This is the second Rohantime post from Barbara Holl regarding her NGO work in Nepal. We first caught up with Barbara on Rohantime Facebook. Barbara has been involved in creating a new NGO to protect the interests of children resident in a hostel near Sundarijal National Reserve, on the edge of the Kathmandu Valley.
My visits to Nepal have always been multipurpose and active so this last visit was no different. The exception was that I would not be visiting the health centres or hospitals, or volunteering at schools, but concentrating on trying to see people and create a frame work for setting up a new NGO to manage and develop a children’s hostel/village.
The hostel had come into existence through the work by the principal of a school that was created by the diligence and tenacity of visitors from the UK. Rotary International played a big part in raising funds and supporting the work of the principal/founder.
Now the hostel needed additional management skills, sponsorship and development in a country where it is impossible to manage from a distance and where it is imperative that sustainability is foremost in the minds of those involved.
Through my contacts of developed over the many visits, I was able to seek advice and assess the impact of moving from the very personal position taken by the principal to a more eclectic board. The board would have the ability to provide transparent information on the financial position as well develop projects that could be supported from a variety of sources.
Most of the investigations were done in Kathmandu but a visit to Pokhara was imperative and a meeting with CWS Child Welfare Scheme proved helpful on operational matters.
Travel to Pokhara was by tourist bus and we took tiffin and lunch on the way. I say we as I took Arjun Thapaliya, my adopted family father, to act as guide and translator. As we were “spending other people’s money” we took meals in a local shop ordering dal bhat but we also took the opportunity to visit the temple on Lake Fewa. A nationwide strike made us walk to the various locations for the meetings and when we did get ready to leave we were stopped outside Pokhara by demonstrations that held us up for more than 2 hours.
My original plan was to complete the schedule of work in three or four weeks but the strikes (bandh) and lack of diesel, petrol and general foods made this impossible. I was staying with my Nepalese family and so costs were very low as I only bought extra food and something a little extravagant for Christmas Day. I returned to the UK with a sense that the decision to extend the visit brought the desired results.
You may recognise the Global Surf T and the Core T that served me well throughout my visit. I gave away many things but NOT these garments or my Rohan Bags. They will travel with me to Scotland when I will be on Knoydart and the Small isles before going to the western isles again.
Dr. Barbara C Holl PhD, MSc, LLB, C.Eng. Contact Barbara