Nepal Update

From my dear friend, Hollis Burkhart. If her mission touches your heart, please consider making a donation. You can contact her via EMAIL HERE - Love, Deborah

Dear Friends,

As I sit here by the wood burning stove, watching the heavy snow falling, it's hard to imagine having been in the warmth of Nepal less than two months ago. Thank you for your continued interest and support in helping the people there—the school children at Lalit Bikash as well as those who lost their homes as a result of the devastating earthquake in April, 2015 that killed close to 9,000 people and injured another 22,000. The shelters that you helped provide are still being lived in by the majority of the displaced Nepalis. The few I spoke with in November told me they don't expect to ever be able to return to their homes so you have provided them with more than temporary shelter.

I asked Dash lal where we might best be of service this coming year and he took me to The People's School—a 3 hour drive up into the mountains (40 miles from Kathmandu, many hairpin turns on very narrow mountainous roads). This small, poor government school was severely damaged during the earthquake. They are only now beginning to rebuild as they raise the necessary money.

The indigenous people here are Buddhist Tamang. Although only 5.5% of the population of Nepal, they sustained 1/3 of all deaths and the majority of their homes were destroyed during the earthquake in 2015. This ethnic group has traditionally been discriminated against and their children suffer the highest rates of severe malnutrition in Nepal. 

When we arrived, several of the children were waiting to welcome us with the traditional garlands of marigolds and big smiles. 

The school currently has 197 students, ranging from nursery age to grade 5. The current building, what is left of it, is quite dilapidated. 

This is the class of the youngest students with their teacher. I asked the principal for some information about two of the students to give you a better idea of a typical situation. The little girl on the far left is Binda. She is 6 years old, lives with her parents and 8 siblings. They own a small bit of land that they farm. They supplement their farm income with manual labor. I hadn't asked this but the principal told me the family is able to raise enough food to sustain them for 6 months out of the year. It takes Binda 40 minutes on foot to reach the school. The family income is $600/year.

As I visited the classrooms, the students would each stand up and shyly introduce themselves to me in English. 

They depend on sunlight in these dark classrooms. The little girl on the far left is Ranjana. She is also 6 years old and has three siblings. Her situation is similar to that of Binda. The parents are farmers, own a small bit of land and can raise enough food to feed their family for 7 months out of the year. It takes Ranjana 20 minutes on foot to reach school. Her family's income is $700/year. 

Class 3. 

The principal sent me this picture after I asked for information about Binda and Ranjana. Each came to the school with one parent to have their picture taken for us. 

After visiting the students, we were taken to see the beginnings of construction on the second floor. Amazing views of the Himalayas in the background. 

The view of the school from the road.

The front of the school. I asked Dash lal about the barbed wire. He said it was to keep out thieves. 

So, this is my latest project. The students are all in need of new uniforms, shoes and school supplies. The cost per student is as follows:

uniform fabric  $3.50
tailoring cost for making uniform $3.00
shoes   $3.25
school supplies  $3.00

To provide a uniform, shoes and supplies for one student is $12.75. With 197 students, I'm hoping to raise $2,500 which would give every student the basics. However you feel called to help, it is deeply appreciated by these under served people in the hills of Nepal. 

Wishing you a Happy New Year and many thanks for your interest in helping make a difference in the lives of these Tamang people literally half way around the world.