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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.