SCHOLARSHIPS For a small amount of financial support, the lives of destitute children in Nepal can be literally transformed. For children who experienced only tragedy and misfortune in their early years, education can totally reverse their circumstances. So many of our children have survived horrendous beginnings and have gone on to achieve remarkable success in their studies and professions as well as building stable, gratifying, personal lives. When a donation is made for the purpose of a one-year scholarship, it does not automatically assume year-to-year responsibility to the child. We are most grateful for on-going sponsorship, but continued provision must be the choice of the donor. If, for any reason a sponsor cannot continue with their support, the child will not be at risk. In such instances we will support from general program funds while we seek an alternative sponsor. 100% of all scholarship support will be used directly to serve a deserving, neglected Nepali child.
GIRLS' ORPHANAGE The extreme lack of care facilities for children in Nepal is a major factor in the distressing living conditions for so many displaced children. The establishment of an orphanage for girls has been a VCN project that was finally realized with celebration in Kathmandu on October 7, 2009. With the cooperation of Paropakar Orphanage, the first and most honored social program and NGO established in Nepal (1953), VCN constructed and supports this new home, providing secure living space for twenty-five orphaned girls. Our goal is to provide a respectable, comfortable standard of living that these orphans can enjoy and proudly celebrate as their “home”. It is most likely that these homeless girls would soon have been victims to child trafficking, if not for our rescue. Now bonded together in harmony and beautifully adjusted to their home environment, every child is a reminder of our purpose. This year the girls demonstrated tremendous academic success and every day they celebrate their new lives with optimism and joy. Even a few minutes spent in the company of these children dramatically underlines the success of this project. While VCN continues to financially support the orphanage, The Paropakar Organization manages all levels of care and education for all of the children and does so with the same integrity and pride shown by VCN. Supervisors and assistants give full, loving attention to these children and insure their well being with daily reminders of how important they have become to everyone involved with their new lives.
BOYS’ ORPHANAGE From the beginning, VCN made efforts to assist the orphans with donations and college scholarships. These days VCN continues with the same commitment to improving the lives of destitute orphans. Paropakar Orphanage can claim well-deserved credit for many achievements, including the initial inspiration for VCN's social work many years ago. Paropakar was the first social organization and orphanage established in Nepal (1953) and it has managed to continue its service to children and the helpless, but is mainly dependent upon meager donations from the public in Nepal. The dedicated management team of this organization has served thousands of children through the years and VCN feels privileged to participate in their noble cause with provisions and contributions that directly improve the quality of life for the orphans. Our donations of clothes, educational equipment and supplies, medical care, sports equipment and housing improvements through the years have greatly improved the orphanage environment. Our efforts have provided these children with a feeling of pride in their home and in themselves, effectively challenging the social shame of being an orphan child in an impoverished country. By far, the most essential provision from VCN has been continuing college scholarships for those orphan boys who excel academically and have the drive and desire for higher education. Without further study, these bright young men will have little opportunity and good minds will be shuttered for life. With sponsorships, they have the opportunity to change their circumstances and seek a life of purpose and contribution
BAL SARATHI SCHOOL VCN has joined with an inspiring group of Nepali women to reach out to children who gather unattended in the neighborhood of major temple complex in Kathmandu Valley. Alone or in small groups, every day these children meander filthy streets without purpose or supervision. The volunteer staff of Bal Sarathi scout the surrounding neighborhood and convinces squatters, prostitutes, transients, outcasts and impoverished families that the children of their circumstances deserve better -- nutritious food, a watchful eye and education. With considerable effort, commitment and a brilliant game plan, Bal Sarathi became a service to feed these children a good meal six days a week, with the provision that each child attends three hours of schooling before being served a free, nutritious lunch. The success of this effort was immediate and very soon contributors and merchants cooperated in this cause and now Bal Sarathi is supplied with study desks, school books, teachers and school uniforms for more than 140 students. Many of these children have become structured and passionate about their studies. They proudly wear their school uniforms and carry their books as symbols of their equality with other children and their progress in education. The greatest and most lasting gift to these children is knowledge and many have advanced into government schools with financial support from Bal Sarathi. VCN feels very fortunate that we can financially participate with this very special group of volunteer workers in their extraordinary effort for this innovative and praiseworthy cause.
MANANG CHILDREN HOME Manang Nepalese Children is a home to nine wonderful children of VCN. The children are girls that come from the high village of Manang or other remote, rural locations. These abandoned or orphaned small girls lived in the direst conditions and would likely have faced life-threatening hardships with little hope of a safe future. Now, these rescued children attend excellent schools and excel in their studies. VCN is the sole donor for Manang Nepalese Children and provides for all their needs - food, school tuition and fees, school supplies, clothes, and medical care.
BRICK YARD SCHOOL Even after our many years of working to improve conditions and opportunities for the poorest of children in Nepal, it came as a shocking revelation to visit children living and working in the camps of brick factory workers in Kathmandu Valley. The conditions of these hard-labor camps are the worst we've seen and we were amazed that children could survive the filth and physical dangers that continually threaten them. Tragically, it is certain that many don't. It was with encouragement from a U.S. friend that we began research for a new project to aid children in the poorest circumstance, whatever their conditions. With endless choices to consider, it was the past experience of our rescue of a young girl from a brick factory that allowed us to consider new projects for helping all of the children in an area where ten brick factories are in operation. Open and barren, each factory compound is primitive and abysmal with no clean water, and no services of any kind. The workers' shelters are makeshift piles of bricks -- fragile, dangerous, hopeless refuges. Plastic sheets or scrap mental are laid over the tops as roofing, offering little protection from the elements. The water source for all uses is water trapped in ditches or hollowed-out recesses in the ground, foul, muddy and disease-ridden. After research and careful considerations of possible options to reach and aid these children, it was clear that any emergency assistance would be only temporary and enduring improvement to these children's lives demanded education. By the grace of extraordinary luck (or karma?) we have joined with a splendid local NGO in Nepal, comprised of truly committed and talented young professionals willing to join us in our efforts to organize and establish a free school and lunch program for these children. Like VCN, the volunteers in our NGO partner will work without salaries or benefits and with total dedication to the rescue and advancement of the children. Our ambitions for these children are just beginning. We recently established our school in a location accessible to sixty children from all ten factories. Dialog and persuasion with the parents, guardians and factory foremen were essential in getting the cooperation needed to bring the children into our school The promise of free nutritional lunches every school day was an encouragement that appealed to everyone involved. Beyond academics it is our goal to instruct these young boys and girls in proper hygiene and health care, with trust that these fundamental lessons will benefit many others in their factory community. Equally important for these children are a safe place to play, to make new friendships and to celebrate their days of freedom from grueling labor and the miserable confines of the brickyard.
Our time spent in Nepal, especially in the world of street children and physically impaired children, continually demands our attention and resources to manage and provide emergency care and support for the wounded and ill. Most often our help is for medicines and medical attention, which frequently includes financial coverage for hospital care and medical equipment for the disabled. We also purchase clothes, foods and simple supplies for the unfortunates we find living in dire, often life-threatening conditions. Even temporary assistance can save a life and change circumstances for the better.
A most rewarding cause is our continued help to a suffering, but noble group of elderly victims of leprosy confined to an impoverished colony outside the city of Pokhara. Abandoned out of fear by their families and ostracized by society, this remarkable community of infirmed, disfigured lepers carry on their lives with a force of resolve and faith. We have been truly fortunate to enjoy their friendship and appreciate the strength and good spirit they generously provide us, fully expressed by their smiles and joy in welcoming us as their friends. Our contributions are modest, but we improve their lives with gifts of sweaters, shawls, sewing machines, bolts of cloth, bedding, cooking stoves and improvements to their simple housing conditions. Especially significant are the rows of new cooking units and a new toilet facility. Both of these gifts were contributions were paid possible by VCN donors and have considerably eased and simplified the daily lives of all colony residents. Smaller donations of kilos of tea, sugar, powdered milk, fruit and biscuits are a cause of celebration for all of the residents and we provide these foods and items at every opportunity. Our greatest gift, though, seems to be the time we share together. Their friends are few and greatly cherished.