Stop Child Brides in Nepal

by The Mountain Fund
Vetted

This is a final report for this project. We are combining this with our project for Her Farm since they are so closely related. Please visit the Her Farm project today and continue to follow what we do to provide support for girls in schools. We continue to provide uniforms, schools supplies and other means of support to the girls at the Mankhu school via Her Farm.

At Her Farm, we have also begun a morning homework club and we are serving up a hot breakfast each morning to ensure the children have the best possible chance of success at school. We hope in 2016 to add a lunch program at the local school as well. Many children come to school empty handed and have no lunch.  

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25 children in new uniforms
25 children in new uniforms

Thanks to you, 25 children just received new school uniforms. All of these children come from the poorest families in the village, families that cannot afford the costs of uniforms, shoes or school supplies. Because of your help with this project they now have all new uniforms. The uniforms were made locally in the village by the local tailor, so there's an added benefit of additional income for the village. Our volunteers were on hand the day the uniforms were ready to be delivered and helped distribute them to the children. There are more children who still need our help. Providing support like uniforms and school supplies is the surest way to keep them in school, especially the girls. Families in Nepal are much more willing to scrape money together for boys education than they are girls. Some of the children in the attached photos are boys. They are from families so poor that the money can't be found even for the education of their sons. 

Let me introduce you to the beneficiaries of this project, the children at the community school in the village of Mankhu, in Nepal. Mankhu is a small village, about 300 families live there. There's a small community school in the village that provides education up to the 5th grade. After class five, the students must walk an hour down a steep trail to reach the town of Madavbesi, which is by the way, in the Dhading District of Nepal, one of 75 districts in the country. 

All of the families, save for a few teachers and a shopkeeper, are subsistence farmers. Subsistence farming is basically having a piece of land on which you grow enough to feed your family and perhaps a small amount more that can be sold. Some of the families don't grow enough to feed themselves and face chronic food shortages. 

This July, I decided that while I was in Mankhu I would undertake to photograph as many of the children at the school as possible to share them with our donors. I took along some studio lights and my camera and set up in a classroom at the school. I also took a photo printer so that at the end I could give each child their photograph. While some of the children have been photographed by our volunteers in the village and have seen their photo in the LCD screen of a camera. None had ever had a physical photo to hold in their hands and take home to hang in their room. Now they do. I called this project #NameFaceStory and I"ve created a gallery with many of the children you can see HERE

You'll note from the photos that a number of the children still need uniforms. The youngest aren't required to have them, the older children are. Some do, some don't and some have hand-me-downs (if the shirt is blue it's an older siblings shirt from the school in Madavbesi) and some have missing buttons, tears and etc. With the money we raised so far we first made sure they all had notebooks and pencils in order to do homework. Next we made sure they had underwear (many of the girls did not) and shoes. Those were the most important things. We've provided uniforms to the extent possible at this time. Many still need them. For some, if not most of these kids their school uniform is their primary clothing. You see them all over the village always in these uniforms and not in other clothing which indicates they actually don't have a change of clothing. All of them could really stand to have more than one uniform given how much they depend on this uniform as their everyday clothing. If we can meet our current funding goal, we will revise the goal and work on a second uniform for all the children of Mankhu. 

Kanchan, girl at extreme risk
Kanchan, girl at extreme risk

Meet Kanchan. She and her mother are residents of Her Farm. Her mother came to Her Farm after her husband brought home a second wife because Kanchan's mother gave him a daughter, not a son. Kanchan has just started school in the village this year and attends morning English classes in the classroom at Her Farm each day before regular school. She's an addorable, sweet child, but she's also very much at-risk. The rural education system in Nepal is not good at all. The results of this year's SLC, or school leaving certificate as it is called were just released. Only 43% of all students in the 10th grade passed. Of the total graduates, only 28% were from rural schools such as the one Kanchan attends. It's critical that girls like Kanchan get all the education support possible as the odds are very much stacked against them. In government schools, for every 100 students, only 3 will pass the SLC. Knowing that the odds are so much against them, 50% of children in government schools drop out after grade 5. A significant number of them are girls. Of the same 100 students who begin school, only 13 will still be in school by grade 10.

Passing the SLC is akin to graduating high school and it's critical for future employment. It's fair to say that if a girl doesn't pass the SLC about the best she can hope for is to work as a house cleaner. Every year the news reports that several young girls who didn't pass commit suicide upon hearing the results. You see not passing means their families will very likely marry them off to some boy they have never met, and very soon too as the stigma of  not passing will be too great for the family to bear. Because a girl who doesn't pass has limited options in getting a good husband, the liklihood that she'll end up in poor surroundings and a victim of future domestic abuse increases as well. 

Management Association of Nepal Award
Management Association of Nepal Award

Followers of this project and readers of our updates about it are well aware that Bina Basnet started something unique and wonderful when she founded Orchid Garden. It's a project full of good deeds that has helped hundreds of children. That's all good of course, but as a donor myself to this project I was elated to read that Bina has been recognized by the Management Association of Nepal for her skills as a manager. It's always heartwarming to read how young, at-risk youth have been helped by Orchid Garden, we all get a case of warn-fuzzies about that. As a donor though, it's also great to know that good management is in place to use donations wisely and to administer the program well. The recognition of Bina by the Management Association of Nepal demonstrates that this isn't only a warm-fuzzy, feel good project to support; it's well run and donations are used wisely. I like knowing that, I hope you do as well. 

 

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Organization Information

The Mountain Fund

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.mountainfund.org
Project Leader:
Scott MacLennan
International Director
Albuquerque, New Mexico United States

Funded Project!

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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