Friday, June 22, 2007

Reintegration

This morning I visited SOS Children's Village in Pokhara. Sarita, who grew up here, came with me on the start of her two-day holiday, which includes, tomorrow, SOS Day, celebrated in SOS Villages around the world.

SOS Villages have a family model that we hope to emulate one day. The grounds have smaller, cottage-style homes for ten children, one mother and one house sister. It's just a beautiful place, almost idyllic.

After visiting with her "Mommy," as Sarita referred to her, I got a tour of grounds and had a short meeting with Bagat Shresta, the Village director. He has been very helpful to Dinesh in the early days of Sam's House, not only recommending Sarita to us, but also with other types of advice and ideas.

He says the biggest challenge for SOS and other orphanages is reintegration. While the orphanage does its best to prepare the child for life as an adult, the Nepali economy just doesn't have room for more 18-22 year olds seeking jobs. Moving out of the orphanage can often be too shocking, too difficult for the child.

Though our oldest is just nine years (Mina), Dinesh has already begun thinking about ideas to help children assimilate after Sam's House. The education and vocational training will be helpful but sometimes the jobs just aren't available.

So Dinesh has been thinking entrepeneurship, starting local businesses that we might construct to give the children a career start and which could be used to help generate some revenue for the house. Also, we might partner with some local businesses to have our children intern with when they are older. For example, Bharat Malla, one of the Nepali trustees, has a travel agency. He might be able to bring in some children to teach them the business or get them aligned with a trekking agency, so forth and so on.

Bagat invited Dinesh and me and Jen for dinner tomorrow during SOS Day. There will be awards and an entertainment program with the kiddies. It's what we hope to be someday. We'll see.

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We leave for KTM on Monday. Can't believe it's already here. I'll try to post some more pics on Sunday before it's time to leave. It will be so tough. I've been saying that Jen and I would only come once a year and that we'd rotate our visits. I don't know if we'll be able to abide that now.

CB

2 comments:

Jells and Cathy said...

Hey you two, just took a few minutes to catch up on the going's on at Sam's House. It seems like your visit went great and you are counting the days until you can come back.

Happy Belated Anniversary! Sorry, we missed the actual day.

Travel safe,

Jells and Cathy

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.