Supporting the children of Nepal
After several trips to Nepal, I have formed a lot more than just fond memories – I genuinely feel a kind of emotional bond to the country which has introduced me to so many beautiful people and such an inspiring way of life. For this reason, I was very happy to discover a number of ways that I could give back to Nepal, even from my home in Dubai.
I was introduced to Bibhu electronically by a friend several years ago, when I was planning my first trip to Nepal. We didn’t end up using the services of his tour company on that occasion, but on my return visit I was approached by UAE based charity Gulf for Good to take over child care equipment and toys for a children’s home in Kathmandu, and was given Bibhu’s name as the point of contact (although we didn’t make the connection until we actually met in Kathmandu).
I was interested to hear more about Bibhu’s work and the home but I was only there for a fleeting visit for a wedding, so it wasn’t until this most recent trip, a couple of years later, that I was able to engage Himalayan Holidays (Bibhu’s company) for myself and my five friends’ visit to Nepal and Bhutan (more on those in the next posts).
As part of our tour we were keen to visit and learn more about the Children’s Eco Farm for orphaned children in Panauti, Kathmandu Valley (approx an hour from Kathmandu), and Bibhu and his family were keen to welcome us.
Orphanages in Nepal have had a lot of bad press; Bibhu explained that a lot of families try to send their children away to save costs, so at Mission Himalaya they actually involve the services of private investigators to ensure that children accepted into the Eco Farm are genuine orphans without parents or a family home. At Eco Farm, these children receive primary health care, education, nutrition, care and love, from the safety of a beautiful farmland home, which is ordinarily not open to the public. When we visited, it was during school holidays so not all of the children were present, but those that were seemed very settled and at home. I’m hoping to do more to support them and to be able to get back there and help hands-on so will keep the blog updated with my progress! (If you want to know more, check out the recent article in Khaleej Times on the home).
The other way I have found to support children in Nepal is through supporting local charity, Children of the Mountain, who support the poorest children in rural Nepal, providing them with opportunity through education and personal development. To date, they have built 31 classrooms, four schools, and 13 kindergartens, directly impacting 2,000 children. They’ve trained more than 50 teachers from Tandrang Province’s ten schools, including ten new kindergarten teachers, and have supplied more than 2,000 books, 600 kilos of school supplies and 300 uniforms. There are various ways to support the charity, directly with donations, by organising events or sponsorship, or by attending the charity’s own events, such as the annual Gala Ball (the next one being Friday 20th February in Dubai).
Having started my professional career working for a charity, I am very happy to find myself in a position where I can continue to give back, particularly to a country and people who have given me so much, and I would urge all readers to just take five minutes to have a look and see if there is anything you can do to make a difference today.