Less than a year ago, Dr. Ron Lehocky, Cynthia Tinapple and the wonderfully generous international polymer clay community helped us to begin a project we had only dreamt about…building our own home. People donated, a beautiful necklace circles the globe steadily raising funds. As recent posts on our blog have shown, that dream is well on the way to becoming a reality. And having that reality growing just around the corner from our current digs has had a transforming effect.
Over the past months, we realised that it makes financial and common sense to build a second storey at the same time. We have a trusted building crew, materials can be bought in bulk, the season is right. The reality is we don’t have enough money.
The purpose of the second storey we dream of is threefold. Firstly, we want to provide accommodation for our on site caretaker and her son. Kumari, a Samunnat graduate, mentor, advocate, inspirer, our Cooperative manager and general amazing person will be the most loving and attentive caretaker an organisation could hope for.
Secondly, we want to provide free short term accommodation for women who have to travel long journeys to connect with us or undertake court activities.
And thirdly, Maya* needs a home.
For us at Samunnat, this has become compelling. Maya visits us regularly and has been patiently waiting for the building to finish as she will be earning her income by tending a cow and selling the products. Read about how this has transformed Sita’s life here. Due to tragically disfiguring facial and body tumours, Maya has been rejected from home after home. Read a little of her story here. The bottom line is that while Maya has a home of sorts, she is living in an ashram for destitute senior citizens, she is lonely there and shunned by many of the old people who fear her. Our ladies are so sad when she comes and quietly shares her sorrow. They feel helpless and want more than anything to give her a home at Samunnat where she is accepted and loved and not ridiculed or feared. So often we have said, If only we had our upstairs rooms, Maya could live in one….
At an amazingly serendipitous time, the indefatigable Ron has proposed his RAISING THE ROOF campaign-a campaign to enlist the support of 500 people to donate $20 each to raise the money we need to build those three rooms upstairs. He has kick started it with $2000 (what can we say Ron? Dherai Dhanyabad) and like us, wants to do all he can to give Maya a meaningful life. He is buying her cow.
If you are reading this, in all likelihood you have already generously supported us. Even if a donation is not possible now, please circulate our request to your friends who may not know us, giving them the chance, as our wonderful friend Cath says, to be part of a well thought out, sustainable, meaningful, worthwhile, special project in Nepal, [that will] actually make a true difference to some women’s lives and their safety and well being.
Please talk about it in your blogs, on Facebook, on your social media, anywhere you think will help us reach the people we need. Friends can donate easily using the PayPal button on this page.
In our last post, we showed the photo of our stairs of hope. Steps which led to nowhere but an empty roof. We hope that we will find 500 people to make these steps lead to Maya’s home, Kumari’s home and a place for courageous women beginning their journey to independence and living a life free of violence to stay. We have perhaps never been quite so bold with our asking, but we are encouraged by Ron and inspired by so many women, especially by Maya, her daily courage, grace, determination and belief that she and all women are entitled to a violence free, meaningful life.