by Alice White
“I first went to Nepal in February 2008 for a trekking holiday and the company I booked with also arrange volunteering. It is something I have always felt I would like to do – to help in a third world country – so I decided to stay in Kathmandu after my trek and volunteer for a month at a children’s home.”
Dot’s volunteering experience was at the Organization for Community Child and Environment (OCCED), which was established in 1999 in order to help the children of Nepal. The children's home is run by a NGO not-for-profit charity that was set up by a group of Nepalese businessmen, and it takes care of 40-50 children aged birth to 16 years who are orphaned, abandoned or displaced.
The two adjoining properties they currently occupy in the centre of Kathmandu are rented, in very poor condition & due to be demolished, which is why Dot is now asking for donations towards a brand new building.
“In 2011 they bought some land just outside the centre of Kathmandu that they took me and 2 other volunteers to see. We were so pleased that their dream was finally coming true. All they needed now was £200,000 to put up the building so I decided to try to raise some money.”
“They had no games or toys or even coloured pencils, we gave them paper & felt pens to draw pictures, did mental arithmetic & asked them to write about themselves. All schooling is taught in English & their reading & writing is good but their spoken English is broken and accent was hard to understand. This has improved greatly in the 4 years that western volunteers have been going there.”
“I was so sad when it was time to leave. It was a wonderful experience and I thought about the children often, wondering how they were getting on and which ones were still at the home. Some return to their families and others are adopted. I wanted to go back & spend more time with the children so much that in 2010 I booked flights to Kathmandu for another month at the Children’s Home and also joined a group holiday visiting different parts of Nepal.”
“This time instead of staying in a hotel I lived with a Nepalese family, which gave me an insight into their way of life. The first thing I did on my arrival in Kathmandu was to call at the home – I walked into the recreation room unannounced, the children were used to volunteers arriving by now and they all looked at me and started talking at once, then one of the older girls called my name. She remembered me, it had been 2 years and she was only about 7 the last time I was there. I was delighted.”
“I had become even more attached to the children, staff & board members who run the OCCED charity that I knew I would return yet again and in September 2011 I had booked my flights & found a group holiday to join. This time I would be there for 2 months, broken by the 2 week holiday to Tibet. I chose to stay at a house that is a cross between b&b and homestay in a residential area close to both Thamel, the tourist centre of Kathmandu, and the Children’s Home at Naxal that had been recommended by a young women who had worked in the office at OCCED. Living again with & among locals I learned more about the Nepalese people and their way of life.”
“I am not a teacher, social worker or in healthcare so when asked ‘What do you do when you are at the children’s home?’ I reply ‘Just be what I am - a mother & grandmother - listen, talk, play, help, discipline, be there’ The staff, carers & children are like a huge family taking care of and looking out for each other, playing, fighting and arguing, laughing & crying.”
“I will continue trying to raise funds for this project as long as money keeps coming in, and as for the future – The OCCED family will always need funds & I will always be part of that family”
I want to help the children in Nepal where I have volunteered three times [hope to return again this year] by raising money towards the building of their new home
Fundraising & asking for money is not my forte. I hate selling raffle tickets...but I am prepared to use modern communications, so that I do not have to ask face to face, to reach out to family, friends, co-volunteers, people I have met on my travels & hopefully, through you, 'friends of friends'
Please will you:
Take time to read the attachment & click on all the links at the bottom of the page to find out more about the children & OCCED organisation
Donate to my very worthy appeal:
Thank you in anticipation,
You can find out more about the OCCED on their website: http://www.occed.org/