In addition to her work as program coordinator at the Usthi Foundation (Zurich), Stephanie Theis spent five months (May – October) supporting OneLoveOneWorld in Nepal after the earthquakes. She was able to spend valuable time with the children and work closely with the team to plan steps into the future.
OLOW’s manager, Ritu, has continued her tireless and motivated work, despite the shock she experienced during the earthquakes and aftershocks. On the days of the severe quakes (4/25/15 & 5/12/15) and those that followed, Ritu stayed with the children of the group home full-time. She slept with them in the open air, provided for their safety, and made certain they had the necessary supplies of food and water.
We are grateful for her commitment and infectious positive energy, from which the children and other employees have benefit greatly, without exception. The children of the group home and daycare center show no symptoms or behavior abnormalities indicative of trauma caused by the earthquakes. The experience was integrated well through adequate monitoring by management as well as a quick resumption of every day tasks and processes.
In this newsletter we would like to give you an overview of the last five months in Nepal, wherein OLOW planned major steps and carried out activities.
OLOW began providing relief immediately after the first earthquake and joined forces with Helping Hands, a local NGO, to carry out further emergency measures through the strength of cooperation. In addition to food, hygiene kits, blankets, and tarpaulins were delivered to remote mountain regions. Helping Hands organized the transport of relief materials with the help of Nepalese volunteers, supplying a camp of 2500 people. Tarpaulins and blankets were provided to protect people from the rain and cold.
Thanks to this successful cooperation and the efficient use of our combined resources, direct assistance was delivered quickly. Thank you to Shashank Agrawal for his commitment without exception.
Neyo. Made in Nepal, Lions Club Kreuztal, Hubenfeld Elementary School in Siegen, Claudia Linde and other private donors have provided the financial aid that enabled OLOW to supply direct, unbureaucratic support to earthquake victims. Thank you very much!
Our collaboration with Helping Hands continues. We will be launching further joint emergency projects following Dashain, Nepal’s biggest festival. Many people will be helpless against winter exposure; therefore, we are preparing for the further distribution of blankets and tarpaulins under the “cold wave project” of Helping Hands Nepal.
OLOW is planning the reconstruction process for five houses, while also supporting affected families with children, especially single mothers. The expected cost is around 3000 – 4000 euros per house.
OLOW suport has provided an engineer to ensure the earthquake-resistant construction of the homes. Regular visits to the sites verify proper use of funds and implementation of construction guidelines. Through an owner-driven approach, homeowners rebuild individually with the necessary technical and financial support provided by OLOW’s agent. This means that OLOW meets the demands of owner justice and the self-efficacy experience is strengthened.
Laxmi Sunuwar, living community project coordinator, has unfortunately left OLOW. We wish her the best for her future. As of August 2015, Shree Krishna Nepali (see photo), a former teacher, has assumed the role of social educator. We look forward to the involvement of this new, dedicated team member. Krishna will soon be presented in a new blog entry.
In addition, a new Nepalese board has been elected (see photo below). We look forward to welcoming Niraj Joshi as president. This longtime friend of German CEO’s Leonie York and Stephanie Theis, and good confidant of Ritu Shrestha has agreed to assume responsibility for the organization and become actively involved. Niraj is an engineer and interior designer living in Patan, Kathmandu.
We also welcome Rashmi Joshi, Ritu Shrestha, Arati Mulmi, Pradeep
Shrestha, Sambriddhi Basnet, Rashmita Shrestha, and Tina Gurung as new board members. We look forward to so much commitment and positive cooperation between the boards of Germany and Nepal.
[OLOW board, Nepal (not pictured: Tina Gurung and Pradeep Shrestha).]
In response to destroyed houses and lost jobs, OLOW has a new project off the ground: a microfinance program supporting women with children, who have been directly affected by the earthquake and its consequences, in standing on their own two feet again.
In these situations, a business plan is always the first step. In operation for two months, a fruit stand and small textiles resale kiosk represent success stories of women for whom nothing stood before. Seven women received between $100 and $200 in seed capital, which will be repaid without interest to OLOW within a year.
The existing projects of OLOW (school sponsorship, group home, individual family support, and kindergarten) continue to run successfully and show the desired results. These include increasing the performance of school sponsorship children, autonomy development in group home children and adolescents (the first young people from the group home have now begun their education), and families improving their own situations.
We would like to apologize for any inconvenience to all sponsors, as we cannot inform about the individual situations of children and adolescents. The staff are in close contact with OLOW children and families and all are doing well. OLOW naturally sees it as our duty to inform sponsors in the case of accidents, illness, etc.
Laurent, a carpenter from Switzerland, was an active volunteer with OLOW for one month. Despite the uncertain situation in Nepal, he flew to Kathmandu in order to serve with OLOW. In addition to cabinet making activities, he specificaly dealt with Ramesh from the group home, who had an important decision to make regarding his choice of profession. Laurent provided Ramesh with conversation, guidance, and support. Ramesh has decided to attend school from 6 – 11am and training as a motor mechanic from 1 – 5pm. He has kept this schedule for two month already and feels good about his work and school environments. His days are long, but the choice of occupation and hands-on application make him happy.
Soon Nadine from Germany will join OLOW in Nepal for a two month internship.
Child Sponsorship Reports
Due to an increasing number of sponsorships, we have to restructure our work a little. Henceforth, OLOW will provide each sponsor with a report in May/June of each year. This simplifies field work for our Nepalese employees, who collect data on each child, and for our German volunteers, who will translate all reports and send them to sponsors once a year. We hope for your understanding!
We would like to say thank you again to all of our donors, who together have provided around 25,000 euros to our earthquake relief fund (precise figures will be provided at the start of 2016 in our Financial Report). We did not expect such a high amount of donations and we are very pleased with the great sympathy of all donors. This allows OLOW to help people in Nepal who urgently need assistance and cannot rely on the government.
Leonie York, Stephanie Theis, & the entire team of OLOW Nepal
Our daycare program is currently lacking in direct donations for finance. Twelve children have been enrolled since April 2015 and these are now school sponsorships. We no longer have enough sponsors for the kindergarten children. If you would like to support OLOW, we would be very happy if you choose the project sponsorship route (20 euros per month). Just drop us an email and we will provide you with information about the projects in detail.
OLOW does not currently require donations earmarked exclusively for earthquake relief. Rather, due to increased stress on families at this time, we must be able to finance and expand existing programs.
Mothers are now even more reliant on children to help with rebuilding and income. Therefor the number of out-of school children is increasing. We will use unearmarked donations where they are needed most with a focus on emergency relief and education.
A tax receipt will be sent so that your donation is tax deductable. Simply include your address in an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Big thanks to Melissa Cary who translated this blog into English language for us. You are a great help!