Dr. Christine Schutz first travelled to Nepal to visit her Nepali friends and experience the different cultures and the majestic beauty of the Himalayas in 2000. “It was an amazing and transformative experience. The contrasts of the great beauty of the country, the rich culture and terrible poverty of the people was so moving. As a psychologist I have seen a lot of suffering but the lack of such basic things that we all take for granted here in the USA was overwhelming. Clean water, toilets and garbage collection, basic medical care, public education, and government resources for poor children are lacking in Nepal.
"I remember going for a run in the morning near Swayambhunuth Temple in Kathmandu and seeing small children, maybe 3 or 4, one with a cleft palate climbing in the piles of garbage alone looking for food. My heart just broke open and I wanted to do something to help. When I went home, I could not stop talking about the needs of the children in Nepal. When I went back to Nepal, two of my friends gave me money and told me to go do something for Nepali children!“
That was the beginning of Mitrata Nepal Foundation for Children (MNFC). By 2010, MNFC was supporting 100 children for school, housing and medical care and also began supporting the Contact Center, a unique program which serves an additional 35 street children. Children who are victims of child labor, on the street and not in school are given meals and assisted by teachers to begin the process of education. When ready, they are transferred to school sponsorships in private schools to continue their education.
Christine travels to Nepal every year to consult regularly with the local partners to oversee finances, organizational development and communications. She also stays in regular communication with CCSD (Centers for Child Studies and Development, a partner with MNFC) to ensure that the programs are progressing and well managed. Christine takes volunteers, sponsors and friends to visit and experience the culture and beauty of Nepal. “Through the years of the civil war, it was difficult to find others to go with me to Nepal. But in recent years after the signed peace accord, we have had some wonderful trips with sponsors who meet the children they have corresponded with for years. There are lots of tears of joy in these reunions."
“With so little money we have been able to transform the lives of these children and give them a chance for a better life. When I visit the children, get an email from them or receive their cards of gratitude and thanks, I am filled with the greatest joy of my life. That is why I keep going there and working hard to fundraise -- for their smiling faces and to see what wonderful people they have become. We now have young men and women in college, becoming accountants, doctors, nurses and teachers!”