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Friday, 7 November 2014

We're Thankful


As this year slowly draws to a close, we’re reflecting on how fortunate we’ve been in 2014. We have now — thanks to your generosity and support — given over 5,000 women in the rural lowlands of Nepal the opportunity to learn to read and write in their own language. We have expanded our project area to include the district of Madi and have created, with the help of the incredible women we work with and our Nepali team, vegetable outlets, sewing machine training classes and candle-making courses.

We are able to help the women we work with because we are fortunate enough to receive loyal support and donations from our good friends in Toronto and beyond.
Speaking of those supporters, we are proud to announce that we had two very successful benefits this fall. The first was organized by our good friend Diana Balogh-Tyszko and her incredible belly dance troupe Tribe MayaFire.

Invoketress performs at the Autumn Spice benefit
Earlier in the fall, the wonderful, talented and passionate women of Tribe MayaFire arranged a spectacular belly dance benefit for WELNepal at the historic Staircase Theatre in Hamilton, Ont. Tribe MayaFire’s Autumn Spice fundraiser featured spectacular performances by local troupes and dancers. We also got to show our first professionally produced video — a documentary about WELNepal’s very own superstar, Sharmila Timilsina. The documentary, made by actor and long-time WELNepal supporter Barry Flatman, can be seen here.

WELNepal would love to thank Tribe MayaFire, Ariella, Invoketress, Wild Orchid, Ala Nar, Shades of Araby, Amal, Elizabeth Gomez, Ishra, Jackie Pullar, Nuwayrah, Valizan and Joharah for their incredible performances and support for us and the women of Nepal.

Later on in October, WELNepal hosted its 13th Annual Benefit Bash at the gorgeous Steam Whistle Roundhouse in Toronto. It was our first — but certainly not our last — benefit at our most spacious and elegant venue yet. We are incredibly grateful to everyone at Steam Whistle for giving us their beautiful space to raise much-needed funds for our women’s groups.
Our education table

Aryan and Band
This year, we did things a little differently. For the first time ever, we hosted a live auction for two one-week stays at an Amsterdam apartment (donated by Liza Smaller, who owns Eye of Shiva, a wonderful shop selling Indian and Nepali clothes and kick-knacks in Kensington Market) and two sets of hockey tickets. To the winners of those incredible prizes — thank you and congratulations. We also set up what we called our Education Table. There, we offered guests the opportunity to fund entire classes or sponsor a gifted girl so she may pursue a higher education. The table was a great success. Thanks to everyone who donated, many more women and girls will receive an education. Your generosity will change lives for the better — thank you.
Nepali Dance Due

Our benefit would never have been successful without wonderful musical performances by talented local artists. We would like to offer a sincere thank you to Uttam Makaju, Pradeep and Aryan Banskota of the Nepali drum and flute group Aryan and Band, Nepali dance duo Swarnima Gurung and Nishma Nepal, tenor Paul Williamson (our special and surprise guest!), and Start the Car (a super fun and talented band that kept people dancing with their eclectic mix of cover songs).

Tenor Paul Williams
To everyone who came to our benefit — thank you. Whether you donated $50 at the door, spent $10 on a necklace sold by our good friend Shelley Snow of She Sells Sanctuary at the front or put up $1,000 at the live auction, your donation helped a woman (or many women) obtain an education. To everyone who came to Tribe MayaFire’s benefit — thank you as well. You have no idea how far just $30 goes in Nepal.

Thanks to all of you, 2014 has been an incredible year for us and our women’s groups. Let’s make 2015 even better.


Namaste

Monday, 20 October 2014

Our Benefit is TONIGHT

WELNepal’s 13th Annual Benefit Bash
Monday October 20, 2014
Steam Whistle Brewery: The Roundhouse
255 Bremner Blvd.
Toronto, Ontario

Festivities begin at 6:30pm! There will be live entertainment, delicious food and great bargains at the silent auction.
There will also be a live auction for two one-week stays in an Amsterdam apartment.
Reserve your seat at VIP tables of 8 for $125 per seat
by emailing eva@lanworks.ca
(a partial tax receipt will be issued)
or
Buy individual tickets online at the
WELNepal EventSpot or purchase a $50 ticket at the door 
We are absolutely thrilled that the amazing band Start The Car will be performing. Their music covers current & classic hits that will be sure to have you up on your feet! 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

A Little Update!



Some of us more mature folk might remember our elders complaining about walking miles in the snow to the old school house, but I’m betting that all of them had the luxury of walking on a bridge to cross rivers!

Earlier this year, we told you about the projects we initiated this year in Nepal. We are happy to say those projects are going well. Unfortunately, for every group of women we help, there is one that we cannot because of lack of funds.

For this reason WELNepal has added members to its board of directors.

WELNepal's New Board of Directors
Sadly, we have said our goodbyes to Diane Hanson, WELNepal’s first treasurer. Diane helped make WELNepal a charitable organization and kept all aspects of our organization running smoothly. We missed Diane before she even left.

Shortly after Diane’s departure, we welcomed Suzanne Campbell to the board.  Suzanne, a very busy and successful project manager and interior designer, is generously giving her valuable time to WELNepal

George and Eva Kostiuk, WELNepal’s most generous donors, have also joined the board. Both bring years of experience from positions at other boards and will help us better the lives of women in Nepal. 

Jennifer Stephenson — who traveled to Nepal earlier this year to visit Everest Base Camp and some of WELNepal’s projects — has also joined us on the board. I always knew Jennifer to be a most capable and tireless volunteer at our benefits. What I didn’t know was of her years of experience working on boards of other charitable organizations.

Bonnie and Jerry Good, although not board members, have agreed to act as wise council. Bonnie and Jerry have organized the support of many young women’s educations at the Mary Ward School in Kathmandu.

We know the support and expertise of our tremendously passionate and capable new board members will  help WELNepal flourish and continue to teach even more women’s groups how to read, write and be a force for positive change in the beautiful Chitwan region of Nepal.

Steam Whistle
Those of you who have attended our annual autumn benefits know that Steam Whistle has been providing us with their wonderful beer for the past eight years. This year, we are going to throw our annual party at the Steam Whistle Roundhouse. For those who have been there, you know what a great venue it is.  Those of you who haven’t taken a tour of the brewery or stopped for a beer are in for a treat.

More beautiful Steam Whistle
The biggest treat of all is that Steam Whistle has donated the use of their space for free.  We are extremely indebted to all the folks at Steam Whistle for their generosity.

I know it’s early, but please mark down Monday, Oct. 20 on your calendar — the date of our next benefit bash! Come to the Steam Whistle Roundhouse to enjoy wonderful food, great entertainment, good company and pride in knowing how much your attendance is helping women in Nepal.

Tribe MayaFire
Speaking of great entertainment, belly dance troupe Tribe MayaFire is holding their 5th Annual Spooky Souk Benefit for the women of WELNepal on Saturday, Sept. 27 at the lovely Staircase theatre in Hamilton, Ont.  If you enjoyed being entertained by Tribe MayaFire at our last four benefits, you’ll really enjoy them and many other talented belly dance groups at the Halloween-themed Spooky Souk!

Also, while we’re talking about parties, all you GTA-ers should make your way down to Nathan Philips Square on Sunday, Aug. 17 at 2 pm for the Nepalese Canadian Community Service’s Himalayan Mela 2014. It’s a wonderful outdoor party that celebrates Nepalese music, food, culture and entertainment. We’ll be there— so come out for some sunshine, dancing and delicious chicken mo-mos!


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Our A Team


Our A Team consists of Ashley, our copy-writer and blog master, and Anneli, our website designer and maintainer.

Both members of our A Team lead busy lives. Ashley and Anneli have careers that keep them very busy — sometimes too busy. That said, they take time from both their work and their precious evenings and weekends to maintain the website, manage our social media accounts and blog and design and send our mail-outs.

How does everyone at WELNepal make it work?  After we decide the content of a mail-out, I try my best to assemble coherent sentences. I send the first draft off to Ashley, who tears it apart and puts it back together in neat and clean English.  Sometimes Ashley needs to expand a thought. Sometimes she needs to shorten piles of messy words into something easily understandable. You really don’t know how much effort Ashley had to put into this dribble to make it read coherently!

Once Ashley is finished cleaning up my words, she sends the copy and any relevant photos off to Anneli.  Anneli wrestles both copy and photos into one of the few templates available for her use. Sometimes we decide that something isn’t quite right and needs some more tweaking.  That can send poor Anneli back to the drawing board, looking for a different template to accommodate another photo or an extra sentence.

The really wonderful thing about both Ashley and Anneli is their professionalism. Both are confident enough in their work to be able to make those changes when I get finicky without any attitude or hurt feelings.  “If you want me to change something David, that’s no problem! How’s this?”

Ashley and Anneli, I love you!!

--David Daai

Anneli West

Having over 20 years experience in the design and advertising field, Anneli started her career in design studios after graduating from The Ontario College of Art and Design. She worked with clients ranging from Mirvish Productions, Canadian Stage, Royal Conservatory of Music, Wellington Brewery, OysterBoy to more corporate clients, such as Canon, Laurentian Mutual Funds, York University, The Bodyshop and CIBC.

After seven years working full-time, she started her own design studio, Four Corners Communications which she ran for several years, ending with a bit of added education and traveling.

She then gravitated to freelancing in the advertising world with contracts at major agencies throughout the city such as Grip Limited, DraftFCB, Interbrand and Leo Burnett. In 2005, she went back to working full-time at Direct Antidote/AIR MILES (now called Squareknot) and is presently working full-time as a digital/print designer at Venture Communications.

On a personal note, she was born and raised in Toronto (minus a few years spread among Vancouver, Australia, India and Berlin - probably explains her love of traveling now). And she lives with her two cats and two roommates in the Little Portugal area of Toronto.

Ashley Newport

Ashley Newport is a Toronto-area freelance writer. After graduating with a professional writing degree from York University in 2007, she toiled away at a 9-5 before enrolling in the print journalism program at Sheridan College. Since graduating from Sheridan, she’s written about food, restaurants, business, trends, news and entertainment. If you look hard enough, you’ll find her work in Foodservice and Hospitality and Hotelier magazines, The Home Goods Merchandiser, ichilla.ca and insauga.com — an online suburban lifestyle magazine with major urban flair that she also edits.

Ashley has been WELNepal’s resident copywriter and social media maintainer since 2010, and even visited Nepal and the women’s groups in 2013.

If you need more Ashley in your life (or want to get in touch with her for writing or editing help and expertise), you can email her anytime at ashley.newport@gmail.com

If that’s not enough, you can find and follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @theashleyn



Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Jennifer Stephenson


Jennifer Stephenson (third from left) with a WELNepal's women's group
I met Jennifer Stephenson several years ago when she volunteered to work at our annual benefit bash and generously donated items to our silent auction.

I knew Jennifer would help make our benefit a success. I also knew Jennifer was very interested WELNepal’s work, since she insisted on seeing as many of our projects as possible when she visited WELNepal’s target area during her trip to Nepal this past winter.

What I didn't know about Jennifer was that she has many years of experience in the charity world under her belt. She’s sat on boards, written proposals and overseen various projects. Jennifer’s observations and explanations and suggestions were prescient and valuable.

Jennifer Stephenson is a most welcome family member of WELNepal.

Please read what Jennifer had to say about her time with the women in our projects.

---David Daai

Jennifer (second from left) with the women
Fast forward time zones and nothing is new on the other side of the world. The surety of the rising and setting sun and the measured pace of the seasons are unchanged, no matter what continent you find yourself.

But, if you look and listen, there are subtle undercurrents of activity.

In between chores and daily survival, WELNepal is providing a lifeline for many women in Nepal.

In many villages, women of all ages are gathering. Not to fetch water or help with planting or the harvest or celebrate a birth or mourn a life passed. They’re gathered to enter a new realm of understanding; of voice, of empowerment. This is an opportunity not to be missed and one that I was very fortunate to share in March 2014.

I met some of the beautiful women from WELNepal’s programs on my recent visit to Nepal. I was graciously welcomed into their innermost circles — circles of literacy and small cottage house industries such as organic farming, mushroom growing, candle making, sewing projects and souvenir making.

But it is the ability to better communicate by reading, writing, and reasoning that is so very fundamental to this circle of women. I spoke no Nepali and they spoke no English, but that did not diminish the confidence with which they shared with me a smile, a cup of tea, an orange. There were elements of on-going successes, hope and value in self.

A simple life made simpler with WELNepal's gift of literacy.

To all of you that have gifted (and to those of you who may), please continue or start to give whatever you can to WELNepal's programs. 

I have seen, heard and witnessed the results of the investment. There is always more that can be done - a letter, a donation, one step, a shared dream.

Namaste


Friday, 25 April 2014

ASMAN and ZONTA

The women of WELNepal using their new glasses
We at WELNepal love to say women learn to read so they can read to learn.
Sadly, many women involved in our literacy program — there are almost 1,500 women currently enrolled in our Basic, Advanced and Remedial Literacy classes — cannot do this if they have poor eyesight. The lighting situation doesn’t help matters.
Even though southern Nepal sits at the bottom of the highest mountains in the world, there is not enough power generated from the rivers that flow south and down from the Himalayas to provide 24/7 electricity. The Nepalese have learned to live without electricity for many hours a day. As a result, many of the women’s groups have to study under candlelight or low-light battery power. That, coupled with the fact that many of our students are in their forties and fifties, makes it difficult for them to see the print in their text books.
WELNepal prides itself on doing its best to solve any problems the women may have (if it is indeed within our power to solve them!). One of our friends once told us “you have to give your projects every chance to succeed.” Taking that advice to heart, we decided to provide reading glasses to all the women who needed them.
We reached out to our friends and acquaintances in the big city of Kathmandu, looking for the best price on reading glasses. Our best quote from came from Kamal, one of WELNepal’s new friends.
Kamal is part of a group of women who could stay home and enjoy a comfortable life in the country’s capital, but instead started ASMAN (a non-profit that aids and supports underprivileged women and children in the country) and ZONTA (an organization that seeks to advance the status of women worldwide). These women are also working on developing their own type of “Make a Wish” foundation as well.
Not only did these women get us a great price on glasses, they went as far as purchasing over 200 pair of glasses and donating them to the women in our classes. Their generosity allowed WELNepal to help more women that would have otherwise had to wait until next year to begin reading to learn.
On behalf of all of us at WELNepal, and all those women who now can see their Nepali ABC’s clearly, many thanks to Kamal, Soni  Pramila, Neelima, Agya, Dolma, Moon, and all the women at ASMAN and ZONTA for their generosity.
Namaste,
WELNepal


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Sauraha's Furry Residents

A few months ago, I started off this year’s blog-a-thon by telling you how my little village of Sauraha has changed and yet stayed the same.  Now, as I’m ready to leave this home for my home in Canada, I’d like to conclude my time in Nepal by telling you about some of Sauraha’s furrier residents. Let’s start off with some of the big boys.

These are girls, actually. Male elephants are considered too unpredictable to ferry tourists into the Chitwan jungle. I am also happy to report that Mother Nature, in her infinite wisdom, made sure that elephant dung does not smell bad.  Elephant farts on the other hand…

There has been some work for the benefit of the elephants.  An American woman has started a wonderful project that ensures these big, beautiful, family-oriented animals live together in enclosed areas rather than being chained up to a post alone. Some tour offices in Sauraha are now suggesting that it would be better for the elephants to spend less time carrying tourists through the jungle when visitors can enjoy a leisurely walk on their own two feet. Once again, I strongly suggest you come to my little village of Sauraha and take a walk in the jungle

                                              


One way to get around town is to take a horse cart.  There is something very 19th century about hearing the clip-clop of horse hooves on the newly paved streets of Sauraha.  Some of the horses are better cared for than others, which is unfortunate — but at least Nepalis aren’t fond of horse meat.

                                  


These big guys work for a living, carting tourists around the town.  It’s a lot better than being on someone’s plate for dinner.

                                                


Being a male human in Nepal is good. It’s not so good being a male of any other species.  Female buffalos make more buffalos and milk.  Male buffalos make good mo-mos.

                                                


This male goat looks sad because he knows that, sooner or later, there is going to be a festival, marriage or some ceremony that he’s going to be invited to. He won’t be attending as a guest, but will end up in many guest’s bellies. Not an ideal way to experience a party.

                                               


The same goes for these ducks. But I will tell you that there is a lot less quacking and cock-a-doodling in town after a big holiday


This misplaced camel probably knows Sauraha is no Sahara, but is powerless to do anything about it. 


The cow--sacred to Hindus--has nothing to fear in sunny Sauraha. This adorable mom and baby are revered and well looked-after. They won't end up on anyone's plate anytime soon. 





Cats, being extremely camera shy, are very hard to photograph — except for this little guy who found me a most excellent salt lick.




WELNepal’s great friend, wordsmith and dog lover Ashley was very happy to hear that the great folks from HART were back in town this year, neutering all the strays they could capture.  Street dogs are not the Nepali’s favorite animals and the dogs know it.  They keep a very low profile during the day.  But when the HART van drove through town, there was always a very angry pack of doggies still recovering from their surgeries tearing after the van, letting them know exactly how they felt about their new situation.  At least they are not on the menu at festivals.

I’m going to miss all my friends in Sauraha, human and not, as I prepare to head home to enjoy the last gasps of winter.

---David Daai





Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Helping Women Grow

Nowadays, woman’s empowerment and literacy is being much popular in the context of Nepal, especially in rural area where the people are uneducated and illiterate. 
I personally believed that such types of programs enhance the people in upgrading their knowledge, including recognizing the advertisement and banners in the street while they are going far away from their home.  They are also capable to expose their feelings in front of huge mass of people without any hesitation.  Moreover it is said that a woman is literate in the family, then the whole family are literate. 
With the help of these classes they can sign in respective document instead of thumb print at bank or anywhere else. 
So in my view these classes are very important for the people of rural area, for those person who are uneducated.  By the help of these classes they can learn simple language and they can read and write.  So it is great benefit for the people.
Bipana Shivakota
Bipana Shivakota wrote the above quote. She has been facilitating one of our remedial classes for the past three years.  This year she will oversee the fourth year of remedial classes for the women in her village of Kumroj.  Bipana has also just completed her final year at nursing college and will soon begin her career in a local hospital.

Her sentiment matches our own. We've blogged about the success of our remedial classes before, and fortunately there’s more good news on that front.  All 700 women in our remedial class program have completed their two-year literacy course.  These women — from 50 different classes — meet once a week in order to keep their reading and writing skills honed. The classes also let them discuss other topics and share their feelings. Here are some success stories:

Shova Adhikari
Shova Adhikari told us that one of the lessons in our Remedial 1 class dealt with uterine prolapse — a condition common to women here in the villages who have multiple children and return to arduous labour too soon after giving birth.  After reading the article and discussing the condition, three women who were previously too embarrassed and too shy to deal with the problem promptly went to the hospital for treatment. While uterine prolapse may be an uncomfortable and embarrassing condition (it occurs when the uterus slips into or partially out of the vagina), it is treatable, and it’s good that women in our classes are no longer suffering in silence.

Our remedial classes are not only about keeping the women’s literary skills sharp. Shova also told us about the death of a woman in her village of Jutpani. The woman died after giving birth to a healthy son, and the women of our remedial class were not satisfied with the doctor’s shrug of his shoulders. Their persistence in questioning the woman’s untimely death revealed that the death was caused by a hospital error.  The women were able to sue for close to $10,000 and are using the money to pay for the young boy’s upbringing.  

Sarita Dahal from Pithuwa told us that one of the women in her remedial class successfully
Sarita Dahal
filled out a complicated visa application form so she could visit family in the U.S. We’re incredibly happy she had the chutzpah and confidence to walk into the very well-guarded and somewhat intimidating American Embassy in Kathmandu. She is now visiting her family in the United States.

Sangita, a student in our Remedial 3 Class, told us that she now has the confidence to take part in local programs and has no difficulty voicing her opinion.  She also tells us that the money she is earning from our organic farming and mushroom cultivation project is going to pay for her son’s computer training. Sangita says that she has learned through her remedial studies that computer skills are necessary for attaining better positions in the working world these days.

Sangita also tells us that, although her marriage was arranged without her having much to say about the choice, she will take part in the marriage of her daughters but be much more responsive to her girl’s wishes.

Sangita
As I have mentioned in previous messages and blogs, some say that literacy classes for women are not, on average, successful.  I am very proud and happy to say those who believe that should come and meet the women in our remedial classes.

The women in our literacy class were once learning to read. Now they are reading to learn.





Thursday, 6 March 2014

Meet the Kumals

The Kumal family stands In front of their little shop. Sunil is standing beside his wife Sante.  In front of Sunil is middle daughter Nalina. Sitting between her mother and father is little Sarina, and their oldest daughter, Rojina, is on the left. As you can see, the Kumals named their shop after Rojina.

Rojina with customers
Rojina is now old enough to look after the shop when her parents  are busy with other duties.  Rojina, as the oldest, is also in charge of helping her two sisters. She is an excellent student (first in her class) and is being generously supported by one of WELNepal's donors.

All three girls attend a private school. This is especially remarkable considering most parents wouldn't spend money on a top notch education for their daughters. For many, education is still seen as wasted on women. Fortunately, Sunil and Sante feel differently. Sunil's family, back in the remote village of his birth, still urge him to try again for a son, but Sunil tells me that he is proud of his three girls and does not want or need any more children.
Line of shops

The Kumals sleeping space
All five Kumals live in one room in the back of their shop. The pictures tell the story.  As you can see, all five sleep together.  There are a few posters and photos on the bare brick wall. The room is also crowded with shop stock, and since Sunil and Sante need to sell locally-produced liquor to eke out a living, that one room also serves as a bar.  Sunil tells me that there is no drinking allowed in their living quarters until the children have finished their homework. You would be forgiven for wondering where the drinkers even sit! 


When it comes to poverty, the Kumals are not the exception — they are the rule. ALL families that operate rental shops live the same way.

Outhouse
Kumals kitchen
All of the families use the outhouse at the back of the shops and share one water pump that provides drinking and washing water. Sante and the rest of the women go to the river to wash their clothes, which is difficult and time-consuming.

Despite the difficult living conditions, it’s encouraging to see families valuing education above all else — especially when they’re going against the grain and educating women and girls. 



Monday, 24 February 2014

Madi


David Daai on route to Madi
This year, WELNepal is at last fulfilling a long-standing request to bring its projects to a remote area of Nepal. 

We chose Madi.

Madi is indeed remote.  Most of the route to Madi is a semi-paved, semi-graveled, always potholed road that is jarring and teeth-rattling.  Even the Nepalis call the road bad (and they’re remarkably tolerant of tough terrain!).

The last 10 kilometers of this poor excuse for a road takes travelers through the beautiful Chitwan jungle.  I wanted to stop and listen to the sounds of said jungle, but I was told that those sounds were made by wild elephants, rhinos, sloth bears and tigers — none of which take kindly to visitors.

Until recently, the only way to access to Madi was through and into a shallow river.  There was
Madi road
no access during the monsoon when the shallow stream became a rushing torrent. Fortunately, a bridge has been built over the Rapti River that will allow year-round access for vehicles and motorcycles and trucks carrying Madi’s goods and produce to and from the once insular community.

Madi is a little piece of Nepal surrounded on three sides by India.  One has to travel north over that river to stay in Nepal, and how Nepal managed to keep that little chunk of land for itself and away from powerful India is beyond me because Madi is absolutely beautiful.  It’s peaceful and serene, with fertile fields stretching as far as the eye can see.  When I was there, those fields were green with vegetables and mustard plant and wheat.  Madi is primarily farmland. There are few roads and only one lodge. There are few buildings over one story high. There is no electricity, but there are friendly, kind and warm-hearted Nepali people who rarely see people like me in their district!

So while Madi is a perfect place for growing things, it is not such a good place for advancing the lives of women.  That’s why we went there, down that bumpy road, at only minor expense to my back and behind.

Last year, Raj (WELNepal’s coordinator) and I visited Madi to meet the local women’s groups.  We were honored with garlands and red tikkas on our foreheads and festooned with flowers.

Women of the Dalit (untouchable) caste 
This year, every group of women met us with the same ritual.  I like the garlands; I don't mind carrying around the bag of flowers that I am presented with (it's not good manners to leave flower offerings behind); but I'd rather not have red powder smeared all over my forehead.  The powder goes everywhere and as a man with white hair, I eventually wind up with pink highlights.

Our budget limited us to 10 literacy classes in Madi.  A literacy class should be no more than 30 students, but in the village of Nayapiparia, more than 50 women showed up to register for the class. Knowing from past experience that it would be too hard to decide which 25 or 30 women would not be able to learn to read and write this year, I quickly relented and budgeted for two classes.


Two of the classes will be for the women of the Dalit (or untouchable) caste.  A photo of one of those classes is shown above. The women tell me that they will be able to study after working in the fields for land owners. Their salary of 200 rupees a day (a little over $2) is much needed to put food on the table.

Sita Sharma
Sabita Bahal




The coordinator for our classes in Madi will be Sita Sharma (left). Sita is a member of the Tri-Sakti women's group, a group formed to work for the advancement of the lives of women in Madi. But our true "ace in the hole" for this project is Sabita Bahal (right). Sabita is a past president of the Tri-Sakti women's group and a former member of the Nepali parliament.  She is a much respected and honored person in Madi.  Since she was the impetus for bringing WELNepal to Madi we're confident our literacy classes will be successful. 




Monday, 10 February 2014

Clothing Drive



Greetings friends and supporters!

Late last fall, WELNepal decided to reach out to local schools and see if any kids were interested in donating clothes to the little ones in David Daai's village.

All Saints Catholic Elementary School, located in Mississauga, Ontario (just outside of Toronto), more than came through for the kids in Sauraha and  the largely impoverished Malpur. 


David gave two brief presentations to the youngest and oldest students in the school, and much to our delight, hundreds and hundreds of clothing items came in over the next few days. We got more shirts, shoes, pants, jackets, hats, mitts and socks than we ever dreamed possible and the kids in Nepal were overjoyed to receive their new clothes when David landed in his village in January. 

Everyone at WELNepal owes a huge, enormous Thank You! to Trustee Sharon Hobin, Principal Nancy Levey and all of the students, staff and parents that made this incredible clothing drive possible. 

Here are some pictures of the Sauraha and Malpur kiddies enjoying their new threads.


This girl is showing off her new uniform in the impoverished village of Malpur