As I reflect on this year 2017, I am full of gratitude and amazement! What a great year we have had!
Our partner organization, BSF, has made great strides in management of our programs in Nepal, providing the support services we need to help our children become successful in life. It is not an easy task! Imagine caring for the needs of 118 children! They take children to doctors, create empowerment programs, serve as liaison with the many schools we work with, counsel children and families, provide career and life skills support and handle all crises!
Stories are powerful. They not only tell a narrative, they capture our imagination and impact our hearts. We at Mitrata-Nepal Foundation for Children have an incredible opportunity to tell the story of our organization and the ways in which our work changes the lives of our children.
Many of you have already seen Amy Benson and Scott Squire's documentary, Drawing the Tiger, which focused on the overwhelming challenges faced by the people of Nepal, as seen through the lens of the Darnal family. Last month Amy returned to Nepal to shoot their third documentary about the Darnal family. And since Mitrata is now helping some of the Darnal family members, we, too, are included in the Darnal family story.
I really do hate to go. The trip this year has been wonderful. There are many great memories with the sponsors Jacque Richmond, Pam and Ralph Caraffa, Angie Schutz, Nancy Williger and Reva Meadows. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with the kids, the adventures in Pokhara and the hospitality of the BSF staff. They are amazing working with the kids every day in spite of all the traffic, pollution headaches and the notorious redtape of the bureaucracy of schools and government.
I get this question a lot. The answer is yes! When I come to Nepal it is a priority to meet individually with every child we sponsor to see first-hand the child’s condition.
I also take pictures and videos to send out to the sponsors when I get back to the USA and give out the letters and gifts that the sponsors have sent with me to Nepal. It is really a fun thing to do, even with the challenges of shy kids who have trouble talking on camera and the difficulty getting a quiet space with enough light for filming. It does take a lot of time since we have 85+ sponsored children separate from those in our Contact Center!
Sisters Anna and Elyse Abramov are all set to bring their own karaoke machine and sing holiday carols for attendees at Mitrata-Nepal Foundation for Children's Annual Holiday Bazaar on Sunday, December 3 from noon to 5:00 p.m. at the Masonic Temple in Webster Groves, MO. Anna and Elyse are so excited and appreciative to have the opportunity to perform this year at our Holiday Bazaar!
Singer, Composer and Musician Billy Dechand will play at our upcoming Sunday, December 3 Holiday Bazaar at the Masonic Lodge in Webster Groves.
Shop for the holidays and listen to great music by Billy to support our underprivileged children in Kathmandu, Nepal. All textiles, jewelry, and handicrafts were personally selected from fair trade artisans by Christine and our Traveling Seven while in Kathmandu visiting our children.
Much to our surprise my dear friend and travel agent videotaped one of the last fun nights with the sponsors on the trip. We had dinner at Gokarna Restaurant in Thamel where we had a delicious Nepali dinner including a little Roksi (a little goes a long way) served in tiny clay cups and then watched Nepali traditional dances and enjoyed good conversation.
The sponsors have returned home from their trip to Nepal, hopefully recovering from the long and arduous air travel and jetlag. So I am here staying in Sukedhara, a suburb of Kathmandu, at the office building in the guest apartment on the third floor.
Our partner, BSF, rents a large building that meets our needs. It provides for office space, a small group facility on the first floor for kids who need a place to stay in transition to new schools or who can't find a suitable hostel, and a guest apartment for me or for volunteers.
Operating since 2002, Mitrata-Nepal Foundation for Children now has a large group of kids who have graduated 12th grade and are making future plans for their careers or have already started attending universities and vocational programs. Our partner NGO provides personal counseling, career counseling and special workshops to help each child determine his/her focus for a career and assist when interpersonal or family problems arise. It is sometimes a challenge for the children to stay focused due to family pressures and the usual issues of growing up and launching into independent life.
Newer sponsor Jacque Richmond, who sponsors several younger children, Ruplal, Milan and Januki, attended the graduation ceremony and shared her thoughts: Graduation ceremonies are always an important rite of passage, filled with emotion by students and their parents. Even more so for Sunday's Mitrata-Nepal Foundation for Children’s graduation ceremony in Sukedhara Kathmandu, where we celebrated five graduates --Anita, Rukesh, Pawan, Sangeeta, and Pratima -- each of whom has overcome enormous hardships to successfully complete a degree in nursing, hotel management or science. All of them are now out and working and supporting themselves.