UPDATE: VILLAGE SCHOOL MUSIC PROGRAM AND WOMEN’S GROUP
Trek of Your Life (TOYL) volunteers continues to collaborate with other groups from Australia, Oman, England, France, the United States, and Nepal. Since the 2015 earthquake, several other groups including nonprofits such as GoPhilanphroic.com have been contributing funds for teacher training and rebuilding. Christine and Kurt Marschner who founded the project in 2007, have continued to raise funds for teacher training, teacher salaries, and rebuilding after the earthquake. (dadagaunvillage.com)
Eight of the twelve group members who trekked to Lang Tang in 2017 volunteered after the trek. Our service hours were very productive because we had trekked together. Hans Schultz and his wife Ingrid, recently retired from the International Development Bank, were impressed with Dadagaun Village. Hans said, “I’ve seen all kinds of projects in South America that succeed and fail. This one has all the components to continue to develop and thrive.” It was reassuring to have their perspective and expertise.
Dave and Elizabeth with the children
Drawing used for one of the cards
They enjoyed meeting with Razu, a young leader in the village who met Mozella, a trekker in 2011 when we interviewed the villagers to learn what they wanted next in the way of assistance. During their conversation Razu asked Mozella for some books to read. The next year, she dropped off Change Your Thoughts–Change Your Life and The Power of Intension by Wayne Dyer on the front steps of my home the night before I left, which I handed over to Raju later. He was delighted to receive them.
Razu meeting with Hans and Ingrid discussing micro business concepts
Since then Razu has finished college and is keen to assist the women’s group which is an outgrowth of a two- day workshop on child development and parenting skills which I gave with the help of Neeru Webster and Uma, the preschool teacher. Since then, many of the same women have made use of the computer lab at night to learn to read and have also been going to the Buddhist Temple nearby to learn reading and writing, as well as attending an adult education class for almost three years. The number of the mothers in that class is growing. The class meets daily from 5 pm to 6:30 pm and is taught by Paru Mam, a teacher in the school. With Razu’s assistance, they opened a bank account and have 50 rupees (50 cents) in it.
Last year (2017) they asked us to help with starting a micro-business to replace the raksi (homemade whiskey) which they make and sell to supplement the family income from farming. With Neeru’s help, they decided to build small greenhouses from plastic and bamboo to grow lettuce and tomatoes offseason to sell in the market to ex-pats living nearby and in the market. In addition, the children created drawings which were turned into notecards then sold to school visitors. It was a good start and hopefully, they will succeed.
Woman’s group meeting Nov. 2017
Unexpectedly, I had an opportunity to go to Kathmandu for a week in July to give workshops for five days (see next post). Following the last workshop Friday afternoon, I drove through a heavy downpour to Shiva Puri Cottages for the weekend and brought with me the flash drives containing cards and donations for the music program, which have been funded by donations to TOYL for the last four years.
Music Teacher for Dadagaun Village children