A narrative about our first Mount Baker climb this year from Mitrata Board Member and Climb Leader Len Kannapell. Read his fascinating account of the sights and sounds of Mt. Baker and be transported the mountain itself. Mitrata is grateful for all of Len’s hard work organizing the Mt. Baker climb this year and also grateful that we can experience his climb for ourselves through his story.
Our Contact Center staff and children celebrate our Contact Center graduates and our students who passed the SEE exam. We heard moving speeches from our SEE students and BSF staff and enjoyed a delicious cake and nutritious lunch! Congratulations graduates!
Children and staff at the Contact Center celebrate Teacher’s Appreciation Day, the late Mrs. Bhuvaneshwori Satyal’s birthday, the Climb for Himalayan Children success, and learned about “belly breathing.” It was a meaningful day but also one of giving thanks and celebrating.
Nepal — Beautiful people, Amazing mountains, Yummy momos and Mitrata. What's not to like?
Mitrata is an organization of people with heart, a great mission statement, a leader with a vision, and hundreds of volunteers and sponsors who give of their time and money to help make the lives of needy children in Nepal a whole lot better. I don't think it is possible to understand the need of a country with no social welfare system until it has been seen first hand.
Mitrata Board President Nancy Williger, President-Elect Jim Craig, and Chair of the Sponsorship Committee Pam Hughes visit Seattle to meet with our climbers for the Climb for Himalayan Children and our west coast sponsors and donors. Nancy writes about their wonderful experience and the generosity of Mitrata’s West Coasters. It was a great experience had by all, and we are so glad that so many people were able to attend, socialize, and learn more about Mitrata. Thanks to everyone who made this possible from all of us in St. Louis!
Our 14 climbers and two rope leaders, Mark, Ambrose, Len, Anna, Steve, Nichole, Sean, Duane, Tuney, Victor, Dan, Monica, Dinesh, Don, Ken, and Paul, raised over $20,000 at the conclusion of our annual Climb for Himalayan Children of Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker in Washington State. We're so thankful to everyone who volunteered their time to make this happen and to the climbers and their friends and families who supported them on this physically and mentally challenging ascents.
Hearty congratulations to all of our Secondary Education Exam (SEE) graduates for their remarkable success! After graduating from 10th grade and passing the SEE exam, a child enters a specialized program that focuses on a desired area of study (i.e., business, science, agriculture, tourism, etc.). known as "college" in 11th and 12th grade. These children live in a boarding school or with a parent or guardian depending on their individual housing needs. We also provide healthcare and support services such as career counseling, tutoring, and internships.
adhu’s brother Milan has been in our program since 2014. Whenever we are able to welcome a new child, we look to our current families first and talk with parents and guardians about their other children and whether they need support for education, healthcare, and other services. Madhu joined us in 2017. She is currently in 10th grade studying at Shree Yoba Sahavagita Secondary School. She lives with her mother, father and two siblings in a temporary home in Dhungedhara. Her father is a driver and her mother a street vendor. Her father reached grade 3 in school and her mother never attended school.
Taylor and I are finishing up our final nine weeks of volunteering at BSF and have completed our project! As a quick summary, for the past two months I (Lauren) have looked through almost 30 textbooks for the six different class levels at the BSF Contact Center. For each level I created a year-long syllabus that is based on the books that the students use in class. These subjects cover math, science, English, social studies, drawing, general knowledge, and Nepali. And no, I did not write the Nepali exams and am leaving that up to the teachers. 😊
Following the Nepali education system, the Contact Center gives out four exams per year to check on the student progress. One of our project goals was to create more comprehensive exams. We found out that it had been a challenge to create the content in the past on top of all of the other responsibilities that the Content Center has. After writing up each of the six grade level syllabi, I then created four exams and four answer sheets for each subject and grade level. Additionally, I made notes for the teachers so that they can have references for why I chose specific questions and where the information on the exams can be found in the books.
An update on the after-school program started this spring; it’s running smoothly and making life easier for the parents of Mitrata kids working hard into the evenings to provide for their families. As an organization always looking for ways to better serve our families, what more could we ask for?
Each morning, I (Taylor) volunteer as an English teacher at the Vibhuti Secondary School, which is down the street from the contact center. Volunteering at the school is affording me a firsthand look at the education system in Nepal. Most importantly, the experience is helping me better understand how we can customize the contact center’s student evaluation system to appropriately fit into the Nepali education system. Creating the elaborate spreadsheet required for this student evaluation system is how I spend my afternoons once I finish teaching. Lauren, in contrast, is spending her entire day combing through textbooks and creating dozens of exams for the system. Her attitude and work ethic never cease to amaze me. Because of this, day by day we are making significant progress on the ambitious project for the contact center.
Friends there in US, have you ever thanked yourself for being a changemaker for underprivileged kids here in Nepal?Do you remember your initial days sponsoring children and do you relatively compare the change you have made yet? Here in Nepal, we Mitrata kids do realize!
In 2016, my boyfriend, Taylor, got to know Ambrose, Leena, Yogesh, and Christine through the Climb for Himalaya Children at Mt. Rainier just outside of Seattle, WA. In the spring of 2017, Taylor visited Nepal and was able to spend a day at BSF’s Contact Center. There, he got a taste of what Mitrata and BSF did for local children in need of education in Nepal. He sent me a few photos of the kids and, of course, I replied, “So cute!” Little did I realize that I’d soon be sitting on the same floor sipping tea while watching little kids perform dances and shout out, “Hello sir! Hello ma’am!”
Long story short: Taylor and I quit our jobs in Seattle in early 2018 to move to Thailand to teach English, travel, and learn about a different part of the world. In the back–very back–of our minds we knew that Nepal was a quick flight away, but we didn’t really have any grand plan to visit immediately. After a year in Thailand, we both began teaching online remotely. This provided an opportune time to head to Nepal, trek in the mountains, and see if we could make use of our time volunteering at BSF’s Contact Center.
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.