Today was Contact Center day which means the youngest children - about four to seven - who have applied and been accepted as needing support for education or who have been found by staff and invited to apply. The children spend one to two years preparing to join a second or third grade class. They learn English, Nepali, math skills and hygiene - all they need for school readiness in a Montessori-style program six days a week.
Twenty-nine happy, playing kids sounded like sixty - our ears are still ringing! Three pairs of children performed traditional Nepali dances for us. At least one of these will be posted on the website when we return, and it is well worth waiting for. It’s hard to believe such young ones danced so beautifully. Then all of the kids danced and sang (yelled, really) another fun tune.
We shared nutritious food for lunch with the kids. They receive two protein rich meals each day. For many that is all the good food they eat.
Finally, it was time for sponsors to share the toys and candy they brought for everyone - bouncy balls, puppets, a tent, and stuffed things. That’s when the decibel level really went up.
We visited the homes of three of the children. Each family lives in one concrete room about 10 by 10 feet, one bed for everyone and a few metal platters with a hot plate for a kitchen. One Mom sews masks to protect against the thick dust in Kathmandu and to feed herself and her two children. One Dad makes beautiful dresses on his tiny, ancient sewing machine. Not all of the parents treat their children well, but we were awed by the care these particular parents were making to raise their children to escape the utter poverty in which they live.
Children playing in the circus tent we brought
Rachana, director of the contact center with beanie babies Reva brought.
A real “ham” - she stole the show!
One room for four people with tin leaking roof.
Kitchen part of a one room apartment for mother and two children.
Dad’s workshop also in the one room in which the family lives.
Single mom and son.