Sunday, February 4, 2018

Nepal

Dear Friends,

We are writing this from the town of Sauraha in southern Nepal, the lowland area near the border with India. It has been about five years since we have done projects in a country other than Cambodia. Nepal has been on our list of places for a future project for some time. This past summer we came upon news reports of flooding in this area, there was lots of damage to personal property and lives lost. Our research led us to a Canadian charity called Women's Education and Literacy Nepal (WELNepal) founded and run by David Walton from Toronto.

WELNepal has taught over 6,000 women, of all ages. to read and write, currently there are 560 women in the literacy program. They also sponsor many bright young women to complete high school, bachelor degrees and master's programs. In addition they support income generation programs such as: candle, incense, soap making, sewing programs and organic farming.


WELNepal supplies small libraries to the literacy class graduates, their children and other villagers to improve their readings skills. The libraries are comprised of story books relevant to the area as well as books on health issues, farming practices, human rights and other knowledge based topics.

Over the course of our stay we went out with David and Raj and Harimaya, the local coordinators for WELNepal, they took us out to visit their literacy classes and some income generation projects. We were inspired to watch the women, who six months ago could not read or write their own names, stand up and read to us and write on the white board proudly and with confidence.



K.I.D.S. has funded another library for one of the communities in this area. Poor eyesight is also an issue for many of the women so K.I.D.S. has also supplied 250 pairs of reading glasses that will be distributed as needed.

Sauraha is a poor rural farming area and like Cambodia a diverse skillset helps poor families survive, reduce their overhead and stretch their farming income. With this in mind K.I.D.S. is purchasing sewing machines and implementing another sewing training program for 28 women. Upon completion of their training they will be able to repair or sew new clothing for their children and families as well as make school uniforms for their children. K.I.D.S. will grant the sewing machines to the women after the program. We are sure with their resourcefulness that there will be income generation opportunities for these hard working women when they acquire their new sewing skills.

We also visited and distributed books, pens, pencils and backpacks for a group of 52 school children from a very poor ethnic minority called the Chepang, often characterized as the poorest of Nepals poor.





The work that K.I.D.S. does would be impossible to do without close and dedicated partnerships. Our experience here in Sauraha and Nepal has been amazing and very moving. Many thanks to David, Raj and Harimaya. We admire their compassion and commitment to improve the lives of women, children and families.

Once again we want to extend our most heartfelt thank you to K.I.D.S. donors who continue to partner with us to make change where it matters most; at a grassroots level, in people's homes, hearts and minds. Your contributions, without a doubt, continue to improve lives and change futures.

We head back to Cambodia in a couple of days and we leave behind new friends here in Nepal.

Dherai Dehrai Dhanyabad
(Thank You Very Very Much in Nepal)
Till next time
Rick and Adrianne

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

No Place Like Home

Dear Friends,


One of the main areas of focus for K.I.D.S. is education. Often attending and physically being in school is the easy part for students compared to the struggles that they face outside the school environment. We have written about difficulties with transportation, access to drinking water and nutrition as being major barriers children are forced to navigate in their quest for education, and how K.I.D.S. assists in helping students overcome these issues.

Lack of proper housing and toilets conspires to throw health issues into the mix further complicating a student's ability to access education.

We can only imagine how difficult it would be living in a house where the roof and walls leak rain and wind, some children cannot find a place to sleep large enough to escape drips in the thatched roofs. Often a complete lack of a toilet facility at home forces children to spend a lot of time searching for privacy in wooded areas as well ponds or rivers to bathe in.




This trip K.I.D.S. donors, Sarah Gilks, creator and founder, of the Healthy Role Models program and the women who participate in the program have partnered with K.I.D.S. to build 3 new houses, renovate 2 and provide 18 more families from our education sponsorship program with toilets within a few steps of their homes. A big thank you to Sarah and HRM for supporting 10 of these bathrooms and 2 of these houses.

The homes are very modest with windows and a door for ventilation and security and a basic brick outhouse with a small water reservoir, a squat toilet and a drain in the tile floor so they can bathe in privacy. We were also happy to be able to provide work for local villagers.



For these children and families obtaining the resources to build a basic house or a toilet is almost impossible.

Needless to say the families of the kids in our Smart Kids sponsorship prorgram were extremely thankful. We will let the photos speak for themselves.




Thanks again for continuing to improve lives!
All the very best to all of you,
Rick and Adrianne

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Books Bikes and Backpacks

Dear Friends,

We hope all is well with you and yours. K.I.D.S. has a strong focus on education and we are always happy to be able to give out bikes, books, uniforms and backpacks to students. In poor rural areas having a bike is a necessity, not just to be able to go to school but for the family to use to go to the market, clinics and also take their siblings to school; as they travel far distances to get an education. A bike means the difference between going to school or not. It is great to also upgrade their old crumbling bikes with a new one.


School supplies and uniforms are needed and necessary however due to poverty and poor funding they are often not able to afford them. It is a relief to everyone when we can upgrade their supplies and give poor students a new clean uniform that will last them the year. We also believe that kids need to play and so on Sunday we were able to bring soccer balls and nets for the school and all the kids from our Smart Kids program immediately hit the field and happily started playing..so great to see these kids have some fun!!!


Thanks again for supporting these great children, youth and teachers, along with all K.I.D.S. donors we especially thank the many children around the world who saved their birthday money and fundraised to bring kids bikes and better futures.


All the very best to all of you,
Adrianne and Rick

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Sense of Home

Dear Friends,

We hope that all is well as the Christmas holidays come to a close and a new year is just around the corner. The one thing that seems to be a constant during the holidays is a sense of home, gathering together at the homes of parents, family or friends and sharing with those who are important in our lives.

 Over the years of doing this work sometimes the results are not so easy to measure. Often the outcomes seem clouded by witnessing the immense struggles and difficulties faced by so many that we cannot help. It helps to know that thousands of children drink clean water daily, thanks to KIDS water projects and feel better for it, or that many more children can read and write and that girls and young women are more safe and secure. These differences absolutely confirm that our combined efforts make a difference, however sometimes it is seeing the more intimate changes in each family that really touches our hearts.

Each week we travel out to the area where we are building homes and bathrooms for the children and families who live and work in the brick factories. Previously these families were housed in terrible shacks or rudimentary shelters in the corners of the brick factories with no sanitation facilities. Under these living conditions the despair, sadness and drudgery the families face is very hard to witness.



We see the difference in the families who have received toilets and decent housing, and it is very moving, They are now growing vegetable gardens, raising chickens, ducks, some are raising pigs and flower gardens are growing. The houses and bathrooms are clean and there is a sense of pride as they laugh and talk with us.


When we ask them how they feel their lives have improved, they say now that they live off the factory land and are no longer indentured to the factory owners they can take a day off if needed. They express a feeling of security and safety, they no longer worry that they or their children will be bitten by snakes going to the bathroom in the bushes at night...and most of all there is a sense of happiness that they did not have before. A huge thank you to Sarah Gilks and her Healthy Role Models program participants for partnering with KIDS donors to make this life changing work happen.


As you gather together at your homes to welcome the new year please know that your kindness and generosity has and continues to provide homes for others and everyone expresses a most heartfelt "Thank You" for making this possible.

From all of us here, we wish you and yours a very Happy New Year!!

Till next time,
Adrianne and Rick

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Holiday Smiles Across the Miles

Dear Friends,

As the holiday season approaches we are thinking of you all as you gather together. We hope wherever you are that you have time to enjoy each other and share some good food, good cheer, laughter as well as remember those that we have loved and are no longer with us. It is often a time of gratitude and looking forward to the new year. We want to thank you all for your friendship and for your support and for assisting the wonderful kids in Cambodia. You have brought a lot of happiness and some great smiles to children here....here are just a few.



 
We send a toast of goodwill, peace, love and friendship to you all,

Til next time,

Adrianne and Rick