Taking some days rest after coming back from Nepal, we let you know how did this first part of the Rato Baltin 2019 Project go.
We had a risky bet, to cover as many villages as our financial resources may allow. From September 2018, we prepared everything for six municipalities, but after the trip we made in situ during January, after seeing the difficulties and taking into account the resources we seemed we had found, we decided to focus on just four municipalities.
This decision has brought us both positive and negative things. We always say that in Nepal everything changes and anything can happen, but this year we have been able to ascertain that this is also applicable in our own country.
In Catalan, we have a saying that goes: ‘Do not say wheat until it is in the bag and well tied’. Its equivalent in Spanish is: ‘Do not sell the skin of the bear until you have hunted it’ (what a cruel proverb). In English the same would be: ‘We must not count our chickens before they are hatched’ 🙂
The positive things:
We have been to 4 municipalities (16 schools/villages):
- Sanfebagar, a municipality with a high presence of Chhaupadi, despite not being as far away as many others. This is where our partners are located for this part of the project, in Accham: 3 villages/schools.
- Dhakari, just in the little mountain opposite our very much loved Basti: 3 villages/schools.
- Turmakand, one of the most remote places in Accham, near the river Karnali. And where last year died the girl whose parents buried to try to hide the fact. 3 villages/schools.
- Mangalsen, district where we have been working for the past three years and from where most of our staff comes from. 4 new villages/schools + 3 from last year. In November, during the follow-up, we will do a further two.
In summary: in Achham, during this 2019, we have been working in 16 villages/schools and in November we will add another 2. We have reached 5,347 direct beneficiaries. With 1,353 new users of the menstrual cup.
What we feared most about the project this year was that all the facilitators were, whether local women from each municipality, or former students from previous years. On one side, we had the security that the message would arrive best with local girls than with nurses from Kathmandu; on another side, we were afraid about if they had assimilated the information we gave them in September and the hyper-intensive training of 9 days we imparted before the start up.
And I have to say that here laid the wonderful surprise, of which we all felt very proud: the girls absolutely rose to the occasion at all times. Where one could not reach, another would, and the groups complemented each other marvelously!
To see those girls, so sure of themselves and empowered, has been one of the best things of the project, just for that, it has all been worth it!
In each group there was at least one trainer (in some even two because we had six already trained) and three or four mentors (ex pupils of ours, users of the Ruby Cup), and a foreign volunteer.
It has been a hard experience for every one of the volunteers: these girls do barely understand English. But an interesting one. Bea already wrote about the training we did in Sanfebagar, and Eleonora, Anne Laure and Maisei will do it as soon as they have some time to spare. At the same time, for each team of Nepalese girls, to have a foreigner who could not understand them has also been hard because of the difficulty to communicate, but a great help in what regards technical and safety matters. The foreign girl is like a ‘bait’ to attract the women, men and girls to the class groups!
On another hand, Rupa and me (Clara) have been acting as managing team and trying to sort out queries and problems that may raise. Rupa is an extraordinary woman with whom I have worked really well and I think that she is the perfect Project Manager for our project in Nepal. She is an independent woman with her own import company of “Cozy Cups” menstrual cups. Quality cups that she sells at a fair price to women in Kathmandu: 1,500 rupee. In Achham, if any mother does want one, the price is 800 rupee.
In Kathmandu, we have had our interns Raunika and Simran. Two veritable gems that will come to be fighting women, promoters of the change in their country. Both are studying for a master, one about gender studies and the other in international cooperation.
In all, we have three angels working with us!
We have also had the help of Pashupati Kunwar, who, as adviser in Samabikas, has assisted us in specific and difficult subjects such as how to sort out all the legal paperwork to be able to receive the donation of the 3,000 Ruby Cups, organize the accommodation and the place for the training in Sanfebagar, and she has as well helped us to ask for financial support from some municipalities. The district of Sanfebagar contributed with 100,000 rupees and the one of Mangalsen with 50,000. Mangalsen promised to provide some more funds during the next tax year.
The negative things:
Our Achham partner has not functioned that well. The project is very big and complicated, and it requests complete dedication that our partners could not give.
Two big donations have failed to be finally granted. One we expect to have it still, the other we don’t count on it because we have lost all contact. This has put us between a rock and a hard place sometimes, and we have had to modify the project, spacing out the work of the facilitators and depending completely on the money we still don’t have to continue paying salaries and to undertake the follow-up after the six months.
Faced with adversity, we always find creative solutions, but it is particularly exhausting to have to think about this all the time.
My proposal to all of you – the continuity of the project depends on you :
1 – Please fill in this form to become member of the NGO. We urgently need to have a regular income to be able to continue. Every donation helps.
2 – Do become members of our Teaming group (1 Euro a month, all destined to the project), and do bring in your friends and colleagues (all the people in the company) to also collaborate. If we are 1,000 people giving €1,00 a month it represents a big help (we are now 10 members,
and, by the way, it is deductible in your tax returns).
3 – You may make now your donation in Gofundme (If you are from Spain better use migranodearena), no need to wait for the end of the summer!
We do really need cash now to send to Nepal so our facilitators can be paid their salaries.
Something else that can help: I will be in Europe up to the end of October. We are looking for people who can assist us in planning events, lectures, expositions, shows, fundraising meals, or anything that you may think of, to raise funds!
If any location comes up to mind or you want to organize anything, please do contact us! firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks for everything! 🙂
Written by Clara Garcia i Ortés, translated by Tere Salinero
West Nepal girls need this kind of program. And we need help to continue the project!
Paypal recurring donations:
Or if you feel like it, you can donate via bank transfer at: Banc Sabadell IBAN: ES23 0081 0900 8200 0430 1934 BIC: BSABESBB (your recurring donation will help us have a better planning of our budget to carry out the projects undertaken).