I just visited the Himalayan Education Center in Khandbari, Nepal. It was great to see the girls in their daily lives at the hostel. They all seemed happy and were working very hard in school. Each day they woke early and their time was filled with study, classes, cleaning, harvesting food, grooming their garden, tending the goats, hauling water, and asking if I was hungry. They served me food and tea to the bursting point. The girls seemed healthy but one girl, Susmita, was taken to the local clinic where she was diagnosed with jaundice. After taking a prescribed tonic she seemed to be making a fair recovery. Twelve of the girls were at the hostel but a few were in their villages awaiting results of school exams before hopefully proceeding onward with their education.
Parent’s day took place during my visit and parents from many distant villages attended this annual event. Most of them walked for days to reach Khandbari but all were in good spirits. The parents and girls are from several castes including Rai, Gurung, and Bhotia, and some parents wore their traditional colorful clothing. Two of the girls are orphans so another relative came instead. The day was filled with warmth and thankfulness. Sunita, the hostel manager, and Wang Chhedar, a loyal Nepali volunteer, gave a very professional presentation about the HEC to the parents.
I was fortunate to see first-hand the depth of this program and how much it’s changing the lives of the girls, their families, and their villages. The parents repeatedly expressed their thanks. I told them that it is our pleasure to serve them and thanked them for trusting us, for allowing their daughters to receive the gift of education and a career as a teacher which is an incredibly difficult, if not impossible dream for girls to achieve in these parts of Nepal and many other places. Young women are very valuable for farm work and household labor in their villages so it’s a big sacrifice for parents to let them go. The appreciation for what is happening was flowing in both directions.
I also explained to the parents that I am not Ten Friends alone and that the money from this project comes from hundreds of caring people that believe in what we’re doing together. And what we’re doing is working; at this time nine girls from the HEC are teaching school in that region of Nepal. It was deeply satisfying to see the results of the donations of time and money from so many generous people from so far away. I’m now more optimistic than ever about the HEC. I am looking forward to the bright futures of these girls and many more to come. Thank you for helping to make this project successful. We hope for your continued support. For more information or to make a contribution please see tenfriends.org.
Have a fantastic New Year,