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Seeds of Hope: 500 Families Supported

As COVID-19 shut down countries and communities around the world, Nepal was no exception. It was several months before case numbers began to rise in Nepal, but the secondary impacts of the virus on rural communities was significant. With Nepal closing its borders to tourism, a huge number of families became impacted by a loss of tourism-related employment and income. This included porters in the trekking industry, owners of tea houses and lodges, restaurant owners, and more.

With so many people negatively impacted, our partner on the ground, The Small World, began their COVID-19 response by distributing vital food supplies, such as rice and lentils, to rural communities. But it quickly became clear that a long-term and sustainable solution was needed. So for phase two of response, we shifted to a new program: Seeds of Hope. The new program helped communities grow their own food by providing seeds, planting orientation, and basic training by agricultural experts focusing on seasonal farming, cash crops, kitchen gardens, organic compost, and organic pest control.

Distribution of rice and lentils to families in need.

To date, the program has reached 500 women through community women’s groups, and thus 500 families across rural areas of the Solukhumbu region of Nepal. The crops are already growing and these families have been set up for sustainable food security for the remainder of 2020 and beyond.

Thanks to all our supporters and contributors that donated funds to make this important and urgent aid project possible.

And what’s next? Our women are thrilled with the program, and are now interested in a greenhouse program to help them grow a larger diversity of crops year-round. Stay tuned for details on this program.

First Round oF COVID-19 Response in Nepal

Dear Small World Friends and Family,

We are thinking of you as we adapt to new circumstances, we are in unprecedented times, and we wanted to take a moment to let you know how The Small World Nepal is responding to the COVID-19 global health crisis. Our priority, as always, is the safety and wellbeing of the children and communities who rely on our programs, to continue to deliver our services despite the unavoidable and unprecedented disruption.

So far everyone under our care, including our staff, is healthy and safe. However, Nepal ranks 111 on the Global Health Security index, and Nepal is very poorly prepared to respond to this pandemic. As such, there has never been a more urgent need to be prepared and protect our children and community.

So, the very first thing we did is to shift most of our girls from the Himalayan Hope Home in Kathmandu to the Girls’ Hostel for Higher Education in the mountain town of Salleri before all of Nepal was placed on a lockdown. The girls all now have plenty of space, open fields and beautiful hills for walking in and access activities to keep them busy and active, better air and water plus less crowd. This move has also helped the Himalayan Hope Home to have a limited number of girls in residence who are waiting to take final exams as soon as school re-opens.

We are preventing the spread of disease by promoting hand washing and hygiene, distributing soap and hand sanitizer to children and communities that need it. This includes supporting preparedness activities in the village to protect vulnerable communities. Preventive measures and safety awareness are being shared through radio in local communities.

Our goal is to prioritize health and safety, and do everything we can to ensure that the children we work with can continue their education. We are trying to maintain a connection to education for the children we work with because children may be lost from the school system forever if we don’t work hard to provide continuity of learning in this time. Despite the uncertainty, crisis, and fear we are determined to not giving up on our children and community. This is the time everyone is dealing with many issues of their own, but COVID-19 is reminding us of the shortness of life and of what is most important for us to do, which is to help each other, especially those who are vulnerable and needy. To handle this unforeseen crisis we have started a campaign: the Nepal Emergency COVID-19 fund and you can always choose to be a part of our actions to help the vulnerable ones. (Note** In order to take advantage of a matching donation program, we are utilizing the Global Giving donation platform for this fundraising effort. Any donations you make will have a tax acknowledgement letter sent to you by Global Giving instead of TSW USA).

We believe that together we will make it through this hard time.

Prayers from our family to yours.
Stay safe.
Karma & Sonam Sherpa & Sally Wier

Hope Home Writer’s Workshop: Girls are the Change Makers

Empowering girls to be their own change makers is a critical component of improving lives: not only those of the girls themselves, but also those of members of the girls’ home communities, those in their nations and other living beings on this planet. When we educate girls, we create a positive feedback loop that allows girls, communities, nations and the environment to benefit. A large part of this is that girls, like those we support in Nepal, that are educated at higher level tend to return home to their rural communities. There they pay it forward and spread the benefits of their education to those around them. Often this ends up having positive impacts on the natural environment, as well, in either direct or indirect ways.

This essay by one of our girls at the Himalayan Hope Home, Phurba, clearly demonstrates one girl’s story of how she wants to study hard, become a doctor and return to her rural home to pay it forward. Thank you for your dedication, motivation and compassionate spirit, Phurba. You are the change!

My Future Plan

By Phurba S.

As I am studying in school now, I have many plans. And since my hobby is travelling, and since after completing grade 10 we will have a three month holiday, I want to visit many places during this holiday. I will do many things which will really help my future plan.

I want visit so many places after completing my SEE examination, (School Education Examination). As I am a citizen of Nepal, I want to know everything about Nepal. I want to visit places like remote areas, underdeveloped places, villages, mountainous places and so on. I want to visit these places because I want to know what things are lacking there, and how can we help them, what facilities we should provide them. If I travel to these places, I think it will help my future plan a lot because I will notice things, like if there are proper facilities for health centers or not, what kind of vegetables they are eating and if there is proper sanitation. I will encouraged them. And I will try to provide all the facilities of a health care center if I really become a good doctor.

After completing grade 10, I will continue my study. Since my aim is to be a doctor, I will continue by taking science as a major subject. I think it is hard to do, but I will not give up, but keep on aiming for success in my goals. I will do a bachelor’s degree in science, and I will try to work at hospitals in remote areas of Nepal. Since Nepal is a developing country, it needs many qualified doctors, and I would treat the patients very carefully. I want to be different from others. I will not speak rudely with patients. I will be always ready to help them.

My future plan depends on my success on the SEE examination. As I wrote before, SEE is the School Education Examination. It should be given at the end of grade 10. It is the final result of secondary school. After this exam we can go to college. If we don’t pass it, we will not have the opportunity to go to college. So, I will try to do my best. I am confident of passing my SEE exam with a good marks and going to an excellent college and becoming a successful doctor.

To make my plan succeed, I am working hard, no matter what difficulties come into my life. I will try to solve each and every problem and keep on trying to achieve my goal. I will do best to succeed in my life.

 

Hope Home Writer’s Workshop

A small group of girls at the Himalayan Hope Home have been working for years on the practice of writing in English to not only polish their language skills, but to explore the power of sharing their own stories. Here are three new essays about the role of parents and siblings in the girls’ lives. Please enjoy their insights and stories!

Love You Dad

By Krishma S.

My dad’s name is Krishna Sundas. He is 40 years old. His goal is to be a successful person. He works as a tailor. He sews clothes for others to earn his living. He does not have his own tailoring shop, but he is working hard to have his own shop to sell and design clothes for others made by him. My dad’s favorite color is blue and he loves to travel to different places. But he is a very serious person. My dad does not joke, so I need to talk with him very carefully. I love my dad very much.

My mother left me alone when I was six years old. This was a great shock to my father. I used to cry for hours when I missed my mom, but he would put a book in my hand to study, maybe he wanted me to understand we cannot overcome problems by crying. He did not have a lot of time for me as he was busy working. Maybe he was more worried about my future than his own. We have an extended family. But sadly no one was there to support my dad. My grandma was sick, so she was hospitalized. And he had big problems at that time. I saw him crying many times. I did not understand anything at the time because I was just blind to this world.

My dad made great sacrifices for me. Sometimes he took me to a hotel or my uncle’s home for food. Somehow he never made me sad about my mom. Then later, he collected some money from friends and paid the hospital for grandma. Regarding my uncle, he was in his village and it was difficult to travel to Kathmandu. In my opinion, whether they came or not, nothing is more important for children than their mother. Today I am able to live this happy life at Hope Home because of my dad. So, I can never thank him enough for rest of my life. We can meet teachers, people who teach us about love, but it is only dad who loves unselfishly. He used to scold me for my mistakes, maybe he wanted me to learn that.

I remember that day when my dad raised his hand to hit me, but forgave me instead. My dad’s situation was very difficult, but I did not understand. I told my every problem to nearby friends. Somehow it got to a neighbor’s ear and they talked to my dad. When he raised his hand at me, I felt I was the main cause of all the problems. I was very wrong at that time. Later on, I realized he wanted to teach me the power of forgiveness.

For me, it does not mean forgiving for wrongdoing, forgetting past, forgetting pain. It means letting our self free so that we can move forward in life. As I understand, the power of forgiveness is very beneficial for us. Forgiveness transforms our anger, hurt into healing and peace. I am a lucky girl to have such a loving dad. So, giving birth is not enough for a child, but to raise them up is also a big thing. I have seen this beautiful world because of my dad. So, great thanks to my lovely dad. My dad is the best in the world.

***

My Sister

Samjhana B.

My sister’s name is Tulasi Bharati. She lives in a rural village in the Solukhumbu district. She is an important part of my life.

She is like my mom because she did for me what a mother does for her child. She did everything, like looking after my studies and working in the field growing crops and vegetables. She was only 14 years old and also studying in school when my mother passed away. She sacrificed her every wish for my better future. What I needed or wished for, she gave me. She fed me, our animals and herself at a time when we had 4 goats and one cow and I was only 7 years old. In hope of a better future for me, she sent me to the Hope Home.

Now, she is married and lives with her husband and works in a school in my village as a nursery teacher. She has come to see me every 2 or 3 years.

She is the best sister in this world, ever. I want her to live in a beautiful house in Kathmandu near me, supporting herself, not like others who depend upon their husband.

***

My Birth Story

Pasang S.

My village’s name is Kerung. My village is in the Solukhumbu district, where the highest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest lies. I was born in place called Angpang which was my maternal uncle’s house. There is a small stream near my village. There were more than 20 houses. Only four were Sherpa homes and all others were of other castes. People were very friendly and cooperative. The village is covered with hills; there was no transportation. People used mules as a means of transportation. But nowadays everything is totally changed. There is a very good means of transportation. There are many new houses and a greater population. When I came Hope Home I missed my village a lot, but I was so unhappy to see such transformation when I returned. It was totally unexpected.

I was born on a cattle farm where my mom worked looking after cattle. When I met my grandma last year during the Dashain vacation, I asked her about my birth story and she told a story which was very interesting to me. My grandma is sixty five years old. She has got lots of wrinkles and only 4 to 5 teeth are left. She used to live in the village but now she is in Kathmandu with my maternal uncle and aunt. She got sick and weak because of the hard work that she did during her earlier life. She was hospitalized for 14 days. When I went to meet her in the hospital her eyes were full of tears which made me cry. She is still not fit and fine. She takes dozen of medicines and I hope she will recover soon.

I have three maternal uncles and one aunt. During my birth, my second maternal uncle was with my mom. When my mom’s labor pain started, my maternal uncle who was just 15 years old, and my aunt who was much younger than my mom, were with her. They tried their best to help her give birth, but they were unable to help. As fast as possible, my aunt went to call her sister, (a health worker), while my maternal uncle stayed with my mom. But mom gave birth to me before the arrival of her sister. When she gave birth to me, her whole family was with her except my aunt who had gone to call her sister. The most interesting part was my youngest maternal uncle who was just 7 years old brought cock from home as there is a custom in the village that after giving birth, a mother should be fed cock meat. After the 24th hour of my birth they all took me home.

After the name keeping ceremony, my father came with empty hands. Although there was ritual that if a child was born in the maternal uncle’s home, rice, ghee and other food should be brought from the father’s home. My grandma as well as the whole family accepted him and gave him shelter without thinking of what people will say, because everyone knew his condition. This was my birth story that I heard from my grandma during Dashain vacation of last year. After hearing this story I felt that my father is the worst father in the world, unable to feed his children. I love you mom; you are everything for me and I miss you a lot.

 

 

In Their Own Voices: The Writers of the Himalayan Hope Home – Nothing is impossible if we try! (Volume 11)

“Nothing is impossible if we try!” – Phurbu S.

Please enjoy more essays by our bright young ladies at the Himalayan Hope Home in Kathmandu. Thank you for sharing your lives with us, ladies! Your insights about the impact of education and the importance of providing good education to people in Nepal and in rural villages is so true. You are the future of your country!

When I Was In Second Position Among Them

By Phurba S.

I am in grade six now, and there are 24 students in our class. I am in second position in the class and I feel very happy and proud to be in this position.

When I was living in my village, I used to be in the pass position. At that time, I really didn’t know the power of reading, so, I didn’t study hard.  But these days, I know how important it is to study, so I work hard.

I came to Kathmandu and was admitted to a nongovernment school. The other students seemed very talented. English language was very new and hard for me, but I kept practicing. When I was in grade 4, I got fifth position in my final exam among 35 students. I was very excited and happy to be in the top five. After that success, I got more excited and worked harder. By the end of grade 4, I was in third position.

I realized that my progress was the result of my hard work. Nothing is impossible if we try. I developed more confidence, all the teachers loved me, they said good thing about me. I was very happy and I wanted to improve my position.

Now I am in grade 6 and in our third term examination I got second position where I still remain. I am very happy to be second, even though I want to be in first position of my class. So I am working very hard to get in that position and I believe in my hard work.

When I Had My First Menstruation

By Pasang lhamu S.

When I was 13 years old, I used to be happy when my sisters told me that I would soon become a teenager. Once, sitting together in a group on a Saturday evening, our sister taught us about menstruation. She said that menstruation is a very natural process and a great gift from nature to us girls.

I was feeling little bit different that morning. In the daytime, we went to a jungle to hike. We decided to climb a hill that would take us 3 hours to reach the top. Suddenly my lower stomach started to hurt. I told to my sister and she suggested that I drink some water and rest for a while. I said I could walk and we continued our hiking. I was getting well, the weather was very good, and I enjoyed the birds singing and the fresh air from the jungle. When we reached home, I went to the toilet and I found something different. My underwear was wet, and I had some blood down there. I was surprised, and said, “Oh! I am maturing.” I understood that it was my menstruation. I went to our sister, and she gave me some pads. She also told me how to use them, how we keep our body clean when we menstruate, and not to hide any problem, share all the problems with her. I felt so comfortable and confident.

I had read some conservative thoughts of our country. In the remote area of Nepal, women still have to go to the shed while they menstruate. Some are not allowed to go to into a kitchen or to temples. The people in remote areas make these rules because they think that menstruation is a bad thing. It is dirty. I feel very bad for those people.

I also feel lucky to be with educated people who understand me. I think we have to share our problems with our older sisters or with anyone from whom we can get help.

A Crash in Nepal

By Krishma S.

Monday, March 12, 2012 was a very unfortunate day for the Nepali people and for so many others. That was the day a plane named US Bangala crashed on landing at Tribhuvan international airport in Nepal. It was so dangerous I don’t want to think about it, but we have to face an accident when it happens.

I was very shocked by hearing that terrible news. I also heard that there were a number of M.BBS. students. They had passed their exam and were coming back to Nepal feeling happiness. But who knows the future! Some of the students didn’t even see their parents who had sold their property or taken out big loans to send them away for their studies.

It was a very sad moment to watch the news on TV. I realized that Nepal lost a big number of doctors. And the hard-working parents lost their children, their hope, future and everything. If our country has good universities, why would they leave Nepal to get an education? At the same time, it occurred to me to ask whose mistake caused that accident? Our nation and our people have to take responsibility and think about this very seriously.

 

 

 

The Mukli School: A Journey to Success

In the autumn of 2016 I made my first visit to the school in the village of Mukli. I was visiting the school as a part of my Master’s research on the support structures in rural Nepal that best allow more girls to achieve higher levels of education. During my visit I met with the headmaster, Dil Kumar Rai. After I had interviewed him and seen the school grounds, he took the time to write a personal letter to my colleague and leader of our partnering NGO, The Small World (Nepal): Karma Sherpa. Once I was back in Kathmandu, I hand delivered the letter to Karma. It asked for support to replace the school buildings in Mukli.

With the classrooms badly damaged in the earthquakes of 2015, The Small World had built a bamboo structure to serve as temporary classrooms, but permanent structures were sorely needed. Upon receiving Dil Kumar’s letter, Karma made the Mukli school a priority project.

In the autumn of 2018 I returned to Mukli to visit the school with volunteers from Norway and Sweden. We spent a week living with local host families in the village and working on construction tasks for a new classroom building.

In the summer of 2019 the buildings were completed! Thank you to all of you who have helped support this important and tangible project to improve the educational settings for children in rural Nepal! All that have sent funds, carried stones and been of support are appreciated and thanked. The children are jumping for joy!

Be well,
Sally

 

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new building classroomMukli new school building completedChildren playing in School

Writers of the Himalayan Hope Home: Strong Mothers Raise Strong Girls

Please take a few minutes to read this beautiful, powerful and profound story of a woman’s struggle, her persistence, and her ability to rise above the obstacles of a culture. Out bright young student, Pasang, shares the story of her mom. Thank you, Pasang, for sharing this with us!

I Am a Strong Girl Because I Am Being Raised by a Strong Woman

By Pasang, grade 8

My mother’s name is Dali Sherpa. She lives in village with my grandfather and grandmother. She told me her story, how she got married at the age of 15, and how she tried to convince her parents not to force her to get married, but she was compelled because at that time, girls are very old to get married after 15. She thought she was not ready to marry and she didn’t like the boy she was supposed to marry because she heard that he was already married but his wife died. She escaped from home to avoid marriage. She went far from home which took her 3 days, she stayed there and thought about working to earn some money, but her relatives came there and took her back. She had to marry the boy who was a drunk without any property.

After marriage, she went to her husband’s house, where she found literally nothing and her father in law and mother in law were disabled. She was so sad but accepted everything, thinking that it was written in her fate which she couldn’t change. She worked very hard to be successful even though she was never treated well by her father and mother in law. She worked morning to midnight when she was pregnant, and even after she gave birth to me, things were the same, and she never felt happy there. One night when I was 4 months old she got into a big fight with her mother in law; she was told to leave the house. So, she left, carrying me, and spent two nights in a cottage where dry grasses were stored. Then she thought about leaving everything and going back to her parents.

She was doing well with her parents, running a small tea house, raising me alone and helping her parents. Her husband came to her and she forgave him and they both stayed there. After two years, my sister was born, but when my sister was two years old, our father left home and my mum was alone. My eyes filled with tears when I listened to her story of struggle, but one thing she kept in her mind was: everything will be good one day and she had to be strong now for that. She worked very hard, and later, the villagers who used to gossip about her ruined marriage started praising her. She showed them that a single mother can also raised her children and fulfill their needs.

It is very difficult for a mom to send her child far from her, so when she got information about a way to help in my education through The Small World, she was both happy and sad. But she thought about my future, all the good facilities and quality education that I would get, and she sent me here to Himalayan Hope Home. Now she is proud of me. She built a house with her own income and she is a leader of drinking water and electricity of our village. There are no words which can describe her struggle and how strong she is. She is a model of my life and I always try my best to bring a smile on her face.

 

 

Writers of the Himalayan Hope Home: Travel!

Enjoy some words from the bright young girls who are the Writers of the Himalayan Hope Home in Kathmandu! Here are several essays by the girls on trips, vacation and travel. Cheers!

About My Vacation

by: Pratina

We had a long vacation after our annual examination.

We were very happy and excited to finish our final exam. I washed my uniforms and other dresses on the first day of vacation. The next day, we stayed at home managing our library, cleaning our rooms and some of us helped in the kitchen cooking food. Our younger sisters watched cartoons on TV. When we heard news that we were going to visit Namobuddha, we were very excited.

We were very excited, waiting for the day, and when it finally came, we all were very happy. We ate breakfast early in the morning and got ready for the trip. A big bus was there to take us. We enjoyed ourselves in the bus by singing, and some of us danced in the bus.  On the way, we saw so many beautiful views, different types of trees and our national flower, the rhododendron.  We reached Namobuddha, a cultural, historical and religious place.

We learned about the Buddhist religion and monasteries, and we also learned the history of the place: once upon a time there was a prince, and one day he went into the jungle with his friends around Namobuddha.  While visiting the jungle, the prince saw a tiger with her 5 cubs. He also noticed that they were very hungry. The prince was very kind, his friends ran away, but he stayed there and he donated his hand to the hungry tiger and her cubs. Then the tigers ate his whole body. A few years later the same person was born as Buddha in Lumbini of Nepal.

It was very interesting to listen to that story. The surrounding of the monasteries was also very beautiful.  We stayed there for a couple of hours, then we returned home. On the way home, our sister Pema took us to an aviation museum. We got tickets and went inside a big plane. Seeing an international airplane was very amazing. We learned so many things about planes. We also saw so many different types of planes. We were very happy. It was another beautiful holiday trip.

***

Journey to Namobuddha and the Aviation Museum

by: Pasang

Our goal was to be at Namobuddha as soon as possible, and after that, at the Aviation Museum. We woke up early in the morning and ate breakfast and started getting ready for our long trip to Namobuddha. Some of my friends took anti vomiting medicine so they would not feel sick on the drive. All Hope Girls knew we were going for a long drive. It was our second long drive. Our first long drive was of 6 hours when we went to Sindupalchowk. Our bus was reserved, and we felt comfortable and lucky. After travelling for 4 hours, we reached at Namobuddha. On the way we all danced, sang and enjoyed watching the beautiful views. We took a group photo that showed our excitement.

The environment was very peaceful, and I was feeling very peaceful while visiting the monasteries. We walked around the stupa, starting from the right side, because of Buddhist rules that we should walk from right side of monasteries or stupas. We visited all the monasteries, and they were all very beautiful with different types of art. The history of Namobuddha was written on the wall, the story of a hungry mother tiger, her 5 cubs, and a prince. The prince sacrificed his life for the hungry mother tiger and her cubs, and Buddha is the reincarnation of that great prince.

We enjoyed the beautiful environment, decorated by beautiful trees, fruits and flowers. We stayed there for 2 and a half hours. On the way home, we went to a museum, which was really different from other any museum, we had visited before.

We waited there an hour for our turn to enter. We entered a big airplane with our boarding pass. In the first room, we were welcomed by an air host, and we watched a documentary about the airplane museum. We visited all the rooms and saw all different types of planes. After an hour inside museum we took lots of pictures and got on the bus to go back home. Our trip home was just as much fun as the drive to Namobuddha.

***

Trip to Sindupalchok

by Pratina Rai

We took a vacation after our third term examinations. At that time, we got a chance to visit Sindupalchok. It was my first trip. All my friends and I packed our dresses and gotready. On Saturday morning at 6:30 am, we took the bus.

On the way, we sang songs and danced in the bus because we were very excited. We were passing through Bhaktapur, Sivapuri and Kabre where we had already been. I saw a beautiful jungle, rivers, waterfalls, vegetable farms and different types of houses. We stopped by the Melamchi River for lunch. Then we continued our journey. In some places the roads were very narrow and steep, so we were afraid. The closer were got to our destination, the more excited we were.

Finally, we arrived. There was a hostel like ours and the name of that hostel was Team Nepal. Their house was blue and they also had farms and a garden. I saw their small kitchen and dining room. First of all, we introduced ourselves to our new friends there, and then we rested in their guest rooms. The room was very clean and well decorated.

Next day, the new friends took us for a hike to Batashe Dada. I was very excited for that. I enjoyed all the beautiful views and played with cold water.  They fed us their local food which was very delicious and special for us.

This was my first trip, I can’t forget this trip and friends there, who were very friendly and helpful. I am missing them now, and I am very thankful to our Uncle Karma and Aunt Sonam and to our donors for giving us such a wonderful opportunity.

 

In Their Own Voices: The Writers of the Himalayan Hope Home – Volume 9

Enjoy an essay by the young, bright Dolmi from the Himalayan Hope Home!

Myself

by Dolmi

It’s me Dolmi. I am in grade 4. I am 10 years old. I feel very happy and lucky in this new home because I am very safe and free here. When I lived in my village, I had to work very hard. I had to wake up early in the morning, and go to cut the grass, and feed grass to our cow and grain to our hens. I lived with my grandmother and two uncles. I love my grandmother very much, and I know she also loves me. 

One day, surprisingly, she told me that I was going to Kathmandu to study. I didn’t want to leave my grandmother but she told me that, “your studies are very important, so you have to go.” I came to Kathmandu and met new friends. It was difficult to adjust to the new place in the beginning, but I got lots of love from everyone.

Now I am in grade 4 and I am doing very well in school. I like to participate in different programs. Last week I participated in a dance competition and I got first place. I won the prize, and I felt very happy. I have a goal, which is to be a good dancer.

We are learning to help other people in our life at Hope Home. I would like to work to improve life for poor people when I finish my studies. Thank you.  

Report from the Field: Mukli School Project with Volunteers

by Sally Wier

Namaste and autumn greetings from Salleri, Nepal! I am currently doing a 2.5 week trip in the Solukhumbu to visit current and future project sites for The Small World USA and our partnership with Nepal NGO, The Small World. I am writing from Salleri, the district capitol of Solukhumbu at the Girls’ Higher Education hostel. Internet was set up here for the first time about 3 months ago, so I am able to send this from the villages. The girls are doing well and are a pleasure to be with. They are practicing English with me, and I practice my Nepali with them. Many thanks to our supporters for keeping this wonderful program afloat!

Over the past week I had the pleasure to travel along with 12 volunteers from Sweden and Norway to one of our project sites in the Solukhumbu. We trekked to the remote, rural village of Mukli and helped with labor to construct a new earth-quake resistant school building with three classrooms. We worked for four days and spent the nights with two different local host families in order to allow the volunteers to experience the true Nepal. We were joined all along the way by several staff from The Small World including Chhyamba Sherpa, Sonam Sherpa, Dawa Sherpa and Ram Gurung. It was a meaningful trip that allowed this school to receive badly needed support and the volunteers found that what they gave came back to them in far greater quantity. The end of the 4 days of work culminated with a farewell program with the school principal, Dil Kumar Rai, other teachers and students in attendance. Volunteers were thanked with speeches and blessed with the gift of golden khatas (scarves), marigold flower leis and tikka (red paint on the forehead). Local students perform traditional dances for the volunteers and everyone joined in dancing together at the end of the program.

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Volunteers from Sweden and Norway in Mukli in front of the new school building currently under construction. 

The next morning we traveled back to the town of Phaplu by jeep. The volunteers are now enjoying a Himalayan trek for several days while I visit a number of project sites and make plans for future work on the ground.

Being here in person is a powerful and very tangible reminder of the room for aid in this beautiful country. The souls and hearts of the people are so incredibly big, despite them having few material resources. But as I told all the girls at the hostel today, and the children in Mukli, if you study hard and make education a priority, you can have dreams as big as you wish. With hard study and a positive attitude you can be anything you want. I know these children can dream big. And we can help support them as we dream.

Namaste!