POKHARA, NEPAL -- We are pleased to announce the launch of a new campaign to create a more sustainable world. In November of this year, we are building farms for low-caste schools in Nepal. This will help generate income to support continuing educational advances and progress.

The Challenge
  • Low-caste (Dalit) children endure harsh discrimination:  To be a Dalit means that you are "lower than livestock" in the eyes of others. Landlords won't rent to you, employers won't hire you, and the very little money families earn will not buy adequate education for their children.
  • Low-caste (Dalit) children are denied equal access to education: Dalits have a 33% literacy rate while high-castes have between 60-83% ("Comparative Study of Dalit Education in Nepal"), meaning they can never rise up from their social class.
  • Low-caste schools need a better system to fund themselves: Government funding is minimal and outside charity is not sustainable.

The Plan

Each farm requires a 1-time initial investment of $13,000 USD to get it up and running, and generating income! That means, that for only 13K, you can make an entire school self-sustained. Our long-term goal is to replicate this program for 10 schools in 5 years. Imagine the possibilities!

Have you ever wanted to "Change the World" but didn't know how? Global Orphan Prevention's founder Katie Hilborn is a snowboarder turned philanthropist who one day realized she could do just this, and that it's easier than you think! In this inspirational speech, Katie explains why it's in our own best interest to take care of others, citing that the natural self-confidence which develops allows us to achieve great things.

Chronicling her own story and pathway to 'changing the world' affirms that anything is possible. Katie now runs her non-profit, Global Orphan Prevention. Her humanitarian work extends to Nepal, Vietnam, and various other developing nations.

First visit to Shree Shriva Puri Primary School in Nepal. Here, we are fact finding and researching our next project; to make the schools themselves sustained via income generation! What kind of income generation can Global Orphan Prevention provide so that this low-caste school can thrive independently from charity?
Katie and her team finally arrive at their school site in Koshi Tappu; the jungle lowlands of Nepal on the Indian border. In episode 1, they trudged through two barricades and roadblocks as the country was in a nationwide strike. Now in the conclusion, they meet with villagers to check up on the school project, deliver educational material, and work with the village advisers to create a future action plan.
Five-minute movie asking the viewers of Give TV to help a Nepalese child that has been abandoned by his father.

Aunil is being supported by his Grandfather and Uncle, but they are running out of money to continue helping him. Nepalese children in these situations are often sent to the orphan homes. Grandfather has been in the hospital while the Uncle has his own family to support - including recent hospital fees for his sick wife and daughter.

The family buffalo has also just died, which resulted in ten-month's loss of income. The family is in risk of losing everything.
While driving to her school site in Nepal, Katie encounters a Banda (strike). Assassination attempts on political leaders occurred this morning. The leaders might not survive. Unaware of the reasons for protest, Katie faces several mob barricades, and pleas with the locals to let her pass.
The  problem with orphan homes in Nepal is that they all have children with living parents.  Volunteerism is the biggest money-making scheme in Nepal.

Right, so let's get down to the nit-and-gritty.  There are two pressing issues why children are being placed into orphan homes.
  1. The widowed or abandoned mothers are forced to give them up.
  2. The children are being taken from their families and trafficked into the orphan homes.

We are aware of the situation surrounding widowed and abandoned mothers.  However, child trafficking is a whole new can of worms.

Following two leads, I contacted two organizations that are involved.  But just like the Embassy, they too cannot get involved on a personal level.  It would jeopardize their current projects going on in the country.

The situation is much deeper than any of us could imagine.  People in power convince small villages to trust them with their children.  The families pay 20,000 Rs (US$233) to send their child to a private boarding school in Kathmandu.  However, once the trafficker and the child reach Kathmandu, the girls are sold to India for prostitution while the boys are taken to Orphan Homes.  The orphan home directors on 'in' on this operation.  They gladly accept the child (even though they fully have knowledge of their living parents).  They accept the children because they can make money off the volunteers who come to Nepal.  They over-charge the Westerner money to volunteer claiming this is for rent, food, and utilities.  This amount is sometimes double or triple the actual cost to run one of these homes.

In other cases, the boys (particularly around the age of 12) are also sold to India, but in this case it's for their organs.

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Barricade on the way to village.
We arrived in Bhagalpur late last Monday night, nearly past midnight.  It took much longer to get there than any of us had imagined.  16 hours to be exact, about six more than what was projected.We had the usual mishaps along the way!  And by usual, I mean in the Nepalese sense.  Possibly for any other country, what we encountered would be quite unusual.

Assassinations, Strikes and Roadblocks:
Shortly after our departure, a Banda was called in response to an assignation attempt on three leaders of the Maoists Party.  If you recall, the Maoists were responsible for the overthrow of the King in 2006.  They rebelled for the decade prior seeking political and social change.  The Maoists were the peasants who saw a change in leadership ideal for their voice as commoners.  Through propaganda (some believe), the rest of society was convinced of the need for this revolution.

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POKHARA, NEPAL -- I arrived in Nepal last Friday and have been busy getting the ball rolling so we can begin the construction of the school. 

Since we began Phase I of the school project last Summer, we have successfully raised enough money over this past year to start Phase II!  It was a community effort that brought in the bulk of the funding through our Musicians for Nepal Benefit held on April 5th in Breckenridge Colorado.

Six bands and solo acts performed live music well into the night.  Breckenridge Distillery donated cases of bourbon and vodka, 100s of business owners around the county donated raffle and silent auction prizes including Breckenridge Outfitters while Napper Tandy's donated the door cover and a portion of alcohol sales.  We were more than grateful to have a match of US$5,000 from the owners of Grand Lodge on Peak 7, located in Breckenridge.

Because of the generosity of the Breckenridge community, and several additional private donations from individuals all over the U.S. and world, we were able to successfully raise enough money to finish the school project that was started last summer!

PictureRice plantations in Tappu
I suppose a blog update is in order here.  I know some of you have patiently been waiting to hear about our village trip.  I've needed the last week or so to collect my thoughts, as our journey to the Koshi Tappu region of Nepal was one of the more stressful things I've done in my life.  Which is why, I've spent the past week traveling through Nepal.  Long bus journeys and a stop in Lumbini - the birthplace of the Buddha - has done wonders for my psyche.  

The much needed reflection and meditation has allowed me to organize my thoughts and come to realize the scope of the project at large.So what exactly happened at the village?  I'm not going to sugar coat this - it was unreal and I was thrown completely out of my element (to be put plainly).  As many of you know, the Nepalese Orphan Fund's mission is to fix the problem before it occurs.  To prevent children from becoming orphans by giving the mother or father a source of income generation, so they are not inclined to "give" the child away to an orphanage.