We met Laxmi and the children for the first time in 2015, right after the earth quake. We travelled to meet them 5 times, supported Women and Children Service Center for a bit over 2 years and finally went back to meet up again.
It was really good to meet them all incl. the new children and we will for sure go back again to see how we can support.
Great also to see that many things we bought are still in use! 🙂
The orphanage mooved to a new location that provides them with more space and the opportunity to grew vegetbales. Birgit had to pick a cucumber that was delicious. 🙂
This small video was taken by Birgit in October 2021 at the preparation center, also known as the socialization center. It is set up by Voice of Children Nepal (VOC) and serves 40 children at a time.
The children who come to the drop-in center are encouraged to leave their life on the streets and when they show their interest in family life, they are referred to this center. This center helps children discover their individual abilities and prepares them for reintegration into the family or community, with an emphasis on education and sustainability. We are proud of our partnership with VOC and thank all of our donors.
Please meet Buddy Anna Nezhnaya, and learn why she supports us and what moves her.
“I believe that the life-changing power of art can affect a person’s destiny. It’s so inspiring to think that even as a child you can become that inspiration that can turn your life upside down! Maybe that’s why I feel connected to Birgit’s wonderful idea to open the horizon and give hope to the children in Nepal. And some art.”
And how? There will be more information about this soon, as we are still in the process of working it all out. This much is certain: it will be a super exciting art project with “Berlin and Kathmandu”, which will benefit street children.
In most preschool classrooms of rural schools in Nepal, there are hardly any learning materials or toys. The quality of school materials is extremely poor. Unfortunately, schoolchildren often lack basic school equipment. And unfortunately, many families also do not have the money to buy their children exercise books.
What is great is that in Nepal it is common for most rural children to attend school! However, continuous school attendance is also always uncertain. Therefore, it was obvious for us to support this campaign. Here are some examples of the first editions 🙂 We had funded exercise books in the past, however this time we wanted to do it differently.
Our goal for 2022 was to realize 3,600 notebooks for orphans, children from families in need and children’s homes. Each one costs about 43 Rupees (about 0,32 €) and has 62 pages including cover and back. The paper of the notebooks ensures that the children can write well with an ink pen. This year there should be three versions: Nepali, English and Math.
In one of our board meetings, Thomas set the impulse: “Let’s reduce the color, because it’s better for nature or the print and waste. That way, we’re also doing something for sustainability at the same time.” Where he is right, he is right. “Nepal liked the idea, too. After a few attempts, it quickly became clear to us that it wouldn’t work that way.
Luckily we have the highly talented Buddy Shannon who helped us out. Her idea to make the design like a coloring book is of course awesome. She then also created us a beautiful illustration for the kids to have fun with their new exercise book from the first moment.
By the way, the idea to add a German line came from our valued partner Rainbow Volunteer Club. The headline came from one of Birgits colleagues called Isa when we were talking about it during lunch break. Rainbow coordinates with the Nepalese government, certain schools, slum communities and orphanages to carry out and implement the project.
We say THANK YOU to all our supporters and especially to Shannon for the design and Madan for his openness to do it differently. And so that we can do it again in 2023 we need your donations.
After we met in September 2021, it was clear that we would start a joint effort to support and empower women to be independent. The idea is to test if social business can be an option for us to generate more funds which will be put 100% back into our projects. As you can imagine for a small NGO it is not easy to raise funds. We did our homework and carefully did due diligence to be able to order goods from Nepal. Deliberately we choose stock to help Sangita to make space for new goods to be produced.
No sooner said than done. Via WhatsApp and Facebook, the goods were presented, discussed, and ordered. After about two weeks it arrived with us. Opening the box was like Christmas because true treasures came to light.
On the first Advent, we had a premiere, so to speak. It was a long, exciting, and successful day. Yvonne, Thomas, and Birgit were there from 10 am to 7 pm to talk about Nepal, our work, and that of EPSA.
At the same time we offered and sold goods 😉 We had a booth at the Weddingmarkt, which was a really good fit. After some time it became a bit fresh, which did not detract from our commitment. We thank all the nice people who talked to us, who are interested in our work and the life of children and people in need in Nepal, and wish a lot of friends with the things they bought from us. Everything is for a good cause.
Last year in September, when Birgit was in Nepal, she met Sangita Pant, the founder and president of EPSA. EPSA-Nepal stands for Entire Power in Social Action-Nepal and is an NGO. Established in April 2004 as Disabled Centre Nepal. Over the years the name has changed to symbolize the importance of their activities to provide a meaningful life.
In Nepal, living conditions for people with disabilities, especially women, are often very difficult. Due to the traditionally conservative culture and male-dominated society, as well as the lack of education, knowledge, and technology, people with disabilities are often severely neglected by their own families and communities. Women with disabilities face triple discrimination: first, because of their gender; second, because they are poor; and third, because they are disabled. For this reason, our project targets women with disabilities who live in poverty.”
In the first conversation, of course, we immediately thought about what we could do together and how can we support. Then the conversation turned to the topic of mobility and how important it is for them. The old scooter had now been in use for over seven years and was simply no longer safe.
Thanks to our donors, we were able to solve this problem this year: we paid for a new scooter plus a helmet and insurance. Our agreement stated, “Since COVID-19 began in 2020, we understand the extraordinarily difficult situation faced by women with disabilities housed at EPSA Nepal. With our financial support, we will fund the purchase of a new disability scooter, helmet, etc. as per EPSA’s previous offer. Sangita Pant, Executive Director of EPSA Nepal, is coordinating this purchase and the original receipts will be given to us.” And so it happened and we are very happy about it:
We say to all our buddies: thank you very much. Without you, this would not have been feasible.
Today we would like to talk about one of our long-time partners: Rainbow Volunteer Club. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and supporting children and youth. They are a dedicated team of motivated youth who want to help the children of Nepal with the gift of love and hope.
Our relationship with Madan Poudeyal, President of Rainbow Volunteer Club Nepal, dates back to 2015. Since then, we have launched projects such as exercise books, sponsored a food bank during the lockdown, and supported various children’s homes with hygiene kits.
For one month we provided daily about 200 food packages including drinks and masks for needy children and families in the slums of Kathmandu. All were arranged, managed, and implemented by Madan and Team for a much longer period.
About Madan Madan was a math teacher at an elementary school before 2015. During the massive earthquake in 2015, his school was severely damaged. From that moment on, he focused on making his dream come true: a non-profit to educate children.
As a teacher at a community school, Madan knows all the needs of a child from rural community, an area where parents have no education and it is difficult to get even basic things that children need for school. So most of the time the needs of the children go unnoticed.
Madan focuses on helping needy children with all its strength and resources at its disposal.
About Schoolmate In most preschool classrooms in rural schools in Nepal, learning materials and toys are scarce and the quality of school supplies is extremely poor. Children in the schools have very limited resources and often their pockets lack the basic necessities for school.
In Nepal, the enrollment of children in school is common – even in rural areas – but continuous school attendance is always uncertain. The situation of children in Nepal shows that they are exploited in our society, knowingly or unknowingly.
In community schools, there are often no measures or resources to meet the needs of students even from very weak financial backgrounds by providing necessary school materials. There are no opportunities for kindergarten children to have any privileges.
Our vision is for the Rainbow SCHOOLMATE to become a young learner’s friend in school. Since exercise books are the first and most important need of children, we hope that with our support, children will be encouraged to perform better, develop a positive attitude towards school, and build self-confidence as young learners. We hope that RAINBOW Schoolmate can help the community slowly understand the value of education and accept our contribution and strive to meet the needs of their children.
We are impressed by the strength, joy and passion with which Madan leads his organization and glad that we met in 2015.
“I was very pleased when our meeting could take place again after all this time. Of course, we were connected via chat, video, and mail over the past years provided the Internet worked. It goes without saying that this cannot replace direct exchange. Especially not for me, as someone who tries to understand from the outside. And not only that, but I also want to be able to translate that for all the donors, for private individuals as well as for companies that trust us. That makes personal contact all the more important.
Our appointment took place at the Voice of Children office. Arranged by e-mail. On the agenda: collaboration, catch up, invoices, partnership, paper handouts, more fundraising appeals, and needs. For me, it was important to talk about our collaboration because after all, we haven’t seen each other since our contractual agreement, which was finalized by mail. I also wanted to learn how the projects are developing, what has changed in the country since and especially because of Corona, how we can support each other in the future, and what documentation we need to communicate transparently.
My trip included four meetings with VOC:
at their office,
at the Dropping and Socialization Center,
a meeting with two youth at the training center, and
a visit with a family in their home.
Four of us sat in the office. The president, treasurer, the program officer, and the marketing director. I was given some delicious tea and water to drink. After some time of getting reacquainted and friendly exchanges about Corona conditions in our countries and the extent of them, I learned the following.
Here is an excerpt: One of the biggest challenges right now is protection from internet abuse, which includes sexual abuse that happens online. The fact is that 70 % of young people have cell phones and 60 % use the Internet. Parents often have no control over it and often don’t know what’s happening, what the dangers of the Internet are, or simply can’t keep up with the speed of development.
Voice of Children is planning an Internet Safety Awareness Initiative to educate about the implications. These could be, for example sexual harassment, pornography, or bullying. The Internet is a “facilitator” to contact the abuser. An additional consequence can be child marriage. It should be noted that child marriage has historically been a problem. Cultural origin as well is characterized by poverty and lack of education. Through the Internet, unfortunately, acute again and become a trend. The children and young people are on average 14-15 years old. Child marriages are not legal and there is no official marriage. Unfortunately, it often ends in India (human trafficking). How do we have to imagine this? An exemplary process can be: One gets in touch, for example, through Facebook, is very friendly with each other, gets to know each other and the proposal of a meeting is made. You meet and decide to run away together and live together alone. It is important here to understand that love marriage are still not the norm. On the contrary, in more village areas they are not accepted. This means that the marriages are arranged and there is no common household for the newlywed couple because they live with the husband’s parents. This is what young people want to escape, but it is not the only reason they run away. Sometimes parents catch their children and try to separate them, which brings more conflict, which in turn leads to child fatigue and often ends in human trafficking.
Here’s what I learned about the cycle: by the “marriage” not being legal, the couple lives in illegality. This means there are no papers and therefore no official work. The children born are not officially registered and they have no birth certificate. Since the couple is on their own, problems often lead to separation and a new “marriage” follows. All this increases vulnerability, the cycle begins and gets worse. This is called Cycle Increase. You can now well imagine why more children end up on the street and how hard such a life must be.
Many parents are in favor of an early wedding because it frees them from financial obligations. There are also many parents who are afraid of a love wedding. The law states that adults can decide for themselves who wants to marry whom from the age of 20, but this is not culturally and socially accepted.
Even today, most children have to study what their parents want. In urban areas, there is less pressure.
What’s the plan? An Internet Safety Awareness Campaign. The objective is to educate parents that the Internet causes this progression, but also to explain its importance because the Internet is also essential for education and school, especially since COVID-19. We have to walk a tightrope through education and dialogue.
We agreed that VOC will let us know how we can support them. A future approach is to develop small programs with problem descriptions and focus. Currently defining specific educational activities such as:
Sexual abuse as well as factors that influence it.
Creating awareness for parents
Training for teachers to be able to classify and be more sensitive to certain behaviors
Training for judiciary and police, creating awareness among prosecutors.
We discussed as a direct task for us is to do a podcast on the topic to create awareness about the issue. My meeting lasted just under two hours and ended with lunch together in the in-house cafeteria. That was only one meeting of the day, two more followed. Taking in and processing so much input in such a short time, absorbing and integrating all the impressions and cultural differences is always a challenge. One that takes a lot of energy, but also gives a lot and is fun for me, because I get access to knowledge that would otherwise not be available to me. A particular highlight for me was when we talked about the topic of love marriage. For whatever reason, I thought it wasn’t real anymore. Seeing my puzzled face, it was explained to me how it was still handled today. When I asked the question to the round which of them was arranged, to my amazement, it was answered quite frankly with a big grin. I replied with a laugh, “well, and I’m divorced” 😉 We all smiled at each other. In conclusion, I can only say it was a great start to my Nepal trip.”
As soon as it was clear that nothing stood in the way of a trip to Nepal, Birgit was on the plane. As a first session a meeting with Voice of Children was arranged. The joy was great on both sides, as we can see.
“I am deeply impressed with Krishna Thapa the President of Voice of Children Nepal, what he has accomplished and all that he and his team are achieving for street children. That includes work in education, systemic change and strengthening families so that children can go back – if it makes sense. And who knows someone who is being honored by the President of the United States for their accomplishments?”
We discussed our cooperation and the direction for 2022+. New creative ideas were elaborated as well. Afterwards Birgit visited the Dropping Center, was guest of a family who talked about the reintegration of their son and she could talk to 2 boys who are doing vocational training as part of their integration. An incredible experience: transparent, open and inspiring. Thank you to all our supporters and we are happy to collaborate with VOC. There is a lot of work to be done. Every cent counts and makes a difference.
Madan (Rainbow Volunteer Club) said to Birgit: “Let’s go, I want to introduce you to a great children’s home and to an amazing woman. Exactly, it is also the home for which you had bought a stove before.” No sooner said than done, because who could say no to that. In no time Birgit was sitting in the back seat of the scooter and the journey began. As you may know, in Nepal only the drivers have to wear a helmet. Why? Unfortunately, we can’t answer that. What we do know is that the journey was exciting and the extra weight didn’t necessarily make it easier 🙂 Regardless, they had fun and the trip was worth it.
The children’s home has been in existence since 2008 and is run by Uma Devi Basset. There are currently 18 children under her care: 8 girls and 10 boys. Not all of the children are orphans. As with many, the parents are not able to take care of the children, make sure they have enough to eat or go to school.
Birgit: “First of all, I got a yoghurt-water drink and we got to know each other a bit. Afterwards, Barsha gave me a tour so that I could see everything and get a better impression of how they run things, how they are organised and what happens. I am always amazed at the openness that is shown to me. Really amazing and great. So I have seen all the rooms and my impression is good. There are separate rooms for girls and boys, the kitchen is big and very appetising, there is enough water for drinking, cooking and washing, a small garden and an open hall for sports activities like yoga, dancing and studying. I felt very comfortable and especially enjoyed the tour. “
The question of how they finance themselves is an important one, because unfortunately too many children homes have no real concept or plan of how they can stay afloat in the long run. Without much ado, it was explained as follows: there are 3 main sources of income:
Festivities: many people come to them to celebrate festivities such as birthdays. This is often linked to donations for the home.
Dashain Festival and Deepavali: on these 2 important festivities, donations are collected for the home, and substantially.
Volunteers and donors: people are there to support, as part of the “family” or support as we have done with our association.
In our conversation it quickly became clear how we could support and we did so with great joy: we transferred school fees directly to the school for the children. A big thank you to our supporters!!! We will spend more time together on our next trip. And also a big thank you to Madan for the connection.
Note: the baby is not part of the children’s home, but her grandson. Mother and child like to visit regularly to support.
We hope you are all well! There’s exciting news we love to share with you, because as of yesterday we have our own podcast. This means that we can now be heard on Anchor and Spotify. So you don’t need a Spotify subscription.
We deliberately decided to do the podcast in English so that our Nepal friends and people from other parts of the world can listen to it as well. Birgit is currently in Kathmandu and will have a lot to report from there. Enjoy and let us know what you think about it.