“Empowerment Through Education” — Friends of Himalayan Children

Batase Village Girls Trip to Kathmandu

It is a trip that the girls will be talking about for a very long time. 40 young girls arrived in Kathmandu after a 6 hour bus journey. For the majority of the girls this was their very first time outside the village and their first time exposed to city life.

The girls settled into their hotel and all enjoyed their very first steaming hot shower and then off to a local restaurant for a huge feast of Dahl Baht. All of the girls gathered in one of the bedrooms to share stories and to discuss the purpose of the trip. Sanu Maya talked passionately about her determination to complete high school, and at aged 22 and studying in Grade 10, Sanu Maya showed the girls that anything was possible. Phulmaya told her powerful story of being denied the right to an education by her parents until aged 12. Phulmaya was proud to tell the girls that she is now studying Pharmacy in Kathmandu and if she can do so can the other girls.

Village girls see the sights of Kathmandu

Som Tamang spoke about his story of being denied an education and the difficulties that he has been through but acknowledged that the girls will struggle more because of the lesser value Nepalese society places of girls. The conversations carried on into the early hours of the morning.

After breakfast the following morning the large group visited Kathmandu’s iconic sites. The tour started at Durbar Square where everyone saw the only living Goddess in the world “Kumari”. Next stop was at Buddha Park, then onto a museum before finishing the tour at Swayambunath Temple. Everyone was tired and hungry and a feast of Dahl Baht quickly restored everyone’s energy. The girls then visited the very special and tranquil “Garden of Dreams”, an oasis of calm and peacefulness in the middle of chaotic Kathmandu. The girls had fun on the swing and everyone was treated to a delicious ice cream. The girls danced, smiled and saw a world very different from all that they have known.

A well earned ice-cream

That night, all of the girls were asked to share their thoughts about the difficulties of being a girl in Nepal and how to overcome the obstacles that they faced each day. The strong message that came across was that education was the key, providing choices and opportunities. Sanjita spoke about the fear that she would feel when speaking in front of people and how after gaining confidence and knowledge since attending school, she feels strong when speaking in front of others. The girls spoke about their concerns in relation to the lack of Grade 9 and 10 at Batase School. Twelve girls agreed that their education will finish at Grade 8 unless the school can provide Grade 9 and 10. Som Tamang agreed that Grade 9 and 10 is a basic human right and the Friends of Himalayan Children will do what it takes to provide this for the students.

The girls returned to Batase village the following morning with the promise that is they continue their education that another trip will be planned next year.

The girls shared their concerns, challenges, fears and hopes for the future during the trip. Being in Kathmandu allowed the girls to imagine possibilities outside of the village and most importantly they felt valued, listened to and cared for. These amazing girls are the future of Nepal.

(Sunday, February 17, 2013)

SitaAryal (Teacher at Batase school)

SitaAryal walks two hours each day to and from Batase village, where she works as a teacher. She is from the privileged Brahmin caste, and was educated in nearby Gyaltum. Sita is continuing her studies at Gyaltum while being employed by FHC.

SitaAryal

She is is an excellent teacher and is extremely popular amongst the students. Though she enjoys her work, Sita has larger ambitions than a small village school. She does not envisage a long-term future for herself at the school, as she is waiting to complete her higher education and seek out opportunities in Kathmandu.

This is great for Sita–such ambition is rare in young village girls, whose expectations are often reduced by parental and village attitudes towards women. Sad for us though, as when she moves on with her life we’ll be losing a great teacher.

It’s a constant struggle for FHC to retain highly educated teachers, as life in Batase village is difficult for most people.

(Sunday, February 17, 2013)

Bibi Maya Tamang (Teaching in Batase Village)

Bibi Maya Tamang

20 year old Bibi Maya Tamang was employed by FHC in 2012 after it was decided to start a prep class at the school. Bibi Maya is from Batase village. She is one of seven girls who graduated from high school in 2010.

Bibi Maya lives with her family in the village, and all of her siblings attend Batase school. Despite being younger than some of her students, she acts as an inspiration to the girls. She is visible evidence for the younger girls that once they complete high school there will be real opportunities available to them.

Bibi Maya is teaching under difficult conditions. A lack of resources contribute to the difficulty of teaching at Batase School, something that FHC tries hard to address. As ever, more resources and money are needed to support young teachers like Bibi.

(Saturday, February 16, 2013)

Chiring – 12 year old orphan

Chiring

Chiring is twelve years old and came to the hostel after an Austrian couple met her in a remote village. She was not attending school and was living with a distant relative who was using her as a farm worker.

She now attends school every day despite having a learning disability. Chiring has never spoken about her parents. We know that they have passed away but unsure about the circumstances. Sadly, her story is far from unique.

Chiring always has a bright smile on her face!

(Saturday, February 16, 2013)

Sovha, Kumari, Jiwan and Kumar

Sovha is a seven year old girl who has lived at the hostel in Batase since 2011. Her father died in a landslide accident and her Mother was unable to support the family or to send them to school. When FHC were told of the family’s situation, we agreed to provide a proper education for Sovha and her 3 siblings: Kumari, Jiwan and Kumar.

Sovha

All four children are now living at the hostel and attending school each day. Without our intervention, their futures would have been bleak.

Many of the children we help and house at the Batase hostel have one or more living parents. Though not all are orphans in the traditional sense, their families are often unable to support or to provide for them.

(Friday, February 15, 2013)

Bibek and his sister Sarmila

Bibek and Sarmila’s parents are both abusive alcoholics. The children were neglected at home and did not attend school. Though neighbours and family members would sometimes care for the children, the majority of the time they were left to fend for themselves.

When the children’s situation came to the attention of FHC, and it was decided that they needed to be cared for and supported to allow them to attend school. The children do not want any contact with their parents. They are thriving with the supportive “family” in the hostel.

(Thursday, February 14, 2013)

About FHC

Friends of Himalayan Children Inc. is a registered charity started by Som Tamang in 2010. It funds numerous activities in Nepal, aimed at helping Nepalese orphans empower themselves through education. Current projects include the XXX school and hostel.

Charity Number: 54788547

Contact Us

  • r Phone:
    (123) 456 7890 / 456 7891
  • h Email:
  • m Address:
    Friends of Himalayan Children Inc.
    PO Box 4587, Cairns, Australia