Number 6, July 2018
Dear friends and sponsors,
Hope you are all well.
I was in Nepal for 7 weeks until the end of April, and just wanted to give you a brief update prior to the more detailed newsletter which I will send out when things have crystallised, as we are currently in a process of change.
Firstly, thank you so much for your financial support; children’s sponsorship, general monthly contributions, and one-off donations all come together to help us to carry on doing what we do, and we certainly could not do it without you.
All our kids are doing well; Prakash is in his first year of engineering at Pokhara University, Sarita in her first year of nursing, Sangita still at school, and Binod finished class 10 this year and passed his School Leavers’ Certificate. He is now planning to study science for the next 2 years at Little Step College in Pokhara. The 3 younger ones, Bandana, Binisha and Bikash, the children of Dilamya our housemother, are also in school and growing up in the house, speaking good English, and learning new skills all the time. Roshan continues to hold it all together and wear many hats! He has just completed an intensive certification course in Pokhara to become a fully qualified trekking guide. This will really be the icing on the cake for him, as he is already a wonderful guide and his services in great demand!
We had lots of guests in April and May whilst I was there. A patchwork quilter from Australia, Claire Grey, was one of the guests. She and her travel companion, Bernadette Kelly, helped us to set up a sewing room at the house, and we invited 7 teenage girls from Namaste Children’s Home in Pokhara to learn to sew and quilt on an intensive six-day course. They are still coming to the house on a weekly basis to sew and we are hoping to sell what they have produced at Christmas markets. Julie Holt, a quilter and basket weaver from Australia, is planning to come out in October to teach more advanced skills to the girls, and we also hope to extend the teaching to a group of Dalit (low caste) women who can already sew, to offer them the chance to increase their income by producing high quality fabric crafts for the international market.
We have 2 new additions to the SSN team; Bea Toews, a retired teacher and good friend of mine from Australia, who has been coming to the house for 4 years now, and a young woman from the Netherlands / Malaysia, Michelle Djekic, the daughter of a friend of mine, who just spent 3 months at the house. They are both committed to SSN, to help us to improve and extend what we offer, and to become more self-sufficient and transparent. We feel that as a young man with obligations and interests of his own, it is time that Roshan has the opportunity to earn a salary as well as head the SSN team and take care of the house and children, so we are looking into ways in which this might be possible. Generally it is an exciting time and with the new team members on board, I think it will really take us to a different level, where we can support many more young people and women in need.
We are currently trying to streamline the finances so we don’t lose so much money on transfer fees and exchange rates, and are going through a process of transition. We are grateful to Soma Mahesan who, since the setting up of SSN in 2012, worked closely with Roshan on the finances and kept us afloat. He was also instrumental in the setting up of SSN and played a big role during the earthquake. We now feel that it is time that Roshan stepped up fully into his role as head of SSN, and henceforth, with some assistance from Bea, he will keep all accounts. Dave continues to manage our website, and both he and Mandy are assisting with the changes we are initiating. They are planning a visit to The Garden at the end of the year. We are indeed fortunate to have such a committed and international team!
You are, of course, always welcome to come and visit The Garden and be part of what we do, or just come for a holiday; combine some restful time at The Garden with a trek perhaps, and some sightseeing. Nepal is still a very special place even with the inevitable development and changes, and The Garden is truly a lovely place to chill out. Our six-year lease expires next April, and in October we will find out if we will be able to renew it or have to look for a new place. Do please keep your fingers crossed that we can stay.
Finally, let me once again express my sincere gratitude, on behalf of the SSN team and all the children and young people we help, for continuing to trust us with your generous donations.
THANK YOU AND NAMASTE!!