All posts filed under: Philanthropy Nepal

Endings and Beginnings Nepali Style.

Sometimes it’s really hard to know where to start. This blog is a thing I have been both putting off and pondering in equal measure for months now.You see, I haven’t quite known how to communicate about our change from one project to another in Nepal. Its not a controversial story just one about how to manage the issues that inevitably arise between one culture and another when there is a lack of understanding about how important feedback is. They are lessons learnt along the way. But it’s also about introducing our new charity and trying to coherently speak about why we have chosen it. But first and foremost it’s also an overwhelming success story. The school project has been completed and they no longer need our funds to finish their project, as they are 99% there. It’s done for now. The earthquake has set in motion some of the Principal’s big ideas for a better school for his kids and he bought this to fruition with real grace and a faith that the financial …

A Little Goes Such a Long Way in Nepal: a Schoolbag for all.

Before leaving Saudi, on this last visit to Nepal I decided, pretty much at the last minute to put out a call to the members of our community to see if anyone wanted to donate to help me buy each child some school supplies.  Of course, as I have now come to expect the response was both touching and overwhelming with far, far more money raised than I expected.  It looked as if we would have enough to buy a back pack for each child as well, and perhaps even have some money left over.  People dropped by my house and left donations.  I asked for 30 SAR per child which is about $8 US which I figured would be plenty for books and coloured pencils.  I decided to buy the materials in Nepal as, apart from not wanting to carry a large quantity of heavy things all the way from Saudi to Pokhara I preferred to put the funds into the Nepali economy which needs it so desperately. In Pokhara we talked with the …

Nepal School Project: From Intention to Manifestation

We arrived home to Saudi Arabia last night after another quick yet utterly gratifying trip to Nepal. Initially I had felt the need to return to check on progress at the school and to plan further visits (see earlier posts tagged under Philanthropy Nepal if you haven’t been following the story so far).   My last trip in March showed that they had completed 4 new classrooms.  Lack of email contact and no clear information about the use of the money we had donated in March meant that going back seemed the only way to find out where they were up to. I actually didn’t actually have too many expectations on the building works given everything is so hard to do in the monsoon – especially build! Here is a bit of a photographic recap of our first visit in September 2014, 6 months after the earthquake.  All of the classrooms had been damaged by the earthquake except the library building which was built by foreign AID in a project called ‘Room to Read’ and …

Nepal…better late than never

When I was in Nepal in March I was trying out my new camera and hoping to take a few shots that were better than simply using my trusty iPhone. Here is a montage of some of my first efforts…forgive me all you photographers! As you may have seen from earlier posts my friend Max and I spent some time in Kathmandu and more in Pokhara – a whistlestop 6 nights altogether. The first series of photos are taken at Boudhanath, the morning after we arrived.  The stupa lost its all seeing eyes and spire in the earthquake but around the kora of the stupa life goes on as it ever did.  Votives alight under sunny skies, incense drifts in lazy curls.  Rust and saffron robed monks walk , people talk, people pray.  Dogs and birds enjoy the parade.  Women in traditional Tibetan aprons, with their hair in long plaits count mala beads as they walk.  Om Mani Padme Hum.  Hail to the jewel in the lotus. We left Kathmandu the same day bound for …

Supporting the Future of Nepal

The Arun Shree Jyoti School has been the focus of much of my attention for the last few months. I have been on the fundraising trail again with the aim of contributing more to the rebuilding of the school and my mind has often spooled away into the hibiscus and bougainvillea clad hillsides of Nepal and to a tiny school trying to get ahead.It’s easy to consider giving when you know the cause is so worthy. Its also easy when you know you will be greeted by the innocent, open faces of beautiful children when you head back to see them. But meanwhile back in Saudi we had another dinner party as we had found it to be such a great model for fundraising. I really like it when everyone gets something for their efforts and I really dislike asking people for money no matter the circumstances. To give people an opportunity to catch up with friends, to eat good food in a great environment appeals to me and from the response it’s clear others …

Rebuilding a School one pair of earrings at a time.

Both in Nepal and in Bali I bought jewellery with the idea of selling it in Saudi to help support the Arun Shree Jyoti School Project.  Christmas was coming and I knew if I wanted to capture the present buying crowd before they all headed off around the globe for the Christmas Holidays I needed to have things ready to go by the end of November.  Because of this I concentrated on already made pieces from Bali that I could simply on sell without fabricating them at all. Kilos of luggage later – about 60 in fact – we arrived home with plenty of fashion jewellery, silver, ethnic pieces and clothing. The first and biggest issue to overcome was how to display it.  In Australia, or probably anywhere else in the world I could have gone out and bought display cases, earring holders and all I needed to put together a really funky display. In Saudi finding this kind of thing was beyond me.  Locating and sourcing such things without speaking Arabic and finding ways …

A School to repair – Nepal part 6

Shree Arun Jyoti School is a tiny primary school perched rather precariously on a ridge above the small town of Begnas nearby to Pokhara. This area missed the worst of the quake however the school was damaged to the point, where after consultation it was decided that they needed to rebuild rather than repair. The problem with many of the buildings in Nepal is that they have almost no foundations. They build from the ground up using traditional but not particularly safety conscious methods. A few years ago a great organization called Room to Read which was set up by one of the Microsoft executives built a library at Shree Arun Jyoti. See Room to Read to discover more.  This building had foundations and a concrete floor and survived unscathed. Juliette and Dibya had raised around $8000, which included our contribution however due to the monsoon building works had not started when we arrived in Nepal. Probably the added incentive of some people coming to look at the progress galvanized some action at the school and a working …

When you think you are giving but really you are receiving….Nepal Part 4

There are a few internal airlines in Nepal but I felt we actually had to fly Buddha Air to get from Kathmandu to Pokhara.  I mean Yeti Air? Really? So off we went to the domestic terminal with ALL that luggage.  We explained that we were taking clothes for kids and they only charged us for half of the 30 kilos of excess…which ended up being a mere $15.  Given international airlines charge 50 USD for 1 kilo we felt pretty happy about this.  Only problem being that it didn’t arrive with us.  Never mind said the friendly person at the baggage claim.  It will be on the next flight. Ok…we wondered how long that would be and when he breezily said, ohhh 10 or 15 minutes I sat down and waited for the long haul thinking that may mean Nepali time. But lo and behold it was only about 20 minutes later that our bags arrived on the Yeti Air plane! All perfectly packed like a complex puzzle into Milobar’s taxi (yes Milobar – best name …

One thing leads to another….Nepal Part 3

As our trip to Nepal got closer my attention turned to what we would take with us and what we might bring back home….which led me to start having thoughts about bags and luggage allowance.  Rick had travelled with a day pack and 2 bottles of duty free wine last time but I had grander plans.  A few emails with Juliette established that we could to use our luggage allowance to bring supplies of things that may be hard to get in Nepal at this time.  We did a bit of brainstorming coming back to land on the most simple of ideas – children’s shoes and clothes. Juliette and Dibya again got to work and identified children in local villages who were in the greatest need – kids who had only ever received hand me downs.  In Nepal that means rags as they wear everything until it falls apart. So we knew that each and every pair of shorts, every t-shirt and pair of shoes would find a willing home and a useful one. Again …

When a good idea hijacks you. Nepal part 2

There are times when doing something can feel effortless as if you are in what is sometimes called ‘the flow’.  Times when you feel as if you are moving in a direction not entirely dictated by your own wants, needs and desires. When you say a small ‘yes’ out to a need, the universe, whatever but in saying that yes there is a response that comes back 100 fold to support you. Our fundraising efforts for Nepal have been a lot like that. After the quake hit Rick wanted to check in with Juliette and Dibya at Peace Dragon Lodge in Pokhara to check they were ok.  Their wonderful hotel is perched high on a ridge above the town and the lake, close by to the Peace Pagoda with a view over the Himalaya from Dhalugiri in the West to Manasulu in the East. A view which encompasses the whole of the Annapurna range as well. Rick had stayed with them last September when he made that flying visit to Nepal for the Eid holiday. …