanted by the partners.

GFV-Nepal has chosen a new site for the replication of the GFV model. We are partnering with a Woman's Group in Nuwokot that remains severely damaged from the earthquake. Stay tuned!

Bungamati Family House in Bungamati, Nepal
Bungamati Family House in Bungamati, Nepal

The (almost) completion of our pilot project in Nepal coincided with an invitation to submit an article for GlobalGiving on Failing Forward. So, as an addendum to my last Update I would like to gratefully acknowledge the opportunities that we had for growth and success, made possible because of our mistakes and failures!

As an American organization working in Nepal for almost 25 years we have made many mistakes, albeit with the best of intentions, and I believe that is what has allowed us to finally have a sustaining project in Nepal. One of the major faux-pas that we made was under-estimating the ability and power of community engagement.

What we were trying to achieve

Global Family Village was founded in 2007 with the purpose of creating a better model of care for orphaned and abandoned children in Nepal. How could we help children who didn't have proper parental care feel and benefit from the support of family and equally important, be part of a community? Yes, there are orphanages and group homes but those are institutions or donor dependent and separate from the rest of the neighborhood.

We knew that the answer for success and sustainability lay in the community playing a major role in the program. Our project design was that we would help the community with income-generating initiatives that would increase their financial status and that in turn would help support the children.

We drew up a planning blueprint of the 5-7 year project with plans for community involvement and participation at every step along the way. Ironically, we would find out– that was our big mistake.

Why the method failed

After agreeing to work together on behalf of the orphaned children living in the area, the community did not support the program as we expected. Aside from the available funding they seemed indifferent, and they actually had a different agenda in mind. This was never their project and as such it couldn't succeed.

Our mistake was that we didn't listen closely to the community in the first place. We should not have written our 5-7 year plan without them.  Many communities in Nepal are used to donors handing over money for projects the organizations design and decide is necessary for the village. Communities are accustomed to receiving the funds until the project is complete but they often don't take care of or interest in the program's upkeep or sustainability.  This was never their project and as such it couldn't succeed.

Lesson learned

Don't underestimate the community. To have a successful, sustainable project is to help a community by empowering them to accomplish, for themselves, what they know they want and need.  Learning from our past experiences the model was redesigned as a totally community-owned project. GFV would help financially in the beginning and each year the financial responsibility would shift until sustainability by year 5-7. We realized that if we wanted to help a community to take care of their orphaned and abandoned children, then that needed to be something that they wanted and would own. We could help them accomplish what they wanted because we had technical expertise and experience in social work, orphan care, child psychology, and community, business and school development. It would be their project and we would be their support team. We could help them take ownership and that way the whole community could benefit and the program would be sustainable.

When were approached by the Cooperative Society of Bungamati to help them implement our community model of care we were careful to listen carefully to what their needs and wants were, and made sure that we were aligned. We helped them form committees for each of the major components of the project, which we were invited to attend. (Early Childhood Development, Income Generation, Family Home, School Improvement, Community Support). We served as advisors but did not attempt to implement the project components. We kept in very close contact and monitored the program along the way to ascertain the progress being made towards meeting our mutual program and sustainability goals. 


Supporting One-another
Supporting One-another

Bungamati's Early Childhood Development program and the Family House are literally and figuratively side-by-side and supporting each other. We are so pleased to announce that since the devastating earthquake, both are, in many ways much stronger than ever before!

Construction of a new building for BFH: Another step towards self-sustainability

The earthquake-resistant new building of Bungamati Family House (BFH) is on the verge of successful completion. This building (in the center of the photo above, with the nursery school in the foreground) will be home to the children who have been living in a rented facility or hostel for last five years. The five-storied building will also be used for running BFH’s home-stay program, an IT-center and a library. The children are excited about moving into their new house and are patiently waiting for moving day. The Cooperative Society of Bungamati (CSB) is still actively searching for funds to complete the construction. The designated grandparents of the children have visited the site and are happy for their respective grandchildren. They are in full support for the construction of the new building and are eager to see the final outcome.

The Chairperson of CSB mentioned “although the new building is being built with challenges and struggles, it is sure to bring a fruitful result for all”. The principal of Tri Ratna Cooperative School said “the construction of the new building is an important initiative. It is an advantage not just for the children living in the family house but also would be an advantage for the school to improve its teaching-learning activities. Moreover, it’s a pride of the community at large”.

The construction of a new building for BFH has guaranteed the sustainability of the community-based care of orphaned and abandoned children--a model piloted by GFV in Nepal. We are planning to expand this model in other communities in the near future.

The Early Childhood Development Program (ECD)

GFV-N organized a study visit for early childhood teachers to three renowned early childhood development centers in Bhaktapur. All early childhood teachers and the officials of local project implementing partner participated. The study visit was organized as a part of GFV project’s ongoing capacity building initiatives. A total of 15 persons visited three different schools considered the best schools implementing ECD programs. The participants visited the day care, nursery and kindergarten sections of the schools, where they observed the classroom teaching and learning activities, and discussed with the concerned teachers and school authorities.

Refresher training program for ECD teachers

A one-day refresher training program for ECD teachers of Tri-ratna Cooperative School was organized on 25 August, 2016. The program was participated in by five teachers and the head teacher of the school. The training sessions included thematic approach of teaching-learning activities in early childhood classroom, preparation of children’s learning materials and discussion on the use of the materials developed Based on the teachers’ need with the guidance of the experts the participating teachers prepared four different materials—job chart, merit chart, birthday chart, news sharing chart. At the end, the teachers made a presentation on the purpose of preparing each material and methods of using them.

Anita, our child living at the House is pictured on the left of the above photo. She is helping the teachers in their preparations. This lovely young lady has been very helpful at the ECD classes, helping the staff and supporting the children. She wants to be a dancer when she grows up and practices and performs whenever the opportunities present themselves.

Moving Forward

GFV and GFV-N will continue to support the Bungamati community with technical support programs and initiatives. We would especially like to help revitalize the community's' HomeStay program that was so devastated by the earthquake. We are beginning a GlobalGiving page dedicated to Restoring HomeStay for 10 farmer women in the area.

Thank you all for your support. 

In gratitude - Freema Davis (GFV),  and Kishor Shrestha (GFV-Nepal)

Student teachers preparing materials
Student teachers preparing materials
All programs include management for greater impact
All programs include management for greater impact
Library at the Bungamati Family House
Library at the Bungamati Family House
Children in action: Having a great time!
Children in action: Having a great time!


Thanks in great part, to our donors and friends, we are proud to report that our partner  family of children living in the Family House are thriving and becoming increasingly closer with the native community people. It is not only that the Aunty has bonded with the children and treats them like her own children or that the designated grandparents took good care of the children during and after the earthquake and aftershocks. To our delight we have been seeing the children living in the Family House taking the initiative and  involving themselves in helping the community people living in temporary shelters as well as their designated grandparents.  The boys love helping in various activities repairing and rebuilding the house (photo above). Rakesh (12 years) led a group of children in rebuilding a small temple inside the school premises. Nabin (11 years) has become an avid photographer. Shakti (11 years) has become the Goal Keeper of the soccer team. Anita, aged 12 has been teaching/helping young children in the nursery class.

Dr. Charles E. Thompson from the US visited the project site last month observed the program and talked with the children and Grandparents. He made the following comments after his visit... “I see the Grandparent component as of great importance. That is the deepest, strongest 'community connector' for your children beyond bonding with neighborhood peers and each other and your staff. I think the 'heart-connection' your children experience, separate from, but in addition to the education and housing, is the most efficacious 'healing agent' granting them the greatest possibility of healthy, meaningful future lives in family and community and nation.”

For the past 4 months Dr. Loren Weybright from the US has been a residential teacher trainer at Tri-Ratna Cooperative School, Bungamati. He has been organizing teacher training programs, developing strategic plans and working with children including those living in the Family House. Dr. Loren has recently prepared a Postcard series of the Golbal Family Village children's activities. (Please see attached postcard series).

And now, we are meeting with a Woman's Group who may be our next partnering village. We are very excited to be expanding the program. Stay tuned.

Your continued support is greatly appreciated, especially in the coming days as we are planning our expansion.

Thank you so much. Namaste!

Kishor Shrestha, Country Director and GFV-N Board and Freema Davis, US

Anita Assisting in Nursery class
Anita Assisting in Nursery class
Children rebuilding a small temple
Children rebuilding a small temple
Newly rebuilt temple
Newly rebuilt temple
A child receiving medicine and a "story book"
A child receiving medicine and a "story book"


Future Traffic Engineers
Future Traffic Engineers

Report from Nepal - Spring 2016

It's not over yet!  

Almost 1 year post earthquake disaster, and Nepal is still being bombarded from all sides. The 6-month Indian blockade brought the country to its knees. And it's not over yet. The diesel and gas situation has not fully eased. People are still lining up at the fuel stations and for cooking gas. There is talk that the situation will worsen. On the 28th Kathmandu experienced a sand storm that was so strong and damaging that many quake victims lost their shelters­– leaving thousands homeless again!

Peoples' fears and worries have not subsided. In fact, due to the earthquakes, the numerous aftershocks (425 over 4.0 as of April 4th!!) and Indian blockade, Insomnia is becoming chronic in Nepal, according to the New York Times Republica on March 24th. Symptoms of post-traumatic syndrome for children is more difficult to diagnose and, if left untreated it is more likely to cause problems later in life.

To help alleviate the damage to children who are too young to comprehend what is happening, Global Family Village is continuing to reprint and distribute the book Gita and Shyam, The Day the Earth Shook. It is a coloring book with a guide for teachers to help young children (and their parents & teachers) who have experienced the earthquake to understand and cope with their feelings. Equally important the same book helps children to be prepared in the likely event of another massive quake in Nepal. To date, with your help over 70,000 books have been distributed to children in the hardest hit areas. The response to the book has been overwhelmingly positive. Even older children and parents love it. In Falpin, Sindipulchowk, an impoverished area that was very badly hit, children of all ages were sharing just a few coloring books! (see enclosed photo). Wouldn't it be great if it were made available to every young child in Nepal? There are 34,000 Early Childhood Development Centers in Nepal, with about twenty-five 3-5 year olds at each. 850,000 copies will do it!


At home and back to work for kids in Bungamati.

Our partner in Bungamati, the Cooperative Society of Bungamati has been very busy. Despite incredible setbacks, the new home for the children is almost built. The children of the Bungamati Family House are very proud of their new home. (brick building in the background). The 5 pre-school classrooms are all finished. All the teachers have received extensive follow-up training, headed by Dr. Loren Weybright. Unfortunately, the older children are still waiting for their classrooms.

There has been an outpouring of support for this cultural landmark village. Some major funding has been received for the rebuilding of the ancient temple. But so many individuals lost their livelihoods or use of their houses. The HomeStay program that was helping to support the children's home no longer exists, as all the homes that were being used are partially or totally destroyed.

We are pleased that we could have played some role in the progress that's been made. We remain committed to continue, as you can see there is still great need.

We thank you for your continuing support. Together, we really can make a difference.

Namaste from Freema Davis and the staff and Board of Global Family Village-Nepal

New house and preschool buildings
New house and preschool buildings
Temporary Classrooms
Temporary Classrooms
Falpin, Sindhipulchowk
Falpin, Sindhipulchowk


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Organization Information

Global Family Village, Inc

Location: Berkeley, California - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Freema Davis
El Cerrito, California Nepal

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