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.
Several sponsors showed up in Nepali punjabis in honor of the festivities (although we did have to have some help with the scarves). Each student was recognized by the whole gathering. (The festivities took place on the top floor of the office building of our partner NGO BSF. The BSF staff did an amazing job of preparing for 80 people for ceremony, food and a couple of birthday celebrations too and have tirelessly worked with these graduates through the years to assist them in reaching their goals.)
Photo books and certificates from the program were presented to memorialize their achievements while the staff and proud sponsors looked on. The graduates' acceptance speeches were filled with gratitude for the support made possible through the Mitrata-Nepal Foundation for Children program and with love and encouragement for the other students, whom the graduates recognize as their brothers and sisters. The celebration included pizza, momos, cake and many, many photos (including a glut of shots after the kids claimed the sponsors' phones for selfies).
The pride and joy of the celebration was tinged with sadness at the end of the day when the sponsors had to take their leave from the kids. Just like parents the world over sending their kids out into adulthood, the goodbyes led to some tearful partings, even more so because no one knows when or if they might see one another again in person. (Although more and more of our sponsors make the trip to Kathmandu to visit their sponsored child, it is not a frequent trip to make for most of them.)
Today's ceremony was the perfect way to celebrate the achievement of Mitrata-Nepal Foundation for Children’s ultimate goal -- “to educate and empower severely underprivileged children to reach their full potential as citizens of Nepal and to maximally impact the lives of these children who will in turn contribute to their community.”
We are so proud of our graduates!
Anita gets her certificate of achievement
Rukesh gets his certificate of achievement
Leena and Christine lead the ceremonies
Sangeeta gets her certificate
The younger kids participate
Pawan gets his certificate
A view of the group
Nancy, Angie and Anita
A little madal drum entertainment
Proud sponsors and kids