Last week we had a very special, colourful, emotional and wonderful day! In staggeringly pleasant weather, along the banks of the Mai Khola, we celebrated the most intensive part of the amazing journey of the ladies through their training.
The weather should have been dreadfully hot or the rain should have been pouring. It looked like it may pour at any second as black clouds filled the sky but it never did and those same black clouds kept us cool.
Nepalis do picnics really well and this was no exception. We all piled into a bus (as easily as one can pile into anything where the step is one metre off the ground) and powered along the East West Highway to the river while listening to the sounds of the ladies singing beautifully.
The “karyakram” (program) was a full one and started with an evaluation. Each lady openly shared her thoughts using the evaluation tool she had learnt-what worked, what didn’t and what should we do differently next time. There was lots of wonderful discussion and then trainers and the board members participated.
Overall, there was a strong sense that something pretty special had happened with some profound changes happening at many levels. There were wonderfully constructive suggestions too, for alterations and changes. We have been doing ongoing evaluation reports for the Australian Embassy and if you’d like to read these in more detail, please contact directly.
The photo above shows one of the ladies who participated in the tailoring training telling us how it was for her. Each lady also shared her long term goal which will be reviewed in three months time to see how she is going and what support she needs.
It is clear that in some areas, further training is needed before the ladies are realistically able to earn money independently. As soon as we have raised some money, the tailoring ladies will get another month of training focussing on the sewing of school uniforms-a big money spinner-as this could not be adequately covered in the time available.
One of the tailoring ladies will not do this training as she is happy at this stage to open a small mending and repair business in her village and this is very appropriate given her situation. The ladies making pickles, incense and masyaura and ready to roll and in fact have been. They just need more experience in sales and this is being arranged.
The computer ladies have each identified specific areas of need and interest including bookkeeping, Photoshop and Nepali font typing. Again, we have to wait until we raise more money, but we are determined that the ladies will have access to this so are working towards this.
They are also using money they are earning making jewellery for the local market to raise a contribution towards their training. For some ladies, ongoing training is not an option for a number of reasons and we will be discussing other options with them.
For the ladies working with polymer, there is a slightly nerve inducing lull in proceedings as we wait for feedback and orders from ACP regarding the latest samples we have sent. And for our resident polymer trainer to return from some time in Australia.
During the lull, they are working on designs for the local market and for a Community Open Day we are planning for October. The ladies in this group will join Sharmila, Gita, Kumari and Goma (the “old” clay ladies) to be come our “polymer people”. All these ladies now need to consolidate and refine their skills and we are making exciting plans to increase our focus on design issues now that they are becoming more proficient at technique. Stay tuned.
I could go on and on but won’t. (Can you believe the internet connection I am using here in Australia where we are for a few weeks is nearly as bad as home?) I will let some pictures speak for themselves.