The Big Picture, NAFA’s focus and guarantee to donors
In 2013 , NAFA allocated $126,542 to 33 one-off projects and ongoing programs in Nepal, spanning the range of NAFA priorities, with 15 allocated to education/adult literacy projects, 5 allocated to health projects and 13 to other community based development-related projects, including child care, remote village micro-hydro and improved cooking stove projects.
NAFA continued to have success in 2013 attracting generous donors willing to either support important one-off projects such as school infrastructure in the Solu Khumbu/Okhaldunga and Dhading districts or make regular donations towards NAFA’s fourteen ongoing health, education and child care programs. These donations, at times topped up from NAFA’s general funds, continue to make a real difference in particular to the lives of people living in remote villages and regional towns in Nepal.
Women, children and remote communities remain NAFA’s priority target groups. Our efforts are focussed on the remote districts of Dhading, Solu Khumbu and Okhaldunga, as well as villages that can be accessed within one day’s bus travel from Kathmandu. We also support programs in the pottery town of Thimi near Kathmandu and two child care centres in the regional town of Pokhara.
All NAFA projects are locally managed and NAFA expects the local community to make a contribution towards each new infrastructure-related project, for example by undertaking volunteer labour to bring materials to the site and to help in construction.
NAFA executive officers also visit all projects (at their own expense) at least once a year to ensure funds allocated are used in accordance with the approved purpose and the project has been successfully completed. NAFA also guarantees that 100% of donations to NAFA go directly to Nepal, without any administration expense taken off.
NAFA project highlights in 2013:
- 5 health programs, including remote primary health care, primary hearing care and provision of hearing aids, cataract surgery eye clinics
- 9 school projects in remote villages for replacement/renovation of classrooms, installation of water infrastructure and purchase of computers
- Education sponsorship of approximately 65 children up to Grade 10
- Sponsorship of 33 students for college (Grades 11 and 12), Bachelor level or vocational study
- Financial support to 3 child care centres for poor families.
- Salary support for 3 teachers and 3 health workers in two remote villages
- Support for improved cooking stove projects in 5 remote villages
- Completion of a micro-hydro project providing electricity to a remote village
A closer look at NAFA’s projects in Nepal
Since co-funding (with AusAid) the construction of the health clinic in 2000, NAFA continues to subsidise the salaries of three health workers at the Tawal health centre, which provides primary health care to over 3,000 people living in Tawal and 4 other nearby villages.
Since 2010, NAFA has been a proud supporter of the HearingNepal Program, developed and conducted through the dedicated volunteer work and financial generosity of Lew and Sue Tuck from Whitsunday Hearing. Consistent with Lew and Sue’s philosophy of Nepalese helping Nepalese, NAFA’s support for the HearingNepal Program includes support (rental of office space and some office renovations in 2013) to a small primary ear care service based in Kirtipur, Kathmandu, the Nepalese Association of Hard of Hearing (NAHOH).
Lew and Sue work in partnership with Keshab Dangol from NAHOH and monks from the Kopan Monastery to provide ear screening and treatment to people in Nepal. In 2013, funds were used to continue to replace older, heavier and high power consuming clinical items at the Nepal Association of Hard of Hearing (NAHOH) so that there are less breakdowns in the field, less weight to carry with the aim that Keshab at NAHOH is able to load the whole hearing camp equipment onto one motorbike! Heavier equipment is left permanently set up in the NAHOH clinics at Kirtipur and Shechen.
NAFA support for hearing screening and treatment complements nicely NAFA’s support of eye care through its long standing support of Tilganga’s eye screening and cataract surgery remote clinics. In 2013, a three day clinic was held in December 2013 at Malangawa, Sarlahi District with 1228 people screened and a record 312 cataract surgery performed. As the invoice for this project was not received until 2014, the project will be reflected in the 2014 financial statements. Over the years, the NAFA/JOY Foundation Nepal sponsored clinics have restored the eyesight of approximately 3.401 cataract patients living in remote villages who could not afford to travel to Kathmandu for their operation.
NAFA also continues to subsidise health clinics conducted what averages out as bi-monthly at a carpet factory in Thimi where poor families who have not been able to survive in their villages work and live. Approximately 25 children from this carpet factory are sponsored by NAFA to attend VSN school in Thimi. NAFA support for the health clinics includes free medicine for families who otherwise would not be able to afford the medication. A second doctor provided by the local Rotary branch in Thimi has strengthened the effectiveness of the clinics for poor families who work in the carpet factory. The focus in 2013 was on follow-up treatment of patients between clinics.
Finally, it was another busy year for distributing jumpers and beanies knitted by approximately 80 women in Brisbane. In 2013, thanks to these wonderful 80 or so women knitters, the generosity of Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways who provide 10 Kg excess baggage allowance for NAFA supporters who bring the bags of jumpers over to Nepal, 760 jumpers and beanies were distributed in 4 rural villages, Kitchet, Dhading district, Lumsa, Solu Khumbu district, Kodari, Sindulpulchowk district and Jirikarka, Okhaldunga district, as well as childrens homes, Kagendra disabled home and poor schools in and around Kathmandu valley.
NAFA has two child sponsorship programs at Prisoners Assistance (PA) Nepal in Sankhu and Vinayak Shiksha Niketan (VSN) School in Thimi, with the number of children sponsored for education by NAFA up to Grade 10 now totalling approximately 65 children. Both these programs are now capped due to the administratively responsibilities associated with these programs and their multi-year impact on NAFA’s financial commitments.
NAFA’s focus now is beyond the student’s success in passing the national exams held at the end of Class 10 to obtain their School Leaving Certificate (SLC). They face enormous disadvantages from their backgrounds to continue past this minimum academic qualification. In the case of VSN Thimi, sponsored children are from poor families in this pottery/farming town, with many of the sponsored children’s families working and living in a local carpet factory. Most of the children in PA Nepal have parents who are in prison or have either been abandoned by their parents or are orphans. NAFA also provides post Grade 10 FEAT support to students from a number of villages who attend the school at Tawal. These students are from poor subsistence farming backgrounds.
NAFA’s FEAT program aims to partner with child sponsors and families to provide opportunities for young people involved in NAFA supported education programs to undertake vocational training or post Grade 10 (college years 11 and 12) and Grade 12 (Bachelor) study to improve their employment chances. In 2013, funds were allocated through the FEAT program to support approximately 33 students in post Grade 10 study or vocational training.
Through the program, NAFA is now supporting young people from VSN, PA Nepal or Tawal to study Public Health, Fashion Design, nursing, architecture technical studies, education, computer studies, electrical engineering and chartered accountancy
In addition to continuing to sponsor two teachers at the school in Tawal and a teacher at Gamauli, NAFA also provided funding in 2013 for a number of school-based infrastructure projects. NAFA funded the replacement/renovation of classrooms in the remote villages of Richet, Kharsa and Tawal Besi in the Dhading district, Jalkeni in the Sindulpulchowk district. It supported a water infrastructure project for the school in Kodari, Sindulpulchowk district. NAFA also supported the purchase or donation of computers to schools in the remote villages of Tawal, Dhading district and to Kophu Lumsa and Patle in the Solu Khumbu/ Okhaldunga district.
NAFA also supported the continuation of an adult literacy program in the remote village of Tawal. Approximately 50 women are split into a basic literacy class and a more intermediate class. Classes are held at the school from either 5 am – 7 am or 6am – 8am (depending on the season) before other family responsibilities for the day commenced.
A preliminary evaluation of this program was undertaken in November during NAFA executive officer’s week long visit to the area. The report identified some of the broader issues surrounding literacy. The report also highlighted the results of a survey of women participating in the program. This included information on attendance, participant profiles e.g. the level of schooling and years since attending school, ways in which women want to use their reading and writing skills, what women liked best about the classes and ways the classes could be improved.
NAFA continued its financial support to two child care centres operated by the Butterfly Foundation in Pokhara. These centres support low-caste families who have moved to Pokhara from villages in search of casual day labour work. In addition, after funding its establishment in 2011, NAFA continued to support the operation of a child care crèche for carpet factory families in Thimi that was in response to an evaluation of the health clinic and child sponsorship programs in Thimi in 2010.
Other infrastructure and economic development projects
During the year, NAFA supported a water infrastructure project that benefitted both the community and the school at Chhermading in the Okhaldunga district.
NAFA was also very pleased to fund new improved cooking stove projects for the villages around Tawal in in the Dhading district and the villages of Gernapu, Lumsa and Narjing in the Solu Khumbu/Okhaldunga districts. These stoves will burn scarce wood more efficiently, saving families walks of up to 10 hours per trip to collect wood in their nearest community forest. The stoves will also reduce smoke in houses, thereby improving the health of family members, in particular women. These stoves are being trialled and if successful, the project will be extended into 2014.
NAFA funded an electric generator for the village of Patale in the Okhaldunga district and was very pleased to support its third micro-hydro project in 2013 at Dimil, Solu Khumbu district. The project in Patale will supplement electricity provided by solar power for 60 families. The Dimil project has provided electricity for the first time to 67 households in the villages of Dimil and Juge. Access to electricity provides economic, health, education, environmental, recreation and social benefits for people in those remote villages. In other villages in which micro-hydro systems were installed in 2012, small businesses have sprung up including: a welder; a rural carpenter; a computer & printer shop hub; and a number of bamboo product makers.
NAFA also supported two economic diversification projects in 2013. In Patale, Okhaldunga district, NAFA funded the installation of a community grinding/oil water mill. In the Ri VDC (Tawal area), Dhading district by supplying a manually operated Australian made coffee huller designed to “dehusk” coffee beans, a task that has up to now been done by hand. 2,400 coffee trees have been planted by approximately 25 farmers with the aim of diversifying into a new cash crop.
Finally, NAFA supported a community safety project through the funding of a two room (one for men and one for women) community shelter in the community forest, which provides wood for cooking for a number of villages in the Ri VDC including Tawal. Up to now, many community members, including older members sometimes had to stay overnight in the forest when they were unable to get back to their village, a problem particularly during the monsoon season.
A brief look ahead to 2014
NAFA will continue to support projects that achieve positive and sustainable health, education and other development-oriented outcomes for disadvantaged individuals and communities in Nepal. These projects will include continued support of NAFA’s fourteen or so ongoing health, education and child care programs, as well as support for a significant number of one-off projects of merit in NAFA’s targeted geographical areas.
NAFA will also continue to seek to work in partnership with other like-minded donors such as Joy Foundation Nepal, Smile Back to Me Spain, Nepaleducaid (Austria) and Namaste-enfants-dhimalaya (France) to improve the wellbeing of the Nepalese people, particularly those living in remote communities.
In 2014 NAFA will continue a review of the continuity and sustainability of NAFA, identifying issues and developing strategies to ensure NAFA’s success operation over the next 25 years! This will include an ongoing review of its portfolio of projects and making sure the balance of expenditure is right for its portfolio of one-off projects and ongoing programs. NAFA will continue to draw on it’s loyal support network for donations that support NAFA’s existing project/program portfolio, as well as any new projects of merit considered for approval. I am confident this support will enable NAFA to continue its good work in Nepal for years to come.
Thank you for supporting NAFA
Although NAFA is a small association, its projects are making a real difference in improving the lives of particularly disadvantaged children, families and communities in Nepal. However, these improvements wouldn’t be realised without the commitment and plain hard work of volunteers here in Australia and in Nepal.
There is the NAFA management committee and other members who come to meetings every month, make decisions and who very competently undertake administrative and organising tasks in a volunteer capacity throughout the year. Ujjwal Gautam, NAFA’s Treasurer, Kylie Gilbert, Assistant Treasurer and Helen Zada, NAFA’s Child Sponsorship and FEAT Coordinator are three volunteers that NAFA relies on in managing the important financial administration tasks of our small volunteer NGO, as well as tasks associated with the child sponsorship and FEAT programs, the largest programs that NAFA funds year in, year out in Nepal. Helen’s longstanding commitment to NAFA and the children of Nepal was recognised during the year when she was awarded Non-resident Nepali Association of Australia (NRNA) Friend of Nepal,
Ross and Brenda Hazelwood spend five months each year in Nepal, at their own expense, identifying and assessing new applications, visiting and assisting with all of NAFA’s projects and inspecting completed projects. Ross also updates the child profiles of children sponsored at PA Nepal and Brenda continued with her weekly (where possible) craft activities with the children there. In addition, Brenda coordinates not only the distribution of jumpers and beanies in Nepal, but also the purchase of goods for sale at NAFA market stalls back in Australia. Brenda also sources beads and material from retail shops in Kathmandu to create jewellery, felt items and other saleable items for the markets.
Other NAFA management committee members help with NAFA’s main fundraising events and with other important management and administrative tasks. I would like to again this year make particular mention this year of Peter Brockett and Stewart Jones for their expertise and good cheer in undertaking important tasks associated with NAFA’s two main fundraising events, the Nepalese New Years fundraising dinner in May and Nepal in the Park in September.
NAFA also values the role that the Nepalese community in Brisbane plays both in relation to NAFA’s management committee and more broadly in so very strongly supporting NAFA’s fundraising efforts. On the management side, in addition to Ujjwal’s role as Treasurer, NAFA is very lucky to have Nirmala Pandeya and Mana Ranjit on its management committee, providing advice on specific projects as well as strong coordinating support on NAFA’s fundraising activities. Nirmala and her family had the opportunity to visit Nepal during the year and see a few of NAFA’s projects first-hand.
The broader Nepalese community in Brisbane was again actively involved in 2013, generously supporting both NAFA and the Nepalese Association of Queensland (NAQ). We could not do either of our two major fundraising events without their support. Apart from the critical role that the Nepalese community in Brisbane plays in supporting NAFA’s main fundraising events and making individual donations to NAFA on specific programs, such as the child sponsorship and FEAT programs, members of the community again responded to the soft selling but effective requests from the former President of NAQ, Mr Rajan Koirala to raise funds towards a specific school based project in Nepal.
I would also like to thank Punam Howard and her cook “NB” at Tibetan Kitchen who again did a great job in catering for NAFA’s annual fundraising dinner. The dinner was held in a new venue in 2013, which while overall was a better venue than in previous years, did present challenges to the cook. These challenges were overcome very professionally on the day, with Punam and NB providing another delicious dinner for everyone attending the dinner.
NAFA market stalls have also become a consistent fundraiser for NAFA, with nearly $13,000 raised in 2013. It is great credit to those involved in purchasing the items and organising the market stalls, including Brenda Hazelwood, Debbie Leigh, Megan Richardson, Wendy Eastwell, Betty Harris, Megan Croese and others. These dedicated supporters also undertake other important administrative and fundraising tasks that help make NAFA run smoothly over the year.The Committee is blessed to be supported by a large number of volunteers who help with these events. These include the distinguished “Red Shirts” who are visible at the Nepalese New Years Dinner and Nepal in the Park. As has been the case over a number of years, Backtrack again provided great support to NAFA during the year, including printing and photocopying as well as selling tickets for the dinner.
In 2013, creative fundraising ideas outside dinner and Nepal in the Park included a generous donation from Damian Caniglia, photographer who donated framed photos for the silent auction at NAFA’s 2013 fundraising dinner, but also donated a percentage of the proceeds from a Nepal photo exhibition of his photos held during the year.
In 2013, Lew and Sue Tuck, long time NAFA supporters, continued their consolidation and expansion of their HearingNepal Program through their own efforts and by strengthening further their partnership with the Nepal Association of Hard of Hearing (NAHOH) and Kopan Monastery. They remain an inspiration to us all.
I would also like to again thank all the individual and corporate donors who support NAFA. It isn’t easy trying to decide which of the many worthy aid and other charitable organisations to support and we very much appreciate those who in many cases continue to loyally support NAFA year after year. We also appreciate those individuals and businesses who have donated prizes which help make our fundraising events successful.
In Nepal, our Project Coordinators volunteer their time to help their communities: Phurba Sherpa for the Solu Khumbu/Okhaldunga districts; Chandra Tamang and Kanchha Tamang for the Tawal area; Surendra Prajjapati for Thimi; Indira Rana Magar for PA Nepal children’s home and Govinda Pahari for Butterfly Foundation’s child care centres. NAFA’s success in Nepal relies on the commitment and wisdom of these Coordinators.
NAFA would also like to thank the staff (Pradip and Karmala) and board members of Joy Foundation Nepal under the leadership of Mr Raju Shrestha for supporting NAFA’s work in Nepal. Joy jointly funds a number of projects, provides office and storage space for NAFA executive members and NAFA projects. Joy staff also support NAFA in assessing and monitoring projects, including help with translation, culture and program-related advice, finance and other general administration.
In completing my sixth year as President of NAFA I would like to thank all of you for supporting NAFA in 2013. During the year my wife and I were honoured to be awarded with Order of Australia Medals (OAM). These awards in a large part reflected the collective effort of NAFA supporters over many years, an effort which Deborah and I have tried to make a small contribution. NAFA is a very special association which continues to make a real difference to people’s lives in Nepal.
Rod Setterlund OAM
This report was submitted at the AGM 6 May 2014