|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.