A New Village Outreach Project

New Directions For Sansar Nepal

As we move beyond earthquake relief work into our next phase of outreach, the SSN team have considered and discussed how we may continue to help some of the earthquake stricken villages, whilst still supporting the young change agents who we met during the earthquake relief effort work and after. We have looked into the options of helping with the rebuilding of village schools, or sponsoring the education of earthquake orphans.

However, there are certain factors which have led us to focus our attention in a different direction

  • We do not have an existing close relationship with any particular village as our own children’s family villages were not significantly affected by the earthquake.
  • The worst hit villages are a considerable distance from Pokhara and would be very difficult to access during an ongoing building project.
  • We have not been approached by any specific community with urgent needs since the relief effort and our Warmth for Winter appeal.

Looking closer to home, an idea has germinated which has the potential to benefit many, and to be a vehicle for real change, bringing together people from different backgrounds for a common purpose. It is an exciting new departure for us and although it is early days, this collaborative vision is already taking shape.

A Family Affair

Roshan and his four siblings, three of whom live with us at The Garden (the oldest is now married and lives in Kathmandu), were born in the small village of Dhabo in the district of Kaskikot, where their grandfather founded the government-run village school, Sri Bijaya Primary School. All five children attended this school for the first few years of their education. Their father, Tikaram, built a small house for the family where he and his wife Sitha continued to live after their children left, initially to live with Tikaram’s brother and family nearer to Pokhara, so that they could have a better education, eventually coming to live with us at The Garden.

Unfortunately, Tikaram’s health failed several years ago and he is unable to work. Although the couple no longer have the burden of feeding and educating their five children, in order to survive themselves, they were forced to leave their family home and village in order to move closer to the tourist centre of Pokhara so that Sitha could get a job as a cleaner in a hotel. They were able to find a place to stay rent free in return for farming the land and taking care of the property, the burden of which falls mainly on Sitha.

The Present Situation

The family home in Dhabo now stands empty and is sadly disintegrating. The family land, which one day will belong to Roshan and his siblings, is overgrown and unused. At the same time, other houses stand empty, as young people have left to find work in Pokhara or Kathmandu. The school has only 25 primary-aged children who come from six different villages in the district. Yet it is an idyllic spot and holds many happy memories for Roshan. He and his family are well-known and well respected in the village, which is still home to many family relatives and friends.

The Village

Dhabo can be easily reached from Pokhara, either by road (a new section was recently completed which runs right past the family house!), or by a pleasant day’s trek up the valley and into the hills, where Dhabo commands stunning views of the river valley and distant mountains. It is another day’s trek to Nayapul, which is at the start of several well- known Himalayan treks to Poon Hill and Annapurna Base Camp. The small family home is built in the traditional village style with stone walls, wooden beams, two storeys and a slate roof. Below it are grassy terraces. Electricity already reaches the house and fresh, safe drinking water from mountain streams is close by.

Our Vision

The idea of restoring and converting the house into a trekking lodge with camping facilities first arose several years ago. However, the forming of Sansar Nepal and setting up of The Garden took precedence at the time. Now, two-and-a-half years down the line, we are in a better position to consider such a proposal and have many more contacts and connections!

A Trekking Lodge and Campsite

To convert the house into a simple trekking lodge, we will need to repair the walls, re-roof, re-wire and possibly extend the original structure to include a simple kitchen, toilet and shower. The downstairs room will serve as a meeting room/dining room for wet weather, whilst the upper level will provide a dormitory style sleeping space. The aim is to use only local materials and cutting-edge eco-design in order to create a model of simple but comfortable, aesthetic village housing. The surrounding terraces can be used for growing organic fruits, vegetables, herbs and medicinal plants, as well as for camping spaces, fire pit and meeting area. At a later stage, more of the surrounding rice terraces might be purchased or leased to create meeting and camping areas, including a yurt or something similar to accommodate larger groups. We envisage guests from The Garden, as well as other visitors to Pokhara, enjoying an authentic “village experience”, perhaps as a two-day-one-night trip, or an overnight stay either at the beginning or end of one of the longer Annapurna treks.

Education and Training

The lodge and campsite will also be used for educational purposes; we see groups of international students partnered with Nepalese students of the same age from Pokhara or city schools learning together the disappearing skills of growing food and living in harmony with nature. We also envisage older members of the village teaching the ancient but disappearing arts of basket making, weaving, wood carving, butter churning etc. to the younger generation, to prevent such skills from dying out, which is a concern repeatedly expressed by our young organic gardener and artisan friend, Garima. Our young Nepalese change agents, working with other young international partners, might introduce new knowledge and skills into the village, such as new crops to cultivate, cheese making, new handicrafts, and so on, as a way for families to earn more more money. We also see ourselves supporting the village school, bringing in both Nepalese and international volunteers to teach English, improving facilities, and offering the children more opportunities for learning, experiencing and broadening their horizons. We may also provide educational/vocational sponsorship for young village residents.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

The facility could also be used as a retreat centre for overburdened teachers or at-risk young people, where mental health and wellbeing training could be given, possibly in partnership with Psychbigyaan and Amrita Foundation. We also have a dream of welcoming the physically disabled to enjoy a specially designed outdoor adventure under the care of our trained partners, maybe embarking on treks from the lodge on horseback.

The Gautam Family

Roshan sees his mother and father, Sitha and Tikaram, taking on new roles, perhaps as caretakers of the lodge, with a smaller new home for both of them built nearby, where they can spend time with Roshan and the other children on their own land. With part of the revenue, Sitha can give up her cleaning job and help with the running of the lodge. Roshan and his siblings will have a legacy and the opportunity of paying something back to their parents, but also to the village of their birth.

The Dream Team

Paolo Coehllo says that, “When we find our true purpose, the whole universe conspires to help us on the way.”

It so happens that we have a ready-made team here in Pokhara (or soon to come) to begin the work; Micky (builder and contractor), Mike (electrical engineer) assisted by Santoshi (electrical engineering student sponsored by SSN), Dawnell (architect and interior designer), Baldo (our neighbour, photographer and computer specialist), our own Prakash (civil engineering student), Mandy (occupational therapist), Dave (website administrator), Garima (organic gardener), Michelle (educator), and most importantly our leader and key player, Roshan (diplomat, communicator, go-between and man of many trades!!).

The Win-Win Factor

Apart from those listed above, we also anticipate the following benefits:

  • Part of the profits from the lodge and campsite can be used by SSN to support further outreach projects promoting education and change.
  • Employment of local people to work for and with us, teaching and learning new skills.
  • Bringing new life and energy into the village, leading perhaps to the opening of more tea shops, another general store, a craft shop, home stays…

Join Us!!!

We believe that this vision will become reality. It is the right thing to do, coming from the right place, all the conditions are right and the right people will be drawn to join us! With our help, Roshan and his siblings can continue the work begun by their grandfather, so many years ago, and so bring it Full Circle!

If you would like to be a part of our vision, please let us know how you might contribute. Fund-raising is an obvious area, but if you can think of any other ways in which you could support this exciting project, we would love to hear!

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has!” Margaret Mead.

WARMTH FOR WINTER Appeal

Click here for news of the Warmth For Winter appeal.

What are we doing?

We are launching a “Warmth for Winter” appeal. Its aim is to provide warm clothes (and blankets if needed) primarily for children, but also for vulnerable adults. For only GBP13 | USD20 | EUR20 | RM60 you can ensure that a child or vulnerable adult will be warmer this winter.

Why are we doing this?

Nisha (a teacher and young Nepalese Board member of Sansar Nepal) recently made a further visit to the displaced persons tin sheet camp on the outskirts of Kathmandu. She was accompanied by her friends who work in the same school: Sita Basnet, Brizzesh Chaulagain, Suraj Pandey and Bijay Pradhan (Nisha’s tuition student, studying in grade 10).

The purpose of their visit was to gather all the camp children and take them (on her and their day off school!) on a shopping trip for warm clothes and blankets. We are pleased to report that this successful, small-scale assistance was made possible due to the existing generosity of Sansar donors following our earthquake appeal.

The visit has brought home to us the severity of the ongoing difficulties that the Nepalese people, both young and old, continue to face in remote villages, as well as closer to urban areas. These difficulties are becoming even more severe as winter quickly approaches. Sadly for the Nepalese, the earthquake, as devastating as it was, is now just a backdrop and exacerbating factor for the current difficulties that they face.

Nepal is a land-locked country, historically reliant upon India for overland supplies of fuel and medication. However, there is currently a dispute between the two countries, which, three months in, shows no signs of being resolved. The result is a scarcity of fuel and medical supplies and an extortionate black market economy for essential items to keep people mobile, fed, warm and well. Inevitably it is the most vulnerable in Nepalese society who are suffering the most. To provide some idea of the extent of country’s difficulties, Nepal features alongside Iraq, Sudan and Syria in the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOHA) for severe, large-scale humanitarian crises. Check out this UN video on YouTube. Please note this predates the current fuel crisis.

Due to the fuel crisis, Sansar Nepal’s recent visits to schools have, by necessity, been close to the Pokhara area. Our exploratory visits have shown that your help is still very much needed, for both earthquake and non-earthquake survivors.  Hence the launch of our “Warmth for Winter” appeal.

Following Nisha’s recent experiences, Sansar Nepal is confident that we can meet the need in locally identified schools/communities, thus ensuring that the maximum amount of donations reaches those in need, and is not swallowed up by transport costs.

What can you do to help?

If you would like to donate to this appeal, please visit our Donations page, making it clear that your donation is for the Warmth for Winter campaign so we can ensure funds are allocated appropriately.

Financial donations are obviously important but if you are unable to donate, you can still help by raising awareness. Please visit our Facebook page and like and share our launch so we can spread the information on what is happening in Nepal.

Thank you.


Check our Facebook and News pages for updates on the work being carried out.

We are grateful for the donations already received. They are already being used to purchase and deliver supplies to outlying villages.

The PayPal button on the right is linked to our UK bank account, or you can choose one of the other payment methods on our Donations page.

Please note that PayPal charge approx. 4% for credit card payments – UK debit card payments are FREE

Please give generously. There is great need and you can help us to help those who are suffering now.

Many thanks.

A big thank you to another young fundraiser…

Sansar Nepal is grateful to all our kind donors, but we are always particularly pleased when young people are keen to help people less fortunate than themselves.

Our young friend James recently chose to send a donation to Sansar Nepal, rather than to a school shoebox appeal. His lovely donation has already been put to good use, with additional games such as Ludo and Carrom (a local Nepalese game) being bought for patients at a mental health rehabilitation centre in Kathmandu – see the photo’s below. It is evident that the patients are now enjoying the chance to do some fun things during their time in the centre, and one patient even prepared an individual thank-you drawing to James! Can you spot the likeness?

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Sansar Nepal – Outreach Support

Sansar Nepal recently donated £100 to the Amrita Foundation Nepal (www.amritafoundationnepal.org), a mental health rehabilitation centre in Kathmandu, which Mandy, Michelle and Soma have visited.

Understandably, the earthquake has taken its toll on the physical health, mental health and well-being of many ordinary Nepalese people.

Your kind donations have allowed us to provide numerous resources to the Amrita Foundation, for use by visiting occupational therapists and by existing psychology staff, to improve the well-being of patients by engaging them in therapeutic activities.

Due to the generosity of Sansar contributors, activities such as pampering groups, board games, badminton and arts and craft sessions are now regular features of the patients’ days. Your donations also helped fund the first Amrita Foundation Nepal newsletter which showcased the patients’ talents, and was assembled by them.

If you are interested in making any future donations to this specific project please contact Mandy at mandy@sansarnepal.org.

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Earthquake Appeal : A big thank you to Spar Customers and Staff in Lancashire

We (well, Mandy’s dad) approached Kevin Hunt, Managing Director of Lawrence Hunt & Co Ltd, who operate 29 Spar convenience stores in Lancashire. Kevin kindly agreed to donate some of the funds raised by his customers and staff for the Nepal earthquake, directly to Sansar Nepal, and was delighted with the thank you photo emailed from Pohara (see the the Lawrence Hunt Facebook posting, below).

Thank you for putting your trust in Sansar Nepal, Kevin. The money collected will be put to the best use.

FUNDRAISER : Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow!

Fundraiser in Taiwan : Hair For Cash

A massive thank you to the students, staff and faculty of the Ivy Collegiate Academy, in Taichung, Taiwan, who ran a collection on behalf of Sansar Nepal at the Garden, for our Earthquake Appeal. A total of approximately US $4,500 was raised, which is a brilliant effort.

Two of the Academy’s teachers, and the student body president, had their heads shaved because the amount collected exceeded all expectations. The collection was organised by Kathy Cheska at the Academy, who told us “All of us at ICA are glad we can help in even this small way.”

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Fundraising early adopter!

lilyfundraiserMandy’s 4-year-old niece, Lily, has recently completed an IronKids event in the UK, and chose to raise money for SansarNepal. Here she is in a rather wet-looking Bolton, having just received her medal from the Lady Mayoress.

The challenge for children of Lily’s age involved a one kilometre run through the rain-soaked streets of Bolton. As a result of her efforts, Lily raised a total of £200, which was used to pay school fees for some of SansarNepal’s children.

Well done Lily, and keep up the good work!