Changunarayan Women’s Knitting Circle
Nepal is the second poorest country outside of Africa, second only to N. Korea. Many people in Nepal live their lives without hardly even seeing a rupee. When a person needs to go to Kathmandu they often say they are ‘going to Nepal.’ Villages up in the high Himalayas continue to experience such things as high infant mortality, starvation and problems associated with frostbite and lack of medical services.
Education is just about impossible because the villages are so small it would be impracticable to create a school for the children in just one small village. That means they may need to walk for hours through the dangerous forest. In Nepal, even endangered animals live openly. Even here in the Kathmandu Valley mountain cats and snakes can be of real concern. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I hear the drama between one of our wild cats and the street dogs. One man in our village was attacked by such a cat and lived to tell the story. He’s fine, but there is some damage to his arm. Just imagine what it’s like to grow up in the high Himalayas.
Life of Women in Nepal
Whether up in the high country or here in the Kathmandu Valley, women carry the load of society and their families. Illiteracy, prolapsed uterus, fibroid cysts, death during childbirth, back and knee issues from climbing the mountains without proper shoes and the list goes on.
Many INGOs, volunteers and government programs are helping to uplift women in Nepal with varying degrees of success, but one thing is for sure-the job isn’t finished. It isn’t about scholarships and sponsorship. It’s about helping the women to stand up economically, be able to support their families and have time to enjoy their lives.
Our main goal is to provide training and employment for women in our village and those who can come from rural areas to work with us. This will provide a difference in the women’s lives to the point that they will not have to worry about their day-to-day living expenses.
Our second goal is to provide assistance to people in Nepal’s high country to make a difference through education and infrastructure. For example, our friend of Kay Garnay, Pema from upper Dolpa, is working to bring a greenhouse to his village. So far we’ve only been able to help the Ku Village with warm clothing, books and a small cash gift. You can learn about the challenges to this region in Pema’s post. https://kaygarnayfornepal.blogspot.com/2017/02/dolpa-is-one-of-biggest-and-most.html
We’ve begun a knitting class/workshop in our Star View Guest House where we had a guest room. It is a sunny room with lots of windows. We also have tables and chairs for them, but they like sitting on a mattress on the floor. The women have come each day promptly at 10 am and work until 3:30 or 4 pm. with lunch and a tea/cookies snack.
They are developing various styles and are getting some nice practice pieces. We plan to have each of the women take one design to make it her own specialty. This will allow for more quality and speed.
Learn more about our women’s knitting initiative here.
Kay Garnay means what to do in the Nepalese language (ke garne)? We’ve personified this expression by the name and our new logo/mascot as this image illustrates.
I’m a bit of the motherly type, so it’s been hard not to butt in and try to help. I’d scattered money a bit, but I wasn’t able to help much as just a tourist. After the earthquake I founded this little agency and its been creeping along little by little.
We have been mostly self-funded by using our guesthouse, my little pension, donations from guests and my share of the sales from our affiliate website, http://TraditionalArtofNepal.com
Here are a few things we’ve done:
Tree Planting Projects. We’ve been focusing on indigenous trees that have blooming flowers, grow tall and live a long time. This will provide oxygen to combat global warming, food for bees and other insects, provide a home and shade for countless varieties of animals all the while keeping Nepal’s beauty at its best. A tree is such a lovely gift to our planet.
Warm clothing drives. We’ve collected warm clothing and sent them up to the Mt. Everest region and Upper Dolpa. We also sent a monetary gift and cooler clothing for the flood victims in the lower region last year. It was one of the worst disasters
affecting India, Bangladesh and Nepal in many years. The money was used to provide underwear for the children of school who are from an underprivileged caste.
Book drives. We’ve collected books to support several local libraries, including the one downstairs in the guesthouse. We were able to keep the library open and supply it with a few toys and learning games for 3 years. We’ve recently closed it and will only open it during longer holidays and when we see a need. I loved hearing the laughter of the children, but the entire village is their playground. You will seldom see a parent with the children while they are out and about.
Computer science classes. Although their English skills have not been good enough to write a lot content, we understand that becoming familiar with a computer is a valuable skill that isn’t offered at government schools. We’ve helped many of the village youth to learn enough computer skills to find better employment.
Broadband WIFI link for the villagers. Our password is known by all and they are welcome to sit outside, or come into the library, to get internet access. We also provide a free computer and printing when our neighbors have a need.
School and emergency funding. We’ve been sponsoring one boy who is now in 5th grade. His mother is divorced/abandoned by the father who doesn’t provide any support for the boy.
Earthquake shelters. After the earthquakes of 2015 we sponsored volunteers for 5 months with full room and food complementary. Even now, we only charge for food and usually provide a private room. Between all our volunteers we helped to build shelters for around 50 families, including three that were funded by our guests.
We crowdfunded to help rebuild a couple of homes and in the village, the latter being our Dada-home.org project. This project came about because our volunteers started talking among themselves about how much they wanted to help this young family. We collected 3,000 euro for the this project and over $800 for the first home.
We have need of $4,000 in order to have the money to pay the women for a couple months, buy the supplies and materials, pay a bit of rent to the Star View Guest House or find a better location.
Pashmina Women’s Project Content
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