One month I have been volunteering in one of VolNepal's projects and had the most valuable experience living with the children at the Himalayan Foundation Orphanage in Kathmandu. This was an excellent way to get an insight into the problematics that do exist here in Nepal and a beautiful opportunity to provide support. It also gave me the possibility to experience the real Nepal as the orphanage and its residents became my home from home, my family. David, the head of the orphanage, is giving with his wife and his own two children shelter to 14 orphans. It is is a peaceful place. There is a strong sense of family and lots of respect for and in between the children. They treat each other as brothers and sisters, are disciplined, generous, playful, open and very loving. So many times I have been comparing their behavior with some of our kids at home and it is wonderful to see how they appreciate everything what is given to them. Be it toys, be it food or affection.
Not everything was fun though. I also experienced the sometimes harsh conditions they are living in. We are taking so many things for granted while they have to suffer regular power cuts up to 14 hours a day, they are running out of water almost daily or they have to deal with the shortage of gas haunting the entire country. And still they smile, are always happy and jolly. They are willing to do everything they can to help you and their brothers or sisters. Often I did ask myself if I do look after them or if they do actually look after me.
If you would like to experience a truly live changing experience I only can recommend you to do some volunteer work in an orphanage here in Nepal. And I really recommend you to get the help from VolNepal as they will find a suitable place for you and will monitor your activities. If you have doubts on how you are able to help the children because you are not a teacher or do not have a educational formation, you really don't have to worry. Me too I had those doubts before I was coming here. But there are so many things one can do and often it does not need much to make things much better. Never before I thought I would be able to do some found raising. But then I came here, saw the problems myself and shared my insights by writing to all my friends on Facebook, my blog and I sent some Emails. So many people were willing to help and in the end I managed to collect enough money to provide the orphanage with some things that really did change the children's life. Here I will name just three of them:
1. Kathmandu and the rest of Nepal is suffering regular, scheduled power cuts they do call load-shedds. This is due to the fact that the electricity company is not able to provide power for all of the households. Because of that the children in the orphanage often had to do their homework and dinner by candle light and with torches. Inconceivable in western countries it is part of the daily life in Nepal. Thanks to some of the donations we could buy a power backup system, or inverter like they call it here, which makes it possible to run some energy saving light bulbs during the power cuts. Now the children can do their homework, have dinner and read in the evening under somehow normal conditions.
2. One of the first things I got told when arriving in Kathmandu was not to drink the tap water. Most of Kathmandu's ground water is seriously polluted, but many people here do drink it as it is too expensive for them to buy bottled water. This is not different in the orphanage. Even the babies get the tap water to drink. Again thanks to the donations from friends and friends of friends we were able to buy a water filter system for the orphanage which makes the tap water drinkable. Now the children have clean water to drink and are not so delicate for diseases anymore.
3. The third story is maybe the most emotional. While I was living in the orphanage the nine month old son of David got sick. He had like most of the children at this time the flew and diarrhea. While for an adult this maybe isn't a problem it is, if not treated, a serious risk for an almost new born. As after three days the parents still not had brought him to the hospital I did ask them for the reason. The simple answer was that they did not had the money for it. Again with some of the found raising money I got the 60 Euros for three days hospital treatment together which probably saved the life of little Dan.
But this wasn't all. I got to help more children and poor families and all the time I had the wonderful support and backup for my actions with VolNepal. They helped me to create my own little project and helped me to make this stay of mine in Nepal a unforgettable experience. You can find all the things we achieved together on my blog and my Facebook page.
Are you still not convinced that with only a small effort and some good will you can achieve great improvements for some less lucky people and children here in Nepal? Not only will your experience here in Nepal have a great positive impact on some others life. It will also change yours.