Nepal Australia Friendship Association Qld (NAFA)
President’s Report for 2014
This report was submitted at the AGM held on 31 March 2015
The Big Picture: NAFA’s focus and guarantee to donors
NAFA celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2014 by allocating $122,249 to 17 one-off projects and 11 ongoing programs in Nepal. This is the seventh year in a row that NAFA has allocated over $100,000 to projects in Nepal, a wonderful record for this small, volunteer run development aid organisation. NAFA allocations spanned the priorities of education, health/disability, child care and other remote infrastructure projects, with 13 allocated to education projects, 7 allocated to health/disability projects and 8 to other community based projects, including child care, remote village electricity and improved cooking stoves.
NAFA continued to have success in 2014 attracting generous donors willing to either support important one-off projects such as school and water infrastructure in the Solu Khumbu and Okhaldunga districts or make regular donations towards NAFA’s eleven 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 a 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 that 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 2014:
- 5 health and disability projects and programs, including remote primary health care, primary hearing care, sponsorship of two remote cataract surgery eye clinics, repairs and equipment for a residential centre for people with a disability and for a disability employment support project
- 7 one-off school projects in remote villages for replacement/renovation of classrooms and remote school library resources
- Education sponsorship of approximately 65 children up to Grade 10
- Sponsorship of approximately 36 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
- Support for electricity, flour mill and water infrastructure projects in remote villages.
A closer look at NAFA’s projects in Nepal
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 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 2014, funds were allocated through the FEAT program to support approximately 36 students in post Grade 10 study or vocational training.
Through the FEAT program, NAFA is now supporting young people from VSN, PA Nepal or Tawal to study public health, fashion design, nursing, education, rural health, automotive mechanics, computer engineering, management and civil engineering.
In addition to continuing to sponsor two teachers at the school in Tawal and a teacher at Gamauli, NAFA also provided funding in 2014 for a number of school-based infrastructure projects. NAFA funded the replacement/renovation of classrooms in the remote village of Richet in the Dhading district and Chermading, Patle, Dhupisurke in the Solu Khumbu/Okhaldung districts. NAFA also donated ten 2nd hand laptops to five remote schools and four laptops were given to NAFA supported FEAT students to assist in their bachelor studies.
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 as a response to an evaluation of the health clinic and child sponsorship programs in Thimi in 2010.
Health and disability
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. During the year, one of the health workers, Sunita, completed higher midwifery qualifications, making her the most qualified midwife in the Tawal area.
Since 2010, NAFA has been a proud supporter of the Himalayan Health & Hearing (formerly HearingNepal Program), developed and conducted through the dedicated volunteer work and financial generosity of Lew and Sue Tuck from Whitsunday Hearing. Lew and Sue work in partnership with Keshab Dangol from the Nepalese Association of Hard of Hearing (NAHOH) and medical staff in Shechen Clinic and Hospice to provide hearing as well as generalist and specialist health care in outreach camps in the Kathmandu Valley and beyond in remote areas of Nepal. NAFA also supports NAHOH directly. This support includes rental of NAHOH’s dental clinic in Kirtipur, clinic renovations undertaken to improve client service and extra tuition support to a previously NAFA supported recipient of a cochlear implant.
Support for hearing screening and treatment complements NAFA’s funding for Tilganga’s eye screening and cataract surgery remote clinics. A day clinic held in December 2013 at Malangawa, Sarlahi District, with 1,228 people screened and a record 312 cataract surgery performed was paid for in 2014. Another clinic was held in February in Aampapeepal, Ghorkha district. Five hundered people attended this two day camp, with 85 cataract operations performed. Over the years, the NAFA/JOY Foundation Nepal sponsored clinics have restored the eyesight of approximately 3,800 cataract patients living in remote villages who could not afford to travel to Kathmandu for their operation.
NAFA also continues to subsidise health clinics 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 carpet factory families. A highlight in 2014 was a NAFA funded PAP smear clinic organised by the local Thimi Rotary at the VSN school. Doctors and staff from Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital attended the clinic. One hundred and seventy six women were tested, with 14 women needing follow up treatment, but none with any severe problems.
NAFA had an active year supporting people with a disability. The focus was on support to Khagendra New life Home in Jorpati. NAFA funded urgent plumbing work needed to repair pipes, taps and water tanks supplying water to the home. NAFA also supplied the home with 70 summer blankets and 3 non pressure air mattresses. NAFA also coordinated the development of an MOU to repair the roof to the home expected to be completed before the monsoon season commences in June 2015.
Another uplifting disability project supported the employment of people in wheelchairs through funding of the Differently Able Youth Organisation (DAYO) in Jorpati to purchase equipment for their mobile phone repair shop. The young people in wheelchairs who operate the shop make enough profit to pay their wages and enable them to live independently in the community. Equally inspiring is the progress made by Sophie, a young girl who through the generosity of NAFA supporters received a cochlear implant when she was three years old. Sophie is now in Grade 4 and extra tuition is being provided through the same generosity of her sponsors to help her overcome her early learning deficits.
Finally, it was another busy year for distributing jumpers and beanies knitted by approximately 80 women in Brisbane. Twenty eight bags of jumpers were brought to Kathmandu, with over 600 jumpers and beanies then distributed to 4 schools and 2 carpet factories.
Other infrastructure and economic development projects
During the year NAFA provided additional funding for new improved cooking stove projects for the villages around Tawal 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. An evaluation of the initial phase of the installation of the low altitude improved cooking stoves in the Tawal area was undertaken by Deborah Setterlund. NAFA’s Research Officer, her 6th evaluation undertaken of NAFA programs. A survey, designed by John Croese, of the high altitude stoves was also undertaken in the Solu Khumbu area. These evaluations and survey are important in fulfilling Australian Government monitoring requirements and NAFAs standards regarding value for money and user feedback.
NAFA funded the replacement of an old electric system with a new 700 watt hydro system in the village of Mulkara, Solu Khumbu. The water supply to the village of Jirkharka in the Okhaldunga district was improved by new pipes and PVC tanks.
A brief look ahead to 2015
NAFA will continue to support projects that achieve positive and sustainable health, education, rural infrastructure and other development-oriented outcomes for disadvantaged individuals and communities in Nepal. These projects will include continued support of NAFA’s eleven 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 Nepalese people, particularly those living in remote communities.
NAFA will also continue to draw on its 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 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.
In its 25th year, NAFA presented special khartas to a number of people who have played an important role in NAFA’s early history. These include: Ross and Brenda Hazelwood, Badri Basnet, Tony Faux, Stella Taylor, Jim Drapes, Punam Howard, Hari and Rajani Khadka, Khilraj and Nirmala Pandeya, Mana and Rajani Ranjit, Kiran and Jaya Shrestha, Deepak and Arati Paudyal, Professor Bhesh and Anju Bhandari, Kamalayan and Rabi Netri Shrestha, Achut and Pali Singh, Gyanu Walker, Rudra Thapa and Dhiren Thapa.
NAFA is now a mid-size overseas aid organisation that relies on a large number of volunteers for its year in year out success. 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, Peter Brockett and Stewart Jones are five volunteers that NAFA relies on in managing important financial, program administration and event coordination tasks for our small volunteer NGO, undertaking financial administration tasks, coordinating the child sponsorship and FEAT program’s and coordinating NAFA’s two main fundraising events: the Nepalese New Year fundraising dinner in May; and Nepal in the Park in August.
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. In March 2014 they were awarded life membership for the contribution they have made to NAFA since it was founded in 1989. When they are back in Australia their contributions are central to NAFA’s administrative and fundraising efforts.
NAFA also values the role that the Nepalese community in Brisbane plays both in relation to NAFA’s management committee and more broadly in 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 for NAFA’s fundraising activities. NAFA was also appreciative of the liaison role that Achut Singh played linking NAFA with its sister organisation in Brisbane, the Nepalese Association of Queensland (NAQ), led in 2014 by its President Keshab Sharma.
The broader Nepalese community in Brisbane generously supported NAFA in 2014. We could not do either of our two major fundraising events without their support. A special thanks to Punam Howard and her cook “NB” at Tibetan Kitchen for doing such a great job in catering for NAFA’s annual fundraising dinner in May.
For the first time ever, NAFA was forced to cancel Nepal in the Park in 2014 due to bad weather. But luckily, the funds lost were more than matched by NAFA’s participation in the Brisbane Marathon in July, which raised nearly $13,000 in sponsorships. The idea of NAFA’s participation in the Marathon came from Sudipta Sinnya. Deborah Setterlund and Kylie Gilbert drove the administration side of the event and others within the Nepalese community, including Achut, Mana and Nirmala and the broader NAFA network supported NAFA’s Everest Mob, making the event a very successful one for the Assocation in 2014.
NAFA market stalls have also become a consistent fundraiser for NAFA, with approximately $10,000 raised in 2014. Brenda Hazelwood coordinates purchase of the goods in Nepal and then is well supported by other NAFA members in organising and selling the products in Australia. These supporters, who also undertake other important administrative and fundraising tasks that help make NAFA run smoothly over the year include Ross Hazelwood, Debbie Leigh, Megan Richardson, Wendy Eastwell, Betty Harris, Megan Croese, Deborah Setterlund, Helen Zada and others. I would like to make a specific mention of Megan Richardson, who coordinated the sale of approximately $4,500 of the $10,000 in market sales from the small town of Wooli in New South Wales, representing nearly 50% of the years’ total. Good on you Megan.
The Committee is blessed to be supported by a large number of volunteers who help with NAFA’s two major fundraising events each year. 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.
I would also like to again thank all the individual and corporate donors who support NAFA. We are very grateful to 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; 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 contributes its own funds to one of NAFA’s ongoing programs i.e. the Tilganga remote screening and cataract eye clinics. Joy also 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 2014, its IT support adviser, Uttam Shrestha provided invaluable technical support to NAFA in making donated laptops ready for distribution to remote schools and NAFA supported FEAT students in Nepal.
In completing my eighth year as President of NAFA I would like to thank all of you for supporting NAFA in 2014. It is an honour to be associated with a very special organisation which continues to make a real difference to people’s lives in Nepal.
Rod Setterlund OAM
Click here to read the Financial_Statements_31_Dec_2014