Monday, September 17, 2007

House Awards

To inspire the children to things, we came up with a monthly awards idea. The awards are mostly for school but also for behavior and cleanliness. Concomitant with Kamal's farewell party, Dinesh handed out the prizes.

Nursery: Santosh
Lower Kindergarten: Sarita
Upper Kindergarten: Mina
Class 1: Maya
Best handwriting: Sharan
Good manners and behavior: Amrit (second time, I believe)

"Baba" giving a speech before the awards presentation.

Mina wins the academic prize for UKG (you-kay-zhee).

Maya receives the academic award for class 1. Bishal, the future prime minister, helps with the distribution.

Dhiraj hands out the "Best Manners and Behavior" award to Amrit.

Live and learn... Dinesh reports that the award ceremony, though well-intended, seems to create some sadness along with the inspiration. Though all of the children are given sweets as prizes, the bestowal of awards to some and not others has caused some drama in the aftermath. So, Dinesh is re-thinking the idea. Perhaps they're a little too young for the awards at this point. These are things you can't plan for in a children's home.


Good Luck Kamal!

Yesterday, Sam's House feted Kamal Sharma, our house tutor. He took a new job in accounting and finance with the International Nepal Fellowship. This job was more in line with his interests and training, though he was a superb teacher and friend to the children.

Dinesh says the older children were very sad, so we hope Kamalji will come and visit often. Here are a few photos of the party:

Kamal with the whole gang.

Kamal and Santosh.

Kamal with a sad Mamata and Binita.

Kamal handing off the reins to Laxmi Gurung, our new house tutor.


Monday, September 10, 2007

New Tutor--Laxmi Gurung

In a previous post we mentioned that Kamal Sharma, our house tutor had taken a new job. Kamal had been a great friend to Sam's House, and the students did very well under him as evidenced by their certificates.

Dinesh has found a new tutor, Laxmi Gurung. Ms. Gurung is originally from Syanja, where some of the Sam's House children were born, but now lives in Pokhara with her mother.

Ms. Gurung teaches class 1 in the Paschimanchal English Boarding School and will supplement her work by coming to Sam's House in the mornings and evenings to help the children with their homework. Dinesh says her English is excellent and should be an advantage for the children.

Outside of school, Ms. Gurung is accomplished volleyball player, having traveled internationally with her club team to tournaments throughout South Asia. Perhaps the future of Nepali volleyball is on the Sam's House playground right now!

Dinesh says the children have taken to Ms. Gurung immediately. We are most happy to welcome her to Sam's House.

Laxmi Gurung, our new house tutor.

Nepal Board Meeting

The first weekend in October, the Sam's House board will be having its first in-person board meeting in New York City, hosted by Brad and Delta Schonhoft. We're all very excited to meet one another and looking forward to a productive weekend of discussions about Sam's House today and in the future.

Sam's House also has a separate board in Nepal, one convened by Dinesh, that meets to deal with more immediate matters regarding the day-to-day operations.

The Nepal board met a couple weeks ago and I thought it might be interesting to share a little of what they discuss during a typical meeting. The following notes are from Dinesh (with additional information in parentheses from me).

1. As I informed the board that Kamal would be leaving soon and we would need a tutor urgently. So the committee decided to look for a tutor who meets the requirements and employ him/her immediately. The committee also agreed to make Asuna a full time employee from next month (this means Asuna has passed her probationary period).

2. I submitted the operation policy for the approval. I'd sent the draft policy to the members prior to the meeting so that they could read, but they didn't have time to read the whole, so they wanted to have more time for that. The next meeting has been scheduled for 17 Sept. In that meeting, they will look into the policy. I will also send it to you to forward it to the US board members so that we can discuss about it in our October meeting. I am hoping to finish translation in two weeks time.

3. The board also discussed about the admission of new children. The board was convinced that we could take only 3 more children (in the coming year). Most of our children are from Kaski district so the board stressed that the new coming children will have to be from other districts and preferably from marginalized ethnic groups.

4. As we have to renew our registration with the district administration office by mid October, the committee decided to give responsibility for renewal of registration to Shova, Dinesh and Rekha.

As it is here, Sam's House relies on kind volunteers to help accomplish its goals. The Nepali board are generous and committed individuals who work very hard to see that we provide help in the best, most efficient manner possible.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sam's Birthday

Our organization's namesake, Sam Rothchild, would have celebrated his 99th birthday last Saturday, September 1.

Sam's House commemorated his day with a celebration. In the afternoon they went out for a picnic, then down to Lakeside for ice cream and capped off the day with cake back at the house. They'll probably be wishing for Sam's birthday to come more often. Here are a few photos from the evening celebration.

Dinesh cuts the cake.

Dinesh feeds the first piece to Rina, who is wearing a swanky new floral shirt.

Bishal and Pratima. Bishal, it is well-documented, enjoys a piece of cake.

The whole gang.

In other news, Kamal Sharma, our house tutor, has taken a new job. He was an excellent staff member and so great with the children. We wish him the best of luck and hope he'll come visit us often. Dinesh, meanwhile, has already lined up a new tutor to work with the children before and after school.