Category Archives: News

2 new libraries in Nuwakot !

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Namaste

EFL team is glad to deliver books during the monsoon. Two libraries have been set up in Nuwakot at this time. After 8 hrs drive by Jeep from Pokhara, we had reached a nice village of Nuwakot called Bhattagaun. The majority of the people of Tamang ( ethinic group of Nepal) live there.  This is one of district which  was badly affected by mega earthquake-2015. We had reached this place on 19th September. We had got nice welcoming hospitality there.

Shree Tindhare Secondary school was partly damaged by earthquake. They had got help for repairing class rooms from another organization. There are 450 students in school. EFL has been provided books for library. Primary level students have got stationery. They are very happy. They have sent big thank you to all donors and supporters. Teachers and students are very happy. They had only few books for small kids before but now they have books for secondary level and teacher material books too. According to teachers. It will be easy for them to teach students from now.

Shree Bageshwari Primary is small school with 86 students. The school has been received several books. All kids got stationeries item (pencil, eraser, pencil cutter, colors etc). Kids were very much happy to get it. They had celebrated this occasion as a festival.  They showed their stuff to their friend and family with happy face. According to Head teacher of there EFL is the first organization to reach there and distribute books and stationeries in this school.

Best regards Meena Karke

 

A special thank you to our regular library -supporters ! You monthly contribution makes this possible !

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3 schools far west in Nepal and the Promis Project !

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Namaste EFL and Promis Project

Being a woman, I feel fortunate to be able to work in women’s health. This is my third visit to remote villages in the far west of Nepal to distribute sanitary pads to women and girls who are kept out of the house during menstruation. I have been working on Phase 2 of this project alongside EFL and the Promis Project.

 

During their periods, girls and women are compelled to spend their nights in menstrual huts where the floor is soaked in monsoon and freezing during the Winter season. Women are always afraid of snakes and drunks at night.

A small hut is shared by 5/6 girls or more. During one of our workshops, one of the girls said very sharply, that they do not have enough room to stretch their legs- all the class laughed.  The hut is dark and airless. They have to spend 6 nights in there, and on day 7 the girls can go home.

 

When the girls were asked why they need to go into huts during the periods, it is because there is a strong belief amongst the communities that women are impure and God will be angry if they are in the house and touch the things and cattle during the period. They are not allowed to touch anything inside house. They are afraid, they believe bad things will happen if they do not follow or break the rules. Local people believe in God, apart from believing in God, the they have a fear of being isolated from society, of people no longer wanting to talk to them or come to their houses. To stop this from happening the girls are compelled to follow these strict rules during their periods.

Most of the girls said they never talk about menstruation with their mother. They learn by seeing their older sisters, aunt, mother or female friends go through their periods. Even if they have a lesson about periods in their text books, sometimes teachers scrap this part of the lesson. Girls do not feel comfortable to learn about periods in front of the boys. Boys also feel shy and uncomfortable to talk about this subject which is still seen as ‘taboo’.

During their time in the hut, women and girls suffer from diarrhea, suffocation, snake bites and pneumonia. Many girls also have known to die from suffocation and snake bites.

The hut is very small and there is no window. Once the girls close the door, there is no clean air coming into the hut. The hut is quite away from the home so they are not able to keep themselves or the hut clean.

Not all girls can afford hygienic sanitary pads. Using rags and cloths as an alternative to pads is common. If they need sanitary pads, they have to walk very far to get them.

Girls and teachers are very pleased to have re-usable sanitary pads which EFL and the Promis project have provided them. These pads were made in Katmandu “Freedom Kits ” from Beni Handcraft. Teachers added that previously the girls were using piece of clothes as pads but now they will use EFL kits. It looks manageable because there are holders and multi layers in the re-usable pads. They are hygienic and can be kept clean.

The girls, women and teachers are very thankful to EFL and the Promis Project.

Mina

 

EFL would like to send a huge thank you to Promis AS, Promis Qualify AS in Oslo for making this possible. They have provided Freedom Kits for 1000 girls in the remote areas in western Nepal since January 2018.

1000 girls have been educated about menstruation and received a packet that have made their daily life easier. This will hopefully lead to more openness towards women and menstruation. In the long run, we hope this discrimination against girls out of home during their period will end and the tabu will decrease. 

We belive The Freedom Kits are one step closer to an improved life.

 

Meena visited and had lectures in 3 different schools;

Shree Bindeshwori Secondary School
Ramaroshan Rural Municipality 7
Sutar, Achham Nepal​ ;
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Shree Nepal Rastriya Secondary school
Ramaroshan rural Municipality-2
Chapamandu,Achham Nepal;
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Shree Parbarti secondary school.
Mangalesen Municipality -12
Chhapdanda Achham, Nepal ;
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Mission to 7 schools in Baglung district.

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A great library mission has just been completed. 

Borre Secondary school in Horten, Norway collected approx 3300 USD in April and here is the result ; 5 new libraries :) I am VERY grateful for the students and the teacher , Elisabeth Hareide Skjønhaug, who made this possible. A gift from one school to another !

Hilde Haugen from Sandefjord, Norway, has collected funds from friends and it resulted in 2 new libraries! EFL was lucky to have her in Nepal with us, so she joined Meena on this mission.

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She has put words to her experiences and its a joy to read her vivid story. All pictures below are hers;

“Dear Education for life, friends and donors,
You are making a huge difference for the Nepali children! I´m so impressed by the work that Meena, Renuka and Øydis are doing with the help of generous donors. This is my story from their last mission.

As a volunteer I had the pleasure of joining Meena on this week´s mission to remote schools in the Baglung district, in the western part of Nepal. With the Karma Flight jeep filled to the top with books, stationaries and reusable sanitary pads we left Pokhara early Tuesday morning heading for Baglung. For the first time in weeks, the weather was sunny and warm. We picked up Bishnu and another Meena, two local nurses on the way. The roads in Nepal regularly crop up in articles featuring the world’s most dangerous roads; roads that you should think twice about, then thrice more before embarking on. It´s not underrated! They are under-developed, many roads are in poor dilapidated conditions, full of potholes, cracks and crevices. We frequently found ourselves litterally on the sides of half carved out mountains with steep hillsides just centimeters from the jeep´s wheels. Looking down made me sick to my stomach. I actually removed my seatbelt and held my hand on the doorhandle, ready to jump out if we would tip over. And when it comes to road ethics…. Well, let’s just say things are done differently in Nepal. Even so – most of the time I felt safe with our experienced and excellent driver, Yam. Finally, after an eight hours bumpy ride we reached the village Arnakot. From the summit we have a stunning 360 degrees view down each valley. We even get a glimpse of the snowcapped Himalayas. This is the rural Nepal and I get the term remote now. The people living here have to walk at least 2-3 hours to get to the nearest city. It´s a tough life. Parents send their kids to school. Some of them walk for hours to get there. Every day for several years. When they finish primary school, it´s ofte even further to go to get to school and finish their education.

Our first task on this mission, was actually also in co-operation with Nepal Ease. We were to talk about all the tabus around menstruation which still excists in these societies and teach them the true story. We were also to hand out bags with reusable sanitary pads. Around 70 young girls and women waited for us in one of the classrooms in the school. Sitting on the floor. Some already embarrassed. Meena and Bishnu, the two local nurses, spoke about the natural process in the female body and proper hygiene during the menstruation period. Meena showed them how to use the pads and explained how to wash them. It was so interesting to observe the young girls and the different expressions in their faces, which ranged from interest to shock and disbelief. Some giggling. Hiding their faces in their scarves. They had very few questions – until after the presentation. Then they came up to us, individually, shy and curious. It was a completely different group of girls and women who left the school than met us just a few hours earlier.

We stayed the night in Arnakot, sleeping in the attic of the house of a local family. Dinner was served in the dark kitchen, sitting on mats on the floor. Early next morning Yam, Meena and I headed for our next project in an even smaller and more remote village, called Huldi. The mountain air was fresh and crisp and it was still sunny. I was thinking it had to be good karma!

We had to go all the way down the steep, bumpy, narrow road clinging to the mountainside to get to the nearest city, Burtibang before we continued our mission to Huldi. On the way we stopped and unloaded our luggage in our accomodation for the next night and picked up the head teacher of Shree Rasasnand Primary School, who usually walk an hour and a half every day to get to work. We passed a lot of students on the way. Smiling kids. Waving happily. Staring curiously into the jeep. The road became more and more narrow and when it was not possible for the jeep to go any further, we stopped and unloaded all the stuff that was meant for this area. A group of students were watching us, offering to help. They were allowed to carry some of the ligher stuff. Some young men came, strapped the heavy boxes to their back and head and set off up the path in the steep hills. We all followed. I was struggling to keep my balance even in hiking boots. The kids from the age of four or five, run lightfeet up the slippery, muddy path in the steep hillside. Most of them only in sandals. Their school uniforms were dirty and worn-out. Their hair messy and half braded. You could easily tell that this is a very poor area. Many of them are low-cast. Yes, the cast system is still effective – even if it´s officially not!

After approxemately 20 minutes, we arrived Huldi and the Shree Rasasnand Primary School. Being tall, blonde and the first tourist there I suddenly became the center of attention. The students stared at me – and it was difficult to make them smile at first. Little by little they came closer and tried to communicate in Nepali. Body language is universal and always working when other communication fails.

EFL had actually already finished a few projects in this school, which has appx 180 students from pre-school to class 7. They have had their books, stationaries and two new toilets here. This time we only brought a few additional stationaries and money for the bookshelves in the new library, which is to be buildt from donations from EFL. The many boxes of books, posters, games, stationaries were for four other schools in the area. Due to their location and difficulties in accessing them, Meena made a deal with them to come to the Shree Rasasnand school and get their donations there.

And they showed up! So proud, happy and grateful. Shree Janashyog Primary School and Shree Kiteni Primary School came with their headteacher and people from their staff. The Shree Himalaya Primary School representatives brought a horse to help them carry their donations. Finally – the most impressive – The Shree Chhitiz Namuna Primary School were represented by their headteacher and nine of it´s students, around the age of 10. They were to carry everything on their tiny backs and walk for about two hours back to their school. This is nothing but impressive!

Together the schools had prepared a ceremony as we were royals! We were blessed with the traditionally sindoor (vermillion) power, a red mark in our foreheads as symbol of good luck mark of celebration. They put flower bands over our heads. A student had prepared a traditional, graceful dance. All the five head teachers held long speeches thanking us over and over again. Meena and I said a few words, telling them about EFL and trying to inspire them to stay in school. Even if all these five schools are public, The Government doesn´t care. As mentioned these people are very poor and many of them are low cast. So this is about even more than just to be given books and necessary stationaries. It´s also about the feeling that someone actually cares about these people in the truly remote areas. EFL is the only organization that has done that!

It´s hard to leave – especially when the students finally are used to me and would interact. But we have two more stops before we are finished for the day. Balendra Malla, one of the head teachers went with us. We walked down to the jeep. Somehow Yam had managed to turn the jeep around. Our next school had already called Meena several times. They were excited! It took us another half an hour to get to the village Kalnechour and The Shree Janahit Primary school with it´s 140 students. This time it was only a few minutes walk from where the jeep stopped to the school yard. The students were lined up. Patiently waiting. Standing straight and proud. The greeted us with applause. Same procedure with the blessings, the red mark, more flowers and speeches. Mina and I said a few words. The students were so excited by the books! We opened a box and suddenly they were all around us. Everyone wanted to see! We took some pictures before it was time to move on to the village Yangmang, our last stop of the day.

This time either Meena, Yam or Balendra Malla knew our final destination. None of them had been in this area before.The roads – well, it was actually more like wide paths in some parts – were worse than ever! Clock was ticking. The view became more and more stunning. We stopped several times to remove rocks and trees which blocked the roads. Finally there was a rock the size of a small suitcase, not possible to move. That was the end of the road. It took as twice the estimated time to get there. The head teacher from Shree Surya came to meet us together with three teachers from his staff. They were smiling from ear to ear and we could feel the warmth from their hearts.

The climb up to the school was estimated to five minutes. Well, it was more than 15! And I consider myself to be in good shape. In the middle of the steep hillside, a white building was clinging to it. That was the school. In front the around 60 students stood lined up, greeting us Namaste. They were so polite and well behaved. They had been waiting for us the whole day. We were late and the school had finished. Still they were standing so patiently. They were obviously the poorest of all our schools, telling by their clothes and looks. Very few of these student even had a uniform.

The program and procedure were as in the other schools, only this time the head teacher actually held his speech in English. Clouds darkened, we could hear the thunderstorms and see the lightning, so we had to rush to the car to get back down to Devisthan. Unfortunately we had a very stort time to interact with the students in Shree Surya and we didn´t have time to explore the books and stuff with the them. This time they had to do that without us.

It was almost dark when we arrived in the house of Meena´s parents, where we stayed the night. Early next morning we headed back to Pokhara. Another eight hours of bumpy ride and core training. To keep your body straight and not jumping all over the car, takes a lot of strength and exercise, I´ll tell you! I´m so impressed by Meena and her collegues, who have done more than 70 of these trips during the past six years. They truly know how to find the remote schools. Schools that have little or no other support than the one from EFL and you guys!

As a teacher in the Norwegian public school for 25 years, I can hardly imagine teaching without any books or stationaries. Textbooks, notebooks, pencils and pens are basics. Having posters, boardgames, and other concretes will help students to understand easier and make learning more interesting and fun. I´m passionate about education and every child´s right to get one. Education is the key to a better life and maybe the only way especially the children in these remote areas actually have to change their life. These kids also have dreams about becoming doctors, nurses, engineers, pilots or even teachers.  «Education for life» is helping them fullfill their dreams and to change their lives!

Brgds
Hilde Haugen”
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Promis Project Phase 1 2018

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Namaste

Thank you EFL and Promis Qualify, Promis AS for providing me an opportunity to work in the field of Women’s health specially in Far West. As I am also a woman, this project was very close to my heart. It was a very long and tiring journey but unforgettable memories.

I went to 2 schools (Shree Annapurna Secondary School and Shree kalika Secondary School) Total amount of 500 girls received the freedom kits ( sanitary pads, underwear, soap )

Chhaupadi system (the women are kept out of house in 7 days during the menstruation time) is a social tradition of the Far west people in Nepal. The women considered as an impure and deprived in any occasion during their period which is being a burning issue of this area.

Many organizations and even government are trying to remove this system. This could not take an action due to the superstition has been rooted in the mentality of the local people which is being helped to descending women health in far west.

I had given classes about importance of Female health and Menstruation. I taught them how to be sanitizing our body. Many girls were super shy to talking about their periods. Most of them are using piece of clothes. I was surprised to know that most of the girls had never ever seen any kind of menstruation pads. According to them they never talk about even their first periods with their mothers or friends. I was curious how they managed their first period, as my question one of teacher said they know automatically. It made me upset when they said, they do not want to go away from home during periods but it’s their compelled.

Girls have shared their feeling about it is more difficult in monsoon and winter time because it is very cold in winter and they have to sleep on floor and there is not enough warm clothes provided. In monsoon, it’s too much rain, sometime our clothes are not dry and we have sleepless nights. They have to stay away at least 7 days from home during periods. They are not allowed to walk front of houses and not even touch the wall of houses.

When I asked about their menstruation huts (A shed where women go to stay while in period time), most of them said the hut is a very small place where they cannot stretch their body properly which they have to share with 4 or 5 girls during the periods. Every girl thinks period is dirty and bad for them, because they have to spend 7 days every month in hut.

According to female teachers, if they talk about their time, it was worse. It’s still not good but we can see changes. They do not think it will be completely removed from community but hoping women will stay in better way in coming days.

I think from my view, it will take quite long time to bring change but it will be changed of course sooner or later.

Although the circumstances are remained, the girls are really happy to get reusable pads. I hope their mentality will be changed through hygiene class and distribution program. They are thankful to all of you who made this possible.

Thank you

Mina

 

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2 new libraries Shree Aadharbhut Primary School and Shree Putha Himalaya Secondary School

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Meena has been out with books to 2 new schools in western Nepal.

Magar community received the books….

We are glad to announce that two libraries have been set up in west Nepal which is most far and very remote area. This is the most difficult journey and urban area as far as we have reach until yet. It took for us completely 3 days by jeep and 7 hours hike to get there. Moist was originally born in this area in Nepal. They had started their revolution from here ( Rukum) in War time.  During the emergency period of Nepal, they had to face lots of problem from moist and armies.

We can imagine that how remote is this place to know People have to walk 2 days distance to carry their essential things to run their livelihood. Life is very hard there. The Major problem seems in schools that students deprive from the basic education due to economic difficulties in their families. Both schools never get any kind of books from any organizations. This was their first time to receive the books. They are more than grateful to get the precious present form Education For Life. The tears and smiles show the happiness of Teachers and Students. We have got the warm welcome from them.  I am very much privilege to go there and get the experience of the place. I am very much proud of being the part of EFL to providing me such an opportunity to make impossible is possible.

Both libraries are funded from our christmas sale in Norway and from our library friends.

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THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT !

 

First library in 2018

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Renuka and Meena have delivered the first library this year at Shree Janaklyan Basic School, Machhapuchhre Rural municipality, kaski.

The school have 76 students and we also delivered book cases.

EFL sold handcrafts from Nepal before xmas- and now we see the funds go back to Nepal again :)

 

Thank you to everyone who made this possible !

 

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Good news for EFL

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Heidi and Øydis have visited Promis in Oslo and talked about last years projects funded by them. We also received another 140 000,- NOK ( approx 17 000USD) to spend on new project in Western Nepal.

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Chhaupadi, the practice of banishing Hindi women during their period.  The tradition was outlawed by the Supreme Court of Nepal in 2015, but is still practised in remote areas. The girls stay in a mud hut or shed, known as “goths” for 5-7 days and are untouchable during these periods. This has huge impact on girls health, social life and education. For the next 12 months EFL will work on projects in Western Nepal, educating the girls and their villages on this topic as well as providing library books for schools in the same region.

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The project will be funded by PROMIS in Norway ! We are so grateful for this contribution. Thank you ;

PROMIS ( www.promis.no) and Promis Qualify AS ( www.promis-qualify.no)

Christmas market in Bærum

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This weekend we participated at  a Christmas market hosted by Bærum Husflidsforening! Lots of people and great sales both days. Our Nepali handmade products were a huge success. Thank you to Bærum Husflidsforening for inviting us!

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Last books delivery from The Promis Project.

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Meena has been out delivering books to Shree Bhuji Mahabir Basic school, Adhikari chour Baglung.

Meena has handed over the books to some teachers who have carried the books to the school.

This is the last funds from The Promis Project.

 

Thank you so much for your enormous contribution this year !

 

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