New Year and a New Republic!
The 14th of April this year signified Nepali New Year, so from all of us at Aishworya we’d like to wish you a very happy 2066!
This was also the first anniversary of the abolition of the monarchy, when the Maoist party came to power, and Nepal’s first year as a Republic – so celebrations all round!
In April we also celebrated Mother’s Day at Aishworya, and the children made lovely cards for Nirmala, our director and “Aama” (Mother).
In May it was Pramila’s birthday, and as so many of the children don’t know when their birthday is, we have made it an annual birthday for all of the children at Aishworya, and we all get one year older together! This year we had two beautiful birthday cakes, and they were delicious too!
Health Checks for Everyone
This May a lot of the children and staff at Aishworya were struck down with a nasty viral fever/flu. With rumours of swine flu dominating the news worldwide, there was some concern, but we are pleased to report that all of the children and staff have recovered and are doing well.
We are very lucky to have a good friend, Narayan Mohatra, who is a GP at the teaching hospital. Dr Mohatra very kindly came round to check up on the kids regularly, (free of charge), while everyone was sick. It was expensive to buy antibiotics for so many children, but we have been lucky enough to have friends and donors to help to pay for all of the medicine.
Reuniting children with their families
We are extremely happy to report that in the last two months we have been able to relocate three of our children back with their families.
Veejay, (9) came to Aishworya in May 2007, and had settled happily into life at the orphanage. Unfortunately, he was not able to tell us very much about where his family was. However his uncle came to us in May and told us that he has been searching orphanages across Kathmandu looking for him, and Veejay was extremely happy to be reunited with his uncle.
Prieeti, (8) has also been with us since May 2008. Her parents are both alive, but her father threw her out of the house after claiming that she was not his daughter. Her mother sponsored her while she was at Aishworya, paying a small sum each month to cover her school fees and food. After a long stay with us, her family circumstances have resolved themselves, and she was able to return to live with her mother and father again.
Sajana (4) has been at Aishworya for 2 years, as her father was in jail and her mother was too sick to look after her. Her mother is much better now, and with the help of her grandmother they are able to take care of Sajana again.
We are always extremely happy when our children are able to return to their families, but we will miss them very much, and we love to see them come back and visit us. We hope Priti, Veejay and Sajana will come back and visit us soon!
School for everyone
Now for one of our best pieces of news so far: after a huge effort on the part of our staff and volunteers last year, and thanks to our wonderful donors and sponsors, we are extremely proud to announce that we raised enough money to pay for the children’s school fees for a full year!
Pramila, our assistant director, has now paid for the school fees for all 30 children for another year, as well as buying new school shoes, socks, uniforms, books and bags.
We are so thrilled that our hard work and commitment to the children has paid off, and we would like to say a very special thank you to each and every sponsor who helped to make it happen. In particular we would like to thank the Bondi Runners group for their regular support, and Karita, an ex-volunteer from Finland, who bought new school shoes and socks for all of the children.
At Aishworya we feel that education is one of the most important ways for the children to help them succeed later in life, and the children from Aishworya have consistently done well in their exams, and are often at the top of their respective classes.
The children have more than proven their ability and willingness to learn, and we are so happy to be able to give them the opportunity they so rightly deserve – we are lucky to have so many friends and group of staff and volunteers.
Friends and volunteers – old and new
We have made a new friend, an American girl called Claire who lives in Baluwatar, close to the orphanage. She has been coming by to volunteer and play with the children after school, and we are really grateful for her support!
We’ve had several visits from old friends too, including Minna from Finland, and Christine, who founded the Mitrata Nepal Foundation.
Another old friend, Helen Neale, from New Zealand came to visit us once again, and we were thrilled to see her again!
We are always glad to see old friends, and love to meet new ones, and we encourage anyone who is interested to come along and visit us!
And once again, our deepest and most heartfelt thanks to all of our dedicated supporters and sponsors, without whom we would not be where we are today.
Tihar, which is also known as Diwali, is celebrated 10 days after the Dassai festival. This is a festival of lights and worship to the Goddess Laxmi (the goddess of wealth). Tihar is one of the biggest festival of the year, which lasts for 5 days and involves Bhai Tikka, which is a day of celebration for brothers and sisters.
Lighting candles all over the house and playing Dausi is another important part of this festival.
This year our volunteers also joined the children to play Dausi which is so much fun, and involves a lot of singing and dancing. Then the kids do Bhai-Tikka, a ritual involving coloured tikka powder on the forehead, which makes the children feel very attached to each other like their own family. A very happy Tihar to everyone!
Three of our oldest boys, Jack (14), Yamraj (15), and Arun (12) were offered the chance to take a 20-day training course in electronics and plumbing. This course was conducted during the school holidays, so the boys did not miss any school, and cost 300 rupees per child per week (2,700 rupees in total for 3 boys).
This was a fantastic opportunity for the boys to learn new and useful skills, which we were able to fund thanks to donations from our regular sponsors.
The boys are now able to help around the house, fixing taps, water leaks and repairing electronic things like the radio, fixing the electric bulbs etc. They are all keen to develop their skill set further, and next year we hope to send more of the children on practical courses like these to help increase their knowledge and improve their chances of finding work in the future.
We are proud to announce that the two of our boys, Jack and Yamraj have been selected for the local under-seventeen football training course! They now practice every morning from 6am until 7am, and are able to fit this around their school schedule.
We are all extremely proud of the boys, as it is a great honour to be able to play for their local team, and the other children love to watch the games and cheer on our boys! As more and more of our kids are starting to grow up, they are becoming strong individuals with unique talents and skills, and we are pleased to be in a position to help them in their journey into adulthood.
Taking a stand against Child Trafficking
The trafficking of children has been a major problem for Nepal in recent years. Children are often trafficked to countries such as India and Pakistan, as well as the Middle East for labour, and young girls are often trafficked for sexual activities as well.
On November 15th there was a rally against Child Trafficking, which many Nepali children took part in. Holding banners that announced “STOP CHILD TRAFFICKING”, some of our boys took part in the rally to raise their voices for this important matter.
In Nepal there are many INGO’S and NGO’s who are working hard to try and eradicate the trafficking of children. This rally was also supported by the Nepal Community Police.
This is a subject on which the children feel very strongly about, as a number of our kids have themselves been trafficked away from their homes and families.
Durga (13), was forced into labour at the age of 9, carrying bags of rocks from a riverbed up to a building site, and Lai-Young (11), was taken from his home by men who claimed they would place him in a good boarding school in Kathmandu. He was subsequently abandoned in the city and left to fend for himself.
To read more of our children’s stories, and find out about their backgrounds, have a look at the children’s profiles.
A Visit from a Nepali Movie Star
This month we also had a surprise visit from Nikhil Upreti, a famous Nepali movie star, who came to visit the children!
The kids were over the moon – Nikhil Upreti is one of their favourite actors, and they were so happy and excited to meet him in person!
Mr Upreti was extremely nice and kind. He brought chocolates for all of the children and stayed for an evening to chat and play with the kids. We are definitely his biggest fans!!!
A Dental Care Programme for The Children
The children are often complaining of toothache, and many of them have rotting teeth, so we asked a dentist to give his medical opinion. The situation was as dire as it seemed. Many children needed dental care as soon as possible, and to the volunteers it was amazing that many of the children could even eat at all.
Our wonderful Finnish volunteers offered to raise money for dental treatment for the children. Their fundraising has been amazingly successful and the children’s dental treatments have already started!
The first visit was made on 30th of October with two of the children, Prince and Drisha. The volunteers went with the children to the dentist because it is, of course, a little bit frightening!
The fundraising campaign has been highly successful, and we raised over €4,000 to pay for dental care for all of the children.
We are very grateful to all the donors who have made a contribution towards the children’s dental treatment.