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Last week I went to Kathmandu. I made a plan to meet with Smriti from Asha Nepal.We have thought that one of our lady could get the Psychology counselling course in Kathmandu where Smriti is helping us to find good organization. We also discussed about the cost.
While i was there i also want to meet our little girl whom we are supporting at School. After I met Wendy Didi it was very exciting moment to meet with Rochelle from Yakkity Yak. She has been selling our jewelry from three years but we had never got chance to meet her. This was a very lovely meeting and i felt like we have been meeting from long time. I saw that she is a very kind hearted person and so beautiful.
Our meeting was in Gaia Restaurant for dinner and i thought may be this was it for now.
Next morning as we were looking for our breakfast and we also have to get ready for coming to Birtamod. We set on our table with some food than surprisingly a lady came asking are you Wendy and kopila? We said yes and she said she is a friend of Rochelle. Her name was Sara Parker and she is from Fair connection. It was a very useful meeting with her and we hope she will come to the east where Samunnat belongs to. I feel after having a very interesting and useful conversation with Sara that in education sector could be more effective if people followed her suggestions.
Our Catering group is going from strength to strength. They are such hard working and determined ladies and have had lots of repeat business and jobs thanks to word-of-mouth recommendations. Tonight Kopila and I visited them at Arjundhara Temple where they had been employed by a local community group, the Womens’ Entrepreneur Organisation.
Four of the ladies were cooking chiya, see rotis and subji (Vegetable curry of potato, chick peas, peas and tomato). Thousands of people will be visiting the temple over the next few days for the balachaturdasi – the festival where people throw seeds (rice, corn, wheat, barley) in the name of deceased parents. Our ladies will be working in one of many food stalls set up to feed the masses!
They are hired by the Womens’ Entrepreneurs Organisation of Jhapa. The organisation runs the food stall to raise funds for training and resources. Our catering ladies turn up with their pans, gas, cooker and supplies and have three days of work. They will be working hard!
Recently ladies from the Samunnat Cooperative had Organic Vegetable Implantation Training. The trainer was very experienced in organic gardening and very supportive of the ladies. He is keen to help with this job creation activity and encouraged the ladies that they could even begin growing vegetables in pots. They are going to start with keeping seeds and the Cooperative gave the ladies a loan of NRs5000/- to buy seeds to start growing vegetables and flowers.
Once the flood waters had dropped enough, the ladies wasted no time in setting up their garden at the Samunnat building. It was a group effort as you can see. We will keep you posted on how are garden is growing!
*I had to quote Paul Kelly in this post!
While a lot of the work we do at Samunnat is in the form of legal aid, improving access to education, income generation training and job creation, it’s not the only way to empower women. One of the reasons we don’t generally run one-size-fits-all programs is because we have learnt over time (mistakes on the way!!) that one size most certainly doesn’t fit all and that empowerment means different things to different people.
For Bina, a single mother of an autistic boy with high needs, empowerment meant knowing how to manage! Awareness about autism is still in its infancy in Nepal and it is only because of the tireless work of the people at Autism Care Nepal that people are learning about it. Autism Care Nepal is based in Kathmandu and struggling Bina lives in the east…16 hours away by bus! What to do?
Ask for help! Which she did. After talking with Kopila, and doing some research on what was available ( not much!!) they decided the best way to get help would be for Bina and her son to temporarily move to Kathmandu and attend the three month parent training course that ACN runs. Samunnat provided funds for this.
Mina regularly sends Kopila photos and reports that the course is proving very helpful with managing her son’s often very distressing and disruptive behaviours. She will have ongoing support from Samunnat when she returns. This has been quite a commitment for Samunnat but we really believe that it is money well spent! Bina was very vulnerable and is now feels more confident and is enthusiastic to start a support group and spread the word about Autism in the east where there are barely any resources.
Bina was very happy for us to use her photo to raise awareness about autism and the work of Samunnat Nepal.
We thought you would like an update on how our catering ladies are going!
They have had a few bookings including some Teej celebrations and have been cooking for groups of over 50 people. They use the kitchen in our building to do some preparation and their biggest job so far has been for the local Yamaha dealer who threw a Teej party for all the ladies who bought scooters from his dealership. What a honey he is!!! We hope that other people will follow his example and hire our ladies to cook delicious meals for them.
They look gorgeous in their uniform. Every time they get a job, they save NRs200/- to purchase other items to help them and next time they will buy more caps! They love their Australian made aprons. Thanks Margie!!