Monday, November 30, 2009

Latest Road Warrior

Special thanks to Jean McDermott who completed the Twin Cities marathon last month for Sam's House. Aided by her partner, the indomitable Peh Ng, who delivered milk (yes milk!) to Jean along the route, they earned enough money to support seven children's tuitions for an entire school year.

Thank you Jean and Peh!

Jean during the race.

Peh delivering milk along the route!

Into the Field

With great excitement I bring you the news that Sam's House will be admitting 3-4 new children in the next month.

The admissions committee met last month to review files in our waiting list and approved four children--3 girls and 1 boy--to join Sam's House once Dinesh had completed the field visits and collected all the proper documentation.

Following the meeting, on consecutive Saturdays, Dinesh and his trustee, Pradip, visited those villages to interview the children's guardians and neighbors about the status of the children. As harsh as it seems, you have to make sure the case is legitimate (fraud happens), and you have to indemnify yourself against people saying you "stole" the child.

In Tilahar (Parbat district), Dinesh met with a family who had three girls: "12 yrs, 4 yrs and 18 months. Each had different fathers, but the same mother. All three fathers had left them and the mother is now living her father with all three children. The 12 year girl goes to school. She is grade 4."

In Rivan (Kaski district, Pokhara's district), Dinesh met a six-year old girl who had been abandoned by both parents. She was living with her grandmother.

The photos below, I believe, are from Tilahar.

The four-year old girl and her 18-month sister.

The 12 and 4 year old girls.

Sisters with their grandfather.

Pradip interviews a neighbor.

Dinesh with the family and others.

In other news, the children are getting into personal savings...

"We recently opened individual bank accounts for all SH children in a local bank. The children had some money from the festivals. This year, they collected 5,700 rupees from deusi/bhailo in Tihar. We divided that money among all the children. Ranjita and Ama, our trustee Dinesh Shrestha and I personally put some money for those children who did not have a minimum amount to open a bank account. Now, all the children have their bank accounts with the minimum balance of 500 rupees, but they will not have access to the money until they are 18 years old. We are thinking of adding some money each year into their accounts."

We often are asked about what will Sam's House children do after Sam's House, what is the transition plan? This is part of it. We have to make sure they learn proper skills for life on their own. This can be a particular challenge in children's homes where they have fewer opportunities to work and certainly less opportunity to manage finances personally. So, little by little, Dinesh and the gang will impart skills that help the children later, after 18, when they go to college or vocational school or a job. Hard to know, but we're already looking forward.

Thank you so much for your continuing support. Each day, every day, your support of Sam's House provides a better opportunity for our children. Thank you, thank you, thank you.