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.
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