Tashi Waldorf School and Teacher Training

Newsletter - February 2000

Dear Friends,

The Children of Nepal's first project, which is a kindergarten housed at the Balmandir Orphanage, has come to completion. The project period was for three years and the agreement between the Children of Nepal and the Balmandir Orphanage reached the end of its term on February 15, 2000. In the first year we planted the seeds of the kindergarten, including curriculum development, teacher training and creating the physical environment. During the second year the school grew from 30 to 60 children as we continued its development. In the third year we began to harvest the fruit with the Nepalese teachers and administrator taking on most of the responsibility of running the school. As in all development work there is a time frame for the project's beginning and end. The completion is determined by reviewing the project goals and whether they have been achieved. We are so proud and delighted that this first project is standing on its own. We consider this a measurement of success as it shows we have guided well and that what we had planted has developed strong roots and will continue at the orphanage for the long term.

The Balmandir Kindergarten is not a baby anymore but can now stand on it's own feet and, like a proud mother watching her child learning how to walk, we are so very happy and proud to now hand it back to the orphanage to run and sustain independently. In this project we have introduced many Waldorf ideas and we are positive that these tools will be beneficial to the teachers and the children. However, we leave it up to the teachers to decide what they wish to keep in the program, as it now needs to grow with them. The teachers have three beautiful fully equipped classrooms, consisting of two kindergarten classes and a grade one class, with 60 students enrolled between the ages of 3 to 7. The grade one class acts as a transition class before the children enroll in schools around Kathmandu. We wish the teachers and children every success. To give them a strong start we have made a very generous financial contribution and thereafter they will carry the school forward with the orphanage taking on the financial responsibility. We have prepared a final report on this first project and would be delighted to share it with you. Please write us if you would like a copy.

The kindergarten has admirably demonstrated the value of early childhood education. Over the past three years we have developed an entire curriculum which incorporates the language, sub-cultures and religions of Nepal. Early childhood education is not practiced in Nepal and only recently has become an issue of much focus in this country's educational and development communities. The curriculum we have developed is considered a role model for other educators to apply to their own system and to understand how to conduct this form of education on a practical level.

With this first project now completed, the Children of Nepal is beginning two new projects which are closely linked. One project is to establish an early childhood education teacher-training institute for teachers in the local community, which we hope to tie in with the University in Kathmandu. Our second project is to start a school offering Waldorf education from kindergarten up to class 7.

Over the past three years we have been studying the case histories of children living in orphanages to better understand the circumstances leading to their placement there. We have found that most of these children have been abandoned rather than orphaned. We now understand the underlying social problem in Nepal is that so many families cannot afford to feed their children, much less educate them. The families in these circumstances often have relocated to Kathmandu from remote villages due to lack of work. The only work they can find in the city is unskilled labor and these jobs do not pay enough to support their families. Therefore they have no choice but to give their children to an orphanage. A child once placed in an orphanage is, in most cases, put up for international adoption often without their parents fully understanding that this will happen. As a result of this research we have recognized the need to start a school for the children from these very poor families. By providing education, a nutritious warm meal every day, medical attention and clothing, we firmly believe that we will give these children the strong foundation they need for their educational development, together with helping parents to keep their children with them.

We have a wonderful new location in the northern part of Kathmandu, with a beautiful view of the Himalayas and much green space all around for the children to be away from the dust and grime of the city. A most generous Tibetan community leader, Tashi Dhondup, has made available to us a building which was a carpet factory, and some vacant land to use as a playground. We are renovating the carpet factory to house four classrooms, which will satisfy our needs over the next two years. The classrooms will provide two kindergartens, a grade one class and a teacher-training facility. We will then move into our long-term plan, which is to build a new school on adjacent vacant land to accommodate the rest of the grades. Two kindergarten classes are now ready and we are going to open our doors to twenty children in the next few weeks. So much work needs to be done and a great deal of money needs to be raised. We need to work very hard to become financially stable. Slowly but surely things will work as we move forward.

More than ever we need your support. There are so many children in Nepal who need help. Only through education can the children of Nepal be nurtured on a path towards self-awareness, creativity and responsible adulthood. All children want to learn when they are inspired and encouraged with enthusiasm, but they also want to be appreciated as the individuals they are and can become. For those of you who have been to Nepal, you have seen the most beautiful parts of this country, not only the Himalayas but also its children. In spite of their extraordinarily difficult lives, the lack of food, clothing and medical care, their spirits shine through with light in their eyes and smiles on their faces. Their curiosity and humor are constant. We hope you can continue to support us so that we can help these children. We depend solely on your contributions. Trusting in your understanding, we thank you for your help.

Until next time, sincerely yours,

Meyrav Mor,
Director, Children of Nepal

Everyone at Children Of Nepal & Tashi Waldorf School

You can help:

1. Please send a donation to the associations as listed below
2. Sponsor a child for $25 a month. Your sponsorship will go towards the child's education, school
supplies, a warm nutritious meal each day, clothes and medical care.
3. Tell your friends and encourage them to make a contribution
4. Publish this newsletter in your school, organization, or community newsletter.
5. Pass this newsletter onto everyone you have already shared our project with.
6. If you are visiting Nepal let us know and we would be delighted to have you come to see us.
7. If you receive this newsletter by mail, let us know if you wish to receive it by email.

The Rudolf Steiner Foundation
Please write in the memo portion of the cheque: "The Children of Nepal"
Building 1002B, Thoreau Center, Presidio
P. O Box 29915
San Francisco, CA 94129-0915, USA
Tel: 415 561 3900
Donations are tax deductable in the USA.

Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiner e.V.
Please write in the memo portion of the cheque: "The Children of Nepal - Project #4405"
Kopenicker Str. 175
Berlin, D-10997, Germany
Tel: 030 61 70 26 30

Children of Nepal Ireland Internationaal Hulpfonds
c/o John Daffy
Please write in the memo portion of the cheque: Doire Fea "Children of Nepal"
Grallagh, Nenagh Hoofdstraat 14b
Co. Tipperary, Ireland LA Driebergen, NL-3972, The Netherlands
Email: daffyj@gofree.indigo.ie Tel: 0343 53 60 67