Saturday, January 26, 2008

Jyoti Rehabilitation

Finding good didis is Dinesh's largest challenge and probably the largest challenge for most of the children's homes in Nepal. It's an extraordinary job--becoming mother to 20 children, 24 hours on call, without modern conveniences like dish washers, washing machines, hot water tanks, ovens, and other food processing gadgets. Everything it seems, with the exception of boiling water for tea, is done by hand.

We are so fortunate to have great didis--Sarita, Sushma, Tara and Asuna. Not only do they work extremely well, but they seem to really enjoy each other on a personal level. They often get together on their off days, or they return to the house just to hang out with the others. But they seem to be the exception. Dinesh says most of the other homes have a high attrition rate with didis (somewhat understandable). It also helps that we pay our didis better than the going rate.

Fortunately, as we look to grow, we may have a solution for locating future didis.

In a previous post we talked about didi Kamala who is training at Sam's House for three months. She is paid by an organization called Child Welfare Scheme Nepal (CWNS), which provides various programs for assisting uneducated, primarily low-caste young adults. Sam's House provides Kamala's boarding and work place, and Child Welfare pays her salary. It's a great deal for us and Kamala has worked out very well.

Kamala graduated from the Jyoti Rehabilitation program of CWNS. Jyoti educates low-caste children between the ages of 16-20, most of whom are illiterate, giving them the basics in math and reading, and preparing them in one of three vocational tracks: child-care, electrician, or plumbing.

Kamala was in the first graduating class of the child-care program. She asked Dinesh and me to visit Jyoti to see the grounds and meet her teachers. It was really sweet because I think she was rather proud to go back with her "Sir" and show that her training had paid off and she was working.

It was an impressive place, south of Pokhara, looking much like a boarding school. We visited some classrooms. The child-care program was exclusively women but the plumbing and electrician programs had a few women each.

The child-care students are trained in nutrition, First Aid, CPR, cooking and other home economic topics.

The child-care graduates hope to catch on with children's homes in Pokhara or work as nannies in upper class Nepali homes. The electricians and plumbers are hoping to take advantage of all the work demand in the Middle East and Australia.

We hope to continue our relationship with Jyoti. If the future graduates are like Kamala, we'll feel very good about providing the children with caring and diligent didis.

Kamala with her teacher and the school principal.

The child-care students. They will be the second graduating class. I believe that CWNS is only four years old.

CWNS is an international non-profit, like Sam's House. Most of its supporters live in Hong Kong and the UK.

1 comment:

Sheila said...

That seems like a great relationship, so glad to hear it's working out. You guys have really done a great job at finding ways to work well with the community that also benefit Sam's House.