Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thank you for the Funds received

I want to thank everyone who has sent in their fees for 2010. At this point in December we have received twice as many payments as at this time last year. This makes my job so much easier. For those who have not sent theirs in yet this is okay as you have until January 15th or post dated cheques are fine.
Load shedding is in full effect in Nepal which means they only have electric power for a few hours per day so contact with them is more difficult but I hear two to three times per week and everything and all children are fine.
I am returning to Nepal on February 25th so as usual I will take letters and small gifts but they must be received at my house no later than a week before I leave. Packing is a big job!
Please remember NEF if you are getting rid of stuff as we need it for our Garage Sale in May.
Just phone if you have anything 250-746-8936.

I am trying to get a newsletter out before Christmas but will wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year here in case I am late with the newsletter. I would like to say how much we appreciate each and everyone of you because without you none of these children and women would be getting the help and education that they so desperately need.

Seasons Greetings

Monday, November 30, 2009

Great News for the Chimkhola School Project

Nearly two years ago I made the trek up to the Chimkhola Village and was saddened to see the lack of facilities at the school. They had a sufficient building but little else. No library, science lab or equipment, no teaching aids, toilets were in very bad condition with no water etc.
I presented this to the Duncan Daybreak Rotary Club and the Duncan noon time Rotary Club and I am very happy to report that they have raised the following funds:

Rotary Club Duncan Daybreak - $ 4,300 US
inlud. a contribution from the mid island group of 17 clubs - $ 1000 US
Rotary Club Duncan noontime - $ 9000 US
Rotary District 5020 1:1 matching grant - $13,300 US
Rotary Pokhara - $100 US

Total - $26,700 US

In March 8 to 10 Rotarians from the local clubs are making the trip to Nepal and up to the village to see the project first hand. NEF is the cooperating organizing with the Rotary Clubs here and in Nepal. We wish to thank them for the hard the work they have put into raising these funds. I am excited that they will see the school and the village and meet the Pokhara Rotary Club who will be responsible for implementing the improvements. I know it will be a memorable trip for them. I will report here later on the project and the trip to the village.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Re: Payment Renewals

I am sorry but I forgot to put my address etc. for payments.

Please make out cheque to Nepal Education Fund and send to me at:

Susan Marshall
6718 Beaumont Ave.
Duncan, BC
V9L 5X8

For overseas sponsors you can send an international money order and from the US a cheque works. For those in England I do have a bank account in the UK that money can be deposited in and if you wish that info please contact me.

Back Home

We arrived home a few days ago after a very long journey from Delhi. It has taken quite a few days to be able to do anything as I was also sick. Anyway I am now feeling better.

I had a successful sale of Nepali crafts on Saturday and it was nice to see so many sponsors who dropped by to see me. I am at the Chemainus Fire Hall this Saturday.

I have been hearing from Mann in Nepal almost daily since returning home. He has just successfully renewed the charity with the Social Welfare Council which has to be done every year. It is a lot of work. He has also been to Pokhara and set up the science lab at the school and as you can see by the photos it is looking good and has made a lot of students happy.

I am in the process of sending a lot of letters out. I saw about 60 of the children and all of the women. Our new literacy class is at 30 which is more than I wanted but it is hard to turn the women away. There are many more waiting to start.

We found that India looked much more prosperous than Nepal. It was much cleaner and there were not as many beggars on the streets. Even down in Old Delhi we just did not see the same kind of poverty. I know it is there but it is so much more obvious in Nepal.

A reminder that fees are due now and the deadline is January 15th. $80 for Government school and $300 for private. Women are $60 for six months. Please remember to address the envelope to me and not NEF as we had cheques stolen from the mail last year. The cheque though is made out to NEF.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Leaving Nepal

Tomorrow we leave Nepal for India. As always we are very sad to leave Nepal and our wonderful family here and all our friends and children.
I have letters for all the sponsors of the women in the literacy program. They were all written in Nepali so Mann and Sima have translated them all for you. I think they are very special and I am sure all the sponsors will be pleased with them. They are very happy to be able to write them to you and that is the gift you have given them and what better gift could that be.
There are a lot of letters from the children also but we did not get to visit every child in this short time but we have seen at least half of them.
We have done a great deal in two weeks. The science project is well on its way. The principal phoned this morning to say that the tables and stools are ready and Mann is going to Pokhara in a few days to take the three big boxes of science equipment to them.
We have a begininer class of new women and the other class continues adding English language. A total of 45 women students. We have had to turn a lot away again. They just keep coming to the school wanting to learn. It is hard to turn them away.
The children are doing well, we have lost a couple of teenaged boys but otherwise our results are excellent.
I will not be touch again now until I get back to Canada on November 18th. As soon as I get back I will get all photos and letters out to everyone.
Thanks again for making our work here possible. This charity is very successful and we are helping to change lives and give a lot of hope which means so much.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Today's photos: At the top is Santi and below her home. Her father is a blacksmith working in front of their home and her mother is blind and turns the wheel all day to make air for the bellows to keep the fire going. This family is extremely poor as you can see by the photo. Above left is the science equipment we bought today for the Simpani school. This took several hours today and in fact Mann is still on his way home with it as he waited to get it all packaged up. A grade 12 student who happened to be there helped us pick suitable posters and extra things that the school did not have on the list. This is an excellent project made possible by the Dohar Wooden Spooner's Rugby Club. Mann is looking forward to getting this all set up at the school. Above right is Apekshaya with her sponsor's gift and as you can see she is very happy with this. To the left is Sabritri, one of our blind students who we visited today. She is an excellent student who won a scholarship this year. She is charming, polite and always so happy to see us. She is waiting for me to visit her home in the village one day. I really love this young woman.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Visiting Children in Kathmandu

We have been back in Kathmandu now 3 days and have visited quite a few children. It is very different here from Pokhara. Our children are very spread out and it is much more difficult. I have also been shopping for Nepali handicrafts to bring home for the charity.
I have delivered all gifts and cards etc. The children really enjoy them. I saw Pradip and Parmila this morning, they were among the first ten children that we ever sponsored. They were quite small then and now are young adults.
We find Kathmandu so much more chaotic and noisy than Pokhara. There it is so much more peaceful. I have also been continuing with language classes and gradually I am able to converse more. Tomorrow we are going shopping for science equipment for the Pokhara school.
The day after we left Simpani 16 women came to the school there to see me. They wanted me to start a literacy program a little way away in a very poor river community. We will think about this for the spring.
We have three days left here before leaving for India.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Literacy women

Our new women's literacy group. they started school today. Sponsored child Naina in her national costume for Tihar and little Kabita.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Women's Literacy Class

Today we went to Simpani and did some visiting including tea with some of our women, really great and the school principal had arranged to have all their certificates framed and they looked good and very professional. Then we met 13 new women for the beginner class which starts tomorrow. They actually have over 20 for it but some were still away for the holiday. None of these women have ever been to school and one had 9 children. Shree Ram, our oldest student gave them all strict instruction such as they had to attend every day and were never to be late. It really was funny, she is quite an ambassador for us.
I have seen a lot of children but a lot are away in the village for Tihar but still will have a lot of photos to send out to sponsors.
Tomorrow we make the trip back to Kathmandu but we are very sad to leave as it has been a wonderful and memorable week here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Photos top Laughing Buddha Restaurant and home of Rheka, sponsored child. Next Sumitra and her little brother. Dancing on the street for Tihar. Shree Pun's notebook from Literacy Program. New sponsor meets her child and a cow joins us for breakfast. Rheka and her mother in photo.

Dipawali or Tihar

It is Dipawali here in Nepal and it is a wonderful festival of light, music, dancing and flowers. The streets in Pokhara have been alive with children and adults dancing and singing. All the shops have candles and lights and flowers decorating their fronts. Tomorrow it is the day when the sisters honour their brothers by giving multicoloured tikas and flower malas. Businesses and government are closed for three days.
Today we were invited to Mann's parents for lunch, dahl bhat, which is rice, lentils and vegetables. It was a very nice day. Tomorrow we have been invited first to our little restaurant family to share in the tikka ceremony and then to one of our school principal's home for lunch and their celebrations. It is all very nice.
After this we only have one day left in Pokhara and that day will be spent visiting in Simpani again as we still have families to see and also meeting new ladies for the literacy program.
Tomorrow I will put some more photos on here.

Dipawali ko suva kamana (Happy Dipawali)

Friday, October 16, 2009


To the left is Pinky and Binita in clothes we gave. At the top Mann and Prakati. Top right is our oldest student Ram Shree Pun writing her name and my name. Above the sports equipment NEF bought for the Simpani school.
I must add that I looked at Ram Shree's school books and was amazed at how much she had learned. She has beautiful Nepali handwriting. Totally incredible in such a short time.

Another busy day in Simpani

We went shopping first thing this morning to buy sports equipment for the Simpani Government School. NEF purchased footballs, a volleyball and net, karom board, chess games, skipping ropes etc. This school had no sports or games equipment. We delievered this and then talked about another new and exciting project which is as follows:

We have had a donation from the Doha RFC Vets Wooden Spooners Rugby Club in Qatar. They have raised enough money to supply science equipment for a science lab at the Simpani school. The teacher here had no equipment at all for his classes 7 & 8. They have a room for it that they are going to paint and put glass in the windows. NEF is paying for the tables, stools and cupboard. Mann is pricing out the equipment and the tables will be ready in a couple of weeks. So the Lab should be up and running in one month. The school is truly grateful for this and it will make is so much easier for the students to learn the practical side of their science studies.
The Ruby Club is also sponsoring four little girls to go to school. These are Pinky, Prakati, Santi and Sumitra. Many, many thanks to this club for their support and making a difference to these children's lives.

I visited quite a few children in Simpani and this afternoon took Reka and her mummy from the restaurant shopping for a new outfit each. This is a gift from Bob. We had a hard time getting them to pick as they only wanted us to choose. We also bought decorations for the Tihar festival which is this weekend. On the way home Reka thanked us several times and said how lucky she was. Such a lovely and so grateful. The family lost everything in the landslide and somehow they always are smiling.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Women's Literacy Graduation

Well it was a wonderful day with our 23 women all receiving medals and certificates. They were so excited and it was very special. Some of the older women I thought would not finish not only did but want to continue. The principal made it a very nice ceremony with flowers, tea and cookies and an award for myself, Bob and Mann. Not necessary but very much appreciated. Many photos were taken, everyone wanted their pictures taken with us. It all lasted about two hours and I think it was a special day for all of us. I am so very proud of them. I had one award to give out and was going to give it to the lady with the best attendance but there was 3 who had only missed one day so I had to change it and give it to the highest achiever and that was a lady named Januka. I now belive that some of these ladies could go a long way maybe even get their class 10 exam. Now they are continuing and are going to start learning English. I told them that I had fallen down on my promise to keep studying Nepali at home because I had been so busy telling everyone at home about them and raising money for this program that I had no time left to learn Nepali but maybe next time they could speak to me in English. They all laughed at this. I told them how their sponsors at home thought so much of them and felt a spiritual link to them

We are now starting another beginner class so will have two classes running. The teacher wishes to teach both classes. She seemed to have a special relationship with the ladies.

We have 15 of these women sponsored now so 8 must feel left out. I hoping to have them all sponsored so let us see what we can do. $10 per month brings this much joy and hope to an otherwise illiterate woman. We are making a huge difference here and it feels very good. They have sure proven their worth. Our thanks also to Mann all has done such a great organizing and monitering this program.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Arrived in Pokhara

It was a very long journey today from 6am till we arrived here at 3:30 pm. The bus seemed unusually slow and it was very hot. Checked into the hotel and then went right to my favourite restarant for a cup of tea. We sponsored the 14 year old daughter of the family that run this restauant last spring. I am so tired that I cannot spell excuse this. I was so happy to see this family and they to see me. It is a tiny shop and the story of the family is this. They lost their home and livestock to a landslide in their village two years ago. They now have the job of running this restaurant. Since I was here in the spring they have lost their rented room as they said it was a wreck and in the monsoons it was flooded with water. They now have no home and sleep on the restaurant floor at night. Reka who we sponsored is such a lovely girl. Her sponsor pays for her three hours of extra tuition per day. So goes to school at 6 am returns at 4 pm and then she says she washes her clothes and then works as the waitress till 8 p. and then studies till 10 pm. This is the first time Bob has met her and he was so touched by her. The mother in spite of her hard life is always smiling. I sat there listening to tourists at another table talking of all their travels and wondered how these people felt who were so poor and who hear day in and day out how the rich westerners live. I felt like crying. Reka says she wants to be a doctor and was eager to show me her school work. She asked me how my Nepali was and I had to tell her that I had forgotton a lot and had been too busy to study much this summer.
tomorrow is the graduation for the ladies and I am so excited about it and so looking forward to seeing them all. We have certificates and medals for them all.
More on that tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

In Kathmandu

We arrived here in Nepal two days ago but our office computer is not working so I am having to use an internet shop.
I have seen some of our children and matched one new sponsor with a child. A little girl who was burned a year ago but is healed now but was sick with bad sores on her legs.
Tomorrow we are going to Pokhara on the bus and I will post photos here when I am there. The literacy ladies graduation is on Thursday and we are very much looking forward to that. I will let you know how that is along with photos.
The weather is sunny and warm. Mann and Sima at our apartment are well and happy and it was so good to see them and their adorable baby who is nearly walking now.
Till later in Pokhara. I have to meet someone now so have to rush.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Leaving for Nepal

Tomorrow morning we leave for Nepal and will arrive there on Oct. 11th. after a few days in Hong Kong.

Sorry if I have not updated this blog lately but our old dog was sick and we lost him two weeks ago. Very sad and hard time for us.

Thank you for all the letters and gifts for the children. They will all be delivered.

I received these photos from Mann a couple of days ago. They are of the children in Pokhara at the yearly presention of prizes. Our children did well. One photo is of Nirmala who had the top marks in the school for last year.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Return to Nepal

Sorry for the late update but I have been in England for just over two weeks visiting my mother. Also my wonderful dog is very sick and will only be with us for a few more days. We are very sad about this.

A reminder that we are going to be in Nepal for two weeks next month. We leave October 5th. If you have a letter or small gift please get it to me at least five days before I leave.

I am including these photos of the improvements we did to two buildings at the school in Chimkhola. Last year's dinner draw paid for this. These buildings were basically sound and had been used to house animals by the Agriculture Dept. many years ago. They are now able to be used for the school and one is being used as a hostel for children who have to walk two hours to school. They can now stay overnight here rather than walking four hours per day back and forth to school.

Our thanks to Runners of Compassion, Victoria for their donation which provided the beds and bed clothes and also a toilet for the children.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dinner Draw

The winner of the dinner draw is Mary Vandenberg. Mary is very happy and will enjoy a great dinner cooked by chef Joe Schuckle for herself and five friends. The draw raised $2000 for NEF less the dinner expenses.

We also had another fundraiser last month run by Julie Friesen and her daughter. They arranged a camping weekend with a band and dinner put on by Just Jakes and the profit went to NEF. This was held at Lake Cowichan and Julie says it is going to be a yearly event. This was totally the Friesens idea and they did a great job in putting on this event. Our sincere thanks goes to them for their work and contribution to NEF.

Julie is also coming onboard with us at NEF helping in different areas where needed. I am very happy to have her as I need someone that I can fall back on when I need some help.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sale at the Duncan Festival

This is one of our sponsors in a sweater that she bought from us. Mann, who works for NEF, choose this sweater and is certainly looks good on Helen. The other photo is of Elaine, another sponsor, who helped me out for a few hours.
I will be at the Chemainus street sale again next Saturday the 22nd from 8am to 3pm. I will have Nepali handicrafts and some second hand items from our garage sale stuff that I am still collecting. Come and say hello if you are there.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Return to Nepal and Dinner Draw

It has been a very busy summer for me this year, first with the garage sale and then a few street sales of Nepali handicrafts, some camping trips with our granddaughter and looking after my daughter who has just had surgery.

Unfortunately I have not done well selling the tickets for our dinner fundraiser as I just could not bring myself to ask people unless I really knew them well. I am always asking people for something it seems and this is not my strong point so when it came to selling tickets it was just too difficult for me plus all the other things I have to do.The draw date is August 15th so for anyone who has bought a ticket you will have good odds at winning. For those people who were helping to sell them please get any sold tickets to me by about the 13th. Or I can pick up. Whatever we make on this is more than if we had not done it at all. The money goes to our women's literacy programs so one $20 ticket paid for two months schooling for one woman. The literacy programs are extremely successful with not one drop out.

I am going to Nepal on October 7th but just for a short visit on route to India. I will there for the graduation of the first six months of our literacy women. So far they all want to continue. It will be wonderful to be there to present their certificates and Bob will be with me also. If you wish to send a letter or very small gift to your child or lady please get these to me by the 1st of October. Please bring to my home or mail to me as I cannot do pick ups on these.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Duncan Festival

I will be at the Duncan Festival for three days this week. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. July 16, 17 & 18th. I will be on Craig St. outside the old Wing On Building. I think I will be on the street most of the time but if not inside. I will be selling Nepali handicrafts and the dinner tickets. All for NEF of course. Come and say hello if you are downtown.

I was talking to Mann last night and everything is well. We have a few students starting college next month. I looks like all our literacy ladies want to continue for another six months when they have finished this course in October. This is a very rewarding project. We are still looking for sponsors for these ladies.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sale of Nepali Items

I am at a street sale in Chemainus this Saturday July 4th from 8am to 3pm. I will be selling Nepali handicrafts and dinner draw tickets. I am right up at the end of the street. If you are there please come and say hello.
I am happy to report that our literacy program is doing extremely well. The ladies now can do basic reading and arithmetic. Mann says he cannot believe how fast they are learning. We have bought eye glasses for five of them.
School Leaving Certificate results are in and we have had 2 pass in first division and 3 pass in second division and one fail. One student that we have not heard from yet. The one student who failed wants to repeat the year and try again. We are very happy with the results. I will have a newsletter out in a few days.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Gourmet Dinner Fundraiser

Our fundraiser progressive dinner draw was a big success last year raising $3,300. So we have decided to organize this again. This year it is being called "Cobble Hill Gourmet Autumn Feast". It will feature food and wine from the Cowichan Valley. Again it will be a dinner for 6.
Tickets are $20 each or 5 for $80.00. They are in books of 5. If anyone could help out by taking a book and selling them to their friends, family or co-workers we would greatly appreciate it. Last year's winner told me that the evening was amazing and the dinner in her own words was "absolutely fabulous" and she said that they are still talking about it. It was a five course meal and began with appetizers.
Joe Schuckle the chef who prepared last year's fabulous meal has offered to do it again for us. Thanks to Joe.
The money raised from this dinner draw will be used towards our literacy and sewing programs which we wish to continue and expand to help more women.
The draw will take place on August 15th.
Again Monica and Anne are helping to organize this. Please email or phone us if you would like to help by selling tickets or buy a ticket. My phone number is 250-746-8936 or email me at
As always a big Thank You to aforementioned people for helping with this.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Garage Sale Success

Yesterday we had our biggest garage sale ever. It was held in a church hall in Duncan and we had a huge amount of stuff. It was almost overwhelming but thanks to 24 volunteers, all sponsors, it was organized quickly and by 8 pm Friday everything was in place. For the sale on Saturday we had many shoppers all day long and again the volunteers had the place cleaned up and everything taken away in short amount of time. It was an enjoyable day for us, although very busy, sponsors got to meet each other and I met some that I had not met previously.
It was very profitable and we netted $3.021.00 with a couple of bigger items still to sell.
This is our biggest sale yet. I was so thankful for all the help. This money keeps us running in Nepal for a year. It will pay for the administration costs that we do not take from sponsor or donor money. Thanks to all who helped and for all the donations of items that made this sale a success.
The photos tell the story of the huge amount of items we had. Two adopted Nepali little girls, Ali and Maya, who had a great time playing dress up with all the clothes and playing with all the toys.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


The garage sale is this Saturday the 30th from 8 am till 2 pm at the



THANK YOU to all the many people who have volunteered to help, we really need you and it is so much appreciated.

There is something for everyone and also a bake table, Nepali crafts and we will be selling coffee and tea.

Let us hope for a successful sale which will benefit NEF in many ways.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Literacy Program Success

Photos of both literacy programs. I have been hearing from Mann regarding the literacy programs and they are both doing very well. We have 25 women in the Pokhara one and 15 in Kathmandu.
The Pokhara ladies are complaining that the class is not long enough and so we are extending it from one and a half hours to two hours. They can now write and sign their names and can do simple arithmetic. These are great projects for us and hopefully we can raise enough money to continue and expand them. The demand is high. These ladies can be sponsored at $10 per month for a period of six months. Although hopefully they will continue after that.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Back Home

I am now back at home recovering from jet lag. This week I will start to send out all the photos, letters etc. to sponsors. Please be patient as it will take me a long time. I will do some each day starting with the new sponsors and children. Also some letters are being mailed from Nepal as we did not get them all picked up in time.
NEF has a new mailing address in Nepal for those who wish to send letters. It is:

Nepal Education Fund
Everest Postal Care P. Ltd.
GPO Box 8975
EPC 1886
Lalitpur, Kathmandu

A reminder that our garage sale is on May 30th. I have to start thinking about that now as we need the funds for all the extras in running a charity. Fortunately we keep our costs as low as possible. I will put up some more photos in the next couple of days.
Mann emailed this morning that he had visited our women's literacy program in Kathmandu and there were 12 women there but another 3 are joining for a total of 15. He said they were all enthusiastic and that it was a very good program. So now we have a total of 40 women in total between the two programs in Pokhara and Kathmandu.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

An Emotional Goodbye

My staff and friends gave me a wonderful send off last night from Kathmandu. I am in Hong Kong writing this. So many keta scarves and flower malas that I was weighted down by them. Everyone gathered at our office and three of our newly sponsored children came with their mother also. So many letters to be delivered to sponsors and still more to be picked up and will have to be mailed. The situation of the last few days prevented us getting to some areas and it is a monumental job as it is to get to all families. I left with Mann in a taxi with two motorbikes following with Jagat, Kamal and Manjit. It was hard to hold back the tears.
Our heartfelt thanks to these guys for running our charity in Nepal. They do a great job under adversity and take great care of me. Mann and Jagat work tirelessly, they were gone by 6 am yesterday to pick up letters. Manjit helps Mann with government paperwork etc. Maniraj helps in this regard also, Rajindra in Hattiban and Ram in Baluju and with much advice and Kamal for his friendship and being there when I need him. I must not forget Sima who cooked great meals for me everyday and shared so much of herself with me and Puspa, Jagat's wife, for cups of tea at the end of tiring days.
You all are so much appreciated and I think you know by now that this charity would not be possible without you. You have helped to change so many of your fellow Nepalis lives. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Last Day in Nepal

Tomorrow night I start my journey home via Hong Kong. This has been one of the best trips to Nepal maybe the best of all. Although there have been some frustrations there has been many wonderful events and heartfelt moments. The women's literacy programs, one in Pokhara and now one in Kathmandu have been the highlight, the joy in these women has been so satisfying. The many children who are doing so well. Living here with Mann and Sima has been special, so many conversations about culture and the lack of women's rights has been a great insight. My daily language lessons with an enlightened teacher has taught me how to have basic conversations in Nepali and I have learned some basic writing. He also has taught me a lot of Nepali culture and history. Yesterday I had lunch with him and his family and they cooked me a delicious meal. Living without much water or electric, no showers has taught me how lucky I am. Most all to live in a peaceful, stable country is the luckiest thing of all. Here, in Nepal, people never know what the next day will bring. As I prepare to leave Nepal is in turmoil with a possible coup at anytime. Yesterday I was in Kathmandu when a friend told me to immediately go home. But by that time there were huge demonstrations, buses stopped, fires on the road. Kamal was nearby and came and met me and we started the long two walk home but after walking through a huge demonstration we found one of the last buses and got home.
This morning we went by motorbike to the village of Hattiben where the school had a ceremony for me. We were unsure whether to go because of the situation but took the chance. It was a simple event with much beauty as the little children presented me with flowers, a cloth and picture. Two of the older children Asmita and Sanu came and shook my hand with their faces full of gratitude. We have 12 children sponsored here. My heart was full of emotion for their love and also of sadness as I do not know what their future holds but I feel it is bleak as the peace process unravals. The people I love here, my Nepali family of Mann and Sima, Jagat and Puspa, Kamal etc and all our children, I hope and pray that the coming days somehow remain peaceful. Hopefully I will visit again soon. Thank you to all sponsors and donors for making the success here possible and offering hope, the most precious gift of all, to your Nepal families and children.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Our two Visually Impaired Children

Satritra and Sushant who are both doing so well. Sushant also won awards for running and long jump as well as doing well academically. Sabritra is in her first year of college and her marks are around 70. She had no cassette player so I bought one for her from money her sponsor sent. This will make things much easier for her. Above Sandesh who is home from the hospital now and doing well. Bad cut to his head but he will retrun to school in ten days. I took some sticker and word find books to him which were given to me by some trekkers and he really liked them. He is a very smart little boy.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lucky Sandesh

Sandesh is one of our new children just sponsored last week. He had not been to school for one year as his mother is too poor to send him. Her husband left her 3 years ago and she has another 3 year child. Sandesh is a bright 10 year old who very much wanted to go to school. Unfortunately two days ago he was hit by a motorcycle after getting off the school bus. The driver took him to hosptial by taxi and we went as soon as we heard about him. We spent a few hours at the hospital while he underwent treatment for a bad head injury. Fortunately he was okay and suffered no internal damage but required many stitches in his head which took an hour to stitch and we sat listening to this child's screams. The mother came by bus to the hospital as she could not afford a taxi. He is still in the hospital but should be discharged today. The ward he is in is horrible, filthy windows with one broken and about ten beds tightly fitted in this room and people of all ages and conditions. One of our Nepali friends has been spending the night at the hospital with him as there is no one to watch them at night or get medicine for them if needed. We are just thankful that he is okay. Life is tough enough for this family without such bad luck.
the heat continues as does all the shortages. I am looking forward to returning home next week to all the luxuries we take for granted.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lady in the Tiny Room

Some of you may remember the story of the lady in the tiny room. I wrote about her a couple of years ago. Today was Mother's Day here in Nepal and her son, Dev Raj, phoned me and invited me to visit. They live in the slums of old Kathmandu and the temperature these days is 40 degrees and today I really needed a day off but I could not disappoint them so took the bus into the city again. I was pleased that I made the effort as she had bananas and prawn chips and a gift for me. She was so happy that I came. I am putting this picture on here so you can see the size of her room, it is no more than three feet wide, very dark and up very steep, dark stairs. It must be so difficult for them to live in these conditions especially as Dev Raj is now 12 and sleeps in this bed with his mother. She earns only about 40 rupees per day selling clothes on the street but bought me this gift and food. Ke Garne as they say here "What to Do" It is her pleasure and way of saying thanks.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Garage Sale coming soon

I want to remind all local sponsors about our garage sale on May 30th. If you have anything to donate we would really appreciate it. Now that we are a registered charity in Nepal we incur administration expenses. As you know I do not take these out of sponsor or donor's monies. So we have to raise these by fundraisers such as garage sales. We have the expense of a small office, salaries, motorbike expenses, internet, auditor etc. We try to keep expenses to a minimum by taking buses whenever possible and not taxis, the salaries are low and our rent for the apartment and office only $70 per month but we do have to operate. We have to keep the charity running for the sake of all the women and children. So any help you can give by way of donated items or help with our sales is very much appreciated.
I have just 11 days left here now and these days are full and busy. I am still seeing families but all registrations are finished now. The weather is so hot, 40 degrees today, so it is very tiring.
Till next time.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Children in Hattiban today, to the left little Alina
Tamang, group of three is Alina, sister Bishnu and Sadhana. Above all our children in Hattiban, 12 of them. We registered them all today. These children live in very poor conditions but it is always a pleasure to visit them all here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Women in the literacy program. Yesterday they showed their thanks by each giving me flowers. It was a very memorable occasions. So much thanks for so little. A treasured moment.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Great Moment for NEF

This morning I went to Simpani to see all the women in the Literacy Program. They were all in the classroom with the teacher who gave out their notebooks, pencils etc. Their faces were so happy, excited and full of expectancy. As I watched them all I got a lump in my throat. I wanted to freeze that hour in a time frame, never to be forgotton. For nearly all of them it was the first time they had ever sat in a classroom. One lady said she would not always be able to get there on time as she was a labourer. Mann asked me what to do about that but I said that was no problem, her face was so full of eagerness that it seemed a small matter if she could not get there on time. We now have 22 women enrolled in this program. The teacher is a very nice young lady who made out a register with all their names. I shook all their hands and wished them luck and told them they would all get a certificate if they completed six months. Then they will have the option to continue. This is a great program for women, just giving them this chance to read, write and learn simple math I think is one of the best things we have done here. Their lives are so hard that this is a bright light for them.
Tomorrow all the Simpani families are coming to the school to say goodbye to me. It will be very hard to say goodbye to these wonderful women and their families.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Back in Pokhara

Just arrived back in Pokhara. It takes most of the day to get here by bus. Leaving at 7am from Kathmandu and arriving here at 3pm. Good thing is that I have just had my first shower in three weeks and did it feel good!! We have more work to do here registering our government school children and starting the women's literacy program. Will be here 3 or 4 days.
It has been very hard choosing children to sponsor this trip as there are just so many requests. They are all poor so it is difficult. A mother came to our office yesterday who had 3 children she was unable to register in school. She worked seven days per week at a private boarding school, cooking, cleaning etc. from 7 am to 6 pm for $50 per month. Her husband left her 6 years ago and now she has to pay more than half her salary for a room. It does not leave her much for food let alone school costs. She could not hide her emotion. We visited another little boy who had no father and lived in a very poor room with his mother and little brother and did not go to school. I wonder what it really feels like to be in such a situation.
The weather is extremely warm so walking around Kathmandu in the heat, dust and pollution has been quite a chore and sometimes I wonder why we are sponsoring children so far away from our office but then I get to the home and the children are waiting and I forget the difficulties.
I have been taking Nepali language classes everyday, some days at 6am and finally I am getting better. I can now actually talk to people in proper sentences. I have more language classes here in Pokhara. It has been worth the effort. Mann and Sima talk to me in Nepali at home which really helps.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

School Registrations

We have seen a lot of the children's results and most are very good. We have two who have been first in their class. Registrations take a long time. At the two private schools today I always have to have a visit and food. Every day we are gone all day at school, buying uniforms shoes etc. Hopefully we will be finished by the end of the week at which time I have to return to Pokhara to get the woman's literacy program started.
On this trip my understanding of the woman's situation In Nepal has been greatly increased. I have had a young woman open up her heart to me and she has told me what it really feels like to have no rights. I feel honoured that she has shared such deep feelings with me. On a later blog I will outline a woman's life here in Nepal. I have also seen so many women's tears on this trip. Just two days ago a woman came to me with her sick two month old baby. The baby had not passed urine since theday beforeand she did not look well. The woman had asked the neighbours for money to go to a hospital but no one had any. She told us her husband had another woman and he only came home occasionally and gave her little money. We gave her a 1000 rupees, $16, to take her baby for medical care. She then cried.
So I feel I wanted to help women whenever possible. Another principal here in Kathmandu would like to run a literacy program for women and she is offering me a very low price to do this. So I am going to see her again next week to see if we can do this.
Till next time.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I am in Thamel today which is the tourist area of Kathmandu. It is very busy and the weather is very warm. I came in to register a child in school but when I got there they told me I was too early and to come back later. This is why things take so long here as the school is down in old Kathmandu so now I have to go back again. Anyway lunch here was good, a real brown cheese sandwich. Nepalis do not eat cheese so for me it becomes a real treat. We only eat Dhal Bhat and tarKari at the apartment. that is rice, lentils and vegetables.
the electric situation has improved a bit and now we have it on for about 8 hours per day. When the light comes on we get quite excited. Some of those hours are in the middle of the night which is not much use.
We have been visiting children but have been held up with registrations because of problems with the social Welfare Council wanting more and more information before we could start taking money from the bank account. Mann has worked long hard hours on all the paperwork. So now we will be able to start registering but it will be very full weeks now till I come home. I admire his patience as I think mine would have run out a long time ago but they make me realise that it would be futile to get angry here.
I have matched all new sponsors except for two. I am holding off on those till I go back to Pokhara in a couple of weeks. Most of the new children are little girls. I realize more and more how hard life is for women here. My Nepali women friends here tell me what a woman's life is like and how dominating their husbands are. They have to ask for permission to go anywhere even to visit a friend. So once married they are prisoners to their husbands and families. this is how they explained it to me. they also have no money of their own.
till next time.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Literacy women Excited

The school principal called from Pokhara today and he said the women cannot wait to start school and keep asking when they are going to start. They do not want to wait. They are due to start in two weeks when school resumes. That made me smile. Their enthusiam makes this project so worthwhile.
We visited a lot of children yesterday including Pradip who was the boy we nearly lost 3 years ago to the street and drugs. He is now starting class 9 and seems to be very happy. He says he plans to go to college when he finishes school. I am very proud of him. His brother who we did sponsor a few years ago dropped out of school and tried menial jobs and left home. Now he has come back and is in school again. We have not sponsored him since. But he looked eagar but do not feel I can really take a chance on him again. Teenage boys seem to be a challenge. I guess that is the same every where and would be worse in a country like this.
We now have sponsors in Qatar in the middle east. Have to catch the bus home now so till next time.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Trials of Kathmandu

Things are very bad here in Kathmandu. There is little to no water fresh water and electric is only on for about 4 hours per day. The water is a real problem and a lot of people are becoming sick from drinking unboiled water. My friend Kamal is in the hospital with possible Typhoid or some other water related illness. he is quite sick with very high fevers. Some of the children at his orphanage are also sick. For me this is temporary but for the people here ist never ends. I cannot imagine living like this all the time. Not being able to wash, showering is just a dream.
Yesterday we visited Hattiban and the children there and took with us a sponsor from Duncan to meet her child. All the children here are fine and in this village they do have water. But there were no buses, a strike over I do not know what. After we finsihed there were no taxis either so walked a long way until we found a person with a private car and they give us a ride. Fortunately otherwise it would have been a two hour walk. Hattiban is always nice to visit. We are busy filling out forms for every child for the Social Welfare Councils requirements. It is a big job. On little girl, now 13, blew me a kiss as I left, that is the first time i havew seen a Nepali child do that. Sushant the little blind boy was home for the holidays and he is doing so well. He showed me two medals he had won. One was for first in long jump and the other a third in 100 metre dash. How proud he was of that. I promised to meet him at his school in three weeks. i am going to stop now as I sure the electric is going to go any minute. Excuse any mistakes.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Return to Kathmandu

Tomorrow I return by bus to Kathmandu. I have had the last couple of days off and have immersed myself in Nepali language for about four hours per day. I need to improve my Nepali so this time I am determined to do that. The language teacher is very good. I am going to continue in Kathmandu trying to talk mostly Nepali when at the apartment.
The weather is warm and sunny and I have enjoyed the company of volunteers from Australia at breakfast every morning. They are working at an orphanage.
The inflation rate here in Nepal offically is 14.9 per cent but they say unoffically it is much higher. I know when I buy groceries for families many items are much higher and also the school fees have increased a large amount. This is a bit worrying.
I now have a busy month visiting all the schools and children in Kathmandu. For new sponsors I have matched most of you but internet is expensive here in Pokhara so I will get the information to you as soon as possible. Electric is only on for about 4 to 5 hours per day and sometimes that is in the night so you can understand the problem.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Women's Literacy Program

Photos: Literacy Women's Group, Our oldest student Ram Shree Pun age 64 and Khim Maya Chantrelle blessing her sewing machine. I love these women.

Today I met all the women interested in the literacy program. We had arranged a meeting this morning and 18 women showed up. We talked to them about the program, took group photos and an individual photo of each lady. I think they felt very important especially when I told them I was going to put the photo on the internet and it could be seen all over the world. About three of the older women had sons working in the middle east and they wanted to know how they would be able to see it. I told them that I was very proud of them and wished them all luck. They were very happy and they start school in about three weeks after the school holiday. I told them I would try and get them each a sponsor.

We bought two sewing machines yesterday which eventually be used in our sewing program but for now they are with the two ladies who took the sewing course. They were just so happy. Today when I stopped by at one of their homes she was down on the floor measuring and mending a garment. This lady lost her little five year old daughter last September and of course was so sad but now she seems to have such hope and is so happy with her sewing and now the literacy program.