Our Sansar

Winter Woolies

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2015 has been a challenging year for the whole of Nepal. The devastating earthquakes, the new constitution, aggressive protests and the blockade at the border of Nepal has left the country in a vulnerable position. The entire nation has a lack of supplies being delivered, and with winters getting colder (the lowest temperature at higher altitudes being -2°C in December 2014)* the people of Nepal are completely unprepared.

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Petrol stations are closed nationally, creating a black market for the product with un-affordable prices. Gas supplies are no longer available and electric cuts are far more frequent than usual. This means that gas heaters and cooking appliances are no longer available and electrical items are less reliable for their users. The lack of gas has resulted in an increase in wood fires for both cooking and heating purposes, making even this resource very difficult to obtain.

We are therefore determined to assist the children in any way that we can. We have already bought an insulating foam for the walls and are making curtains to cover the walls in order to provide an extra layer for warmth. Daylight provides sufficient warmth for the children, however the days are becoming very short and the days becoming colder and colder. The lack of heating options available means we are reliant on warm clothing. The children wear their winter jackets all day and put on even more layers to stay warm.

The children need as many warm clothing as they can. We are therefore determined to provide more coats, trousers and warm pyjamas for the children! We are also aiming to get electrical heaters, which are able to use and store electrical energy. So when power-cuts occur, rooms can still be heated using the stored energy. We will ensure that all the children we are helping stay warm and healthy during this winter. We also need to buy carpets to keep the floors warm in order for the children to be able to study in comfortable conditions. And, of course, there are many more street children in need – we want to provide blankets and warm clothes through our outreach support.

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Our Winter Woolies campaign is committed to help the children keep warm this winter! Please support our Winter Woolies campaign and help us keep the kids who have already been through a lot, warm this December and January.

From December 1st to December 31st, GlobalGiving will be matching ALL monthly donations! For every new monthly donation that is set up on the GlobalGiving.co.uk website, we will receive an equal donation from GlobalGiving! Please visit our winter campaign page here: http://www.globalgiving.co.uk/projects/winter-woolies-keep-street-kids-cosy/

From all of us at Our Sansar, a massive thank you in advance for all your help!

*Information taken from: http://www.visitnepal.com/travelers_guide/when_to_come.php

 

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Nepal Constitution: Violence & shortages affect our work

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Fuel shortages and political violence following a two-week blockade on the Indian border are making providing aid and charitable support to local communities increasingly difficult for our team in Nepal.

In the southern Terai region, necessities such as medicine are not making their way into Nepal and there is widespread worry about possible food shortages as trucks sit stationary, choking supplies.

 

Birgunj5The recent adoption of a new constitution by Nepal’s Government has led to violence around the country and at least 40 people have been killed in clashes during the past month, while thousands of protesters have blocked the border.

Many border regions have become too violent to work in, preventing help from reaching the area’s most vulnerable, while there are reports of street children being used in clashes with police and others seeking refuge in India.

Street children in Birgunj, where the Our Sansar children’s home is situated, are being used by Madhesi parties to throw stones and attack vehicles.

“We can’t even reach out to them to try and help them due to safety reasons,” Our Sansar director Julia Krepska said.

“People in Raxaul – a town in India on the border – are providing food to the protesters as they are supporting the protests against the constitution, and now many street children from Nepal are going across the border and get fed there.”

The situation has become critical.

Birgunj4“We are still provided with some supplies – we just need to call the shop owners and then they provide us with food – but we don’t know how long this will last for, and the supplies will end at some point,” Julia said.

“We cannot visit our projects easily, children don’t go to school, many shops are closed.”

Strikes and protests have also affected public services and children have been out of school for nearly two months – while around the country, all non-emergency transport has been halted.

“The schools have been now closed for about 50 days, before then they were closed due to the earthquake, then summer holidays – so children in the Birgunj area this year have hardly had any classes,” Julia said.

“Our project manager, Ayush, can’t even refill his motorbike to visit and reach out to children in more remote villages, which is an essential part of our work.”

Nepal is still reeling from a devastating earthquake which killed more than 8,700 people in April and the unrest is now pushing up prices for necessities for those who could least afford them.

Birgunj6“Because of the fuel shortage, people can’t get to work, factories are shut, there is no milk,” Julia said.

The situation in the border towns is also affecting Our Sansar’s work for child survivors of the earthquakes in Dhading.

“We can’t send some of the Dhading children to their families due to the lack of transport – we’re all pretty much stuck where we are,” Julia said.

Journey Into the Unknown [part 1]

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I know the title sounds ominous but that’s how I felt when I first made my decision to go to Nepal to the Our Sansar children’s home. I was off alone into unchartered territory to spend time with children from a homeless or uncertain background. Then excitement set in and I researched and derived as much information as possible from previous visitors and staff, online articles etc. I wanted to give something of myself to these children that would make them happy…things they had not been exposed too much, arts and crafts,books, fun and ME!

My friend – Manisha decided to join me on my endeavors. Together we gathered items of clothing, football boots, toys and games, books, colouring books and pencils, pens, stationery, chocolates etc, and set up a donation page each. In one month we have raised over £2250 between us, thanks to generous hearts and loving souls who could foresee the difference this would make to the lives of these children.

The first night spent in Kathmandu, filled us with an exhilarated feeling of “yes we have arrived!!” The colours, smells and heat engulfed us. The next morning after a quick breakfast in a local café, we set off for Birgunj in a 4WDdriven by a young driver who spoke not a word of English or Hindi, but smiled at everything. Five hours of a very bumpy car journey saw us arrive in Birgunj at the Our Sansar home, where the children surrounded us and shouted “Namaste aunty”. Some hung back in their shyness whilst others talked away. The staff too, got to know us and made us feel at home.

On the first night and many others after, we helped with homework, and I asked them to show me how they played kabaadi and they obliged.  That night we had difficulty sleeping. Just as shut eye seemed to arrive, the children awoke …5am …get ready, breakfast, school!!  Shouts of “aunty” and chatter vibrated in my ears and then finally subsided into a calm. The children returned at 12.00 changed, ate and became a bit less coy around us.

We lay the table out with all our gifts and supplies and called them. The excitement, sense of curiosity and gratefulness for the items placed before them was a sight to see. Little hands clawed, clasped items feverously. Manisha excited, and I, myself clicking madly away with my camera eager to capture their excited faces. We watched them munching on sweets and playing with balloons, we could never envisage in the U.K that this could offer so much fun.

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Julia the charity founder had bought the children an inflatable pool, which they splashed in for the remainder of the evening. It even enticed the buffalo to have a drink, but it was shooed away by the children. The pool at some stage converted into a tub, with soapsuds everywhere!! We were never short of entertainment.

On many occasions dinner would be served, and then Mina would indulge us with the children in a spurt of Bollywood dancing. The children were practicing for their forthcoming Children’s day event, where the home played host to other children, VIP’s , MP’s etc.

On one day, we arranged as a treat for the children to go to “Shahid Smarak Memorial Park” in Hetauda. A Day trip…. 9 children and 4 adults piled into one 4WD, singing, talking and laughing all the way to the park. Lucky the pets didn’t join in. Ayush (the home manager) and two of the boys came on a moped with frequent stops, as Karan was consistently travelsick. Sickness ensued after the rides on an antiquated big wheel and carousel, and on the way home, as the children were not used to either.

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We were on one occasion lucky enough (at Julia’s suggestion), to be involved with “the Rice Bucket challenge”. We were able to give a bucket of rice to the two poorest families in the village. The first a family whose crops had failed and the second, where the mother lay ill, feverish, unable to come out to meet us. I did not anticipate that this situation might be a fusion of embarrassment, happiness and shyness for the people involved, as they fell under the eyes of curious onlookers. who in turn wondered why they had not been chosen. When we left our mood was subdued, but we were happy to have contributed in some small way, towards the plight of these families. How many such families exist I pondered?

Update: Julia’s Trip to Nepal

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We have lots of exciting updates to bring you from Nepal over the next few days…

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Julia and Clint have been out visiting the boys in Our Sansar’s Children’s Home. They’ve been seeing how the boys are getting on and settling into the home – but also improving the home and ensuring all your generous donations go directly to the boys.

As children who have spent a lot of time either living on the streets or coming from homes that could barely afford to feed them – they’ve all had very little chance to enjoy the ‘normal’ treats we  often take for granted.

So…. Julia and Clint brought the boys some exciting new gifts for them to enjoy this summer!

One of the boy’s favourite treats was their first EVER dip into a swimming pool:

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As you can imagine there was quite a splash!

The house now also has a musical instrument for the boys to practice on –

The boys loved it, and have been carrying it all around the house playing. Clint gave them a few quick lessons (which they kindly then tried to teach to Julia).

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Bubbles have been a HUGE hit 🙂

“The children are amazing, very sweet, playful, polite and really keen to study and gain knowledge.”

Stay tuned and we’ll be bringing you more updates from Nepal soon.

Thank you all!

Journey to Everest Base Camp and the Orphanage in Birgunj

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Nitin and Mina Changela recently climbed to Everest Base Camp in order to raise money for Our Sansar as well as visiting our Children’s Home in Birgunj.

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This is their story:

“Everest Base Camp Summit has been on my wish list for years. So in early 2013, I began researching the serious training and stamina building that would be needed for those intensive long day treks. After reviewing a few companies in the UK and Nepal I finally settled on one in Kathmandu. With my wife Mina joining me for her 50th birthday we decided to book an extra week visiting the Chitwan National Park, Pokhara and Our Sansar’s children’s home in Birgunj – this seemed fitting having decided to raise money for the home through our trek.

Reaching the capital, Kathmandu on 9th April we stayed for 2 days to acclimatise to the 1600m. Our trek began at Lukla, to which we had to fly on a precarious 12-seater bi-plane – both our guide (Bale Tamang) and porter (Raju Tamang) joined us on this flight. Having chosen the longer 14 day trek to Base Camp via the Gokyo Lakes we began our 5 hour trek to Phakding.

Passing through beautiful picuresque villages, mountain paths and rivers we would ascend a maximum of 5,500 metres with Everest Base Camp at 5,400 metres. Our porter – having the hardest journey of all – would carry 25kg of luggage on his head!

We met some amazing people from all parts of the world. Each day, we would trek 7-10 hours reaching the next village before 5pm. Having dinner at 7pm we were all exhausted and in bed by 8pm, before getting up to start the next leg at 6am. The day before our ascent of Base Camp, an avalanche killed 16 sherpa guides at Base Camp 1, making it the worst accident to occur on Everest. Over the next few days we say several rescue helicopters, and the government halted summits of Everest for the rest of the season.

We began the ascent of Kala Pathar the next day at 3.30am – this was by far the coldest day when even 5 layers of clothes and two gloves were not enough to ward off the -15 deg C.

When we finally finished it was such a relief! 14 days with no mod cons and carrying 8kg backpacks was tough – and we still had the rest of Nepal to look forward to. Chitwan was a welcomed break as we played and bathed with elephants. Though after two days, we left for Birgunj picking up some treats of chocolate, crisps, biscuits and soft drinks for the children. On arrival we were warmly greeted by the children, Santosh, Mukesh and the rest of the staff at the children’s home. We also gave them 11kg of knitted clothes, hats and gloves – donated by the Charities Advisory Trust in the UK where our daughter works. Offering us lunch, Mukesh and Santosh then showed us around and gave us an insight into the children and their progress. Having learnt all about their stories and work, we’re so glad we decided to raise funds for them and WISH WE COULD DO MORE!”

If you’d like to add to Nitin and Mina’s donation page and help us do more for the Children’s Home

PLEASE CLICK HERE

Welcome Apara!

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We’d like to give a HUGE welcome to the Newst Member of the Our Sansar Team.

 Our  new Country Manager in Nepal:

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Apara said she’s always wanted to do something which is not only for herself but that others can benefit from. She’s always at the forefront to help needy people, reducing animals and preserving the environment. After the completion of her MBA from the University of Wales – UK, many opportunities knocked on her door in Europe but she decided to return to her country and utilise her academic and professional skills for the benefit of Nepali Society. After nearly 7 years of work experience in education in Switzerland, UK and Nepal; she decided to join the non-profit organisation working for children.

Apara is also passionate about cooking, travelling to different places and learning about different culture.

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If you’d like to volunteer for Our Sansar in either the UK or Nepal please visit our website for more information:

http://oursansar.org/what-you-can-do/

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International Day for Street Children 2014

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Yesterday (April 12th), Our Sansar joined MILLIONS of individuals and organisations around the world to DEMAND A DAY for street children.

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Organisations such as Our Sansar are working hard to change perceptions and gain more help for the 100 million children across the world, that are currently living on the streets.

Hence, we are demanding a day!

Consortium for Street children created a petition that will be handed to the UN in an attempt to make this possible. So far, 5,428 people have signed……… if you haven’t had a chance yet here’s the link:

http://www.streetchildrenday.org/

To highlight the day we held events both in the UK and in Nepal.

Our Sansar staff and the children at our children’s home in Nepal, celebrated the day by giving clothes and food to the children still living on the streets in Birgunj; followed by lots of fun games, activities and even dancing!

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Thank you to all those that helped!