Wir suchen Paten
Diese Kinder und Jugendlichen der Prabina Stiftung haben noch keine Paten
Manoj Kumar Rajbhandari
Geschätzte Pateneltern, Geschätzte Spender, Gönner und Freunde der Prabina Stiftung,
Gerne möchte ich mich Ihnen vorstellen, mein Name ist Andrea Heinemann. Ab dem 1. August 2020 hat es einen Wechsel im Management Team Schweiz der Prabina Stiftung gegeben und ich schätze mich sehr glücklich, in der Rolle der neuen Geschäftsführung meinen Beitrag für die wundervolle Arbeit der Prabina Stiftung leisten zu dürfen. Selbst Patin von einem jungen Menschen, der im Prabina Haus Sicherheit, Bildung, Zuwendung und ein geordnetes Leben erfahren darf, verfolge ich bereits seit vielen Jahren das grossartige Wirken der Stiftung in Nepal und übernehme mit vollster Überzeugung und grosser Freude meine neue Aufgabe.
Besonders herzlich danken möchte ich im Namen der gesamten Prabina-Familie an dieser Stelle Renée S. Hernández Rutz, die in den vergangenen Jahren mit ganzem Herzen und viel Leidenschaft gemeinsam mit ihrem Team die Geschäfte der Prabina Stiftung geführt hat. Sie wird uns erfreulicherweise mit ihrem Wirken erhalten bleiben und die Prabina Stiftung weiterhin hinter den Kulissen unterstützen. Herzlichen Dank hierfür! Auch möchte ich Stefanie Lacher sowie Nick James für ihre wertvolle geleistete Arbeit danken und ihnen alles Gute für die Zukunft wünschen. In der Administration werde ich neu von zwei wunderbaren und kompetenten Damen unterstützt, Catia Henke und Monika Bylang. Weiterhin im Team sind unser geschätzter Willi Lüönd (Buchhaltung) sowie unser geschätzter Juan Ruiz (Grafik Design) und hinter den Kulissen wirkt ebenfalls weiterhin unser geschätzter Georges Spörri im Bereich des EDV-Supports. Gemeinsam haben wir die Geschäfte in einem geschmeidigen Übergang übernommen und uns das Ziel gesetzt, Ihnen auch in Zukunft kompetent und unkompliziert in Ihren Fragen und Belangen zur Verfügung zu stehen.
Diese Gelegenheit soll auch genutzt sein, um Sie über die aktuelle Situation unter Covid-19 in Nepal, insbesondere Kathmandu und im Prabina Haus zu informieren.
Der 1. in Kathmandu verhängte Lockdown vom Frühjahr diesen Jahres wurde Mitte Juni wieder aufgehoben, die Arbeitstätigkeiten in Nepal durften wieder aufgenommen werden. Glücklicherweise haben ausnahmslos alle unsere Kinder, die wir auf Geheiss der Regierung während des Lockdowns zu ihren Familien schicken mussten, diese 1. grosse Welle unbeschadet und ohne Infektion überstanden. Alle Kinder sind derweil ins Prabina-Haus zurückgekehrt und vor dem Wiedereinzug auf Covid-19 getestet worden, bis zum Testergebnis jeweils unter Quarantäne gestellt worden.
Sämtliche Tests sind negativ ausgefallen, alle Kinder sind gesund und wohlauf und quicklebendig. Unsere Sozialarbeiterinnen, Betreuerinnen und Psychologen vor Ort leisten ganze Arbeit und bieten den Kindern während dieser ausserordentlichen Zeit viele abwechslungsreiche Aktivitäten, wie Spezialkurse zur Förderung ihrer persönlichen Fähigkeiten, Basketball- und Federball im geschützten Innenhof, Computerkurse, psychologische Betreuung etc. Der Unterricht findet in kleinen Gruppen, gestaffelt nach Altersgruppen als online-Unterricht im Prabina Haus statt. Aufgrund erneut steigender Fallzahlen von bestätigten Covid-19 Infektionen im Kathmandu-Tal wurde am 20. August seitens Regierung erneut eine Ausgangssperre verhängt, diese wurde ab dem 10. September sukzessive wieder gelockert, um unter strengen Schutzmassnahmen die für die Bevölkerung überlebenswichtigen Arbeitstätigkeiten wieder aufnehmen zu können. Die allgemeine Situation in Nepal ist sehr ernst und angespannt. Wir schätzen uns jedoch sehr glücklich, dass es unseren Kindern im geschützten Rahmen der Obhut unseres Teams vor Ort sehr gut geht.
Für eine ausreichende Versorgung von Nahrung, medizinischen Gütern, Masken, Handschuhen, Desinfektionsmitteln mit Vorrat von 2 Monaten ist stets gesorgt – dank des unermüdlichen und stets bedachten Einsatzes unseres grossartigen Teams vor Ort in Nepal, unter der Leitung von unserem geschätzten Prashant Shrestha. Auch hier möchte ich ein riesiges Dankeschön aussprechen!
Dies alles ist einzig und alleine möglich aufgrund IHRER Unterstützung, geschätzte Pateneltern, Spender, Gönner und Freunde! Mein aufrichtiger Dank an Sie alle! Wir hoffen, auch in Zukunft weiterhin auf Ihre Unterstützung zählen zu dürfen.
Im Namen unseres Präsidenten Josef Meier und unserer Stiftungsräte wünsche ich Ihnen weiterhin alles Gute in dieser besonderen Zeit, die unsere Welt in Atem hält. Bleiben Sie gesund und tragen Sie sich und Ihren Liebsten Sorge.
Ein herzliches Namaste,
Das Wort des Präsidenten
liebe Freunde der Prabina-Stiftung,
liebe Leserinnen und Leser,
COVID-19 hält die ganze Welt in Atem, sie macht leider auch nicht vor Nepal Halt! Das letzte
mal musste ich Ihnen berichten, dass wegen der Pandemie die Kinder unser Heim verlassen und zurück zu Verwandten und den Vormunden mussten. Wir haben an die Familien Essensgeld verteilt, damit sie in dieser schwierigen Zeit überleben konnten.
Nachdem der Lockdown aufgehoben wurde, sind unsere Kinder ins Prabina-Haus zurückgekehrt. Wir haben bei Allen Gesundheitstests durchgeführt, niemand wurde infiziert. Aber kaum zurück, hat die Regierung erneut einen Lockdown angeordnet. Die Kinder durften aber im Prabina-Haus bleiben. Alle Schulen sind geschlossen, die Kinder werden über Fernunterricht ausgebildet. Eine wirklich schwierige Zeit und eine grosse Herausforderung für unsere Mitarbeiter in Kathmandu.
In der Schweiz hat ein Stabwechsel in der Geschäftsleitung der Prabina-Stiftung stattgefunden. Renée S. Hernandez Rutz hat die Verantwortung an Andrea Heinemann übergeben. Andrea hat sich Ihnen mit separatem Schreiben bereits vorgestellt. Ich möchte es an dieser Stelle nicht unterlassen, Renée für ihre langjährige, umsichtige Führung der Stiftung zu danken. Sie hat mit viel Herzblut die Stiftung vorwärts gebracht.
Andrea und ihrem Team wünsche ich viel Erfolg und Befriedigung in ihrer neuen Aufgabe. Sie steht in engem Kontakt mit unserem Geschäftsführer in Kathmandu, Prashant Shresta, und wird mit viel Schwung und Elan die Arbeit von Renée fortsetzen.
Ihnen, meine sehr geehrten Damen und Herren, danke ich für Ihr Vertrauen, welches Sie der Stiftung entgegen bringen. Wir geben unser Bestes, unseren Kindern in Kathmandu zu helfen.
Bleiben Sie gesund,
Vor genau 40 Jahren haben die Gründer Bernhard und Ruth Rutz die ersten Kinder in Nepal zu unterstützen begonnen und damit ein kleines grosses Werk hinterlassen, das viele Leben geprägt und für immer positiv verändert hat!
Ich bin unglaublich dankbar, dass ich dazu einen kleinen Beitrag leisten konnte, indem ich die Stiftung in den letzten paar Jahren begleitet und das Werk somit weiterführen durfte. Speziell in diesem Jahr konnten wir gemeinsam mit Prashant die Hilfeleistung in der COVID-Krise gewährleisten, was unsererseits dank der aktiven und starken Zusammenarbeit mit dem Präsidenten Josef Meier und den Teammitgliedern der Prabina Stiftung Schweiz möglich war. Diese Fähigkeiten und die Resilienz der Stiftung stimmen mich sehr positiv für die Zukunft, weil es mir zeigt, dass noch mehr möglich ist.
Ich bin der Überzeugung, dass die Stiftung mit Andrea Heinemann eine entsprechende Führung bekommen hat, um nun ihre nächste Phase der Entwicklung zu beginnen.
Mein grösster Dank geht selbstverständlich an Sie, liebe Patinnen und Paten, liebe Spender, liebe Freunde der Stiftung – Danke für Ihr Vertrauen und für Ihr Mitgefühl für die Kinder und Jugendlichen in Nepal.
Renée S. Hernández Rutz
COVID’s Impact on Prabina Education
Life is all about living by choices. The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed our lives. People are traumatized physically, socially, economically and psychologically. They are living a life based on fear and uncertainty.
COVID-19 numbers are increasing day by day. In Nepal, Kathmandu city is number 1 with regard to COVID-19 cases. As of WHO reports “People have to learn to live with it. It is going to stay longer and severe”. Therefore, it has become a part of our life.
We believe that education is the basis of national development and students are its pillar. So the question is how do we educate Prabina children during this kind of crisis that is here to stay? This problem is complex and profound in a country like Nepal.
Academic institutions have been closed for months, leaving students restless. The impact is painful, especially for children living with families in villages and remote areas. Our social workers are communicating regularly to stay connected with those children and be informed about them.
Prabina Foundation is committed to enabling quality education to its children. We have worked hard to create good opportunities for our children through good schools, colleges and vocational trainings for the transformation of their lives. Many have already proved to be changemakers themselves – carrying the legacy of Prabina Foundation forward.
Now, online education from elementary to college has to be digital. I feel sorry for my 7-year-old daughter being glued to the screen for online study. Prabina children living in Prabina House are lucky to acquire online study at our own Prabina Internet Café where the supervisor and social workers help them with their online learnings. Of course we ensure that children living with their families outside the Prabina House get financial support from us to afford internet at home through their mobile phones, so that they can enable their children’s studies online, wherever possible.
The children who live with their families in villages are not as as privileged as Prabina children. According to recent research, 57% of people have no access to the internet. I feel sad for those children who have no access to online classes or other alternatives. I wonder how these children will cope with their education after school reopening.
Online education is good for audio-visual learners, however, children complain that they are struggling to stay focused for long hours. They miss the physical class environment of schools but they have to make the digital study work for them, there is no choice.
Besides online classes, the children are engaged in different activities like exercise, skill training and craftsmanship. Dashain, the biggest festival is coming up. They say that they miss festive enjoyment, meeting all Prabina children and enjoying delicious food together. Although we all do, needless to say that, they are learning pandemic safety measures and following it strictly.
Nevertheless the struggles and concerns, I am hopeful that the runnig online education facility will have a positive impact when schools re-open. The pandemic has to phase away sooner or later making everyone able to live a normal life – students and all of us.
Prashant Shrestha Coordinator Prabina Foundation Nepal
Vote of Thanks
I feel blessed to present a vote of thanks to Prabina Foundation for providing me this great opportunity to assist in this 22nd edition of Prabina Family newsletter. This edition encompasses new members in Prabina family, various recreational activities during COVID-19 lockdown in Nepal, additional skills sessions, group activities and their first ever online experiences in the pandemic.
Representing all the students of Prabina Foundation, I appreciate all the godparents and staff for their love, unlimited support and dedication for us. We all feel encouraged and entitled to be a part of Prabina family. I hope everyone of you would like to read this edition with enthusiasm.
Diploma in Pharmacy (3rd year)
22. Edition (November 2020)
Mohan Kumari Shrestha
Renée S. Hernández Rutz
Anmerkung zum Inhalt unseres Newsletters
Alle Inhalte werden von unseren Prabina Jugendlichen verfasst. Ihre Beiträge – ihre Stimmen – repräsentieren die Essenz dessen, wofür unsere Stiftung steht. Um ihre Authentizität zu bewahren, belassen wir – die Geschäftsleitung – die Inhalte der Jugendlichen vollends im Original, editieren nichts und korrigieren auch keine Grammatik. Die Autorin oder der Autor des jeweiligen Artikels ist mit Namen und Foto vermerkt.
Please welcome our new intakes!
Music ClassPrabina children interested in music are learning to play guitar and practice music once a week. The music session is facilitated by a Prabina staff. They are learning basic guitar chords, knowledge on guitar handling, working on scale along with lyrics.
Basketball is a game which needs a lot of strength and stamina. It improves balance and coordination, burns calories and makes a person fit. A basketball pole with basket was installed in Prabina House ground so that children can play basketball and make themselves refreshed. The coach, Bikash Bote, a former Prabina student, is training the skills such as dribbling, shooting, running and jumping. Besides, children also play batminton in the evenings.
Support through food deliveryDuring the difficult phase of lockdown, families were without any work. From continuous updates, we noticed that some of our children were facing scarcity of food. Understanding the situation, 3 meals a day food delivery was provided to the vulnerable families of Prabina children for almost 2 months.
Getting fit every growing day
Following a fitness routine is a crucial part of exercise to make our body fit and strong. Prabina boys are getting trained by a fitness trainer every day in Prabina House. They are stretching their bodies, working out, learning to use dumbbells following proper postures. They are working on enhancing body muscles that focuses on different parts of the body. The children are learning with a message that body building is not easy, for it all needs body endurance and hard work.
Shopping airy clothes
July, 2020: In the scorching hot weather, Prabina children were provided with light airy clothes.
The girls got to choose from bright colored clothes whereas, the boys choose pure cotton made in Nepal shirts and shorts.
Nepal faced almost 3 months of lockdown to control the spread of Corona virus. Prabina staff constantly communicated with our children to get their updates and visited them after the lockdown. Few families of Prabina children who were facing post-pandemic impact were supported with food and other essentials.
01 July, 2020: Dhana Kumari Magar, one of our Prabina student, lived in Prabina House since April 2013. She passed grade 10, with 3.80 G.P. A and was re-integrated with her family after 7 years on 1 July 2020. She expresses her hearty connection with Prabina family as:
“Being a Prabina child is such a blessing. Getting an opportunity to live in Prabina House, receiving education and the discipline was never expected for a child like me who belongs to a poor family. I would have not been able to see again if Prabina Foundation was not there. I lived 7 years in Prabina House where I learned various life skills and earned the best memories of my life. Now, I share the knowledge in guiding my siblings. Thank you all Prabina family for uncountable love, support and care.”
03 July 2020: Debaki Gautam went to her village in Rautahat District before lockdown in Nepal. Due to strict lockdown rules in Nepal, she could not return to Prabina House. She was re-integrated with her family on 3rd July and is admitted to Moonlight Secondary School in grade 3. Debaki Gautam who entered Prabina House on 8th December 2017 expresses her happiness living in Prabina House for the past three years.
“My early schooling started in Prabina House and now, I am able to read and write properly. Being a Prabina student made it possible for me to share my happy moments today. This is all from the support from Prabina Foundation.”
Nepali New Year 2077 B.S.
14 April 2020: New year is the beginning of a particular year and its celebration is believing that joy on the first day brings happiness throughout the whole year. Nepali new year is celebrated on 1st day of Nepali calendar which is 1st of Baishakh month in Nepal. This year, Nepali new year was on 14 April, 2020. Every year in Prabina House we celebrate new year with happiness and hope that everything will be smooth in our upcoming days. We started our day by wishing “Naya Barsha ko Subhakamana” which means “Happy New Year” in Nepali language to all Prabina House members. We used to visit nearby temple but this year we prayed to God and thanked for everything by staying indoors. We put tika, received sweets and blessings from Prabina staff. We cooked lunch together. We watched a motivational movie and played various indoor games. Lastly, our day ended by eating especial food known as puri (deep fried round flour bread) and tarkari (pulse soup). With respect to such a chaos situation, new year 2077 B.S was celebrated with positivity.
25 July 2020: Nepal holds a wide range of unique festivals. Nepalese celebrate them all with great religious belief. It is an astonishing fact that people in Nepal worship the serpent “Naag” (snakes) as God, on a specific day named as Naag Panchami. The day falls on the fifth day of the bright fortnight of Shravan (July) every year. On this day, Hindus worship snake by pouring milk on the clay statue of the snake God and people stick picture of the snake God on the main entrance door of their house with cow dung (gobar). According to holy scriptures, there are 12 naag deities, but only eight of them are worshipped in this festival. They are Ananta, Vasuki, Padma, Mahapadma, Takshak, Kulir, Karkotak and Shankha. It is religiously believed that worshipping the serpent God will protect people from poisonous snake/ scorpions bites, as well as other calamities such as fire, storms, and lightning. It is also considered a taboo digging grounds on this auspicious day as it will harm the snakes living underground. Every year in Prabina House, we worship this day by sticking a picture of snake on the main door with cow dung along with a coin and also performing a puja. In the evening, all the children gathered together to share about ‘Naag Panchami’.
03 August 2020: Festival is a part of happiness and joy. On behalf of religious beliefs like God’s birthday, victory over evil, for the well-being of family various festivals are celebrated. Festival is also a time for family gatherings and expressing each other’s feelings. Among other festivals, Janai Purnima is one of the sacred Hindu festivals celebrated on the month of July/ August. On this day, Hindu men belonging to Brahmin and Chhetri castes change the sacred thread also known as Janai (a cotton string) which is worn diagonally from the left shoulder to the right waist after a ritual named Bratabanda. We have been celebrating Janai Purnima every year by putting the sacred thread on our wrists. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic we could not celebrate it. To mark the day, we ate the must have food known as kwati (soup made out of different types of beans) and curry. We had a sharing session about the importance of this festival especially to our juniors. We had a lot of fun by singing and dancing.
Grade 11 (Management)
A month of fasting and celebration
17 August- 16 September 2020: Shravan, the fourth month in the Nepali Hindu calendar is a month specifically dedicated for Hindu women. On the first day of Shravan, the sun begins to move Southwards and is called Shravan Sankranti. Interested Hindu women involve themselves in various events such as designing mehendi (temporary henna tattoo) on their hands and feet, celebrating Teej, Rishi Panchami and fasting on each Mondays on the month of Shravan. Mehendi can be applied in numerous attractive designs which sustains for one to two weeks. The pleasant herb smell of ‘mehandi’ made all the girls exicted to apply it on their hands. Undoubtedly, all the designs looked attractive and beautiful. Applying mehendi examines our patience level because it takes minimum of 30 minutes to dry up. Teej, also another festival which falls in this month, is an important festival widely and strongly celebrated by Hindu women. This festival celebrates the union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. On this day, interested women keep fasting without drinking a single drop of water for their spouse. Similarly, ‘Rishi Panchami’ is worshipping of seven traditional sages by fasting on the same month.
Baal Diwas- National Children’s Day
14 September 2020: Children are the future of nation. Children of today will make a country tomorrow. Children’s day is celebrated in order to honor children and to enjoy their rights and freedom all over the world. This is a day to celebrate and to highlight the need to protect the children’s welfare and to give them opportunities to grow happy and safe. Every country celebrates children’s day on different dates. Originally, the concept of children’s day celebration also known as ‘Baal Diwas’ in Nepal was marked on 19th August from 1972 to 2008 A.D, coinciding with birthday anniversary of Queen Ratna Rajya Laxmi. The queen was a social worker who adored children by all her heart. She used to enjoy company of children and loved them. Later on, after the declaration of Nepal as a republic country, children’s day was celebrated on 14th September in Nepal. On this day, 30 students, 7 staff and Ms. Mamta Gurung- facilitator, gathered in the hall which was decorated with the “Happy Children’s Day” slogan. This made us feel special. Firstly, Prabina staff shared about the history behind the celebration of this day and its importance which made me able to write this article.
Then, we re-called the memories of the additional recreational sessions conducted during COVID-19 lockdown by Ms. Mamta Gurung. After the short memory lane, all the children received gifts.
We also had talent show where we, Prabina children, performed dance, singing, rapping and beatboxing. This program has motivated us to do better and great things in our future for our self and our country. I feel privileged for being able to celebrate this day because a lot of children are still unaware about this day and their rights. I hope to celebrate every children’s day in Prabina House.
Activities in Prabina House during pandemic
As COVID-19 threat was spreading across all the countries, Nepal also decided for country-wide lockdown. Respective legal guardians took their children with them before (24 March 2020) lockdown. 13 (6 girls and 7 boys) children stayed in Prabina House. Since educational institutions were closed during lockdown, it was seen for the need of exposure and personal development. Prabina Foundation has been organizing refreshment sessions to boost the moral of our children since 06 June and is continuing. Every week, the sessions has been facilitated by Ms. Mamata Gurung (a skill development facilitator and primary coordinator of a renowned school). The sessions are conducted either online or in Prabina House.
Know about your community
Children were asked to make a map of Nepal illustrating 77 districts. They worked in groups to paste their photos on top of their birth place with a thread. This activity helped the children to connect them with their place of origin so that they do not forget their respective villages. Similarly, the children were asked to search multiple sized round materials in order to make circles out of papers. This activity was about letting children know about their current location mentioning about their address, street, ward number, district, zone and country.
“Trust” was the topic of this workshop. All the children were divided into a group of two where four groups competed with each other at a time. They played a game where one child’s eyes were covered by a cloth, who had to walk with the help of their partner’s verbal guidance, avoiding obstacles that came in between the way. This refreshing game taught the children that with a trustworthy guidance, they can accomplish their goals. The children were also able to realize that blind people face difficulties in the society and their everyday life; hence should be helped anytime.
Biography is basically written about someone whose life is an inspiration. To improve Prabina children’s writing skill, biography about each other among all the children was written. The children prepared open questionnaires accompanied by an interview. They wrote all the information they wanted to collect from the interviewee. This session helped them strengthen their inter-personal communication skill as well.
Expressing through own perceptions
Debate characterizes a fearless formal discussion on a particular matter in any public event. This was essential for our Prabina children to express their voice. With a topic “Should schools be opened during lockdown or not?” all the children had to express their opinions. Initially, most of the children got nervous and conscious of what they should and should not speak. As the debate continued, the children settled down in their comfort zone. The debate session turned out to be informative, gain in confidence and public speaking.
Concept of entrepreneurship and envelope making
All the children were taught to make an envelope for various purposes like posting a letter or to put cash. The children followed guidance from the facilitator and made individual envelopes using only three materials which were paper, glue and scissor. The session was concluded with the orientation of entrepreneurship and its importance in people’s life for setting up a business and make profit.
Emcee and formal hosting
As the children were acquiring confidence in sharing their perspectives and ideas, an emcee session was conducted. All the children were given chance to host an event on any topic of their choice. This session was an ability test; therefore, in the next emcee session children were provided a formal event hosting format. They learnt emceeing techniques like eye contact, body posture, cheerful gesture and so on to be able to present them as a host during an event.
Commenced with 13 Prabina children, the number of children is moderately increasing as they returned from their villages after testing negative for COVID-19. Currently, all 36 (20 girls and 16 boys) Prabina House children are attending the weekly additional skill session for around two hours. The children seem focused during the sessions and are learning to enhance their potentiality which is needed for their secured future.
Health signifies physical, mental and social well-being of an individual. In Prabina, we are concerned about the need for our childrens’ physical, psychological, social health and comfort to move forward with a positive and healthy mindset as they grow.
Experience of PCR Test
When COVID-19 hit the world, the children had already attempted their annual examination and were having a vacation. Nepal announced country wide lockdown from March 24. As per the goverment’s directives, children from Prabina House were sent to their relatives/ guardians. There was almost 3 months of lockdown. For the safety reasons, the children could return to Prabina House undertaking a COVID-19 PCR test. 17 children undertook PCR tests and returned Prabina House with negative results.
08 June, 2020: Suman Puri was taken for his annual eye checkup. Fortunately, his vision powers are still constant but he had to get his glasses changed. He was prescribed a lubricating eye drop to keep his eyes moist in order to avoid future irritation and dryness.
Secondary Education Examination completed.
Rudra Bahadur Bhandari GPA 3.60
Hutaraj Basnet GPA 3.75
Niraj Budathoki GPA 3.50
Dhana Kumari Magar GPA 3.80
Journey of Life
Rojina KhadkaVocational Training (Beautician)
“Life is a blessing that continues with joy and pain too”
I was born on February 16, 2000 in one of the least developed hilly district of Nepal – Sindhupalchowk. Due to existence of unfertile soil, landslides often occur during monsoon season. One rainy day, while my mother was returning back after cutting grass, she got carried away and buried by the landslide. Unfortunately, when the villagers pulled her out, she was already dead. My father married another woman. He left me to live with my grandparents in such a young age. I was never fortunate to receive my father’s love. I still remember when I was an obstinate, 3 years old child, saying that I want to meet my father and eat noodles with him. We, a family of 3 (grandfather, grandmother and me) were living together in our old village house. All I had was my grandparent’s love towards me. Slowly, my grandfather started drinking unconsciously and used to beat my grandmother. Encountering this violence in my growing phase affected me a lot. I was sad to see other children in my village who were busy going to schools and staying with their families.
My aging grandparents selflessly took my responsibility. Both of them were engaged in agriculture with insufficient production. Hence for a better life, they brought me to Kathmandu when I was 5 years old. We lived in a squatter area temporarily near the river. In summer, my grandparents worked in sand mines near the river and in winter, my grandmother would work as a dishwasher in different houses. Since, I was not admitted to any school, I would go with them to help. My grandfather gave continuity to his drinking but moderately stopped beating my grandmother. In every prayer, I thank God for immense love by my grandparents who showered my childhood with parental love.
It was already late for me to start schooling. My grandparents were daily wage laborers but were ready to work hard to provide me a good education. They enrolled me in the school without a second thought. I was excited to make new friends and learn new things in school. I would cry every weekend because the school would be closed.
My Prabina entry
I was an average student growing into a young girl and my grandparents were turning old that they could not work much. Due to lack of money, they could not pay school fees as a result I was unable to attend my exams. One day, while in school, two ladies came to meet me. They asked me few questions which I answered politely. Later, I came to know that they were from Prabina Foundation working to provide education for underprivileged children. On April 2010, Prabina Foundation accepted me to be a part of their family. I was admitted to a new boarding school and resided in the school’s hostel. In the beginning, I used to cry everyday missing my grandparents. Gradually, I settled down and became friends with other Prabina children in the hostel. I feel fortunate enough that I could finish my schooling with the support from Prabina Foundation.
Unanticipated turn in life
After grade 10, my father came to not only visit but wanted me to stay with him and his second wife. It was unexpected but I was happy to reunite with him and forgive him for leaving me. They did not have any children, so my stepmother loved me like her own daughter.
I have no words to praise my Godparents, Elizabeth and Peter Wagner who have been loving me since I was a part of Prabina Foundation. It is unbelievable how two people from different country supported me when my own blood refused to take my responsibility. No matter how many times I thank them, it will not be enough. Without them, I would neither be capable nor confident as I am today.
Struggles of COVID-19
Thinking 2020 would be a great year, but positive cases of the virus were rising rapidly. Due to lockdown, my father and step mother were out of job. We were panicking to pay rent and also feed ourselves. At that difficult situation, me and my family were financially supported by Prabina Foundation which was indeed a spellbound effort.
My future plan
Currently, I am receiving beautician training. I have a mindset to train underprivileged individuals by providing them life skills. This will help them to be confident and capable enough to stand strong in their lives. I would like to support my grandparents as they have nurtured me like their own daughter.
Basanta KhadkaBachelor in Computer Science and Information Technology
“Every individual is capable – we just need to understand the own self and have faith not believing in fate.”
I was born in Pyuthan District (Mid-West Nepal) in a remote village. We were a family of 6; my parents, one elder sister (Kumari) and two younger sisters (Kamala and Rita) living together happily. One day, my mother’s relative brother stabbed my mother with a sickle. It was precisely a cruel murder whose reason is still unknown. My 3 sisters were also attacked by him, however, they were saved but were severely injured. I was visiting Kathmandu with my uncle during the incident. This changed everyone’s fate. Sadly, we were motherless children. As poverty hit my family, my father went abroad (Qatar) to earn money. He never communicated with us after leaving. We 4 siblings then lived in uncle’s house.
I was around 5 years old when me and my eldest sister, Kumari, were accepted by an orphanage named ‘Helpless Children Protection Home’ (HCPH) situated in Kathmandu. It was like a miracle with a hope for better living. The orphanage provided children with food, shelter and education till grade 10. I lived in boy’s home whereas Kumari and Rita lived in girl’s home. After a year, Rita was adopted to Spain. My younger sister, Kamala, stayed in the village under my uncle’s guardianship. I still remember the first day of my school when I relished wearing a green trouser, white shirt, bag full of notebooks and stationeries- all excited and nervous at the same time.
I expected that I would get a safe place to live and a studious environment for my education. The reality was different. We had to scrub, clean huge cooking utensils and clean the whole orphanage. If one of the children spoke against the management or made a small mistake, the whole 200 children had to stand in a queue to be punished. Though with the violence and an unsafe environment, the urge to study proceeded me to pass my grade 10 with distinction.
Transition to Prabina
My eldest sister, Kumari, had joined Prabina Foundation in 2010. HCPH was unable to help me after grade 10. So, with my sister’s and HCPH’s recommendation, I was enrolled to Prabina Foundation in April 2013 for higher education. First day at Prabina Foundation, I was introduced to Mrs. Mohan Kumari Shrestha and Mr. Prashant Shrestha. From the conversation with them, I felt some sparks of hope awaiting my future. Prabina Foundation encouraged me and my sister to live together in a safe rented environment. I had always lived separately from my siblings which made it difficult to adapt living with my eldest sister. This experience transformed me into a strong individual always ready for new opportunities. Later, my younger sister, joined us and was supported by Prabina Foundation in her intermediate level education and beautician training.
My Higher Education Journey
After successfully completing grade 12, Prabina Foundation agreed to support for my bachelor level education. I joined Bachelor in Pharmacy for a year. Though I was performing well, I realized that this faculty was not of my interest. Hence, I dropped out. This affected me in various ways, yet Prabina Foundation understood my choice and was generous to help me further. I took time to decide and joined Bachelor in Computer Science and Information Technology (BSc. CSIT) which is a 4 years course. I am currently in 8th semester.
Life during COVID-19 pandemic
Since country-wide lockdown was announced from March 24, 2020, me and my sisters stayed indoors to be safe. Kumari, who is a teacher, has been supporting us in every possible way. Unable to go to work, without pay, we managed the first month’s expenses. As days passed by, we had to purchase our groceries on credit. Understanding our situation, Prabina Foundation, provided us financial aid even during strict lockdown without hesitation.
Future seems unpredictable. Having said that, I want to work professionally. At the moment, being financially capable to support my siblings is my primary goal. Not to forget, I will engage myself with Prabina Foundation in future to contribute my learnings into action.
I bestow my thankfulness to my godmother Ms. Katharina Odavic from whom I found motherly love and support. Her support towards providing education to an unknown child like me is truly praiseworthy. Though being far from distance, we are connected by hearts. I am also grateful to my eldest sister, Kumari Khadka for loving me and supporting me all the time.
Voice of Prabina
Virtual schooling in Nepal
May 2020: The sudden outbreak of Corona virus (COVID- 19) pandemic that started from Wuhan City of China in late 2019 has become a threat worldwide. On March 24, Nepal announced lockdown (the closure of all the organizations except those providing essential goods/ services following preventive measures of novel Corona virus). The pandemic has gravely affected every aspect of human life and activities with both immediate and long term consequences. Education sector has been one of the first and hardest hit by the crisis. Virtual online classes seemed the only possible solution to continue the academic sessions. It was a challenge not only for the educational institutions but for the students and their families to manage with technology, internet access and devices (laptop/ desktop/ mobiles). Two of our Prabina children share their first ever online classes experiences.
I study in Padmakanya Secondary School in grade 10. Luckily, I had attempted grade 9 final examination before lockdown. New academic session would start on May but due to the lockdown, my school remained close for long time. I started missing going to school, my friends and teachers. During lockdown, I along with other Prabina children studied together staying indoors. Around 2 months of lockdown, Nepal Education Board introduced learning via online. I wondered how the class would be conducted? Will it be easy to learn or not? When my online classes schedule was published, I was nervous, nevertheless, I was also excited to attend online classes. I still remember the beginning days when I was struggling to understand but I was relieved that I could ask questions for clarification.
Online classes have not only helped us continue our studies but we are also learning to use different websites that helps us for better understanding. Being able to attempt examination online is an amazing feeling. I feel fortunate that I have access to computers and internet facilities in Prabina House to pursue my education even during this pandemic. I feel sad that a lot of my friends are unable to attend online classes because of technical issues and lack of appropriate electronic devices.
An initiative from my college for first virtual classes started from June 2020. I was anxious to hear the news and wondered “what is online learning and how it would be implemented?” We had a few sessions to understand and apply the new learning method which helped me boost my confidence. As most of my classmates were stuck in the villages during lockdown, my college conducted revision classes. I felt privileged to have access to technology among my friends.
We were provided with notes and assignments via Google classroom. As COVID-19 positive cases was escalating in Nepal, the lockdown kept extending. My 3rd year final examination was supposed to be held on August, but could not be possible as planned.
Furthermore, our teachers conducted an online assessment exam to figure out if online exams will be effective or not?
Virtual online class was a new experience to me and my classmates too. At the beginning, we faced some difficulties using different applications. I am grateful to my teachers who have been guiding students to use the new apps. They have created a comfortable environment where students can correspond their respective faculty members for their queries.
My first earning
28 September-03 October 2020: After my intermediate level education, I joined 6 months beautician training. I learnt various beauty grooming skills and was able to practice it in my training institute. Soon after my training finished on March 2020, Nepal faced COVID-19 lockdown, so I could not go to my training institute for further apprentice. For almost 3 months, I was sitting idle at my house and was worried that I may forget my learnings. Even after lockdown has been lifted, my training institute is still closed.
On the fine day of 26th September, it was not the usual update call that I used to receive from Prabina Foundation. I was approached for cutting hair of all Prabina House girls. Hearing such a pleasant opportunity, I was excited and nervous at the same time. I had never touched a client’s hair or even had a client before.
With the encouragement I received, I agreed for my first professional step. I was indeed nervous, the very first time I cut a girl’s hair nevertheless, she liked the haircut. Getting this positive response, I started to gain confidence to cut remaining girls hair in their preferred styles. My nervousness vanished gradually and was enjoying cutting.
For me receiving my first payment for my work was an overwhelming feeling which let me feel that I can work and compete in the professional market.
After cutting hair of 20 individuals, I felt that I established the spirit that “I can do it!”. My courage in me is all because of my Prabina family. I would not feel this confident and motivated without Prabina Foundation’s support.
Vocational Training (Beautician)
Putting my learning into action
02- 08 August 2020: As soon as notice for COVID-19 lockdown was announced from 24th March 2020, I went to my village, Nuwakot District. My village’s name is Belkot which takes around 3 hours to reach from Kathmandu. My village is not only beautiful but treasures a lot of ancient monuments. Since all the villagers are aware that I am a nursing student, villagers especially elderly people ask me to measure their blood pressure.
I have learnt and practiced measuring blood pressure in my nursing education, so I used to help them know their blood pressure status. My uncle who is also a ward member of ward number 10 handed over a blood pressure machine to me so that I can frequently measure blood pressure of villagers. The villagers would often express their happiness seeing me all grown up and address me as “dactar saab (doctor)” which made me realize how far I’ve come.
Amidst the stay, “Late Niraj Sedhain Paropakar Sanstha” one of the welfare foundation in my village asked me if I was interested to become a part of the health camp with other paramedics for 7 days. I was in dilemma for a while because I am still a nursing student with a little practical knowledge.
Afterwards, I realized that this is an opportunity for me to serve my community along with enhancement of my learnings. So, I accepted to be a part of health camp. The best part was that I was made the lead person responsible for the management.
During the health camp, we visited 3 different wards situated in Nuwakot District. I along with other staff conducted awareness program on blood pressure, measured blood pressure and provided rehydration solution to the ones with low blood pressure status. As I interacted with different people, I was saddened to know about their misleading perspectives regarding health. I wondered what might be the perspective of people and the situation of health in remote areas of Nepal?
This reality check has made me want to get involved and contribute even more towards health awareness in Nepal. I have now realized life is so hard and difficult in rural areas of Nepal. This small camp unveiled the struggles faced by people in the villages with poor access to education, health and sanitation.
The recognition I received in my village was an overwhelming achievement. I am greatful to my godmother, Ms. Jennifer Hennkies, and Prabina Foundation who made me what I am today. I assure you that I will make you proud of me after I complete my nursing course.
Staying away from Prabina House
21 March – 21 September 2020: It was the month of April, when I had already finished my grade 5 examination. It was our holiday until the new academic session. I was hearing about the new virus named Corona that originated from China but never knew that it would harm the world to deaths. As soon as receiving information about lockdown in Nepal, I went to my village Dolakha District on March 21. Dolakha is one of 77 districts of Nepal which lies in Janakpur Zone. I was born in a village named Mati of Bhimeshwor Municipality. I felt happy and sobbingly hugged my mother after seeing her after years. My mother, a farmer grows crops in a small piece of land and looks after cattle. My two elder brothers and their families also returned to village from Kathmandu as they had no work at the meantime. Life completely changed while in village – no early morning yoga neither study nor any set schedule. I used to wake up at 10am and used to go to forest to cut grasses (for 8 goats) as a help to my mother. We do not own a gas stove or a gas cylinder for cooking so I learnt to cook various food especially dhindo (a corn flour meal) on firewood. As a responsible son, I fetched water from the nearby tap and loved bathing from the same tap water. I go to the river named Charange Khola with my friends to catch fishes. I ate various fruits plucked right away from the tree. First month of lockdown was spent carefree and wished to always own a life like this. Slowly, I started to miss Prabina House – everything managed and systemic. I realized that if I do not self-study, I will forget everything resulting a dull mind. So, I asked my mother to buy me a notebook and stationeries. Sadly, I could only get some books of grade 7 which is above my study level. None of my family members could guide me in my studies as they are uneducated so I could not study at home. I rather played football every day with my friends on open dusty ground. As lockdown was extended to second month, my brothers who has been supporting my family financially ran out of money. Even it was impossible to produce from the farm due to the ongoing rice plantation.
Our payment dues in the grocery shop was piling up. Prabina staff communicated with me frequently regarding my health and my situation, though having poor mobile network reception. Being aware of our helpless situation, Prabina Foundation transferred me some financial aid in my neighbor’s bank account (as none of my family members have a bank account). As I live in a rural hilly region, financial institutions are centralized in the district headquarter, Charikot, which is far away from my village. During lockdown, these financial institutions were open on specific days and time. It took me 7 days to receive the money through my neighbour. After receiving the money, we paid the previous dues and bought enough essential groceries. My mother bought vegetable seeds for growing in our small land. I was still at my village when my school had already conducted online classes. I was upset because I was evading my online classes. None of my family members own a smartphone to attend online classes. Soon after long distance transportation started since 17th September, I traveled back to Kathmandu. I was tested negative for COVID-19 PCR test and returned back to Prabina House on 21 September, 2020. I was relieved! Now, I am attending my online classes regularly.
Khadga Bahadur Budathoki
My blessed first birthday celebration with a cake
1 July 2020: This morning I got up early with excitement because it is my 14th birthday. I took a shower then worshipped God and thanked for every moment that I get to cherish. Later in the day, everyone wished “Happy Birthday!” and blessed me for my birthday and gave me chocolates. Then, in the evening I gave chocolates to all Prabina family. After dinner, everyone in Prabina House (girls) gathered in the dining area and sang a birthday song for me. I felt blessed to cut my first ever birthday cake. It was always a dream for me to actually celebrate my birthday which I celebrated in real in Prabina House.
Back at home, I used to give only candies to my family members and neighbors because my uncle and aunt could not afford a cake. I am thankful to God and Prabina Foundation for celebrating my birthday.
Precious moments cherished
22 September 2020: I woke up early in the morning and took a bath. I went to the temple beside Prabina House (boys) and prayed God for my bright future. I also thanked God for making me a part of Prabina family. During the day, I distributed chocolates to my friends, brothers and sisters. I was happy to receive ‘Happy Birthday’ greeting cards and wishes. After dinner, I was surprised to know that there was birthday cake for me.
For the first time, I celebrated my happiest 11th birthday and cut a cake. My friends put cake on my face, it was fun! I enjoyed the whole day and I will never forget this day. Thank you Prabina Foundation for celebrating my birthday because it would have never been possible if I was not here.
Counseling is about providing professional assistance to diverse individuals with their social or personal difficulties. A counselor helps an individual to set aside time for ourselves, explore our feelings and address our problems if we have any. Stress management skill is the ability to be aware and constructively handle positive and challenging emotions. In this pandemic, many people are not able to manage their stress, leading to behavioral disorders and resulting in life threatening activities.
12 July – 16 August 2020: 18 senior Prabina children (above 14 years) and 10 junior Prabina children (below 14 years) attended a wellness session/ stress management counseling every Sunday for 7 weeks. The sessions were facilitated by Ms. Kripa Acharya.
All the children shared their experiences of the COVID-19. They were made aware about pandemic related child and adolescent mental health issues. Junior children learnt about physiological and behavioral symptoms of stress and management of sadness, fear and anger as per their developmental level. Senior children learnt the facts about recognition of physiological and behavioral level, management of uncomfortable emotions, creative and critical thinking, problem solving and decision making skills.
Pre and post assessment questionnaire was carried out to determine changes in psychological perspective to know if any of the child is facing pandemic trauma or not? The overall session was acknowledgeable since all the children were able to learn about emotions which is important for their mental stability.
05 July 2020: A stress management module of COVID-19 pandemic for parents is necessary in order to be aware about their children’s current psychological status. Therefore, Prabina Foundation put forward a one-day psychological counseling cum wellness program for the staff and caregivers. This will help them to identify about children’s status and their pandemic trauma if any. The staff orientation was facilitated by Ms. Kripa Acharya, a certified psycho social counselor for 7 staff.
The orientation taught that one should follow self-care routine like involving in various recreational activities and work for social, mental and spiritual health. Moreover, the orientation included 4 major steps for dealing with a child’s stress/ trauma resulted by the pandemic.
Alumni Success Story
“I was amused to listen to Prabina ex-students, face to face interaction about their transformation of life after Prabina Foundation. Some are holding dignified profession earning good money. Others are in different profession transforming their life and families in their villages. A few are in abroad sending money regularly to their families. They are proud of Prabina Foundation. Today, I was with Radhika Niraula, Prabina ex-student. Her success story was soul touching because of her unique perception. Radhika was with Prabina family from the year 2000 to 2014″.
Mohan Kumari Shrestha
Co-Founder of Prabina Foundation
Radhika, how do you see your journey of life till date?
I believe in fate. I moved accordingly. My early childhood was filed with separation, hatred and confusion. I was a shy girl. At the age of 6, I moved to Kathmandu with my brother, sister and widowed mother after the demise of my father in India. I and my sister were institutionalized in an orphanage and grew up amidst 200 helpless children like me. It was the dark phase of my life. The separation from my mother made me insecure of my life. It was a lost childhood. Today, I am a happy person with two sons living in an extended family. I am secured. Thanks to my fate.
I was a slow learner. I started my pre-education at the age of 7. I hardly managed my grades till grade 6 Being in amidst 200 kids, my life was free and no one was there to supervise me in study in orphanage.
My landmark in education
In grade 7, I entered Prabina Foundation which improved my education. I was admitted as live-in student in an English medium boarding school that changed my love to study. The teachers were very strict and I was given close tutoring. So. I was lucky to pass grade 10 with good score. I could not complete my bachelor’s degree because I got married.
Did you live in Prabina family?
Yes! I did. After completing grade 12, I took 6 months hotel management training. The institution was near Prabina House and my mother did not allow me to walk alone to the training center. For safety sake, I stayed in Prabina House where I enjoyed living and learning life skills.
“Success is peace of mind”
Did you ever think of career development in life?
Not really! I did not know what is career development. My mother is a strong and strict woman who never allowed me to interact with boys. I was mom’s daughter going after her guidance. All through my higher education, I was supported by Prabina Foundation.
Your saddest moment in life?
Rekha, my younger sister married of her choice making my mother and brother feeling unhappy. I was targeted by community people gossiping why the eldest did not get married. Some women even questioned me. I felt harassed and flushed with anger but I was speechless.
Was your mother not in favor of your marriage?
No! but she is against love marriage. I got a proposal from a boy from the U.S.A who made a condition to my mother that I study hotel management so that I can get job in the US after marriage. I did hotel management training seriously but the boy never approached second time. So my mother was disappointed and hurt me as well because I started dreaming of good life in the U.S.A. Later, I said to myself “my fate did not allow me.”
Any other happy moment?
Yes, the day I was married to my mother’s choice. Marriage ritual was traditional. My mother was proud of me. Let me tell you “Marriage is made in heaven”.
What is your status today?
A perfect housewife doing household chores and bringing up my two sons living with my husband’s parents and his brother and wife. I am receiving all love, security and status which I missed. My husband’s family is very conservative. That is alright to me.
Did they know your childhood in orphanage?
No! I kept it a secret because I do not feel comfortable revealing it. But my husband knows it.
What do you think is missing in your life?
Honestly speaking, nothing. On the contrary, I am happy, well fed and secured.
My husband. He is very supportive to me. He attends Prabina functions when I cannot participate.
Three words about you?
Reserve, Smiley and Content.
Do you believe Prabina students are change makers?
Oh yes! My in-laws are pleased with my cleanliness and cooking which I learned from Prabina family. I somehow changed their lifestyle.
If you want to change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Nothing. I am grateful for my existence.
How do you manage if you need some extra- money
I receive Rs 1000 as pocket allowance from my father-in-law. Other needs are taken care including my children’s education.
Your family business?
It was a travel agency which collapsed in 2015 earthquake. Now we have an organic vegetable shop. The pandemic hampered but now the business is picking up slowly.
Moto to live by?
Be happy and make others happy too.
Your message to new generation of Prabina students?
Education is a must. If you chose professional career, balance it with personal life. With education and greed for money, some are becoming selfish. They take away their aging parents in an old-age home against their will. This breaks my heart.
Define success of life?
Success is achieving peace of mind which money
Your dream for your sons?
Good education and good guidance.
(Interviewed by Mrs. Mohan Kumari Shrestha)
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