Dadeldhura Nutritional Rehabilitation Home Officially Joins the Nepali Hospital System!
Exciting news! On July 26th, 2022, the Dadeldhura Nutritional Rehabilitation Home was formally handed over to the government-run Dadeldhura Hospital in a special ceremony. This marks the successful conclusion of NYF’s work building and launching new Nutritional Rehabilitation Homes—a project that began in 1998.
NYF’s pioneering NRH model has been so successful that it has become a central piece of Nepal’s national work to end childhood malnutrition. Indeed, the government has already built an additional seven facilities throughout the country—with more on the way! Read more about these remarkable facilities here.
About the Dadeldhura Nutritional Rehabilitation Home
The Nepali government specifically requested the Dadeldhura Nutritional Rehabilitation Home because the children in Dadeldhura District and in multiple adjoining districts were experiencing a very high rate of stunting due to malnutrition. They had identified several of these districts as among the lowest performing in Nepal when looking at rates of stunting, anemia, and low weight in children and mothers of reproductive age.
Mothers in the region were undoubtedly eager to help their babies grow and develop into healthy, active kids and strong, creative young adults. But in many of their households, there’s no room in the budget for empty calories.
Every rupee spent on food is a rupee that can’t be spent on other necessities like rent, medicine, and school. Without access to knowledge about nutrition—what vegetables contain the nutrients kids need and how to combine and prepare foods to maximize nutritional value—mothers can only make their best guesses with the resources they have.
Many of these parents have shared stories of feeling heartache as they watched their children struggling to put on weight in spite of the adults’ best efforts.
Nepal’s government hoped that one of our clinics would provide the medical support and educational resources nearby communities needed to begin reversing this trend.
This 10-bed facility (enough for 10 mother-child pairs) would be NYF’s final NRH construction project—the 17th such clinic we had built. We completed construction in August 2017 and started operating on September 1st of that same year.
Achievements at the Dadeldhura Nutritional Rehabilitation Home
In the five years since this clinic opened its doors, nine specially trained staff members have made the Dadeldhura Nutritional Rehabilitation Home a pride of the associated hospital. Here are some of their achievements:
- They provided residential treatment and care for 477 children—including diet therapy, 24-hour nursing care, medical check-ups by a pediatrician, and careful monitoring. During these stays, their caregivers, usually mothers, received hands-on training on practical nutrition education and personalized counseling on how to maximize the nutrition in their home diets using only the ingredients available to them.
- They’ve conducted nutritional screenings (and provided personalized nutritional counseling for moms!) for 2,266 children who were visiting the Dadeldhura Hospital for other ailments when malnutrition was a contributing factor.
- Despite not having a designated field staff, NRH staff managed to conduct 56 home visits to follow-up with discharged children who had been severely malnourished enough that their cases required prolonged monitoring.
- They provided community outreach and educational events for their surrounding communities whenever it was necessary, including Breastfeeding Week, Iodine Month, and Nutrition Week.
During the COVID pandemic:
- During COVID-19, They conducted an additional 113 follow-up visits over the phone, coaching caregivers on practical nutrition tips, home hygiene, and child health care at home.
Trainings and Assessments
Staff members have been eager to continue learning to best serve their young patients. Not only have they all participated in annual “refresher” training through NYF’s Kathmandu Valley flagship NRH, but they’ve also made efforts to specialize by attending trainings held by the Nepali Ministry of Health. Several nurses have also attended a maternal and young infant child nutrition workshop. Others have participated in trainings focused on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS. Most recently, a nurse attended a 5-day workshop on “Nutrition in Emergencies,” focused on learnings from the COVID pandemic.
In 2021, a government team conducted an assessment on the full Dadeldhura Hospital. The NRH scored highest among all the clinical settings associated with the hospital.
This incredible work will continue, with NYF still providing follow-up training for NRH staff members across the country. This includes those providing transformative services in Dadeldhura. In fact, we’re providing training for NRH staff members at facilities built entirely by the Nepali government! This training takes place at our flagship Kathmandu Valley NRH, led by our incredible Nutrition Coordinator, Sunita Rimal.
New Opportunities in Childhood Nutrition
Nepal, NYF, and other organizations working to combat childhood malnutrition have made tremendous strides over the 24 years since we first began providing holistic nutritional care. But the work isn’t finished.
At NYF, we strive to design programs that can one day be sustainably taken over by the communities they are serving. This keeps us at the forefront of social innovation in Nepal—focusing our attention on developing new, focused, daring programs that respond to the toughest challenges.
With the Nepali government now building and operating NRHs on its own, NYF’s nutrition team sees new opportunities to conduct life-saving Nutrition Outreach Camps in more and more remote regions of the country.
As Nepal works to improve its nationwide infrastructure, it must contend with its unique, dramatic geography. Sharp elevation shifts throughout the country make building and maintaining roads and bridges incredibly difficult. As a result, many villages are still only accessible on foot. Historically, we’ve struggled to persuade some parents to bring their severely-malnourished children to the nearest NRH, as the journey to the closest one was often several days long and potentially dangerous.
Now when we find children in these areas in need of immediate medical care, there’s an NRH within much closer reach than there has ever been before. That makes it so much easier to save more lives and introduce nutritional education to eager communities.
Thank you so much for being part of this journey. We are so grateful to everyone who has helped make this chapter of NYF’s journey such a transformative success—not only for the individual children we’ve nourished, but for the country as a whole.
As Nepal recovers from the COVID pandemic and finds a “new normal”, NYF is hard at work launching new initiatives, keeping our promises to those already in our care, and integrating new learnings from the past two years. Please help us continue to grow our impact by making a generous gift today right here on our website!
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Founder’s Day 2022: Thanks for Celebrating with Us!
Founder’s Day 2022—held over Zoom on Tuesday, June 7th, 2022—was a tremendous success!
Thank you to everyone who signed in live to commemorate another remarkable year of transformative impact in Nepal! Our global team deeply appreciates your many messages of congratulations and support. Olga, especially, is touched by the well-wishes in celebration of her life and work.
The team in Nepal, led by Som Paneru, was so delighted to see everyone’s excitement during the event. They were deeply gratified by the warmth and encouragement our community shared with guest speakers Jeena Maharjan and Bishnu Chaudhary. If you were unable to attend Founder’s Day in person (or if you would like to share the celebration with a friend or over social media), the full event is now available through our YouTube channel.
It was so wonderful to see our remarkable community of loving supporters from across the world, current and former staff members (especially those in Nepal!), and program graduates. Meeting together in this way is such a joy—and we are so grateful you joined in the fun.
Thank you to everyone who registered, attended, participated, and donated. Thanks, too, to anyone who invited a friend or spread the word on social media. A special thank you goes to co-hosts Shrijana Singh Yonjan and Dr. Angela Pal; videographers Roy Cox and Robin Mortarotti; and guest speakers Jeena Maharjan and Bishnu Chaudhary for helping shape the inspiring presentations; author and philanthropist Isabel Allende for her beautiful birthday wish, and to the volunteers, board members, advisory board members, and staff working behind the scenes. And of course, thank you to Olga Murray and Som Paneru for giving us so much to celebrate!
Olga’s 97th Birthday Goal
We are so excited to share that we exceeded our Founder’s Day 2022 fundraising goal of $97,000 in honor of Olga’s 97th birthday! This includes donations, pledges, and auction bids.
Thank you to each wonderful supporter who donated in honor of Founder’s Day 2022! Early gifts carried us over halfway to our goal, and the remarkable generosity during our event carried us well over our goal amount. Your gifts will make a transformative difference providing Education, Health, Shelter, and Freedom to children in Nepal!
The warmth, love, and kindness of our incredible community is truly humbling for all of us on NYF’s global team. Perhaps most of all, we are humbled by the trust you place in us with each thoughtful contribution to the causes we share.
Thank you for helping our global team transform lives every day in Nepal. Whether your focus is nutrition programming, girls’ education, vocational and entrepreneurship training for young adults, childhood mental health, or safe housing for kids, YOUR SUPPORT makes a tangible, positive difference in the lives we touch.
Thank you for joining us in daring to tackle some of the toughest, most entrenched challenges facing the children we serve.
Your love is providing Education, Health, Shelter, and Freedom to Nepal’s newest generation—and graduates from our programs are proving that your #LoveWorks. Dhanyabad!
If you have not yet fulfilled your Founder’s Day pledge, or if you would like to make another thoughtful gift, please do so here.
Our U.S. team is contacting auction winners and pledge raffle winners. If you have any questions about this process, please reach out to us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call our office using the number on our contact us page.
The Caste Equality Project & Educating Dalit Lawyers
A highlight of Founder’s Day 2022 was our announcement of our ambitious new program, the Caste Equality Project!
Phase 1: Educating Dalit Lawyers launches the summer of 2022. The first group of 15 students will enter Kathmandu law schools at the beginning of the 2022-2023 academic year. Olga is ecstatic about the potential these young people have to change their world for the better. Likewise, Som and his team are eager to scale our work in the coming years.
We’ve now published the program pages for these exciting projects (linked above). Meanwhile, we will also be sharing photos, stories, and information about our progress as this information becomes available.
Please keep an eye out for updates right here on our blog about all our programs. We’re so excited to share more with you soon about the impact your support is having on the lives of so many!
NYF’s COVID-19 Timeline
A brief overview of COVID-19 in Nepal; and NYF’s strong responses to it.
This timeline regarding NYF’s COVID response is a developing piece. Last updated: 3/11/2022
On March 11, 2020, The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Not too long after, on April 4th, 2020, Nepal confirmed its first locally-transmitted case of COVID-19. Since then, NYF has launched five emergency programs in response to the pandemic (Community Nutrition Kitchens, The Emergency Lifeline Halfway Home, Access to Education, Lito for Life, and our very own COVID Isolation Center).
Thanks to our dedicated team in Nepal and loving support from the wider NYF community, these programs have been an incredible success. Chiri Babu Maharjan, Mayor of Lalitpur Metropolitan City, has commended NYF “for its outstanding services since the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nepal, and for the well-facilitated quarantine and COVID Isolation Center in partnership with Lalitpur.”
NYF’s swift and effective response to the deadly surge of the Delta variant in April 2021 has also been highlighted by BBC News.
NYF remains incredibly grateful for our community of supporters, and for our amazing team in Nepal. Thank you all for being so patient, supportive, and generous during these challenging times. Whether you joined us recently or have been here with us since the beginning of this pandemic: Dhanyabad.
Please scroll down to view NYF’s pandemic timeline.
International Youth Day 2021: SAAET Stories from Early Project Graduates!
International Youth Day
International Youth Day occurs every year on August 12th. It’s a valuable chance created by the UN to focus on the biggest issues facing young people throughout the world. The theme in 2021 is “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health.” As the world population grows and nations respond to climate change, sustainable food systems will become more important than ever. To achieve the necessary changes, the participation of young people is critical!
This International Youth Day is a great opportunity to share some of the earliest success stories from NYF’s new SAAET Project!
The SAAET Project
Saaet is Nepali for “an auspicious moment of starting a new journey” – and at NYF, it stands for Sustainable Agricultural and Entrepreneur Training.
This project tackles gender inequality, skills development, and food systems all at once. Designed especially with young women in mind, this course brings simplified greenhouse technology and up-to-date organic agricultural practices to individuals hoping to achieve financial success while staying within their home communities.
NYF’s Vocational Education and Career Counseling Program (VECC) offers multiple job readiness and vocational education options to Nepalese young people seeking career opportunities close to home. Those we help are experiencing many different kinds of barriers to economic success—but those most in need are usually young women.
The SAAET Project is just one part of NYF’s work to combat child marriage in Nepal, and part of our commitment to helping young women and girls find economic empowerment on their own terms.
Our first class of SAAET students were Freed Kamlaris from the Western Terai. Their training took place in March-April 2021—let’s see how they’re doing!
When Sunita was only 13 years old, her father sent her to work as a kamlari far away from her home in Bardiya District. In exchange for her labor, the family was promised two things: they would be allowed a large enough plot of leased land to feed the family year-round, and Sunita would be sent to school.
As so often happened, the family broke their promise about Sunita’s education. She worked as a kamlari for 5 years, until she was 18 years old. NYF knew about her situation from surveys conducted in the village, and we had to threaten legal action to finally bring her home.
Sunita is 26 years old now, and the memories of her days as a kamlari are still fresh and painful.
She worked extremely long hours, from early in the morning to very late at night, locked in the house doing cooking, cleaning, childcare, and any other work that came up. Sunita hopes no child ever has to suffer that way again.
Once rescued, Sunita enrolled in grade 6 and managed to complete her studies through grade 10. In Nepal, all students must take the notorious “Iron Gate” exam (the Secondary Education Examination) at the end of grade 10. This extremely rigorous test determines who can move forward. Sunita was unable to pass the Iron Gate, so her academic studies ended there.
She got married in her early 20s and, through NYF support, took an 18-month vocational course in agriculture. Sunita and her husband decided they preferred the idea of farming over the notion of working for someone else, so they applied for a microloan from their local co-operative and started banana farming. Soon they added vegetables, chickens, and pigs. Sunita and her husband have been happy to be able to pay back the co-operative loan, and they’re paying the lease on their land through their own earnings now.
But Sunita hopes to be able to own the land outright and expand the business further.
That’s why she was so happy to join the first class of the SAAET Project. The material taught in the class expanded Sunita’s existing knowledge of best agricultural practices and gave her great new ideas for her farm. She also learned helpful business practices!
When she returned home, the spring COVID outbreak was just hitting the Western Terai, and shutdowns made accessing building materials more difficult than expected. But Sunita was still able to start working on her own new greenhouse, which will allow her even more crop flexibility. She is already harvesting her first greenhouse crops, and she’s looking forward to being able to continue growing vegetables through the winter months. Sunita and her husband are hoping their farm will become a model for other farmers in the region.
“Dhanyabad, NYF!” she says. “I am very grateful for the invaluable support I have received from NYF which has transformed my life beyond my imagination.”
When Lila was born, her entire family was bonded in a practice called Kamaiya. Nepal abolished the Kamaiya system in 2000, freeing the family from this exploitative practice. But without much government support for families like Lila’s, they soon needed access to farmland they could only get by making Lila a kamlari for their landlord. (Kamlari was the last remaining piece of the old Kamaiya system.)
“My landlords did not send me to school, but I missed going to school badly. I was studying in grade 4 when I had to become a kamlari,” Lila says. “I had to sacrifice my education just for my family to be able to get two decent meals a day. There was no way the landlord would give us the land for farming if I refused to work.” Lila was ten years old and carrying the threat of her whole family’s starvation on her shoulders.
As a kamlari, “I had to do all the work from cooking, cleaning and looking after the landlord’s children, to cutting and collecting fodder for the cattle,” she recalls. “If I was ever late to come home or late for work, I would be scolded badly.”
One year into her time in bondage, Lila learned about an anti-kamlari campaign in her village. “I feel so lucky that I did not have to work as a kamlari as long as so many of my friends did,” Lila says. NYF had been collecting the names of known kamlari girls, and Lila’s name had appeared on these lists. “I was worried I wouldn’t be able to go to school after returning home, but on the day of my rescue, I heard that the same organization would be sending me to school, too. I felt so happy. And I suddenly felt so relieved and light at heart because I would not have to bear the anger and scolding from the landlords anymore.”
Lila studied all the way through 12th grade and then completed an 18-month agricultural science course on an NYF scholarship.
She and several other freed girls established their local co-operative to help their community grow its economic power, and Lila helped her family start up a vegetable farm that could feed them year-round and even bring in up to $60 a month.
Lila got her greenhouse started right away when she returned home from the SAAET training. Her family is already seeing the benefits of the program on their diet and on their ability to bring in extra cash! She is looking forward to adding in the drip irrigation system soon, and is planning her strategies for fall and winter crops.
Now, at age 26, Lila knew she needed a bit more specialized knowledge to take the family farm from subsistence agriculture to a fully-fledged business. She was thrilled to hear about the SAAET Project.
“During the training I learnt about increasing production by growing vegetables throughout the year using more efficient tools and techniques,” she explains. “I also learnt about organic farming and producing organic pesticides by myself. NYF not only provided the skills but also a start-up fund for us to build a greenhouse. With the money and the skills, I and my family have built a greenhouse near our house and have already started vegetable farming. I am confident that we can produce far more than before and increase our income. Gradually we plan to expand greenhouse farming and establish a successful business.”
Arati was ten years old when her father sold her off as a kamlari in a different village. “Even now, I always get sad and wonder what made my father to sell me as a kamlari,” Arati says. “I try and console myself that it was not entirely his fault alone, and that he was a victim of the oppression and the ill practice of slavery of the Tharu people.”
Memories of her kamlari years are painful and difficult for Arati.
“My parents had sent me as a kamlari on the condition that I should be sent to school. The landlords therefore admitted me in school, but I was able to go to school only after finishing all the work at home. I had to wake up in the dark hours before four o’clock in the morning and start my chores. I looked after the landlord’s children, cooked, cleaned, did the dishes, and all the other chores around the home. The landlords would get very angry if I made any mistake and scolded me constantly.” Arati takes some faint consolation in the fact that her landlords did not beat her.
“I was desperately looking for a release from this condition,” Arati recalls. “I wanted to be free like other children and go to school like them.”
After three years, a massive anti-kamlari campaign took hold in Arati’s village and NYF rescued her from bondage by NYF. “I felt very lucky that I got this life changing opportunity,” she says, “and I pursued my studies seriously.”
Arati recently completed the 12th grade. During her studies, she was part of a group of freed girls who established a local co-operative for savings and credit. She’s a proud contributing member of this co-op.
Back in 2018, Arati and her family acquired a plot of land to start a vegetable farm—but they have not managed to run it in a systematic, commercial manner. Arati signed up right away when she heard about the SAAET Project, knowing the training would make a huge difference.
“During the training we (21 girls including me) learnt a lot about using more advanced tools and technology for greenhouse farming, and about adopting agriculture as an income-generating enterprise.
After I returned home from training, I have built a greenhouse and started vegetable farming with the help of my family. I now have the knowledge about both seasonal and off-season farming, which will enable us to produce vegetables throughout the year. I am confident that by using the knowledge and skill I acquired from the training, we can easily increase the production and income by as much as three times than what we are able to do now. My parents are also very happy and proud of me and the work we are doing as a family.”
Those in Arati’s village are already spreading the word that she has vegetables to sell! Her farm, and others like it, will make an enormous difference in the health of the surrounding communities.
Only the Beginning
The SAAET Project has developed organically as NYF has responded to the pandemic—and we are enthusiastic about developing it further. This International Youth Day, we are so proud to be helping communities of young people pull their communities forward using new innovations and skills.
As Nepal’s economy heals from the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts, young people in Nepal will need job preparedness training and career education more than ever.
To help us continue offering the SAAET Project and other vocational training programs, please donate today, and share our message on social media!
(For an even greater future impact, consider celebrating National Make a Will Month throughout August 2021 by joining our Legacy Circle!)
Make a Will Month – Opportunities for Impact through NYF’s Legacy Circle!
In 2021, for the very first time, 18-34-year-olds were more likely to have a will than 35-54-year-olds. Nearly 27% of young adults have prepared a will, compared to only 22.5% of those between 35 and 54.
Make a Will Month occurs every August. As the summer starts to wind down, this is a great opportunity to think about long-term plans. Your estate plan can have a positive impact on your loved ones and the causes you believe in most.
The Legacy Circle
Bequests and other planned gifts make an incredible difference for nonprofits like Nepal Youth Foundation. These generous remembrances help bolster organizations like ours through unexpected disasters like earthquakes and pandemics. They truly allow us to maximize impact for the children in our care.
These special donors mean the world to the NYF team. It is a profound honor to be included in a long-time supporter’s estate planning, and a joy to know that our programs can continue providing Education, Health, Shelter and Freedom for children in Nepal for years to come!
Members of NYF’s Legacy Circle have helped transform the lives of thousands of children through educational scholarships, family support, malnutrition interventions, psychological counseling, job-readiness training, emergency relief, and much more.
Many of the children served are enthusiastic supporters of their communities in adulthood. We are only beginning to see the incredible impact of this work.
The Legacy Circle is NYF’s way of saying Thank You, to those who remember us in their estate planning.
All you need to do is let us know you’ve included NYF in your will or other plans. There is no minimum bequest required to become part of this special group.
In 2021, the NYF team is refining what membership in the Legacy Circle means. We will be recommitting ourselves to show our appreciation. A description of specific gifts of thanks will be coming soon.
But for Make a Will Month, we want to encourage each and every one of our supporters and friends to take a moment to consider your estate planning—not just for NYF, but for yourself and for your loved ones.
Do You Have an Estate Plan?
Did you know that 70% of American adults do not have an up-to-date will? According to a 2021 poll by Caring.com, only 44% of American adults over 55 years of age have prepared this valuable document. Common reasons for this include:
“I haven’t gotten around to it.”
“I don’t have enough assets to leave anyone.”
“It’s too expensive and complicated to set up.”
“I don’t know how to get a will or living trust.”
In years past, the process of creating a will felt daunting and complicated—not to mention financially draining. But the estate planning process isn’t like that anymore.
Online resources like FreeWill.com provide all the help many individuals need to create a free, simple, legally-binding will. Using easy-to-follow instructions based on your state, this resource makes the process simple and accessible to those of any age. In some cases, you won’t even need to find a notary.
Why Create an Estate Plan?
Estate planning isn’t just about money. It’s about love—and peace of mind.
An up-to-date estate plan saves time, money, and stress for your loved ones during a time of great emotional upheaval. It also lowers the potential for family disputes by making your wishes clear. When someone passes away without creating a will, their estate is distributed based on the laws in your state. This process can be slow and expensive—and your assets will be frozen throughout the process.
Your will is a place for you to identify the trusted person who will carry out your wishes, whether your estate is very large and complicated, or very small.
When you sit down to consider it, almost no one has an estate so small that there is no room for confusion. If you have minor children, your estate plan is a place to nominate a preferred guardian for them. You may even select a guardian for your pets and leave funds to provide for their care.
Many people choose to detail their funeral wishes in their estate plans. Though these are not legally binding, this is another opportunity to ease the minds of your loved ones, who may otherwise worry about whether you would have approved of their ways of commemorating your life.
In your estate plan you will decide, in detail, how to distribute your assets and property. This includes not only items like stocks, homes, vehicles, cash, and jewelry, but digital assets as well—the copyright to your travel blog, for example. When it comes to sentimental items, many individuals gain peace of mind by identifying the beneficiary who would most cherish the item. Recipients of these bequests often feel comfort at being remembered so specifically.
Including a nonprofit as a beneficiary (leaving an “outright” gift) can be as simple as adding a single sentence or amendment to your will.
Popular ways of making these planned gifts include leaving a specific amount, leaving a percentage of a donor’s total wealth, or designating the remainder of a donor’s estate after other bequests have been paid.
Leaving part of your estate to a nonprofit is a great way to reduce estate taxes for your heirs.
Planned giving can be as unique as you are—and often includes options many individuals don’t think of immediately.
For example, if you leave what remains of your Retirement Plan (401(k) or IRA) to a nonprofit rather than an individual, you avoid capital gains tax and estate taxes.
Designating NYF as the beneficiary of all or part of a Life Insurance Policy that is no longer needed for its original purpose can be a thoughtful donation—and may also provide your heirs with substantial tax benefits.
It’s easy to do: simply ask your retirement account manager or life insurance agent for a beneficiary designation form and name the Nepal Youth Foundation as the beneficiary.
Another excellent planned gift is real estate.
Taxes and other costs associated with receiving well-intentioned gifts of real estate can sometimes be overwhelming for heirs. Leaving vacation homes or other such property to a nonprofit instead can spare loved ones from unexpected tax liabilities further down the road.
Those with more complex estates may benefit from Charitable Annuities and Trusts. To create a charitable trust, you will benefit from a financial representative. But these types of gifts can be incredibly beneficial to you during your lifetime, to your heirs, and to the nonprofit organization(s) you choose to receive benefits.
Creating a charitable trust is a useful, multipronged approach to leaving a legacy. It allows you to set aside money for both a charity and your beneficiaries, realize specific tax advantages—and have a say over how and when any income should be distributed while you are still alive.
Celebrate Make A Will Month by Starting or Reviewing Your Estate Plans Today!
Having an up-to-date will is important whether you are 18 or 108—not only for yourself, but for your loved ones.
Whether you are starting your very first will or simply reviewing your existing plan, we hope you set aside time during the month of August to consider these impactful plans. FreeWill.com is an excellent, nonprofit-friendly place to start!
And if you are interested in learning more about joining NYF’s Legacy Circle or in identifying the best options for your planned gift, please let us know right away by calling 415-331-8585 or emailing email@example.com. Though we are unable to officially give personal legal or tax advice, we are prepared to share ideas you may bring to your attorney, tax advisor, and trusted family members.
We are always happy to discuss the most impactful ways our community can join us in providing Education, Health, Shelter, and Freedom to children in Nepal for years to come.
World Youth Skills Day: Celebrating NYF Breakthroughs During COVID
The United Nations General Assembly declared World Youth Skills Day in 2014. Each July 15th since then marks an opportunity to “celebrate the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.”
COVID-19 has hit the world economy hard. But many are surprised to learn that globally, young people aged 15-24 have been impacted more severely than any other group when it comes to employment. World employment for all adults fell 3.7 percent in 2020. For young adults, the rate was 8.7 percent.
Young women have been hit even harder than young men.
Empowering young adults with strong paths to employment will be critical to the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This is especially true in Nepal, where extremely low pre-pandemic employment levels were already hindering economic growth and opportunity for young people.
The UN is urging countries to invest more in job-readiness education for young people. This applies not only to traditional academic education, but to vocational education, skills training, career counseling, and other paths towards independence and economic empowerment.
This World Youth Skills Day, NYF is highlighting our work in Vocational Education and Career Counseling—including high-impact programs like Olgapuri Vocational School, Vocational Diploma Scholarships, and our new SAAET (Sustainable Agricultural and Entrepreneur Training) program!
Vocational Education and Career Counseling
Many young people in Nepal are unable to complete their grade school education. Whether due to personal aptitude, economic barriers, inaccessibility, trauma, or other factors, the academic path towards success is sometimes not possible.
The demand in Nepal is high for skilled work. Especially since the 2015 earthquake, many career opportunities exist for welders, electricians, carpenters, woodworkers, and plumbers. During normal years, tourism is also an industry offering strong careers in restaurants and hotels. These careers pay much more than the backbreaking daily labor many Nepalese young people find themselves taking—the labor many of them watched their parents perform for decades while never being able to build wealth and prosperity.
However, though the demand is high for these skills, Nepalese companies often struggle to find qualified, trained local young people. As a result, workers from India and other countries fill so many of these high-paying positions.
Meanwhile, young Nepalese men and women can often only find job prospects beyond their country’s borders and far from family, where language barriers and other factors make them vulnerable to exploitation. These overseas positions separate families for months on end and provide workers with barely enough money to get by.
Even for more traditional Nepalese paths, like those in agriculture, valuable modern innovations exist that can raise crop yields and strengthen individual efficiency. But individuals must learn these innovations, and many in Nepal’s rural farming communities have limited access to this information.
In recent years, NYF has been working to expand access to career opportunities for Nepal’s young people.
Our Vocational Education and Career Counseling program provides young men and women with incredible opportunities. Those in our programs receive intensive skills training from expert instructors, entrepreneurship guidance, small business admin and accounting lessons, resume-building and job search support, start-up microgrants, and connections to other young adults on similar paths towards personal economic empowerment.
Olgapuri Vocational School
Olgapuri Vocational School (OVS), located on the Olgapuri campus in Kathmandu Valley, brings 20-student classes of men and women together for 3-month certification programs in electrical, plumbing, carpentry, welding, and more. Programs shift to match needs NYF has identified through contacts at major Nepalese companies. We also offer specialized courses in fields like industrial tailoring or special agricultural topics including unique crops (like mushrooms or henna) and innovations (including greenhouse technology).
In normal years, around 90 percent of OVS graduates are employed in their chosen fields within six months.
During most of the pandemic, students have been unable to come to OVS due to travel and safety restrictions. Instead, we have begun taking OVS to rural communities as we launched our Satellite Olgapuri Vocational School program.
Instead of bringing individuals from multiple villages to Olgapuri Vocational School, we sent our trainers—fully equipped with the necessary tools and equipment—out to quarantine in individual villages, conducting the training there before moving to another village.
Soon after launching, municipality offices and schools began reaching out to request these satellite trainings. Requests arrived from all over: including a girl’s school, a children’s home, and an addiction recovery center for young adults.
In the final half of 2020, we were able to conduct Satellite Vocational Training courses in nine villages.
A total of 255 students received a full course of training in electrical, plumbing, carpentry, or welding by the end of 2020. Of these, 77 were young women—a higher rate of interest than we usually see. NYF believes this is because the satellite version allowed students to study their new skills without leaving their home villages. This insight is informing the development of new vocational education programming especially for young women.
Empowering Freed Kamlaris
Young Tharu women associated with our Empowering Freed Kamlaris program are still eligible for special skills-based trainings held in their native Terai region of Nepal. Most of these women join our “Tea and Snacks Shop” training program, which teaches the principles of small business ownership and provides start-up funds for each woman to open her own roadside business. Graduates of this program have used their proceeds to buy livestock, to purchase farmland outright, or to educate their younger siblings. Some have even hired their parents or husbands to run secondary locations! In 2020, even through the pandemic, 334 Freed Kamlaris received skills-based training.
Finally, young people may receive NYF scholarships for earning Vocational Diplomas at long-term technical institutions. Careers may include nursing, engineering, agriculture, the culinary arts, and hotel management. During our 2019-2020 year, 54 students received vocational scholarships, with 9 individuals graduating.
SAAET (Sustainable Agricultural and Entrepreneur Training)
Saaet means “an auspicious moment of starting a new journey”.
As part of NYF’s commitment to helping young Nepalese women build personal economic prosperity and to provide an alternative to child marriage in rural communities, we introduced a new vocational education project in 2021. Called the SAAET Project, or Sustainable Agricultural and Entrepreneurship Training, this satellite-type vocational education program teaches young women how to build and maintain greenhouses, use best organic farming practices within them, and to run a greenhouse-based business.
The program launched on March 22nd with 21 young women (all of them Freed Kamlaris) in the first round. These women learned modern, sustainable methods for producing increased vegetable yields with smaller spaces and reduced labor—and many of them have already built their own greenhouses and planted their first crops. They are looking forward to sharing what they’ve learned with their friends and neighbors!
Visit https://www.nepalyouthfoundation.org/saaet-project-intro/ for more information!
Olga Inspires on CBS Evening News: Still Sharing Her Life’s Mission
Olga inspires just about everyone she meets, so the NYF team was delighted when CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell asked to feature her recently.
Viewers who tuned in for the spot’s original airing on the night of July 5th, 2021 learned a bit about Olga’s mission: extending educational opportunities to Nepal’s children, as well as providing health, freedom, and shelter.
We are so grateful to CBS News correspondent Jamie Yuccas for helping Olga inspire new audiences with her story of personal impact in a world that often downplays “women of a certain age”. With support and solidarity from friends around the world, Olga and NYF are helping Nepali children chase their dreams and build brighter futures for themselves, their families, and their communities.
“I don’t think about stopping,” Olga says. And neither does the global NYF team. Thank you all for being part of this incredible continuing journey!
Frontline Warrior: NYF’s Lila Tharu Celebrates Freedom Day by Saving Lives
Frontline warrior healthcare workers across the world have spent nearly 18 months battling COVID-19 to defend their communities. These heroes have saved countless lives during the pandemic.
For one of these warriors, Lila Tharu, age 26 (below), her status as a nurse and midwife is a source of particular satisfaction. NYF is proud to count Lila among our many accomplished alumni now to heal their communities during this crisis.
Kamlari Freedom Day
June 27th, 2021 marks the 8th anniversary of the legal abolition of the kamlari practice in Nepal—otherwise known as Kamlari Freedom Day.
Kamlari was a form of indentured servitude which exploited the daughters of the Tharu ethnic minority group in Western Nepal’s Terai region. After generations of predatory lending by more powerful “land-owning” groups, the practice emerged as the only way for families to pay back exorbitant generational debts.
At every Tharu New Year, parents sold their daughters—some as young as six years old—to work long hours in the homes of strangers. In return, families would receive an average of only $30 for an entire year of their child’s labor. Thousands of Tharu girls spent their entire childhoods in kitchen slavery. Some never returned home.
To people in the Western Terai, the kamlari practice had come to seem inevitable. It was a baked-in cultural truth that very few people dared to question.
Lila Tharu – Kamlari Life, Rescue & Education
Lila was born in Thakurbaba Municipality in Bardiya District. When she was 12, Lila was sent away to work as a kamlari in 2005. Her two older sisters had also worked as kamlaris.
After two years working in her master’s house and being denied an education, Lila was identified and rescued by Nepal Youth Foundation in 2007. Through the Indentured Daughters program, her family was provided with economic support to offset Lila’s lost “wage.” It also included the materials needed to allow Lila to return to school: a kerosene lamp to study by, a school uniform, notebooks, and more.
Lila was a determined student who dreamed of becoming a midwife. Soon after her rescue, she enrolled in grade 7 at a local school. She completed high school (10th grade at the time in Nepal) in 2012, passing her country’s notorious SLC “Iron Gate” exam. Lila earned a place in the Auxiliary Nurse Midwife program at Sushma Koirala Memorial Institute in Nepalgunj. NYF provided her with a college scholarship throughout her studies.
NYF continued to provide career support as Lila began her nursing career in a private hospital in Banke District. And in November 2016, she finally landed her dream job as an Auxiliary Nurse Midwife at Bheri Hospital in Nepalgunj, the largest government hospital in the region. She has remained there ever since, continuing her education by taking Nursing Care and Skilled Birth Attendant trainings to further enhance her skills.
The salary she brings home each month is far beyond what members of the Tharu community thought possible for one of their daughters only 10 to 20 years ago. Not only is Lila serving a critical role in her community’s health system—she is proving the incredible potential within a Tharu girl.
Lila Tharu – Frontline Warrior
At the beginning of 2020, Lila was living at home with her mother while continuing her career. Lila’s father had passed away years before, and her two sisters were now married.
Things changed in Lila’s work life when the pandemic hit. She was added to a special COVID treatment team early on and assigned temporarily to nearby Sushil Koirala Cancer Hospital in Khajura. This hospital had been set aside especially for COVID patients. Lila worked there for several weeks during the pandemic’s first wave. She also served COVID patients in mandated isolation in a Kalpatri hotel during this time.
Now, during Nepal’s intense second COVID wave, Lila’s hospital in Nepalgunj is at the epicenter of the crisis. Many young people from Western Nepal cross the border into India to find work. When the virus surged in India earlier this year, they fled back north to escape the pandemic—not realizing they were bringing the virus home with them.
Bheri Hospital now has four dedicated COVID wards. Lila (below, in white at far right), who has valuable COVID Care experience from 2020, is a frontline warrior in one of them.
She is hard at work monitoring her patients’ vital signs, measuring oxygen levels, and providing intravenous therapy and medicine, as well as other critical care. COVID death rates for hospitalized patients are frighteningly high everywhere, and Lila’s ward is no different. During this second surge, they have lost an average of 3-4 patients per day. But Lila tries to remember the lives she has helped to save as well. Many of her surviving patients would not be able to return home if not for her.
In spite of rigorous safety protocols, Lila herself caught COVID in the spring, like many other frontline warriors across the world. Fortunately, her symptoms were mild. After a short isolation, she returned courageously to the COVID ward to continue her lifesaving work.
She will continue this work until her expertise is no longer required in the COVID ward. She (below, preparing medicines for a patient) is proud to be doing this important work in her community—and grateful to the NYF Community for making her journey possible.
Just One Story of Thousands
Lila says she was afraid when the virus first arrived in Nepal. But now, she is extremely dedicated to the community she serves. Her courage is nothing new to NYF.
Like the other Freed Kamlari women, Lila had already experienced intense hardship and taken many daring steps before COVID arrived. Together, while most of them were still children, these girls dared to challenge their communities, abandon their masters, question their culture, and declare their own worth. Many of them returned home to families who resented them for taking such bold steps. Others were injured while marching for kamlari freedom, as police objected to the girls’ protests against the government.
Lila is one of thousands of Freed Kamlari who refused to stop simply at being rescued from an exploitative practice.
She and so many others have claimed their personal power by seizing educational opportunities and chasing their dreams – and working to lift their sisters and daughters in the process. Some are becoming lawyers, determined to defend human rights. Others have become small business owners or specialized farmers, gradually building personal and generational wealth in ways their parents could not.
And some, like Lila Tharu, dreamed of helping others in the healthcare field. They’ve grown up to be frontline warriors in a global crisis they never imagined.
Happy Kamlari Freedom Day, Lila!
Happy Freedom Day to ALL of the Freed Kamlaris
and to the young girls and women who will never be bonded away!
And Happy Freedom Day to the NYF Community—to everyone who helped support this incredible program. Lila’s story, and so many others like it, are proof of the amazing way your #LoveWorks.
Celebrate with NYF today.
To help celebrate this joyous occasion and support the education of brave young women like Lila, please make a thoughtful gift for NYF Scholarships or our Vocational Education program on our donation page. Additionally, join the NYF Community by signing up to receive emails here.
Nepal’s Second COVID Surge Continues – New Updates from Som
Nepal’s second surge of COVID-19 seems to have calmed, but the danger has not passed. This week, NYF president Som Paneru has given the US team an update from his vantage point on the ground in Nepal. (Below, Nutritional Rehabilitation Center staff members arrange precious oxygen cylinders for use in the COVID Isolation Center.)
For details about the impact this most recent crisis has had on our work providing Health, Shelter, Freedom, and Education, please click here. Thanks to the dedicated and compassionate team in Nepal, the children in NYF’s care remain safe and healthy!
COVID in Nepal – the Second Surge
Som’s description of Nepal’s lockdown is intense: essential food outlets are only open for a couple of hours each morning, with the remaining businesses completely closed down to slow the spread. Transportation, both public and private, is halted. Only vehicles for essential services are allowed in the street.
Domestic flights are completely grounded, and only four airlines are allowed to operate international flights. Even these occur only once a week. The passengers are very carefully selected and are either Nepalese citizens returning home or aid workers. Chartered flights arrive periodically, bringing relief materials.
The infection rate is beginning to drop, as is the reported death toll. Som reports that the hospitals are less overwhelmed, and for the moment, there seem to be enough hospital beds for the current patients. (Above, Som and the Nutritional Rehabilitation Home team meet outside to receive up-to-date information.)
However, different from last year, the virus has now reached into very rural areas. Here, people do not have access to COVID tests, and they often do not go to hospitals, making accurate tracking and reporting impossible. Some hospitals in Western Nepal, the epicenter of the current surge, report that they are seeing fewer people arrive – but those who do are arriving from very rural areas, and in critical condition.
These new developments will impact NYF’s planning and programming as we proceed into the coming months.
And of course, the halting of economic activities during this extended lockdown is once again worsening human suffering. Families are struggling to make ends meet, hunger is on the rise, and individuals with chronic medical conditions are unable to access care.
But the vaccine situation in Nepal is dire. At the beginning of 2021, vaccine donations arrived from China and India – but future vaccines promised by India never arrived, leaving many people throughout Nepal only partially vaccinated with the first dose of AstraZeneca. Another one million doses have arrived from China, with more donations pending from the UK, Denmark, and the United States, but distribution will be challenging in the midst of this surge. Rural populations will be especially difficult to reach. (When vaccines first arrived in Nepal, front line workers were prioritized, so NYF staff members working with COVID patients have received their vaccines.)
Time to Prepare
Public health officials are predicting a third wave in the fall, with children likely to be impacted more than in the past two surges. The Nepalese government has already warned hospitals, urging them to prepare pediatric ICUs. Ideally, hospitals will prepare at least 25% of their existing ICU beds to suit children.
NYF is taking this warning seriously, planning ahead using lessons learned during this second surge.
Especially in Nepal’s urban areas, family homes are often quite cramped, with multiple family members sharing a single bed, and multiple family branches sharing a single residence. In late April, COVID-19 had already reached Nepal from India before the country locked down. This trapped many families in very close quarters with at least one person who was already infected with the virus – and with not enough room for social distancing.
Our COVID Isolation Center (split between our flagship Nutritional Rehabilitation Home, at left in the photo above, and the New Life Center, right) played an important role in slowing the spread in Lalitpur, just outside Kathmandu. But we hope to be prepared to do more during the predicted third surge. Som is working in close contact with local health officials to identify ways we can help lower the risks to families in lockdown and save as many lives as possible.
Emergency Nutritional Care
In response to the devastating economic effects of the virus and the extended lockdowns, NYF has expanded our emergency food distribution efforts. We are continuing to run Lito for Life, and we have added food staples like potatoes and other vegetables to our deliveries.
COVID Isolation Center
As COVID-19 tore through Nepal’s cities in April and May, hospitals were quickly overwhelmed. Individuals testing positive for the virus were encouraged to isolate at home unless their symptoms became life-threatening.
This approach posed two problems: first, those living in cramped quarters were unable to truly isolate away from their families, and two, many individuals with COVID-19 are unaware of what “life-threatening” symptoms look like. As a result, many people in self-isolation arrived at the hospital too late, and many others unwittingly spread the virus to their loved ones.
Our COVID Isolation Center (in the empty Kathmandu Nutritional Rehabilitation Home and New Life Center) provides a 50-bed space for individuals with COVID-19 who are asymptomatic, or are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms. If symptoms become dangerous, our trained nurses recognize the warning signs right away, and NYF provides a free ambulance ride to the hospital.
In a video made in May, Sajani Amatya shares NYF’s gratitude for all those who helped make this swift response possible:
A four-bed High Dependency Unit (HDU) was added as well, providing semi-ICU care to any patients needing to be transferred to a hospital, but for whom a hospital bed had not yet been found. This has been a great life saving addition. Since opening at the end of May, nine patients have received HDU care before being transferred to the hospital.
Most of our patients are under age 18. So far, we have admitted a total of 151 patients, and 115 of them have been discharged after recovering safely. Nineteen individuals have been referred to the hospital, and 17 patients are currently at the center.
The COVID Isolation Center has also received praise from the National Human Rights Commission, the Women’s Right Commission, the District Administration Office of Lalitpur, and even the WHO.
In times like these, even if COVID has provided the inspiration for your gift, the most effective way to give is to provide unrestricted funding. Unrestricted funding allows us to aim each dollar with the maximum flexibility, allowing the needs on the ground to drive our responses as the situation evolves. Unrestricted funding also allows us to continue keeping our promises to the children in our care by ensuring that each of our programs is fully funded and can continue as best as possible throughout the pandemic – and beyond.
To make your generous gift, please click here. Thank you so much for ensuring your #LoveWorks for the children of Nepal!