It’s hard to believe it is almost the end of 2017! This has been a busy quarter and we are proud to be able to report progress on a number of fronts, ranging from buying re-usable sanitary pads for girls, to wrapping up the third season of our ‘Girls in Action’ program. None of these activities would have been possible without the generous support from our donors; if you are planning on year-end giving, please remember Wide Open Vistas!
Youth Scholars Program
The 21 youth scholars that we support are all doing well. In early November we did a goal setting exercise with the scholars. We want to develop an approach for re-visiting goals and strategies and also for getting regular updates from students. Likewise, we have been working on our process for collecting, storing, and analyzing measurement variables like grades, attendance, and poverty index. These will be useful for evaluating our progress/programs and when applying for external funding. We are excited to send our scholars to Karkhana later this month for a one day workshop, this is an organisation which uses innovative tools and techniques to enhance child learning. In the next quarter we will pay six months of tuition, meet with families for the annual meeting where we will ask them, and their children, to sign a pledge, promising to stay in school. In the recent Winter board meeting we voted to set aside $1,000 USD in the 2018 budget to potentially sponsor a girl who is not currently in school and who is engaged in manual labor.
Sudeep talked about the Innovative Learning Program: To give a platform to learn new things, 21 WOV scholars will visit Karkhana(most probably on 30 Dec), an organisation which uses innovative tools and techniques to enhance child learning.
Girls In Action(GIA) Program
In the winter board meeting, Sudeep reported that we started our GIA 3rd season from 16th September, 2017 and distributed the resources( advent exercise, liability form, GIA overview, calendar) and sports bra (donated from Columbia) to the girls. A total of 92 girls registered.
- Running program: 30 girls (on average) made it to the weekly training. 27 girls recently finished their race for the 3rd season. We provided 25 pairs of running shoes for the girls before the race.
- Professional lunch: One was held in October with Ranju Darshana (candidate for mayor in Kathmandu). Around 30 girls attended the session from 3 different schools. The girls were interested on Ranju’s life story and what she had to say. However, there was little interaction between Ranju and the girls. In future we have to think of ways to make these lunch session interactive.
- Field trips and hikes: This quarter we had two different hikes to Dada Gaon(village) and Kapan. 26 girls hiked to Dada Gaon while 14 hiked to Kapan monastery.
- Health Classes: We organised five day long health classes in two new schools collaborating with Sahaayam Nepal. 340 participants attended the classes out of which 229 were girls and 111 boys. We have added $250 to the 2018 budget to cover the purchase of a projector for these classes.
- Menstrual Health Initiative: We decided to conduct a pilot project to educate and provide reusable sanitary pads (2 each) to 96 girls from class 9 and 10 in Budhanilkantha school. Since this is our pilot project, it will help us to roll out similar program to other classes and schools. The final number of girls who benefited from the project is 70 at a cost of 47,650 Rupees ($476 USD).
Governance: While we have been a registered charity in the US for a number of years, the process is much slower in Nepal. However, we are happy to report that WOV is now registered as a non-profit company in Nepal. Thanks to Gandhi & Associates for helping us on legal side. Our next steps are: to register a Permanent Account Number(PAN), get a tax exemption certificate and get an affiliation from Social Welfare Council (SWC).
As part of our legal formation in Nepal, and along with our efforts to always have better voices on the board, we have also expanded our board to include the following new members. Legal requirements in Nepal maintain that there are five Nepalis on a Nepali board (Dr. Pranav who was already on our board is also Nepali and represents a sixth Nepali board member). In the coming months we will figure out how to work with two boards while also reducing redundancy!
- Smriti Katuwal – Smriti is a WOV Scholar and studies in grade 12 in Budhanilkantha College. We are excited to have someone from our Youth Scholars Program on the board!
- Sonam Shah Thakuri – Most of you are familiar with Sonam. In past she helped run WOV programs mainly Girls In Action in its early beginnings.
- Dr. Samjhana Belbase – Samjhana graduated from Bharatpur College of Medical Sciences last year and is preparing for graduate medical school. Samjhana developed our first ever health curriculum and conducted classes to over 270 girls from various schools early this year. She is also our Child Protection Officer.
- Avash Pandit – Avash is an associate Lawyer at Gandhi and Associates(G&A), one of the reputed law firms in Nepal. He did his LLB from Cardiff University, UK and is a supervisor within the corporate department.
- Ajay Shrestha – Ajay has been engaged as a founder in Bloom Nepal School and is Vice Principal at the school. He has degree in Computer Science from Bangalore University.
Development: In our recent winter quarter meeting, the board voted to approve a $26,028 budget for 2018. WOV operates with less than 5% of all funds spent on administrative costs, over 95% of funds go directly to program areas. Donations will support our core ‘Youth Scholars’ program while also continuing into its second year the ‘Girls In Action’ program which reached hundreds of girls in northern Kathmandu in 2017 with runs, hikes, health classes and more.