Current News - Real Nepal
New Happy Home Pokhara - July and August
After running a Happy home in Chitwan for 5 years with 23 children, we realized the need of such home in Pokhara too. With the determination to help the children in Pokhara and to widen the scope of our support to the needy and deserving children, we inaugurated a Happy Home in Pokhara on 14-April (Nepali New Year) with 8 children from Happy Home in Chitwan. They were joined by 5 more from the Street Children Project and 2 from Sauraha. The home is situated in a place called Shanti Patan, 5 minutes walk from the tourist area – Lakeside.
We prefer calling the home as Happy Home over "orphanage" as the children in this home are not necessarily orphans. They are the children deprived of quality education and basic needs of daily life. Their parents are in no situation of providing them with the proper education and proper life. Two of the children are Maoist victims and have lost their parents. Others either are not able to provide them with good education or some children have no parents at all. There are now 15 children in Happy Home, 11 of whom go to a private English school nearby and 4 of them go to government school. The youngest of them is 5 years old and the oldest is 13 years old.
It is a tough job to open a home like this and it was indeed; all new things, new place, new schedule, new educational supplies, new friends and new school. The children were excited to be in a new place but also sad to leave their friends and their place behind and come to a totally new place to a new beginning. But it didn’t take them long time to get to know each other and make new friends. The children seemed to be happy to be in Happy Home and we were glad that the name of the home lived upto its expectation. The children started to go to school shortly and things were starting to straighten up step by step. Every day new challenges and new solutions, new things to learn. The children were starting to feel home. Times got better. We met the basic need of the home but there were still lots of things to be done, things to be bought, things to be organized.
10th of May , we got our first volunteers. There were 3 of them, Amber, Meredith and Kari. There were still lots of jobs to be done. The volunteers were really helpful and contributed their time to help in any way they could. They helped make the schedule for the children and rules. We went to the town to get new stuff for the home and volunteers were always ready to help us. They gave us ideas and suggestions where needed and helped where they could. Things didn’t always go easily, times were hard on us sometimes and we faced some problems. But determination, patience and co-operation of the volunteers and the children made it easy to solve the problems. Volunteers helped the children do their homework. They helped in the kitchen, cleaned the house, served the food, helped them prepare for school, walk them to school, wash the clothes and pick them up from school. We were really grateful that we had the volunteers. They took the children to park to play football, bought football for the boys and volley ball for the girls (however the balls were flat the next day).
Volunteers at the home have to work in the morning and in the evening and they will have the free time all the other times. They will have free time from 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon. They can also go to Lakeside for dinner if they want.
One day an Italian man named Richard came to the home and offered to help. It was lucky that he came at this time as we were finding it difficult to provide everything the children needed. The uniforms of the children were not ready yet so he offered to help us by paying for the uniforms. The home is still not all set and we still need more help.
We live in a community that is always willing to provide help if asked for the donation to build a temple in the neighbourhood but not for the children who need much more help than the Gods, a community that offers donations to the corrupt politicians but not to the children who are the future of the country. The home is in need of volunteers and would be grateful for any sort of help as we do not get any help from the government or the community.
Amber Stark, UK - June
My experience at the Happy Home in Pokhara was fantastic. The children there are wonderful, I thoroughly enjoyed helping with the children and assisting with their work, and it was made so worthwhile when you see them make an improvement. It was a pleasure, after spending time with them to get homework done well, to have them say thank you and the pride they have in themselves when they know they have done something well is inspiring. My placement really fulfilled my expectations and I have come away feeling as if I myself have learnt something from the kids I was with. My favourite experience at the Happy Home was taking the children to the local park to play a game of football, they were so well behaved. The staffs were great, and the organisation of everything was also. The home itself is lovely and big with plenty of space for the children to relax. The children were so well looked after, there was a fantastic atmosphere, and it was exactly as it is named; happy!
Herzliche Gruesse aus Kathmandu - July and August
Mein Name ist Alexandra und ich verbrachte 4 Wochen hier in Nepal.
Aufgenommen wurde ich herzlich im Haus vom Assim. Die Familie war interessiert an meinem Befinden und wenn offene Fragen waren , konnt ich mich jederzeit an sie wenden.
Meine erste Woche bekam ich einen Eindruck von Kathmandu und erhielt einen groben Ueberblick ueber die Sprache der Einwohner.
Die Nachmittage wurden mir Sehenswuerdigkeiten gezeigt. Besonders genossen habe ich allerdings auch die Zeit , mit anderen Volunteeren die Stadt zu erkunden und die morgendlichen Spaziergaenge in den Tempel.
Mein Projekt fand in Pokahara statt, im Waisenhaus mit 16 Kindern. Ein sehr interessantes Projekt in einer angenehmen , ruhigeren Stadt als Kathmandu.
Mein Eindruck nach 3 Wochen Arbeit dort ist durchwachsen. Fuer die Kinder ist es eine gute Moeglichkeit dem harten Leben auf der Strasse zu entkommen. Sie haben ein Bett , etwas zum Essen und koennen zur Schule gehen. Ausserdem ist es ein noch sehr junges Projekt , erst 3 Monate gibt es das Heim und wir sind hier in Nepal, ein anderes Land andere Sitten.Es muss noch wachsen.
Die Arbeit im Heim umfasst die Hilfe bei der Morgenhygiene , die Vorbereitung auf den Schulalltag.Gegen 10 werden die Schueler zur Schule begleitet. Die anschliessende wichtige Aufgabe liegt in der Unterstuezung der Samila , die junge Frau ist verantwortlich fuer den gesamten Ablauf im Heim..
Eine oft zu grosse Aufgabe fuer die 18 jaehrige Frau. Kochen , Saubermachen, Waschen und ein offenes Ohr fuer die Kids haben , da ist Unterstuezung dringend notwendig.
Ein kleiner Plan der anliegenden Taetigkeiten hilft sich einzufinden. Die Reinigungsarbeiten habe ich 1-2 Stunden taeglich ausgefuehrt und natuerlich geguckt wo die Arbeit liegt. Ich glaube es ist wichtig die Augen aufzumachen und die anliegende Arbeit zu sehen
.Zur Entspannung fuer mich habe ich mir oft eine der wunderbaren Massage im Salon Seeing Haends gegoennt ..einfach ein Genuss.
Nachmittags wurden die Schulaufgaben erledigt , eine Hilfe beim Englisch oder Mathe ist zum Teil notwendig.Im Ganzen sind die Kids jedoch sehr selbstaendig, achten aufeinander und Leben in guten Einklang.
Zur Entspannung und als Freizeit sind wir fast taeglich in den naheliegenden Park zum Fussball gegangen, ein Hoehepunkt fuer alle. Das Leben mit den Kids war spassig und interessant. Sie sind sehr offen und suchen die Naehe der Volunteere. Sie moegen Massagen , Singen und koennen teilweise sehr gut Zeichnen.Malbuecher und einfache Gruppenspiele finden schnell Interesse.Das gemeinsame Kochen mit den Kids hat mir persoenlich sehr gefallen. ....Spagetti mit Tomatensosse...hat uns gut geschmeckt .
Grenzen sollten sie noch lernen. Der haefige Abschied von den Volunteeren praegt natuerlich die Kinder.
Ein sehr positiver Punkt ist fuer mich, dass ich meine Kritikpunkte auch offen mit Assim besprechen konnte und ich auch Veraenderungen gesehen habe.
Hoehepunkte fuer mich waren , ein Bootstour oder das Paragliging . Einfach zu buchen und ein Erlebnis. das ich mit nach Deutschland nehme.
Im Ganzen bin ich zufrieden mit dem Projekt und besonders mit der Stadt Pokhara , eine einfach angenehme stadt mit vielen grossen und kleinen Sehenswuerdigkeiten.
Meinen letzten Abens heute werden wir in einem schoenen Restaurante verbringen, das Essen ist sehr gut und preiswert.
Mit freundlichen Gruessen Alexandra
A new Children's resource Center in Damdame , Pokhara - Feb
On my last trip to Pokhara to meet volunteers, I went up to the place called Dumdume. It’s a beautiful village on the top of a hill. One hour bus ride from Pokhara and an ascend of 90 minutes will lead you to a village, Dumdume, a typical Gurung village. They have a government school with two buildings poorly built. We had a talk with the school administration and decided to build up a library/resource centre in the school premises.
There were already 3 volunteers, David, his wife Laura and his mother Dominique who were already onto the task a week before I reached there. After having a short chat of Hellos and How are yous, I went up to the place where the work was going on and was actually amazed by the work of the volunteers. They had done very fine work in such a little time. But they said the work would have been finished four days earlier if there had been no any problems.
The problems were, the school gave the volunteers a room which was occupied by the students and used to be a classroom. So the volunteers started to paint the room and the windows. But the next day, they found out that the students were replaced to a room which used to be a plantation area flooded with water and not enough light to see what was being written on the board by their teachers. Volunteers didn’t know that the students were to be moved in that place. So they rejected the room and said they wouldn’t work unless the students were provided with better place. Finding a perfect room took about 4 days as there was no one who could actually communicate between volunteers and the school members as even the teachers’ English standard was too low. Then our coordinator went up to the place and then the problem was solved. The students were relocated in their classroom and volunteers used the store room. The room was nice and almost perfect for the library but a little big. Some work had to be done on the doors and windows. They also erected a wall to split the big room into two, one of them to be used as a computer lab later.
When I was on the way up to the village, I actually was following the electrical poles which lead the way into the village. But on my arrival, I was told that the electric poles were not working and had been there for a year. But they seemed to be convinced that there will be electricity one or two years later. And it was more surprising when I was told that there were 2 computers in the school!
Volunteers painted the wall, windows and doors. I took some pictures of the library(to be) and the village. It was getting dark so we went back to the host family. The Host family, what can I say about them! Excellent would be an understatement. They seemed to be some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. They didn’t speak any English but volunteers seemed to understand what they said and make them understand. When asked if they find it very difficult to communicate with each other, Laura says, “Oh, no English but the way we understand each other is amazing! Hand signs, broken Nepali, and we’ve also learned some Gurung! We can have quite a good conversation. Aama has the best heart and baa has the best smile. We are just very grateful to the organization for placing us here.” After staying for a while and talking to volunteers and the neighbours, I found out that almost all the people in that little village were friendly and nice. Everybody was very grateful to me for sending the volunteers which made me feel odd as its not me who they should be grateful to. It’s the volunteers and the organization.
David said, “We were very welcomed in the family and the school. School organized a speech. The principal said ‘We are very glad to welcome the volunteer to our village and the school. ……..We hope that you will not forget us like one volunteer who came to our village 18 years ago, stayed here for 2 years like our own family member, made a deep impression in hearts of us all and then left and never wrote or came back.’ I looked for the volunteer and found out that he is a big man now. We’ve sent an email to him and hope he has time to reply.” Everybody in the village seemed eager to help for the library. As David and Laura were going through the things in the store room, they found a cupboard which was donated by UNICEF 6 years ago. The cupboard had smashed glasses. And the books inside were untouched for the whole 6 years! Nobody opened the cupboard for 6 years. The books seemed useful. When talking about the library, Laura expressed her worry about the library, “After all this hard work, it will be really hurtful if we come next time and find that the library hasn’t been used at all. (she said to me) Please make sure the library has some volunteers to look after." I couldn’t assure her as we don’t have volunteers who volunteer for a long time especially in a village without electricity and internet.
Laura came up with an idea to form a Library Committee so they could take care of the library in absence of the volunteers. Volunteers would be perfect but its not all the time that we have volunteers. Something is better than nothing. I was thinking of signing a contract with the school about the library. Contract made school responsible for the library and any of its loss in absence of volunteers. I was thinking of talking to the principal but when Laura expressed her view about the committee, I thought I should wait and see if the committee works out.
The next day, I said my goodbyes to the host family and the volunteers and started the descend.
INFO Nepal - Newsletter - Jan
A group of 15 volunteers were to arrive on 1st and 2nd of January, . 15 students from Deakin University of Australia. The groups were welcomed by Kshitiz and Asim. There was a strike on 1st of January so the volunteers had to be transferred to Thamel (the tourist place) in a tourist bus under the protection of Police. That was somewhat uncomfortable but a valuable experience to have for the volunteers. They were accommodated at Hotel Cosmic. After a brief touring of Thamel, we went for dinner where we got to know the volunteers better and get along with them very well. The volunteer were young and very friendly. All of them were Australian but with different national background. Some of them were from Turkey, India, Italian and Ghanaian. There was a lot to learn about the different cultures and way of living.
The next few days were busy in Language Orientation where the volunteers were given the insight of the Nepali language and the culture. The culture was quiet new to them but they were curious to experience it. They went to different places for sightseeing like Monkey Temple (Swayambhunath), Boudhanath, Pashupatinath and Durbar Square. After 3 days of orientation the volunteers went off to Pokhara. The group stayed in Grand Holiday Hotel overnight. The group was divided into 2 groups of 8 and 7 which were further divided into 3 and 4 sub-groups. One of the group stayed in the city doing orphanage and teaching placement while the other group went into the villages where the construction project was scheduled. The construction project consisted of 2 basketball courts in two schools of two villages.. The groups were planned to swap the placement at the end of 2 weeks. There were two villages where the 8 volunteers were divided - 4 in each village and 2 in each host family. It was quiet difficult to find them the host family but thanks to the people in Pame village and Thulakhet village. The villages were 40 minutes walk from each other. The people there were excited and happy to have the foreign people in their houses living like a family. The people in the village always showed interest to help the volunteers in every way possible. Volunteers say they felt the place like a 'home away from home'.
The volunteers in city were placed in 3 different orphanages: Street Children Home(3 volunteers), Destitute Children Home(2 volunteers) and Innocent Children Home(2 volunteers). They were placed in 3 different host families near the main city. The job of the volunteers was to teach the children English and help them learn new things. They would play with the kids. Everyone has their own way of approach to the children. Our volunteers coped well with the children and were attached to them. They were happy to be there. But in some of the orphanages, there was not enough work to do as the examination of the children were near, children were busy doing there preparation. Two volunteers wished to be moved to village after 1 weeks as there was not enough work for them to do there. And we decided to move them to the village. They moved to Pame village to join the 4 volunteers who were already there.
At the same time in the village, the volunteers were feeling happy and were excited about the construction of the basketball court in a school in Thulakhet. The culture of Nepal being completely different than the culture in the western countries, the volunteers needed sometime to cope with the new culture but they were fast to learn and adapt to the new culture and dissolve in it. They enjoyed the new culture and traditions. They were in the host families who introduced them to the experience which they found rewarding. “Its completely new experience and I would love to learn more about it. It’s amazing how different the way of living can be!” - one of the volunteers remarked. They started off with the construction with limited tools and a German volunteer who is an engineer. The construction included levelling of the ground, digging, peaking and shovelling. Volunteers had fun doing what they did. It was hard work with no machineries available. We had to get on with our hand as the modern machines were almost an impossibility in the village away from the facilities of the city. They had some problems about the tools as they are not used to Nepali way of construction. No wheel barrow, no machines and limited tools. But that was some experience to be had at least once in a lifetime. The way of working was completely different! But nevertheless the project went smooth. Volunteers laughed over the problems.The first week was spent on levelling the ground which was 28m long and 15m wide. At the weekend, we went to the city and got together with the other volunteers from the city. We stayed in Grand Holiday Hotel, went for dinner and shared our experiences. Volunteers placed in village seemed more happier than the city ones. 2 of the volunteers wished to change the placement earlier than planned which after talking to the organization was carried out the next day. The 2 volunteers in orphanage moved to Pame village where they taught in a local English school in the morning and help in the construction project in the afternoon. Some volunteers went paragliding and we also went for rafting! Sunday 17th Jan, there was a local strike which was carried out only in the way from the city to the village. The public bus was not allowed operate. So some volunteers took a taxi to the village and some stayed back in the city. The same day, the basketball pole was to be delivered to the construction site. So we took a hike in the delivery truck to the village. That was some adventure of its own! So there we were, 4 volunteers and myself under the poles on the bumpy road. But nevertheless, we enjoyed the ride. "If any of my friend back home had told me I would be travelling like this at some point in my life, I would never have believed him!" said one of the volunteer who shared the epic trip to the village.
The next week in the village, we put on some gravel on the ground to make it ready to lay the concrete on top of it. Everything went smooth except for the problem about the tools. There were not enough tools. But we bought some new tools from the city and everything was alright again. The next week, when the swapping of placement was to be done, the volunteers in the village showed a keen desire to stay in the village as they feared the construction would not be finished in time with the lack in manpower. So it was at the end that the two villages had to accommodate 16 volunteers between them - 10 in Thulakhet and 6 in Pame. All the volunteers got into the construction with all their efforts while experiencing the village life at the same time. One would never be able to think that the people from western countries - where every facilities are just inches away - would love the experience in village – where everything is just the opposite of the place they come from. No internet, no phones, no western toilets (NO TOILET PAPERS!!), no TV, no big shops, not much vehicles, one bus per hour, only 12 hours electricity per day. But that didn’t seem to affect the affection the volunteers seemed to have for the village and the people there. The volunteers completely loved the place! They stayed in the family as the part of the families. They addressed their host family as father, mother, sisters and brothers. They loved the way everyone who passed them would greet them 'Namaste', and offer them every help possible. The peoples’ friendliness stole the heart of the volunteers. The week flew swiftly and smoothly as erected the basketball poles and laid the concrete. The week was hard but most important. There was no time for rest. In the free time, we would play Australian football and soccer with the village kids and play cards in the evening with our headlamp as there was seldom any electricity during the evenings.
There was only less than a week for the another construction project to finish which was another basketball court (less than half the size of the other) in Pame village in Sunrise Preparatory School. The work was not much there as the court would not be of concrete and there was only one pole to be erected. So 4 of the volunteers in Thulakhet decided to go to the city to experience the orphanage placement. We bought the school two portable football posts in addition to the court. The ground was levelled so all we had to do was pick out the small stones. After having that done, we got some good dirt (soil) to smoothen the ground and then compressed it so that the ball would bounce. The students and the staff faculties helped a lot in the construction. After all that done, the basketball ground was ready in 3 days. So the project was finished by 3rd of February when the farewell program was organised by both the schools where the volunteers were honoured with the certificates and colours all over the face! Then we bid the final goodbyes to all the villagers and the school. The volunteers were sad to leave them but happy at the same time for they made a lot of difference and they were going to be remembered forever. They made a deep impression in the hearts of the people in the village that will last forever.
The 4 volunteers who left for the city for some new experience in the orphanage were placed in Himalayan Child Care Home. Its a child care home run by a Tibetan Lama, and has 36 children, not necessarily orphans. They are the deprived children from the villages up in the mountains where good education and good life is an impossibility. They are brought to the orphanage in hope of finding themselves a good way of living. The children there are very disciplined and attentive. They are keen to learn new things and always listen what the volunteers or the others have to say. The volunteers there had a fabulous time with the children for which they couldn't stop thanking us. After being there for some days, they left for Kathmandu.
We came back to Kathmandu on 5th January and the volunteers were given the farewell dinner.
Outing with Orphan Children
Suntali is very happy to have a her new dress for the Women's festival. Now she can sing songs and dance with other sisters of her home. Last week we took Birendra Peace Orphanage's children shopping and bought house dress and outing dress for 14 children. "I like to eat Checken Chaumin" said Bikash after playing on the swing. Children were very happy to go to the Ramailomela ( park ) in Bhrkutimandap. Every year we take these children out for some entertainment. These children have scored good marks in their exam. This has been a home for 14 children since 2005 and we have been sponsoring their education. The children are from Rasuwa, Humjla, Rautahad , Dhading and Nuwakot. We would like to thanks once again our past volunteers David, Margaret and their friends who have been supporting this home since 2006. Now the Children have got new Mattress, bed covers and pillows. "It is such a comfortable bed" said Ramesh jumping on the bed.
Fence and plantation around Sauraha Children's Resource Center
Sauraha Children's Resource Center has been running since March 2006. This is the Centre for the village children to have extra lessons and share their knowledge with each other. We have been placing volunteers in this center to help them with their homework and teach extra English lessons. In August we built a plantation around the Resource Center and made a Fence so that the plants will be safe and the children can make a nice garden. We would like to thanks to our volunteers Matt and Dan who have worked hard to make this center better. Everyday around 40 to 60 children attend the centre. This centre is near the poor people most of them are Tharu and lower cast. This is the area of the Landless people and parents who are not educated and can't help their children to study. Even in the home there is no where to sit to read and write. The children from that village are taking advantage of our Centre.
Water Tap and new school
Our new school in Gadgai has been completed. This is the School for the village children who don't attend school and for those who want to learn more after school or before school. "Their parents are not educated, they didn't have this kind of opportunity so they are unable to help their children with their homework and guide them. In this case this school will help our children alot" said Resham one of the villagers. We had a meeting with the villagers everyone is excited to open and run the school as soon as possible. We are hoping to start this school after our festival Dashain (14th Oct) .We need two volunteers who can stay for 2 months or longer at this place. The school is near by the National Park and bank of the Rapati River. The view of the National Park and the Sun Set views are fantastic from this place. Volunteers can stay with our host family who is running a local guest house and a restaurant.
We have set up a water pump near by our Sitamai school and 12 family members and our 60 school children can now drink the safe and clean water. The surrounding area's family are very happy to have a water Tap near their home. They used to go 5 minutes for the drinking water.
Income Generating Program for Orphanage home
As we have been supporting the Manbiaya Orphanage home since 2006 for their House Rent, Food supply and Schooling, now we have opened a shop for them where they can earn money for their daily expenses for 31 Orphan children. We want the home runner to be independent and survive by themselves. Recently we have bought swing machines and rented a shop near by the home where there are now 3 workers who work every day. We have seen some profits from the shop and home it will increased in coming days. There are so many of these Orphanage homes in Nepal who do not have any income source. This example will be a good lesson for them to learn. The children of this home are very happy to see some regular settlement for their future. There are 31 children staying at this home since 2003.Our volunteers are there to teach the children in the morning and evening and help at the shop to give better administration support or marketing the products. If you have got some Fashion design skills and are interested in an income generating project , it will be the best placement to make a difference in the children's life. You can share your business skills or Art and design skills with the workers and they love working together with you.
Nilanthi Sangarabalan - England
Landing in Kathmandu airport at 9pm on the Sunday night, and I had little idea of what to expect from Nepal. For the first three days, I had language and cultural training. Initially, I enjoyed the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu, but once I was sent on my placement, I was happy to be leaving behind a city of congestion, rubbish and honking.
Arriving at the Happy Home Orphanage, Chitwan, I was greeted by Bashanti and 22 children. My views were no longer of the cars and shops but of paddy fields and cows. I figured, with so many children, my work would be cut out for me. But, I soon realized that these children were very self-reliant – they were able to clean themselves and willingly helped to make the meals and clean the house.
I was surprised at how quickly I adjusted to life in the Happy Home. Getting into a routine came easily and doing simple tasks to help Bashanti became second nature. Helping prepare the food, cleaning the house, doing some shopping and of course, playing with the children were my usual jobs. Out of my whole 5 weeks at my placement, I only really ever felt homesick once – during the midpoint of my time there, when probably the craving for food other than dahlbhat had reached its peak!
On some of the quieter days, while the children were at school I would take a 30 minute walk to the Library, a resource centre recently created by INFO Nepal. There, I would either help the other volunteers with the painting or even teaching the village children some English. These children were much less disciplined than those at the Happy Home and made me even more appreciative of them, when I returned home in the evening.
During my time in Nepal, I managed to take a mountain flight to see Everest, and experienced some of the most beautiful views of the Himalayas. I also spent a weekend on a jungle safari at the Royal Chitwan National Park, where my highlight was definitely bathing elephants.
Although the idea of travelling around Nepal had occurred to me once arriving in the country, I decided to just focus my attention on the placement. And, apart from the mountain flight and the safari, I spent my time in the orphanage. I also tried to adjust to village life in general. On a walk back from the Library, some women working in the paddy fields ask me to join them and I happily went to plant some rice. A few poor attempts had the women in fits of laughter and put a smile on my face!
Although I had promised to visit again in two years, saying goodbye to Bashanti and the children was very emotional. As I was showered with flowers and Bashanti ‘didi’ put a tika on my forehead, I remember thinking how blessed I had been to have stayed with such a loving family who had made me feel welcomed from day one.
We hope you enjoy reading.
See you soon.
Real Nepal Family