Saturday, September 21, 2013

Nepali Board

As you likely know Sam's House is actually a partnership with a Nepali NGO called Kopila Bal Griha.  We have our board of trustees and oversee the fundraising for Kopila; the Kopila board does all the planning for the house and the children, and by contributing in other remarkable, sundry ways (as you'll see below).

The Kopila board meets regularly throughout the year, in addition to subcommitee meetings on house issues, children's education, and child admission.

A couple weeks ago they held their annual meeting at which, by law, they must review the year's accomplishments and start planning for the year ahead.  Like our trustees, the Kopila board serve as volunteers, so the annual meeting is held in a restaurant as a very small token of appreciation for their remarkable contributions.

Secretary Pradip Regmi reads the annual report. 

Dinesh suggests a possible local fundraising ideas for the house.  Board chair Maj. Chandra Bahadur Pun listens intently.

But the board members do not merely serve in a meeting capacity. Trustee Yamuna Buddhacharya traveled with Eka Dev and Ramila to eastern Nepal where they met two young girls whose parents had recently perished in a boat accident on the Koshi River.  This was a three day trip one way with travel over some very difficult terrain.  Both girls are now living happily at Sam's House.

Eka Dev, Ramila, and Yamuna pose with village officials and neighbors who serve as witnesses when the children are placed in our care.

Ramila and Yamuna help Anita across the river.

Monday, September 16, 2013

First Term School Results

Typically I feel it's a little tacky to boast on children's academic accomplishments, but we can always make an exception for Sam's House.

The SH gang recently took their first term exams (Nepali school year starts in April) and the results have come back.  Because of their hard work, your support, and Shiva's excellent and forbearing tutelage, all the children did very well, placing in the top 10 of their classes with few exceptions. Of special note:

Amrit (1st) class seven
Sabita (3rd) class seven
Bishal (4th) class five
Dipa (1st) class four
Sharmila (2nd) class four
Pratima (3rd) class four
- Sam's House, apparently, rules class four
Bibek (2nd) class two
Parwati (2nd) class one

The children continue to recognize the importance of their education and express their determination to do well.  I was talking to Sarita about her class rank for the last quarter.  I asked where she placed.
"That's great," I told her.
"Not for me."

Of course these are just numbers and ranks and pale indicators of what is really much more important... the opportunity to learn that you (our dear supporters) have provided to these children.  Thank you.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Sam's House Birthday

A few days back Sam's House celebrated its seventh birthday.  This is a combination birthday for the house all the children's birthdays, as we discovered that celebrating every birthday individually was getting costly above 20 kids (however, we do celebrate the children's actual birthdays).

Anyhow, this birthday was extra special on one meaningful count: Joyce Rothchild, Sam's daughter, was in attendance, the first of her siblings to visit the house.

I'll let the pictures below tell the story, but I have to add one detail.  About 15 minutes after the program began (welcomes, speeches, dances by the children), the skies opened up.  Rain poured and poured and poured.  The tent held up for a while but it was no match.  Somewhere after cutting the cake and distributing the gifts, we had no choice but to retreat into the house--all 70-plus: children, board members, didis, and invited guests.  We scattered to different floors in the house and ate in shifts.  It was one of those fun moments that will make this party distinctive from all the others to follow.

The tent set up on the playground.  We would set up 70 chairs in here.

 Tara, Asuna and Ramila making papad.

Sangita mixing a potato dish -- aloo chomeki (sp?)

 Mamata braiding Samjhana's hair before the party.

 Shiva (there's nothing he cannot do) and Dhiraj rigging the sound system for the event.

Sharmila, Chija, Dipa and Ritika relaxing up in the "parlor."  About an hour before the event, all the girls sat on this porch together, fixing hair and putting makeup on each other.

Mina and Samjhana
Babit and Dhiraj lead the gang in a welcoming song.

 Joyce Rothchild addresses the gathering.

 Nepali board chairman, retired Maj. Chandra Bahadur Pun makes a speech. He served 44 years as a Gorkha soldier and yet was never educated.  He encouraged the children to make the most of their education.

 The cake, of course.

Joyce hands a present to Ambika.

 Durga and Ganga modelling their birthday presents... new shoes.

Shoes were the big present this year... Mamata, Maya and Sarita.