Namaste! As we head home from Kathmandu after two very full weeks, we are filled with an abundance of lasting memories, heart-warming stories, and beautiful pictures. We met with almost all of our Mitrata-sponsored students and received updates on their health, family situations, educational progress, and for our older students, employment plans after completion of their studies.
At the Contact Center, Rachana (Program Coordinator) and staff welcomed 15 new children into the youngest class for the new school year, and two or three additional children may be added in the next few weeks. Children from all of the classes performed traditional Nepali songs and dances for us, and per their custom, invited us to join them. The children are now getting protein-rich breakfast and lunch every day, something sorely lacking thus far in their young lives. We met Lauren Kubik and Taylor Massey who are volunteering their time to establish educational performance metrics which will satisfy Social Welfare Council (SWC) criteria, and standards for future expansion.
We met individually with our older students, took pictures and videos, and shared letters from their sponsors. The students absolutely LOVE reading their sponsors’ letters and enjoy the enclosed pictures!! The BSF staff updated us on their individual situations, many of whom have already accomplished educational milestones despite extremely difficult personal challenges. A majority of our students live with one parent (or aunt or uncle), and may deal with alcohol, drugs, mental and/or physical abuse in the family, or pressure to leave school early to find a job and support the family.
We met with the BSF Board and shared ideas how to jointly meet evolving requirements from the SWC. Leena and staff have a tough enough time managing close to a 100 students and the SWC’s criteria for managing NGO’s add an additional layer of complexity for the BSF staff to handle.
We shopped in Thamel and brought back items to be sold at future Mitrata events. We travelled to Nagarkot and enjoyed a spectacular sunrise over the Himalayan mountains. On our last night in Kathmandu, Christine hosted a Thank You dinner for the entire BSF staff. It was a treat for all of us to spend time together outside of the school environment. Based on the amount of laughter throughout the dinner, everyone had a wonderful time.
Finally, we want to thank our sponsors and donors for their invaluable contributions. It is clear that your generosity is in fact, providing the educational opportunities that these children would most likely not have otherwise.
Finance Committee Chair, Board of Directors