Change for Hope in Nepal...love in bloom
Every mind deserves the opportunity to blossom.
Every heart deserves to know love.
Change for Hope returns to Nepal each year to focus on particular issues regarding children. In 2012 the main focus was at-risk children. The team traveled to several different locations in March and April…
Upon entering the slum areas along the river, the realization hit us hard…men, wom en and children lived every day of their lives in these squalid conditions. The water flowing in and around the slum was putrid with human waste and garbage. Most of the homes were made of tin, wood scraps, pieces of plastic and cardboard. Children wandered the alleys during the day, as many could not afford to buy the mandatory uniforms that allow access to public schools. Without an ed ucation they are destined to live their entire lives in this hopeless place.
But for some there is hope and it was right around the corner! We walked gingerly along the rutted dirt road behind the shanties. Finding our destination, we took off our shoes and stepped inside onto the multi colored remnants of indoor/outdoor carpeting that covered the cement floor. Babies slept peacefully on one section of the carpet, as we met with their local caregivers on another.
This is a free day care center run by a local group, serving some of the poorest families in Kathmandu. Several of the babies had been found abandoned, left to die in the trash heaps along the river. But for these fortunate, precious little ones there will now be a future. They will be loved, cared for and will grow up strong. They will also have the opportunity to go to school.
Change for Hope was able to acquire beds, mattresses and sheets for this center. The rescued babies will have beds, and the children in day care will not have to nap on the cold floors during the coming winter months. Please Give Now to enable Change for Hope to continue giving this kind of help to Nepal's children.
Life in the countryside... In Pokhara, we visited a more established children’s home. These children are from remote villages and are extremely poor. Since there is no way for them to get an education, they are destined to live off the hard, unyielding land, just as their families have for generations.
This home was set up with the express purpose of caring for children in a family environment. No more than 16 children will ever live here at any one time. The home is in the country. A 45 minute motorcycle ride and a 10 minute walk from the main road will lead you into this very picturesque setting. The home sits beneath snow-capped mountains, with dark forests covering the lower mountains and hills. Straight across the valley is a river… a beautiful, blue-green ribbon winding through the countryside.
Entering the children’s home through a brightly colored gate we walked down a long, narrow yard with an old, much-used badminton net in the corner. When we arrived the children were still in school so we had time to sit and catch up with the director and staff of this wonderful place. When the children returned, the day broke into controlled chaos while we all chatted and played.
We spent five days there and got to know just about everyone. We read to the children, played a myriad of games and taught English. During that time, some of their needs became quite obvious. After a few discussions with the director and the staff, we were able to supply school uniforms, shoes and socks, games, books and other sundries. But, one more thing was needed…
Before we left, we went into town and purchased a much-needed washing machine. A small truck brought it to a grassy area where it was unloaded and carried over the fence and down the path by some of the boys. Quite a feat! A small outside shower room (about five foot square) became the laundry room!
To make sure the washing machine would work we hired three men to hook it up to the electricity and existing plumbing. When all was finished the director was so excited, ready to do the first load of laundry! But that was not to be. The electricity (unpredictable at best) was cut off entirely just after the machine was installed and we had to leave before the “first load celebration” took place!
Another day, another group of children! Back in Kathmandu we visited an organization that takes care of over 180 marginalized children who come from the shanties along the nearby riverbank. They provide daycare for these poorest-of-the-poor toddlers, and free or very low cost schooling for pre-K through 2nd grade. For qualified students, this group goes one step further and provides private education after grade 2. If that were not enough, they have also established a small hostel for at-risk girls.
We could hear laughing, squealing and giggling as we stepped over a small gate into an open courtyard. It was recess time! The buildings are brightly colored, surrounded by a small three foot garden wall painted green and blue and decorated with ABC’s and preschool words in bright colors. Clean, clean, clean was my first thought as smiling children ran toward us.
The children here are very obviously loved. Never in all the schools I have visited did I ever see so many laughing children. In one room, the youngest, all under a year old, were taking naps. There were least 25, all sleeping soundly with full bellies as all children are supplied with two meals a day. The average Nepali child might eat two meals a day, many eat only one. In most cases the majority of the meal is a simple mound of white rice with watered down lentils. But at this school children are fed not only rice but lentils, vegetables, fruit and, as often as possible, chicken.
Surprisingly, and because of the love and exceptional care received here, many of these underprivileged, forgotten children are at the top of their classes when they enter the school system. As such, they are eligible to receive scholarships to private schools, which are very selective in Kathmandu.
The director is relentless in imparting to the children the desire to learn and the enjoyment found in learning. They are taught to be respectful and given a foundation that will serve them well in living full, productive lives. She also encourages them in their love for their country, and in their desire to contribute to society, rather than leave Nepal, as so many do these days.
The teachers are incredibly happy at this center...grateful to work in a place that loves and nurtures children. Many schools here are harsh and hard on the students, at times to the detriment of the child. But this school operates on the philosophy that every child has potential and if encouraged and properly trained they will be able to achieve much in their lives.
With the help of dentists and optometrists associated with a local Rotary Club, Change for Hope ran an eye and dental clinic for all children and staff. In total there were over 190 examinations, 80 extractions or fillings, and over 30 pairs of glasses provided for children and staff. In addition, over 500 Pencils with erasers, a 1000 band aides and 50 dresses that were collected in the US and distributed at this wonderful school.
Next door to the school is the hostel for at-risk girls that was started over a year ago. Today 10 girls reside there. All former pupils, the girls came from the nearby slum area and had experienced or lived in fear of abuse. The director of the school had heard stories from the other children and moved quickly to remove these girls from danger.
The hostel was spotless and well organized. One room was nearly wall-to-wall beds for the girls, who seemed to love this closeness. Another room was outfitted as a living area and the third, a kitchen. The girls are 8 to 13 years of age. They now go to private school, and all are doing very well in their studies. Change for Hope will help with the rent on the house and also with basic necessities, as well as clothing and additional bedding for the winter.
It was a very good year… During 2012, Change for Hope also had a special project for an unemployed teacher who had not worked in over a year. We sent her to a four week, intensive training for Montessori teachers. Upon completion of the training, we are happy to tell you that, with her very first application, she found employment! She is currently working and making great strides in her life. Also, with her new salary she is better able support her elderly father. CFH is considering sending her to further classes so she can advance both in Montessori teaching skills and English.
Besides the dental and eye clinics mentioned above, our medical contributions this year went to other two projects. One was to send a young man to another year of Pharmacy School (the second of the three year program). The other project provided four chemo therapy and radiation treatments for a 38 year old woman with breast cancer, who ran out of money midway through her treatments. She is a single woman who supports other family members with her small store, and she came to us highly recommended.
We had two more projects in 2012. One was the rental of plot of land for a tomato farmer who is almost at the point of being self-supporting. The second was a gift to a school in one of the slums, for the purchase of school books for the poorer children.
And for 2013… This year we visited two more small children’s homes. One was the sister home of the facility in Pokhara. A married couple runs it, with help from another woman. It is a small, focused home, and all the children are receiving an excellent education at a private school. The second home houses 10 abused children and is run by a single woman. She is operating the home by herself (using her personal income) and could use assistance for major as well as minor upgrades and supplies. We hope to come alongside these two homes in 2013. Bunk beds, blankets and a dining table are needed as well as school fees, uniforms and shoes.
If you would like to come alongside Change for Hope as we continue to work with the Nepali people on behalf of their children, please go now to our Donations page to make a gift. For more information you can contact us through