Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya

by The Mountain Fund
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Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Her Farm, growing hope in the Himalaya
Some of the many new children
Some of the many new children

In the past week the Her Farm family grew substantially with fifteen (15) women and children moving to the farm. One woman alone has seven children. We are scrambling to get them all situated, cleaned (many came suffering from lice infestations) clean clothing, school supplies and to quickly repair some housing that was damaged during the earthquakes to be able to provide enough rooms for all. They are all adjusting to life at Her Farm well, despite the trauma's they've been through. Some are from families broken apart by abuse and drinking, others were displaced when their fathers brought home a new "second wife" and tossed their mother out. While technically against the law in Nepal, the practice of second wives continues unabated. The new wife in the home is seldom willing to accept the first wife or her children and many women are tossed out with no means of support. 

I am posted a couple of photos of some of the children that were taken with smartphones by the women working at the farm. I can't post the mothers until we are certain there are no safety risks for them. 

New children at Her Farm
New children at Her Farm
Already in school and doing homework
Already in school and doing homework
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Family Time
Family Time

The women of Her Farm come from a variety of backgrounds; domestic abuse, sexual assualt, avoiding early marriage and single mom's with no where to go. They vary in age, they are of many different castes (Nepal has an active caste system) and have had varying levels of education. Some have children, some do not. What they all have however is each other. This seemingly unlikely collection of women, from across the entire spectrum of society have made themselves into a very close knit family. They raise children together. farm together, learn together and have a lot of fun together as well. The photographs attached are from one evening in the kitchen at Her Farm. Everyone, including visiting volunteers, were laughing, joking, eating and sharing a fun-filled evening together. These are deeply healing moments for these women who are now a real family.  It's inspiring to see how they've come together and support each other, care for each other, for each other's children as well. Gives me goosebumps to see the love at Her Farm. 

Volunteers Join the Family Too!
Volunteers Join the Family Too!

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Minally and daughter Barsa
Minally and daughter Barsa

The number of women and children living at Her Farm is growing. We've partnered with a mental health program in Kathmandu called Koshish. Koshish rescues women from the streets. Each woman has a different story of how they wound up on the streets. Some have suffered mental illness for years and were kicked out of their homes by family members, some were discarded by thier spouse, many are victims of rape and have children who are products of those rapes and at least one was a drug abuser. Koshish provides counseling and rehab treatment at their facility in Kathmandu, but once these women have completed all the programs and treatments, there is no place for them to go. Families refuse to take them back and in many cases, the whereabouts of family members is unknown. Our partnership provides a "next step" for these women. Once Koshish determines their treatment is complete, many are moved from the institutional setting to Her Farm. 

Her Farm is providing a safe home and meaningful work for the women. Farming and especially caring for livestock gives direction and meaning again to their lives and daily routine that is within their ability. There are many such women and their children now living at Her Farm and thriving there. We now have a waiting list for other women wanting to graduate from institutional care to farm living. The April 2015 earthquakes destroyed some of the housing at Her Farm so our capacity is now limited, and we are currently out of space to accept more women. We are hoping to rectify that soon and create the additional housing needed to accomodate the 10plus women and children currently waiting to move to Her Farm. 

Rana
Rana
New Arrivals (on left)
New Arrivals (on left)
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Providing food to the villagers
Providing food to the villagers

There are 16 women living and working at Her Farm right now. Though they were also badly shaken by the April 25th earthquake, and Her Farm had sustained considerable damage as well, they jumped into action for the entire Mankhu community. Teams were sent out to assess damages in the village and phone calls were made to arrange to bring truckloads of food and tarpulins for the immediate needs of the entire village. Within a day these women had arranged for food and temporary shelter supplies for the entire village. Her Farm quickly became the hub of support and information for the entire community. A solar system was obtained and put to use for villagers to charge cell phones so they could contact relatives in other villages. An inventory of who needed what was compiled and all arrangements made to get the most necessary items to the village asap. Six families moved into housing at Her Farm as they'd lost their homes and a number of young girls from the village were brought to Her Farm with a request from the parents to look after them until they could arrange for shelter. These women were the rock of the community and selflessly gave their all to secure the needs of everyone in the village.

Be sure to visit the link below for video of the earthquake and the women of Her Farm in action providing help. You may also visit www.herfarmnepal.org and meet the women of Her Farm. 

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Map of the area
Map of the area

The village where Her Farm is located has a population of roughly 300 people. The village, Mankhu, sits at the midpoint between the town of Madav Besi and the larger village of Goganpani. Both Madav Besi and Goganpani have government health posts, Mankhu does not. The residents of Mankhu must walk to one of these locations for any healthcare needs. What's important to know about that is the conditions of the walk itself. If you are a strong, fit hiker with only a daypack, you can walk the rough and rocky trails either one hour uphill to Goganpani or one hour downhill to Madavbesi without much difficulity. However, if you are sick, elderly, injured or pregnant, that's an entirely different matter. Suddenly a brisk walk turns into an ordeal, one that in for the very ill, seriously injured, elderly or women in their third trimester are simply unable to make. No one in Mankhu owns a vehicle and there are no ambulances capable of making it up the rough farm road that leads to these villages. In the summer, the rainy season, the road is completely closed in any event so even if there were a vehicle, Mankhu is not accessible by road at all from late May through early to mid-September. One of the photos attached to this report, from google, gives some idea of the terrain involved. 

With the financial help of our donors, and the hard labor of many volunteers, we now have a well equipped health clinic at Her Farm to serve the needs of the people of Mankhu. I'm including a link to short film that's hosted on Vimeo called "The Making of Her Clinic" and urge you to watch it. It's short, but compelling. In just under two minutes you can witness the birth of this health facility as well as the instant success it's become. For the grand opening we held a health camp and in two days over 200 people came for routine health screening. Before we could even fully finish the clinic, villagers were coming for care. One man had cut his finger badly while harvesting rice, an elderly woman was suffering with respiratory distress from an upper respiratory infection and another man had injured his leg. Our local staff and a volunteer doctor who was visiting Her Farm attended to their needs even before the paint was dry on the wall. 

The clinic was designed with the help of an OBGYN doctor and has many educational tools for teaching local women about health issues that are specific to them as well as training materials for pregnant women to help them prepare for childbirth and childcare. 

I've attached some photos, but they don't do this project justice so again, please view the video. Thank you for helping us bring this clinic to Mankhu. Her Farm is now growing hope, and healthcare in the Himalaya. 

Her Clinic
Her Clinic
Some of the equipment
Some of the equipment
The OBGYN doctor and his wife
The OBGYN doctor and his wife

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Organization Information

The Mountain Fund

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @mountainfund
The Mountain Fund
Scott MacLennan
Project Leader:
Scott MacLennan
International Director
Sandia Park, NM United States

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