October 2013 Health Camp in Helambu!

This past month, Helambu Project’s very own Dr. Mike Steven along with Dr. Valerie Steven and nurses Pearl Wight and Meg Antell conducted a health camp in three different villages in Helambu. The health camp began in Kakani, where the team saw over 160 individuals in just five hours of consultations. Patients came from around the region, some walking over three hours to be seen by the doctors. The group then trekked to nearby village Baruwa in the afternoon to run a second clinic the next day, where they treated over 150 patients – including two centenarians! They treated a range of issues from eye problems, to joint pain, to gastrointestinal issues. After a grueling uphill hike to Sermanthang (a special thank you to our wonderful porters for carrying the medicine), we enjoyed a big meal of rice and lentils and prepared for the third and final day of the health camp, where around 100 people from surrounding areas came for consultations. On the final day, the team took some time off to visit the local pilgrimage mountain of Ama Yangri!

Health Camp Team

The doctors and nurses were supported by an excellent team of local staff who served as translators and guides. Jamyong Thinley, from nearby Kakani, coordinated the health camp and couldn’t have done a better job making everything as easy as it could be. All in all, the doctors met with over 400 patients and identified some of the largest health problems of the region. In particular, many of the villagers, especially the elderly, were found to have curable and treatable eye conditions. To this end, Helambu Project is now raising funds and planning a follow up trip to make sure that the villages we visited also have access to basic eye-care and treatments.

We will be sure to keep everyone up to date when we begin our next project! In the meantime, check out some of these amazing photos from the health camp!

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Helambu Project supports Manakamana Foundation!

Helambu Project is excited to announce our new partnership with Manakamana Foundation. Like Helambu Project, Manakamana Foundation is an all-volunteer organization. They support young women seeking specific short degrees in many fields including; education, midwifery, and healthcare. Young women are selected with a range of criteria such as economic need, merit, and commitment to community service. Manakamana Foundation practices affirmative action by prioritizing Dalit communities and places with limited access to education for girls and women. The scholars are required to spend their first year working in their home communities. This year, their 23rd year of giving, Manakamana Foundation is funding the educations of fifty young women.

Helambu Project is honored to help fund such a venerable organization . Helambu Project donors make education happen for young Nepalis and we thank you for supporting good work in the Himalaya.


Happy Holidays and New Year!

We ring out 2012 and welcome in 2013 with our first teacher training program. In cooperation with the Nepal Teacher Training Innovations and Pax Works, Helambu Project arranged and co-funded training for 30 teachers from all over Helambu. The training lasted two days and sought to address key issues in Nepal’s education system. The training focused on creating child-friendly learning environments, fostering creativity and critical thinking, gender sensitive classrooms, and interactive teaching methods. The training was well received by the teachers who had been requesting additional training since early last year.

Ursula Daniels, from PaxWorks, also attended the training. As part of Helambu Project’s ongoing work with women and girls in Helambu and Nepal, Ursula and Helambu Project’s program coordinator, Ola Perczynska, helped lead additional workshops in addition to the training and develop new project ideas for girls and teachers in the area. All in all it was a great finish to another year!

Ursula working with the teachers

Group work

Completion ceremony


New partnership between Her Turn and Dining for Women!

We are thrilled and proud to announce a new partnership. Her Turn – Girls Education and Empowerment Program with its partner organization Nepal Teacher Training Initiative will receive support from Dining for Women!

Dining for Women – Dining for Women – Changing the World One Dinner at a Time.  Dining for Women is a non-profit giving circle dedicated to empowering women and girls living in extreme poverty. Please visit Dining for Women website to find out more about this amazing organization.

Thanks to this organization’s support to Her Turn, next year we will conduct the workshops for marginalized girls from rural government schools of Sindhupalchok district! We are thrilled and honored to have this opportunity!

 

 


Our Program Coordinator’s commentary

Click here to read Her Turn advocacy piece published in English daily Republica. It addresses the subject of child marriage in Nepal. Excerpts:

Lack of access to education is not the only challenge the child brides encounter. They are also twice as likely to become victims of domestic and sexual violence, have no control over their reproductive rights and no power in their new households. Then there are emotional and health risks. Early sexual activity and pregnancy can lead to complications like obstetric fistula and urinary prolapse. Girls under fifteen are five times more likely to die in childbirth than are women in their twenties. It is also dangerous for their infants whose mortality rates are much higher when they are born to adolescent mothers. There is also the economic status. Girls who marry young are less likely to ever exit the cycle of poverty. Child marriage impacts boys as well, but because of socio-cultural factors and because it is girls who give birth, it affects them disproportionately.

Please click here to read more.


New Partnership

We are happy to announce a new partnership we just started. We became a partner organization of Omprakash (www.omprakash.org). It is a web-based platform that connects grassroots health, education, and environmental projects around the world with volunteers, donors, and classrooms that can learn from and support their work. The network offers volunteer opportunities at over 150 grassroots social projects in more than 30 countries ranging from Ecuador to Kenya to India and beyond. Unlike most other databases of volunteer opportunities, Omprakash is completely free—no administrative fees whatsoever. Grants are available to help qualified volunteers defray travel expenses.

We are excited to welcome new volunteers from Omprakash network!


We’ve made new friends!

Helambu Project has recently met with Vajra Varahi Healthcare director in Nepal and donated 20,000 NPR worth of dental medical supplies. It’s an organization that conducts health camps in remote areas of Nepal and runs a clinic in Chapagaon that co-ordinates delivery of effective low cost and free healthcare to those who need it most.

Vajra Varahi Healthcare was happy to receive the donation and plans to use it on their dental health camp in Ilam.

Thank you to all Helambu Project supporters who made this possible!


Notes on Student Collaboration Project

Few weeks into the project, Nima Sherpa, our Project Coordinator, shares her thoughts and impressions on the Student Collaboration Project so far.

The girl leader is leading the meeting

Helambu Project is partnering with PaxWorks and other organizations in order to empower educators, women and children through a Student Collaboration Project (SCP). The SCP focuses on developing girl’s aged 11-16 leadership and planning skills.

The Student Collaboration Project helps encourage and provide opportunities to girls to develop their leadership skills and implement projects with their peers. Through the SCP, Helambu Project and PaxWorks provide small grants to students who identify what the school or classroom needs most. Then the students decide through consensus which project to implement and report on the process.

In the context of Nepal, people are not used to planning before doing any projects. The SCP helps students to think and realize how important planning is and how it increases their chances of success. Students will have the chance to discover and understand their strengths and weaknesses during the project, helping them with their future projects. SCP provides a golden opportunity to rural students to learn and experience new things that they haven’t thought of or done before.

Writing the report

As part of the project, only girls are allowed to lead the discussions and plan the projects. The girl leaders are happy to be the part of the SCP and very thankful to be given a chance to develop their leadership skills. At first, they were surprised that they were actually going to implement a project. For the girl leaders it was the first time they worked on a project as a leader. The leaders were excited and happy to decide which project to implement with their friends and peers. The girl leaders said that their family and teachers encouraged them to implement the project. Their families think that for this generation going to the school is not enough and students should have the opportunity to learn and experience different things that aren’t taught in school.

It has been an honor working on the project and with the girls. I am happy for the students, especially for the girls, because they have a chance to experience being a leader. It has been fun to work with the girls because they are friendly and are very curious to learn. They have a lot of excitement and a positive attitude towards their work, which in turn has given me the positive energy to work on the project.

Nima Sherpa
Student Collaboration Project Coordinator


International Women’s Day: a day to speak up and out for women’s rights!

Today is International Women’s Day – a chance for all of us to reflect on women’s situation in the world and take a chance to listen to their experiences and voices. Women in Nepal and all across the world are routinely excluded from equal representation, status, and respect and suffer from a range of women and girl specific social, cultural and health problems that rarely receive the attention they deserve. Therefore, Helambu Project would like to take this chance to promote Her Turn – a girl’s education and empowerment program that aims to teach girls the importance of education, empowerment, and equality. Help spread the word about Her Turn by distributing and hanging up this flyer, fundraising, and telling your friends about the importance of the Girl Effect!

Her Turn flyer - click to download

We also want to promote the following resources, documentaries, and NGOs that cover a wide range of women and girl specific issues that we think deserve more attention:

MissRepresentation – a documentary by Jennifer Siebel Newsom that premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. The film explores how the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.

Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men “Asia now has 163 million females “missing” from its population. Gender imbalance reaches far beyond Asia, affecting Georgia, Eastern Europe, and cities in the U.S. where there are significant immigrant populations. The world, therefore, is becoming increasingly male, and this mismatch is likely to create profound social upheaval.”

www.Her-Turn.org – our girls’ education and empowerment program.

Girl Effect – if you want to end poverty and help the developing world, the best thing you can do is invest time, energy, and funding into adolescent girls. It’s called the Girl Effect, because girls are uniquely capable of investing in their communities and making the world better.

Because I am a Girl – Plan International’s Because I am a Girl initiative is a social movement to unleash the power of girls and women

to claim a brighter future for girls in the developing world. When a girl is educated, nourished and protected, she shares her knowledge and skills with her family and community, and can forever change the future of a nation. It’s that powerful.


First Annual Himalayan Olympics comes to a close!

High jump

The first annual Helambu Himalayan Olympics came to an end last week. Over 200 students from 12 different schools attended a three day sports and games tournament organized by our local partners Helambu Environment and Livelihood Project (HELP) and co-funded by Helambu Project.

Children in rural schools rarely get a chance to meet and compete with students from other schools and the event was a great opportunity for students from different communities to meet and form new friendships. We had near equal participation from boys and girls, and students had a chance to compete in over fifteen events: sack races, javelin, shot put, high jump, long jump, soccer, essay writing competitions, song competitions, speech and debate, chess, badminton, volleyball, tug of war, long and short distance running, and of course football. For many students it was their first chance to play some of the sports and HELP arranged to have some sports celebrities come from Kathmandu and teach the participants some pro-tips. One student after playing his first match of football (soccer) said, “I had only ever seen football in books and pictures, I had never a chance to play it before.”

Events like these are an important part of any child’s education. Not only do sports and games motivate and inspire students, but they also give students a chance to bond with other students across schools and create a sense of camaraderie and school spirit. Perhaps one of the most moving moments of the event was when a young girl who was initially too shy to compete in the sack race because she had never competed in front of so many people before, took home the gold medal in the event. Every school eventually took home a medal in at least one event and by the end students had renewed determination to do even better in next year’ s Olympic

s.

All participating schools also received a set of sports equipment donated by Helambu Project to take home and practice for this and next year’s Olympics, which will surely be an even bigger success.

Special thanks should be given to all of the sponsors and participants of the events. HELP did a wonderful job organization the event, and MondoChallenge Foundation also generously contributed to help cover food for the all of the participants and guests. International Teachers Foundation and Children of the Earth made contributions to the event, which was also covered by Kathmandu’s newspapers and media. 

Congratulations to all the participants and winners!!

High jump

Long jump


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