Learn about Nepali Fairy Tales!

Learn about Nepali Fairy Tales!

A love for storytelling unites us as a human family. All across the world, human beings have been entertaining one another with stories—comedies and romances and tragedies and more!—for thousands of years.

Folklorists know that even in very different cultures, many of the world’s stories share familiar elements and themes. That’s because stories travel quickly, because they weigh nothing at all and can be shared an infinite number of times.

For example, did you know that the Cinderella tale-type—“The Persecuted Heroine”—is one of the oldest and most widespread fairy tales in the world? There are thousands of versions of this story, from ancient Greece, the Tang Dynasty in China, versions in the Thousand and One Nights, the German version collected by the Brothers Grimm… And even versions unique to Nepal!

Each gives a fascinating look into the culture behind it, including ways we are all different, as well as ways we are very similar!

The Fairy Tellers

In 2020, The Fairy Tellers podcast featured three Nepali stories to raise awareness for NYF and the programs we were running in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The stories (and fairy tales within them) are well-worth a listen!

1. Soonimaya

“Soonimaya” (Ep. 20) tells the story of a kind young girl who endures the unfair treatment of an evil stepmother. She enlists the help of talking animals and ends up marrying into the royal family. If you think that sounds familiar, you’ll be shocked by what happens at the halfway point! There are so many fun twists and turns along the way. Listen to Soonimaya on Podbean here.

2. The King Who Rides a Tiger

“The King Who Rides a Tiger” (Ep. 21) is an epic tale about a humble farmer who saves a talking cobra from a mongoose, finds himself living in a golden palace, and faces a series of challenges from a king who wants to steal his wife. This story tells a lot about Nepali values when it comes to leadership and power in society. Listen to The King Who Rides a Tiger here.

3. Dhon Cholecha

“Dhon Cholecha” (Ep. 37) is as familiar to Nepali children as Cinderella is to American kids—and the two stories share some similar themes! Listen to learn about a kindly goat, a magical pastry tree, a greedy stepmother, helpful mice, and treasure stolen from demons. One of NYF’s Nepali staff members suggested this tale to the podcasters!

Kids at Olgapuri Children’s Village love to read!

Industrial Tailoring at Olgapuri Vocational School

Industrial Tailoring at Olgapuri Vocational School

Industrial Tailoring has quickly become one of Olgapuri Vocational School’s most popular courses for women. The average monthly wage for our graduates is 30,000 rupees per month ($260), with room to grow. Those with more experience are making as much as 45,000 rupees ($390)—over three times Nepal’s minimum wage!

Over the past year, our team has had conversations with uneasy supporters about our new Industrial Tailoring vocational training course, which is held exclusively for women.

We’re hearing two main concerns:

  • “Sewing is traditionally undervalued as ‘women’s work’. Shouldn’t we be trying to encourage young women to break free of these sorts of industries, rather than continuing this pattern?”

  • “Isn’t the garment / textile industry particularly dangerous and exploitative? I don’t want my donations to go towards placing these bright young women into sweatshops!”

Maybe you’ve had similar concerns! In fact, people on the global team and on the board have discussed these same worries. At NYF, we deeply appreciate how thoughtful our supporters are, and how engaged you are in looking out for the children and youth we serve.

Our Commitment to Women’s Empowerment

First and foremost, our global team is committed to empowering women to follow their dreams. This is especially the case when their options are limited because of entrenched gender roles and hierarchies. We believe every girl and every woman should be free and safe to choose her own destiny!

We’re also appalled by the conditions within many of the world’s factories—not just garment factories. No one on our team wants to see any one of our beneficiaries trapped in an oppressive, unsafe working environment.

Between May 2021 and June 2022, OVS trained 100 young women in Industrial Tailoring—four batches of 25 trainees, including the graduates pictured above. Almost all of them have opted to work in Kathmandu’s growing garment industry, with a few choosing to open small tailoring businesses of their own.

All Olgapuri Vocational School courses are openly advertised as available for all genders. At the orientation presentations where young people are given application options, women are always strongly encouraged to apply. Some of the instructors for these courses are women, giving potential students clear evidence that women are welcome.

However, despite all this, NYF has struggled to interest young women in signing up for these opportunities. As a result, enrollment in these programs is overwhelmingly male (a staggering 90%).

Our team has been working for several years to understand this phenomenon and to provide good solutions. Young women know they are welcome to apply for these courses in male-dominated career fields.

But many of these young women still don’t feel safe in those industries.

NYF can place female construction graduates in positions where we know they will be hired, paid equitably, and respected by their employers. Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee that they will not experience sexual harassment and other sexist aggression in the workplace.

Many young women don’t want to walk that challenging path, even if it pays more. They just want to make a decent living, gaining personal economic freedom without entering a career where conditions simply won’t feel safe for them as women. We can’t fault them for that.

Former Kamlaris Propose Industrial Tailoring Course

Olgapuri Vocational School’s Industrial Tailoring course was proposed by a group of former kamlaris. This initial group of young women met one another in a women’s empowerment group run by the Former Kamlaris Development Forum (FKDF). (The FKDF is a community-based nonprofit NYF helped found in the Tharu communities impacted by the traditional kamlari practice.)

In a group discussion, several of these women shared that they wished NYF offered a course in Industrial Tailoring. It seemed strange to them that this course wasn’t available. After all, they reasoned: clothing is one of Nepal’s biggest exports, and the job market in this area is growing. Careers in this field are stable, well-paying, and have room for growth and flexibility.

Even knowing that women were encouraged to apply for the construction training programs, some of these women almost felt left out by OVS because we weren’t offering trainings in the career fields most likely to attract female engagement.

The freedom to choose among a set of only male-dominated options just didn’t feel like real freedom.

Fortunately, these empowered young women knew they could ask NYF directly about such an option. They also had a growing group of women behind them who all agreed they’d leap at the chance to earn their certifications in Industrial Tailoring.

When this group approached NYF, our team let them know the common concerns about workplace dangers in the garment industry. The young women responded that construction trades are also dangerous. They all knew someone who had experienced an electrical accident or been injured by a power tool. And as far as exploitation was concerned, these young women had already survived kamlari bondage. They know better than most that bad actors exist in all industries.

Thanks to NYF and the FKDF, though, they also possess the extraordinary inner tools that empower them to defend themselves from exploitation—and motivate them to defend their sisters as well.

Their request was so powerful and enthusiastic that our team had to find a way to provide this opportunity.

The Curriculum

NYF’s team made connections with local high-quality garment factories known for their fair practices and safe working conditions. They asked for their guidance in creating an ideal classroom and for help developing a specialized curriculum. These experts shared a list of skills all their employees needed to master, as well as a list of “dream skills” that made tailors especially competitive in the workforce.

Being highly skilled in a trade is a major safeguard against exploitation in any industry. This is because it allows workers the flexibility to seek out better workplaces without risking financial ruin.

Our team designed a six-month course which would prepare trainees to create high-quality garments for local consumption as well as for international export. Importantly, the training also includes the information needed for a student to establish her own small clothing business.

The curriculum covers industrial machine operation and maintenance, different kinds of stitches and their uses, measurement skills, fabric types and their uses, clothing design principles, and how to take items from printed designs to fabric cutting to assembly and through to the finishing touches. Safety is always an important topic as well.

Trainees are given specialized life skills and group therapy sessions (and, where needed, personal therapy as well) through NYF’s Ankur Counseling Center.

They also participate in motivational sessions on women’s empowerment!

During the entire six-month course, trainees live in the Olgapuri Girls’ Hostel. This is a space created especially for young women in vocational training courses (many of whom are not familiar with city life) so they can feel safe and secure during their training.

The first four months of the training consist of classroom instruction, followed by two months of paid On-the-Job training in one of the city’s high-quality factories. This is a paid apprenticeship period, with pay being nearly double Nepal’s minimum wage.

Meena Kumari Chaudhary (left, Asst. Trainer) is a former kamlari—and she was also one of the earliest graduates of our Industrial Training program! She’s thrilled to be using the skills she learned here to empower more women to enter this growth industry.

Here, she is pictured with Lead Trainer Anju Thapa. Both women have become role models for the young women hoping to build a sustainable career in tailoring!

Workplace Safety

Unfortunately, sweatshops do exist in Nepal. These cramped factories regularly ignore laws and regulations, have extremely poor and unsafe working conditions, and have unscrupulous bosses who demand inhumane working hours and withhold pay. NYF would never partner with these organizations, let alone intentionally place a trainee in such a working environment.

Kathmandu is also home to factories where workers are treated fairly, paid well, and conduct their work in well-lit, airy spaces that are kept tidy, with wide paths for evacuating in an emergency, ensuring safety for everyone. These are the workplaces our graduates enter, as a group of empowered women determined to build their futures—and continue working towards a more equitable world.

Bindu’s Story

Bindu* has survived horrific ordeals over the past two years. During the COVID pandemic, she started dating an older man, against her parents’ wishes. Soon, this man convinced her to run away with him to start a new life in India. Dreaming of a beautiful future, Bindu followed him across the border. Bindu quickly learned that the man’s intention all along had been to traffic her.

Betrayed and heartbroken, Bindu relied on her inner strength to survive her situation—and she somehow managed to escape her captor and return to Nepal.

But the nightmare wasn’t over. When Bindu finally reached her home village, her parents rejected and disowned her.

Fortunately, Bindu found an organization working with women who have survived sex trafficking, and they helped her file a case against the man who trafficked her. Thanks to Bindu’s courage, he’s now in prison, where he can’t hurt any more girls and women.

Bindu found housing in a women’s shelter in Kathmandu as she prepared for her next steps. One of the staff members there heard about NYF’s new Industrial Tailoring program—and immediately thought of Bindu.

Bindu has taken to the Industrial Tailoring skillset extraordinarily well. For the first time since she ran away from home with a heart full of hope, Bindu feels like her dreams are truly within reach.

“I never thought I’d be able to acquire a skill that would pay me this much,” she says, adding, “Economic independence is very important to me, as I have no family to support me. The work environment is also safe and pleasant. The other girls and women that I work with have become like my family—and my greatest support system. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet them and work with them.”

A long waiting list…

In the first year of its existence, the Industrial Tailoring course quickly became one of OVS’s most sought-after options. Our team has already trained 149 women—and there’s a long waiting list. Most of these women are former kamlaris from western Nepal, but we’ve also received numerous referrals from Kathmandu women’s shelters and other aid organizations. This training has already empowered single mothers, survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse, and women who have escaped trafficking.

We are so grateful for the support that allows us to offer these women this remarkable opportunity. We hope to be able to continue offering it as long as young women are interested.

The Empowering Freed Kamlaris program is one of NYF’s greatest achievements. For more information on the former kamlaris and the FKDF, please visit https://nyf.news/efk

Transformative Stories of 2022!

Transformative Stories of 2022!

This December, we’ve compiled some of our favorite transformative stories of the year into this blog post. You may have already even read a couple of them in a newsletter, online, or in a special report. But we wanted to create a space to celebrate these special stories that our NYF Community made possible this year.

We hope these transformative stories showcase NYF’s love, care, and commitment for the youth and families we work with. And we also hope you feel proud of all the transformations you are fueling every day with your generous support.


Kinship Care

Mina*, 9, is a bubbly, joyful, creative kid—and a very gifted student. In the spring of 2022, she finished the 6th grade at her school in Bhaktapur District, way ahead of kids her own age.

When she was just a baby, Mina’s father passed away. Soon, her mother found a new husband. Unfortunately, this new man wasn’t interested in caring for another man’s daughter.

Mina’s mother left her in the care of her own father—Mina’s grandfather. Mina hasn’t seen much of her mother since.

Though the family didn’t have much, they loved Mina deeply. She brings tremendous joy to their household. When NYF learned of Mina’s case, our team realized right away that with a bit of financial support, this family was the absolute best place for little Mina to grow up.

They’ve been receiving a Kinship Care stipend for several years now. Every time our social workers check in, Mina’s grandfather is ready with more stories of his granddaughter’s love of dancing and her latest art projects!

“No one does it better. NYF combines
care, compassion and enormous commitment
to raising opportunities for Nepal’s youth.”

— Marcus, Advisory Board Member & Supporter


Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

Durgesh*, 18, comes from a very remote Himalayan village in northwestern Nepal, where the geography is quite rocky and challenging to navigate. The children in his home village walk about 45 minutes to reach their local school. The path is treacherous, with slippery sections, sharp drop-offs, and thin stretches that people have to be take single-file.

Durgesh was born with a significant visual impairment, and his parents realized early that many livelihood opportunities available in their village would not be a good match for him when he became an adult. The family was far from wealthy, but they worked hard and made personal sacrifices from the beginning to ensure he could access as many educational opportunities as possible.

When Durgesh was a small child, older village children would take turns carrying him on their backs on the way to school. This ensured that he could reach school safely, and he quickly distinguished himself as an excellent student (and a helpful friend who could provide informal tutoring to his peers when needed!).

But by the time Durgesh reached his mid-teens, he was too big to be carried along the dangerous trail by his friends. It was also too risky, and careful attempts at having him walk side-by-side with friends were too slow. That’s when a family friend who was already attending college in Kathmandu made a brilliant offer: Durgesh should move to Kathmandu, where schools were easier to access (and of a better quality!). This friend would share his apartment and ensure Durgesh was doing well in the city. Durgesh’s parents would send money for food, rent, and other necessities.

This plan worked—until the COVID-19 pandemic complicated matters. Durgesh’s parents were unable to send as much money as needed. School fees were free for Durgesh (as a student with a disability), but he was struggling to pay his portion of the rent and for the special books and stationery he needed for school.

Fortunately, NYF had worked with Durgesh’s school in the past, and the administration remembered that NYF offered special scholarships for students like Durgesh.

They referred Durgesh for our Students with Disabilities scholarship in January 2021 and has been going strong in school ever since!

Durgesh was one of the top 5 students in his grade 11 final exam a year ago, and he has recently completed his rigorous grade 12 exam. His studies during 11th and 12th grade focused on Humanities, and Durgesh is excited about the prospect of college. We’re excited for him, too, and we are eager to support him in the next chapter of his academic journey!

“We have donated to this foundation for well over 10 years,
and they continue to provide care and service
that no one else provides.”

— Liz, Donor


Olgapuri Children’s Village

Pradeep*, 12, was born in Gorkha District, northwest of Kathmandu. He joined the Olgapuri family in December 2021, enrolling in the 4th grade at a local school in Lalitpur midway through the school year.

When Pradeep’s grades began coming back, his house parents noticed that he seemed to be struggling a great deal with the material. Concerned, the Junior Boys’ house parents met with Pradeep’s teacher to discuss his progress.

It became clear to everyone that Pradeep should have been placed in the 3rd grade, not the 4th, when he first arrived.

How could such an error happen? Although he had always been enrolled in school before coming to Olgapuri, Pradeep wasn’t always able to attend his classes. No wonder Pradeep was so discouraged!

They decided to hold Pradeep back to attend the 4th grade again next year. And by the end of the summer, Pradeep was ready to start the 4th grade from the beginning. He’s still getting familiar to school—but his performance is improving all the time. He’s also feeling much happier with school in general.

Even better: he has made wonderful new friends who are willing to help him succeed, and he knows his house parents are truly paying attention to his needs and his wellness. Here at Olgapuri, even when things are tough, Pradeep knows he is part of a loving family he can depend on.

“I’ve been fortunate to visit the different facilities and
programs in Kathmandu, and it is eye opening
to see all the lives that are touched and the scale of the impac

— Topraj, Advisory Board Member & Supporter

Puja and Sangita

Nutrition Outreach Camp, Nutritional Rehabilitation Home

Six-month-old Puja* is 17-year-old Sangita* and her young husband Laxman’s* first child. When an anxious Laxman brought his family to an NYF Nutritional Outreach Camp in Makwanpur District four months ago, Sangita and Puja were both severely undernourished.

“Everyone thought she was going to die,” Sangita says. Child marriage is very common in Sangita’s community, often between boys and girls who are each quite young. Young mothers like Sangita frequently give birth prematurely, to babies with low birth weights.

If these mothers are also experiencing undernutrition, their bodies can’t provide sufficient breast milk, and young parents in these remote communities often don’t know alternative ways to nourish their babies.

As a result, many first-time mothers—still children themselves—face the heartbreak of a child’s death.

Sangita and Puja were urgently referred to the nearest Nutritional Rehabilitation Home, where they received personalized nutritional therapy for over a month. Laxman came as well, eager to learn what he could about nutrition and health, and preparing nutritious meals for children with low-cost, locally-available ingredients.

Between lessons, the pair also received family planning advice from nurses, including information on the risks of having children too quickly. These tips will be crucial for preserving Sangita’s health moving forward. The shared learning experience drew the young couple closer together—and put Puja on a path of healthy growth and development.

“Nobody recognized our daughter when we brought her home,” Sangita said proudly at their three-month follow-up visit. NYF’s Outreach Officer, Sajan Nagarkoti, was overjoyed to see how much Puja had continued to grow, and how much healthier both she and her mother looked.

“I have been continually impressed with the
creativity, flexibility, and commitment to children
shown by this organization. I heartily support them
and urge others to consider supporting them

— Bob, Donor & Volunteer


SAAET Project, Vocational Education

Rita*, 17, lives in a family of 8. They have a small farm on which they’ve been subsistence farming for Rita’s whole childhood. Feeding such a large family is difficult, so her parents were eager to find her a husband soon. But that’s not what Rita wanted.

She learned about the SAAET course from a local women’s group and signed up.

After the training session ended in early October, Rita was the first student to complete her own greenhouse and get her first seeds in the ground—with the help of some of her siblings!

Rita says she’s excited to start farming using modern technology. The whole family is enthusiastic about what Rita has learned. They’re waiting to see how this first greenhouse does, but they’re already talking about gradually shifting their entire approach to greenhouse farming, following Rita’s lead.

If Rita does eventually get married, she’ll be leaving her current greenhouses behind on her parents’ land—but she’ll carry the expertise with her. She is now in much greater control of her path in life, wherever it leads her: her parents are less likely to try forcing a marriage, and if she chooses a partner in the future, his family is less likely to object. She would enter such a union carrying valuable expertise that would give her greater security, stability, and clout in the new family system, allowing her to nourish herself and her future children with confidence—as well as the ability to invest in their future.

Support from friends like you make these transformations possible. We hope you enjoyed reading some of NYF’s transformative stories from 2022.

World Cup Qatar 2022: The Need for Vocational Training in Nepal

World Cup Qatar 2022: The Need for Vocational Training in Nepal

World Cup Qatar 2022 is the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East—and only the second to be held entirely in Asia. This global sports tournament should be a time of great celebration and unity.

Unfortunately, as fans across the world tune in to cheer for their favorite teams, a much less joyful story has come to light. That story is about the thousands of migrant workers from places like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal who built the World Cup 2022 stadiums and other infrastructure necessary for Qatar to host this massive event.

These migrant workers have recounted stories of horrific working and living conditions—and many have died. (We have compiled a list of news stories below.)

Most of the stories we’re seeing published in the west place the blame on Qatar—as though without the World Cup, these migrant workers would never have been in such a situation.

Unfortunately, the truth is that the World Cup has only shined a light on a long-term, widespread problem impacting these communities.

Youth underemployment in Nepal hovers around 35%, with many young people unable to access the skills training or other resources necessary to make a living in their own communities. Many of these young people have no choice but to take migrant labor jobs abroad, sending money home to their families as often as they can.

Conditions for these workers are brutal: long hours performing dangerous, back-breaking work for low wages. Many report that their passports are kept by their employers, preventing them from returning home on their own if they wish. Health care options are effectively non-existent. Unfortunately, many Nepalis in this situation pass away or become seriously injured—and their selfless efforts to create a better life for their children leave them worse-off than when they began. The death toll among migrant workers from Nepal has been steadily increasing for years—and the majority of these deaths are not happening in Qatar.

This has been the reality for millions of Nepali young people long before Qatar began designing their World Cup stadiums. And it will continue after the World Cup has ended.

At NYF, we believe that the best way to end this cycle isn’t by focusing on conditions in Qatar and other countries that rely on migrant labor. Rather, it’s by creating better working opportunities at home in Nepal (and other home countries!).

This approach allows individual young people to access lucrative careers close to home, creating opportunities for economic and infrastructure growth in their own communities. NYF’s Vocational Education & Career Counseling programs and Olgapuri Vocational School were designed to provide exactly this kind of alternative for young Nepalis.

Here are just a few stories that illustrate the impact of these programs!

Sustainable Agricultural and Entrepreneurship Training

Kalpana got married soon after she was freed from kamlari bondage. She settled with her husband’s family on their small plot of rented land. They have five children, and were eager to give them the best opportunities possible.

Her husband considered taking a job overseas to make extra money, but he and Kalpana were both anxious about this option. When Kalpana heard about NYF’s one-month SAAET Project, she signed up right away, participating in the November 2021 course.

Immediately after the training, in December, she enlisted her husband to help her construct their first greenhouse. They started planting off-season vegetables on their land, and success was immediate.

Kalpana is now growing highly marketable tomatoes, bitter gourd, cucumbers, pumpkins, and cauliflower. She is currently making a profit of 20,000 Nepali rupees per month (minimum wage in Nepal is 13,450 rupees per month, or $115).

This school year, Kalpana used some of her profits to register her two school-aged children in a private school. “The economic independence I’m gaining from greenhouse farming has made me confident in every aspect,” she says proudly.

Though some programs are designed especially for women, we’ve found that our entrepreneurial graduates often enlist the help of their husbands when launching their new businesses. Not only does this maximize their effectiveness and profits—it creates jobs in the home community, allowing families to build financial success as a team!

OVS Construction: Carpentry

Ashok, 20, grew up in Dolakha District with his family of five. They depend on subsistence farming for their livelihood—an extremely tough lifestyle in mountainous regions.

Ashok is a smart, fastidious young man with strong attention to detail. He knew he was capable of providing much more for his family than farming allowed, and he dreamed of living somewhere outside of his village. But without access to training or apprenticeship opportunities, and no money for traveling to a vocational school, he wasn’t sure how to kickstart a new career.

In early 2022, Ashok heard about a career orientation presentation being offered by NYF in a nearby village. Curious, he attended. He was shocked to hear that the program was free for eligible young adults—including travel and room and board during the three-month course!

Ashok submitted an application for the Carpentry Training course and was placed in the March 2022 session on Olgapuri Campus.

After receiving his certification three months later, Ashok worked as a paid apprentice at a large furniture house in Kathmandu. His performance there was so impressive that the employer offered him a full-time job in June. Ashok is making around $225 per month—nearly twice Nepal’s minimum wage. He’s sending much of it home to support his family.

With his highly-valued skills, Ashok has the ability to shift jobs at will without ever leaving Nepal. He considers this NYF training to be the most important milestone of his career to date!

OVS Construction: Plumbing

Reeta*, 25, lives in a hilly region in western Nepal with her husband. One day, while the COVID pandemic was ongoing, Reeta learned that an Olgapuri Vocational School “satellite” plumbing training program was coming to their area. She signed up for the program right away, but her husband wasn’t so sure. He, like many others, considered plumbing to be a man’s job.

When Reeta mentioned this domestic push-back in class, NYF plumbing trainer Sailesh Khatri offered to meet with Reeta’s husband to talk about his concerns. Though Reeta’s husband was uncomfortable at first, he was willing to listen as Sailesh explained the special value of a skilled trade for a woman. Besides, Sailesh added, Reeta was showing a real knack for the work!

Eventually, Reeta’s husband decided to wait and see what happened once Reeta was certified. He didn’t need to wait long before realizing that Reeta and Sailesh were right.

Reeta during the plumbing training at Olgapuri Vocational School’s “satellite” training program.

After completing the program in February 2021, Reeta was hired as an on-call technician for a major government project. She is responsible for all the plumbing repair in her village and is paid accordingly!

We’re especially proud of the community-wide impact our plumbing program is having in rural communities. For more on this, check out a story we shared in April 2022.

World Cup Qatar 2022 Highlights Opportunities for Growth

Working grueling overseas migrant jobs isn’t just physically demanding. It’s incredibly lonely. It’s discouraging to build marvelous infrastructure for strangers when family members back home don’t have access to such luxuries. Because of the ways they are treated, migrant workers also often feel isolated, unknown, and even disposable.

When following up with NYF’s young vocational training graduates, many of them report great pride and satisfaction about working within their own communities. Vocational training programs like ours are transforming individual lives. They are also improving entire villages in the process—not only in a physical sense, but in an emotional and psychological sense as well.

Let’s make sure the lessons learned during World Cup Qatar 2022 lead into more empowering opportunities for young adults in Nepal. Your donation today will help us continue offering these incredible courses to young people throughout Nepal.

Learn more about the workers behind World Cup Qatar 2022

Happy Holidays from Olga Murray!

Happy Holidays from Olga Murray!

A Letter of Gratitude from NYF’s Founder

I always count my blessings on Thanksgiving, but this year, my gratitude is more heartfelt than ever.

The first among many things to be grateful for is that I am returning to Nepal right after the holiday, after an almost three year absence because of Covid. I haven’t been away this long in more than 35 years, and I have missed the children more than I can say. So much has changed in the interim, with some of the older kids having left Olgapuri for college, and 15 new adorable little ones have joined the Olgapuri family. Their loving presence in my life is a constant source of joy.

Another highlight will be meeting the Dalit students who have come to Kathmandu from their remote communities to attend law school through our new Educating Dalit Lawyers program. Many of them are young girls (around 17 years old), all exceptionally smart, from towns and rural villages all over the country. This is the first time many of them have been to a big city, so a whole new world is opening up to them.

These passionate young people are coming of age in a culture that still treats members of their caste with dismissiveness and cruelty.

It will be a thrill to see them blossom into confident, passionate, and capable young lawyers ready to advocate for their community and bring about tremendous positive change.

I graduated from law school 68 years ago, at a time when there were very few women lawyers. In my career, I saw first-hand what a difference passionate lawyers can make in supporting social change! It is an incredible privilege to be a small part of these Dalit students’ journey. One of the first things I will do after arriving in Nepal is have them all for dinner so that we can get acquainted, and just maybe I might be able to offer some useful advice to these young women in spite of our 80 year age difference!

Happy Holidays,

Olga Murray
NYF Founder and Honorary President

Don’t forget to share your GivingTuesday NYF testimonial! This 5-minute gift will help us share NYF’s transformative message and grow our community in 2023.

Festival Season 2022 at Olgapuri Children’s Village

Festival Season 2022 at Olgapuri Children’s Village

A glimpse into this year’s festival season at Olgapuri

This fall, NYF celebrated Dashain (September 26th through October 5th) and Tihar (October 22nd through October 27th).

Dashain (pronounced de-SAI) is a 15-day-long lunar festival that usually occurs in September or October. It’s one of the most emotional, colorful, and enjoyable times in Nepal. The auspicious holiday blends harvest-time and fertility with the triumph of good over evil, and family members travel from far and wide to celebrate together.

Quickly following Dashain is Tihar, a five-day festival of lights. Each day is devoted to honoring different religious figures, animals, or sacred bonds. Popular activities include decorating floors or courtyards with colored rice, sand, or flower petals, playing games with each other, and participating in Deusi-Bhailo, which involves children singing songs or performing dances from house to house in exchange for small gifts.

This year, we’re excited to share a short video (in addition to the below photos!) that show what our Tihar celebration looked like. Click here to jump to the video.

Dashain – September 26 through October 5

For the first time in two years, many of the children at Olgapuri Children’s Village were able to return to their home villages to spend the festival season with their relatives. Those who stayed behind still enjoyed a beautiful celebration, which included wonderful traditions like tika blessings, seasonal games, bamboo swings, and delicious feasts.

A favorite tradition among the Olgapuri kids during the Dashain festival is the tika ceremony. At this ceremony, elders bless the younger members of a Nepali family with a tika, which is made out of red powder and rice. At the village, house parents and other staff members bless each child with a tika on their foreheads. This tradition is an annual ritual of love and belonging.

Tika blessings

elders bless younger members of the family with tika (red powder and rice)

Another favorite during the Dashain holidays is the linge ping—a traditional swing made out of bamboo. It is said that everyone must leave the ground once a year on this special bamboo swing. Assembling it together is half the tradition!

Linge ping

a traditional swing constructed out of bamboo during Dashain

Tihar – October 22 through October 27

During the Tihar Festival this year, the children worked together with the house parents to prepare delicious Tihar treats. They also decorated each house with beautiful lights and flowers, representing wealth, happiness, and prosperity.

On the last day of Tihar, siblings honor each other with a special multicolored tika. This ritual follows a legend in which a goddess protects her brother from the god of death through an elaborate, loving ceremony. Performing this ceremony at Olgapuri has special significance in underscoring the bonds between the children.

Bhai Tika

a multicolored tika given between siblings on the last day of Tihar

Another beloved activity among the kids at Olgapuri during Tihar is is Deusi-Bhailo, an activity practiced in Nepal and some parts of India. Groups of children travel from house to house, singing two special songs: Bhailo sung by girls, and Deusi sung by boys. The singing is accompanied by dancing. After the performance, those in each house give snacks, sweets, and money to the children, and the children give blessings for prosperity in the coming year.

This year, the children frequented the nearby homes of NYF staff members, who were absolutely delighted (and prepared!) to open their doors to the singing children.


a beloved Tihar activity where children sing songs in exchange for small gifts

Tihar at Olgapuri – Video

Thank you so much to our staff in Nepal for not only helping to organize the celebrations during this year’s festival season, but also for capturing all of these amazing moments to share with our larger NYF Community!

We are so grateful for the global NYF Community. Your generosity ensures that the children at Olgapuri Children’s Village can celebrate Dashain and Tihar every year with lots of warmth, laughter, and love.

New US Executive Director: Ryan Walls!

New US Executive Director: Ryan Walls!

Dear NYF Friends,

It’s hard to believe October is already half-gone! We feel like we were celebrating Founder’s Day together only a few short weeks ago.

Now the Nepali festival season is upon us. In the first week of October, families all over Nepal gathered to celebrate the most auspicious festival of the year, Dashain. During this time, young people received blessings of abundance from their elders. They also enjoyed wonderful traditions like colorful processions, kite flying, seasonal games, bamboo swings, fairs, carnivals, and delicious feasts. Gifts were exchanged and many wonderful memories were made as well.

A junior girl receives tika blessings at this year's Dashain festival. In Nepal, this time is all about honoring and strengthening important, loving, constructive relationships. That’s why we think this is the perfect moment to welcome our new U.S. Executive Director, Ryan Walls!
A junior girl receives tika blessings at this year’s Dashain festival. Receiving blessings in this ceremony communicates belonging and connection to each of the Olgapuri children. Here, they are part of a special family where they are loved, wanted, and cherished.

And Tihar is right behind! This festival begins this upcoming weekend. Tihar gives Nepalis the opportunity to celebrate valuable relationships like those between mankind and our canine friends—as well as between sisters and brothers.

In Nepal, this time is all about honoring and strengthening important, loving, constructive relationships.

That’s why we think this is such a lucky moment to be announcing the arrival of our new U.S. Executive Director, Ryan Walls!

Ryan Walls will officially start here at NYF on October 24th, 2022, but we can hardly wait to begin our journey together! He has impressed everyone on the Board and on the U.S. team, plus Som, not only with his background, but also with his enthusiasm for the work we do and his approach to teamwork.

We’ll be sharing more about Ryan soon, but suffice it to say that we’re confident we’ve found a great fit for NYF. Most importantly, we think our NYF Community will really like him.

“We are delighted with the selection of Ryan J. Walls as our new U.S. Executive Director.  Ryan brings a wealth of experience from the non-profit sector with a reputation for working collaboratively and getting things done. He will certainly be a welcome addition to the NYF family!”

Chris Heffelfinger, NYF Board Chair

Olga is super-excited.

And it’s not just because Ryan is an experienced non-profit leader who is collaborative, personable, and smart, but also because he loves Nepal and the Nepali people in particular. Ryan has spent time living in Nepal and visiting as a traveler. He describes his time there as “a formative experience which shaped his worldview.” Olga knows this devotion to Nepal and its people very well, so she is undoubtedly thrilled to have found a new Executive Director who shares her personal love for this remarkable country.

Som agrees that Ryan’s prior connections to Nepal are an added advantage that provide an instant connection to NYF and the work we do. He is also very impressed with Ryan’s dynamism, positive-thinking, and deep desire to work for the children and youth of Nepal. He is especially looking forward to partnering with Ryan as the Caste Equality Project gathers steam in the coming years and continuing to build on the collaborative spirit across NYF’s global community!

Welcome aboard, Ryan Walls!

With best wishes for a joyful autumn,

Som Paneru, Olga Murray, NYF staff, and our Board of Directors

P.S. Keep an eye on our social media because we’ll be posting updates about Ryan’s first days! Additionally, there’ll be highlights from the Nepali festivals at Olgapuri!

Happy 6th Anniversary, Olgapuri Children’s Village!

Happy 6th Anniversary, Olgapuri Children’s Village!

On September 25, 2016, NYF formally inaugurated Olgapuri Children’s Village—a beautiful, permanent home for children in Nepal whose family members are unable to care for them. When it opened, we were hopeful that it would be everything we dreamed of: a remarkable place full of love, empowerment, and growth.

Here we are in 2022, celebrating the start of Olgapuri’s sixth year of operation. With each year, we’ve made the village even better than it was before. It has truly become everything that we had hoped it would be. And it’s all thanks to the NYF Community. Dhanyabad!

“We have designed these facilities thoughtfully and generously to provide them [the children] with ample comfort so that they can live their lives with dignity, self-esteem, and joy.”

Som Paneru, NYF President. 2016, Inauguration Ceremony at Olgapuri Children’s Village

Happy Olgapuri Day!

September 25 is known as “Olgapuri Day.” Every year, children, staff, and community members celebrate the anniversary of the opening of Olgapuri Children’s Village with delicious food, fun games, lots of dancing, and more. It’s one of the many events that the children enjoy throughout the year.

It also happens to be a great time for us to reflect on all that’s happened that year at Olgapuri. And in 2022, there’s so much to celebrate!

Special Highlights at Olgapuri in 2022*

  • Ninety-two children lived at Olgapuri (but no more than 80 at a time). Among them, 14 were new children who were warmly welcomed by the Olgapuri family. Meanwhile, fourteen young adults graduated the 12th grade and moved out of Olgapuri (into dormitories or hostels for college or vocational training). Three kids were able to return to their families due to improved circumstances at home.
  • Every student successfully moved forward into the next grade! Due to COVID-19, children at Olgapuri attended online classes until December 2021. They returned to in-person classes in January, and their academic calendar is now back to normal.
  • Two young graduates secured the highest scores in their respective schools, ending high school as valedictorians and moving directly into their bachelor’s degree programs. One is pursuing a degree in business at the Ace Institute of Management in Kathmandu, and the other is enrolled in a five-year undergraduate program in law at Kathmandu School of Law.
  • New activities were introduced to interested kids, including yoga, meditation, and self-defense classes. Many students report that these extracurriculars are not only fun but are also helping them to focus on their studies!
  • Counselors and house parents worked closely with the children to ensure that their anxiety, curiosity, and other challenges (especially related to the pandemic) were addressed appropriately.
  • The ‘Olgapuri Children’s Club’, run by the kids themselves, organized fun events like art exhibitions, carnivals, and music shows. At Tihar in early November 2021, they organized an incredibly successful virtual Deusi-Bhailo** event to broadcast through Facebook Live. The Children’s Club used their Deusi-Bhailo to raise money for club activities. They raised the equivalent of $600!
  • The children celebrated many special days together—including Dashain, Tihar, the winter holidays, Holi, and their annual communal birthday party—with cake, presents, Tika blessings, campfires, and more.

Looking ahead…

As we move through the end of 2022, the children at Olgapuri are looking forward to celebrating Dashain and Tihar. These two Nepali holidays are full of gift-giving, loving moments of laughter, and joyful memories. They signify a time of warmth and close connection between communities and families.

Thank you so much for your support!

Generosity from friends like you are allowing the Olgapuri kids to grow up safe, nurtured, loved, and supported—part of a unique family system that will always be there when they need it. Thank you.

*Between July 2021 and June 2022.

**Deusi-Bhailo is a beloved Tihar activity practiced in Nepal and some parts of India. Groups of children travel from house to house, singing two special songs: Bhailo sung by girls, and Deusi sung by boys. The singing is accompanied by dancing. After the performance, those in each house give snacks, sweets, and money to the children, and the children give blessings for prosperity in the coming year.

Make-A-Will Month 2022

Make-A-Will Month 2022

National Make-A-Will Month 2022 began on August 1st. Have you drafted or updated your will and estate plans recently? No matter where you are in your life, now is the perfect time for this important task!

Estate planning isn’t just about money. It’s about love and peace of mind. Whether you’re 18 or 80, having an up-to-date will is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.

In your estate plan, you 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 and pet care as well.

Including NYF or another nonprofit in your estate plans

Including a nonprofit in your estates plans like your will and/or as a beneficiary of your accounts can be as simple as adding a single sentence or amendment to your will.

Leaving part of your estate to a nonprofit is also great way to reduce estate taxes for your heirs.

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. Additionally, if you decide to designate a charity as a beneficiary, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can always decide to leave any percentage you wish to one or multiple charities.

See below for more information about the different ways you can include NYF (or other charities) in your estate plans:

The Legacy Circle

When you include NYF in your estate plans, you will automatically be invited to join our Legacy Circle!

The Legacy Circle is NYF’s way of saying Dhanyabad, or Thank You, to those who remember us in their estate planning. All you need to do is let us know when you’ve included us in your will or other plans—no minimum bequest required—and you become part of this special group.

Bequests and other planned gifts make an incredible difference for nonprofits like NYF. Indeed, 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. What a joy to know that our programs in Nepal can continue providing Education, HealthShelter and Freedom for children in Nepal for years to come!

Don’t know where to start? Try FreeWill.com!

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!

FreeWill’s user-friendly interface helps you create a real, legally-binding will based on your state and your unique circumstances. It’s also completely free. They may even remind you of an asset you’ve forgotten to include!