Sachham Newsletter October 2022
An eventful year is coming to an end. A year that has presented us all, including Sachham Nepal, with unprecedented challenges.
Nevertheless there are many encouraging and positive things to report today. Let us consider events in the order they occurred.
On 7 March we started as planned with the first basic course for 9 young women from modest backgrounds at the Textile Training Center. At the same time the Community Actions Center (CAC), a Nepalese NGO, contacted us. The CAC leaders asked if we would also offer courses for very poor women, mostly former prostitutes without school-leaving qualifications. A good cooperation with this NGO has developed from their request. The CAC pays Sachham NPR 5,000 per participant. This amount does not (yet) cover the costs, but it will contribute to our goal of running the Textile Training Course on a self-supporting basis in the medium term. Parallel to the first ongoing course we were able to offer a basic course for 9 women, which ended a few days ago with the handing over of diplomas to 6 participants. 6-7 participants from both courses will start the Advanced Training in mid-October. In parallel we are running another basic course for 14 women in cooperation with the CAC.
At the end of May our representative in Kathmandu, Gyanu Mainali, unexpectedly left for Hungary for family reasons for an indefinite period of time. Although Gyanu continued his work on a virtual basis in a very responsible way, it became clear that we had to find a deputy on the ground in Kathmandu
At the end of June we learned through our bank in Kathmandu that Sachham Nepal’s account had been blocked due to missing documentation. In the meantime it turned out that Sachham’s long-term lawyer, who had been suspended by me this Spring, had not done his job properly over the past years. It was thus necessary to contact all the schools immediately and request patience for the payment of school fees.
In this difficult situation we benefited from our cooperation with Krishna Gautam from Laxmi Pratisthan, and with our second organisation, Sachham Helping Hands, the supporting organisation of the Textile Training Center. We informed you about this in detail in the last Annual Report. Krishna Gautam immediately agreed to take over all of Gyanu Mainali’s responsibilities. With great commitment and with the support of his lawyer from Laxmi Pratisthan, he is working on providing the necessary documentation for Sachham. Thanks to Sachham Helping Hands we were also able to pay overdue school and examination fees, and wages.
To sum up: the success of the training programme for young women and women from difficult backgrounds far exceeds the expectations we had for the first project year. By the end of the year about 20 women will have completed the basic training, and 6-7 women will have completed the advanced programme with a certificate. To date, 3 women have been able to start their own jobs thanks to the programme. In addition, we have been able to ensure that the school programme for the 68 children and young people can continue. We have taken advantage of this difficult situation to formally register Sachham with the Social Welfare Council and thus have the certainty that we can continue our urgently needed work in the future. The cooperation with Laxmi Pratisthan has provided us with the support of a very reliable partner with whom we can further develop our projects in a targeted manner.
The supporting association of Sachham in Switzerland has also had a busy year We bade farewell to Kathrin Baumgartner as President at this year’s General Meeting. We are very pleased that Christoph Sigrist has succeeded her as the new President. He is very familiar with Nepal as well as with the work of relief organisations. His experience will have a positive influence on the further development of Sachham.
We hope that this short report has given you further insight into the work of Sachham in Nepal and thank you for your generous support even in this difficult year. It goes without saying that we continue to depend on your goodwill and help in any form.
We wish you a happy festive season and good health in what we hope will be a peaceful New Year.
Annual Report Sachham Nepal 2021/22
In early March I asked myself whether I should travel to Nepal despite the uncertain, warlike situation in Europe and the still high incidence of COVID-19. After careful consideration, I decided to travel nonetheless as the effects of these two crises are also being felt massively in Nepal: tourism has not yet fully recovered, and the sharp rise in energy prices is causing additional hardship for the population; the poor are suffering particularly badly.
Furthermore, at this time the people in Nepal are also burdened with uncertainty as to whether they can continue to count on help and support from Europe. For that very reason it was important for me to be there in person and to support our team in Nepal.
Despite all these difficult circumstances, there are this year also many positive things to report:
the children and young people in the Sachham Home in Kathmandu are doing well. Both their personal development and their academic performance are very pleasing.
The four girls and their brother have settled in very well in the new house in Nayapati, and in their new home they are required to assume greater personal responsibility. All of them are well integrated and participate in the daily household and gardening tasks. Anjali Shresta, supported by the team members, takes very good care of the children and adolescents entrusted to her.
Our school programme has also developed very positively over the past year. I already wrote about it in the last annual report. At present we are supporting 68 children and young people and thus providing considerable financial relief to their families. Since some of the students are now in Levels 11 and 12, the question arises of additional financial support for further studies for talented young people. We are working together on defining the necessary criteria for an equitable selection of talents. And here in Switzerland our main task is to create the financial framework for possible studies.
The development of the Textile Training Center is also a source of great satisfaction. Last November, Celina Scheiber travelled to Nepal to organise the establishment of a textile vocational training center together with Gyanendra Mainali, and Krishna Gautam, our partner from Laxmi Pratisthan.
Since we are pursuing sustainable goals with this project and are aiming to achieve partial independence from donations with the income generated, it was necessary to found another organisation in Nepal. This step involved active exchanges with the DFA officials in the Swiss Embassy and was essential, since Sachham as an NGO is not allowed to generate income. The new organisation 'Sachham Nepal helping hands' is registered as an NPC with the Nepalese Social Welfare Board. Certification in the near future will enable us to issue official Nepalese certificates of proficiency. Under the umbrella of this organisation, we will also be able to realise further projects for vocational training.
Celina Scheiber's team rapidly found a suitable location in Koteswor/Jadibutige, set it up with 9 training places and appointed a qualified teacher, Bishnu Tamang. On 7 March we launched the project with the first course for 9 women from financially and socially disadvantaged backgrounds. We soon realised that the training alone, despite the high motivation of the participants, would not suffice to improve their situation on a sustainable basis. We are accordingly supporting the participants in discussions to help them solve their everyday problems. In addition, we are networking with other projects to acquire small textile orders that will enable the participants to earn a modest additional income in the future. Currently, we are involved in a health project that distributes to women in need menstrual pads produced in our Textile Training Centre.
It is in addition a source of great satisfaction that our various projects and active communication have also aroused the interest of private Nepalese individuals: we have been approached repeatedly with inquiries as to how they can actively participate and contribute to the development of Sachham - we see this as a promising first step towards establishing a broader sponsorship within Nepal as well.
Our experiences over the past year encourage us to continue on the path we have chosen. The team in Kathmandu is taking on a great deal of responsibility and is demonstrating through its work on the ground that our trust is more than justified.
Kathmandu and Basel, 1 May 2022
trad. Ann & Paul Bridges
Newsletter New Year 2021/2022
Dear friends of Sachham Nepal
Another eventful year is coming to an end and, despite the global pandemic with serious consequences in Nepal, we have many positive things to report about the development of Sachham. Most importantly, all of our Sachham employees are healthy and well.
The new team has come together very well and is working with great vigor. The employees have gradually optimized many small organizational things so that the on-site support for the children and young people is even better and more effective. We were able to consolidate and, in some cases, significantly expand help from Sachham Home as well as from the Scholar Program. Today 56 children and young people and their families benefit from the support of our association.
Sachham's financial situation has also stabilized and, thanks to all of your generous donations, our budget is secure for the coming months. This also allows us to tackle the project of a ‘textile learning workshop’ now in concrete terms.. Celina Scheiber has been a specialist in Kathmandu since November and is working intensively with Gyanu Mainali on the development of the project: They used the existing network in Kathmandu, made further contacts, placed advertisements at discounted conditions and ultimately found a suitable workshop manager. Bishnu Tamang has all the prerequisites for this position and also fits in very well with the existing team. Together with her, Celina has developed a 4-stage school program, which is completed with an official certificate. Thanks to our contact with the CH embassy and the advisory support of Usha Bhandari, who is responsible for the project at the embassy, the program is validated by the official "Testing Board" in Nepal.
In order for the learning workshop to be self-sufficient in the medium term, we will advertise the course program openly and offer it at a price that is ‘in line with the market’. For this reason, we will register the learning workshop as an independent project to the Nepalese authorities. We support families who cannot afford this training for their young school leavers according to the help in our Scholar program. This means that we are investing in the development of the program with the aim of making it self-sustaining in the medium term and independent of donations from abroad.
At the moment we are looking for the right course location. When setting up, we can benefit from the support of the ‘House of Heart’, again thanks to good contacts. We are receiving 4 revised, manual sewing machines, so that at the moment we only have to purchase three modern electric sewing machines and an ironing system.
The next step is public relations work that is adapted to the conditions in Nepal in order to find the right course participants. Here, too, we will be able to use our good contacts so that, if everything is going optimally, we can start the first course ‘Basic level 1, Tailoring’ towards the end of January. This will take 3 months, followed by ‘Advanced level 2, Tailoring’. ‘Fashion Desing & Pattern, level 1 and 2, round off the entire learning program. The entire training for the certificate takes a total of one year. In an initial phase, we will start with a maximum of 5 - 6 participants and then expand to a maximum of 8 people.
Everyone involved is highly motivated and looking forward to this new challenge. I include myself there.
In the hope that this brief report will give you an insight into our work, we thank you for your generous support of Sachham over the past year. Of course, we are still dependent on your benevolence and support in every form.
december 2021 I Andreas Hänggi
trad. Michel Uhlmann
Outlook for 2021
After the past year marked by the pandemic, we will continue to face some challenges in the future. Despite this all, we are cautiously optimistic that some more normality will come back this year and that with our help we will ensure that the children can return to school.
In the past weeks and months, we have worked intensively on restructuring Sachham in order to ensure that our help will also be ensured in the future. We are convinced that the board has succeeded in taking the necessary steps: We reorganized, slightly revised the Sachham website and approached various organizations and foundations to raise funds, as well as reconsidered the structures and the concrete aid in Nepal.
In addition to our cooperation programs with the Swiss embassy, we have planned to set up a small training company for young women. In sewing courses, led by Celina, the young women learn the most important techniques to be able to sew simpler items of clothing, bags and pillows on their own. For sales, we are in contact with a Swiss start-up for sustainable and fairly produced textiles, clothing and accessories. Our goal is to offer women a secure place for training and job. The skills acquired are certified via the RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) program at the Swiss Embassy in Kathmandu.
Our main concern, however, remains to enable disadvantaged children and young people to attend school, as well as subsequent training and certification.
With a lot of experience and new ideas in our luggage, we, Kathrin and Andreas, will travel to Nepal on April 3rd for a month in order to reorganize and ensure the help on site. The possibility to travel to Nepal again, where we are eagerly awaited, fills us with joy.
We will tell you more about this trip and the planned project in the next travel report.
The past year was also particularly marked in Nepal by the effects of the global Covid pandemic. A strict lock down was imposed on March 24, 2020, which was later extended again. People were allowed to leave their house for a maximum of two hours a day to buy the bare essentials. Kathmandu International Airport was closed until May 15th. The measures were initially effective, but Nepal also experienced a second wave with significantly more infections and deaths.
Help against hunger
The strict curfew and the numerous hastily returned workers from abroad led to a devastating emergency, especially among the poor. The borders with India and China, the two main suppliers of food, medicine and gasoline, were closed. As a result, a large part of the population went hungry.
Sachham has therefore decided to use donations to first support all children, adolescents and their families that were integrated into our aid programs when the pandemic broke out, with food.
This concrete in-kind assistance has swallowed up significant funds. But we assume that more food supplies will be needed.
february 2021 - ah
Riehen, December 2018
Support of the future
Support of the future – Sachham Association Nepal
“There is only one thing in the long run more expensive than education: no education.“ John F. Kennedy.
„Sachham“ typifies strength, ability & power – values, we want to provide to the highly neglected people of the Nepalese society through our projects.
You wonder why we do what we do?
The heart’s desire of Kathrin Baumgartner is, that children who lived in a children’s home having afterwards the financial support and therefore the chance to study after their compulsory schooling. In Nepal, hardly no affordable education exists for Nepalese people. For the future of adolescents, a study is indispensable.
Sachham introduces itself:
What we are doing exactly
At the moment, there are living two mothers with their children as well as four siblings form a rural and poor region with us in the Sachham house. Sachham gives the chance, especially to those four siblings, to receive education. For us it is hardly conceivable to have to choose between a parent-child relationship and education. Therefore, it is very important to us to ensure the contact to the family at least once a year.
Why we are successful
We are characterized by supporting children and adolescents who are willing to learn for their study.
What have we achieved so far
In 2014, we founded the association and since then we already could achieve several successes. With the joint support of you and us, young adults had the chance to successfully graduate from university or will do so soon. Some examples therefore:
Three nurses could successful graduate their education and are now able to finance their own life and live their dream. One student completed her study in hotel management with outstanding grades and will fly to Japan this December for an internship. Another student could finish his apprenticeship as a chef at the hotel Hyatt and is going to fly to Dubai in spring to receive further training.
What we need and what for
Only education costs (without board and lodging) totals around 25’000 CHF a year.
What you can contribute
To provide the mentioned perspective to the adolescents, we rely on any help. No matter if you want to participate in the association with a small or a bigger amount, every contribution helps us to pursue our principle “education for everyone”. Your donation gives the chance to a part of the adolescents in Nepal to complete solid education and being well prepared for their future and life. Together we will be able to give some few people the chance to a better life. Your donation helps us to provide a direct and sustainable help on-site. In the end, this contribution is a matter of a dignified human existence.
Riehen, December 2018
Christmas Letter 2018
Dear friends and donors
Maybe you feel like this letter is not a real Christmas letter. After thinking for a long time, I deiced to write these lines just in the way I feel.
Certainly, a part of the financial conditions of Sachham is related to my heart attack one year ago. After the attack, I lost the drive and the power to make full efforts for a couple of months. Such a behavior only shows impact after several months or even a year.
After the earthquake in 2015 Sachham received a lot of donations. We do use this money to rebuild houses, as promised.
After this disaster, there were other earthquakes in the world, wars and the big wave of refugees started. This worldwide crisis lead social organizations to need money.
I understand all of this and nevertheless I hope, that we at least are able to financially support the students - who already started their studies with our help - until they graduate.
This new association “Sachham” I founded in 2014, because a lot of children in Nepal may finally go to school, but the continuation to study is completely missing. There I saw the potential.
For sure by far not all children do have the possibility to go to school and girls are still at a disadvantage.
One of my friends wants to donate to parents of girls NRp. 100 (Fr. 1.-) a moth. He is convinced, that a lot of parents would send their girls to school when they get this money. As trafficking in girls still booms and “dealers” promise the parents to give them money and to pay for their girl’s education.
All the children I got to know in Nepal over the last eleven years, gave everything for their education. During school days, they almost had no time left to play. When they come home in the afternoon around 4 p.m., they have a short afternoon snack followed by homework hours of 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Even if pupils graduate the 12th school year with the best grades, it may be that they won’t have the possibility to study – because the financial recourses are missing – and often their only possibility is to go abroad as a foreign worker.
This autumn four female students completed their educations with highest scores as nurse, in hotel management, medicine, management and commerce.
One student started a four-year study. He is not able to live in-house because the college is too far away.
I deeply hope we will receive enough money within the next four years to support the other students as well as the seven children with their mothers.
I am aware of that you receive a lot of fundraising letters, but for me it is the only way to reach you.
I wish you a joyful advent season, blessed merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Thank you most sincerely for your support.
Riehen, December 2018
Perspectives as a driving force of live
Pretty much one year ago I spent two month in Nepal. The seemingly endless misery and the extreme poverty in this wonderful country may mislead people to look away only out of hopelessness and mental overload. But if you believe in a better future and having a perspective, you will win over the needed confidence to chance things.
Perspectives will give you the chance to unfold your potential, to grow beyond itself and to continue a path even under adverse circumstances. I do know this from my own life: to have prospect of an end in the middle of a hard time, to see the summit to be climbed within easy reach or only knowing to have a nice evening after an arduous day, gives me the needed energy or sometimes as well additionally courage or will, not to give up, to go even further or being real efficient once over again.
This is what I always admired Kathrin for: despite adverse circumstances not to give up and in doing so never deny her ideal, never losing sight of the well and the perspectives of the affected people. On the contrary, exactly those she is always having as the top primary objective of her work! I do know how difficult this can be in a country which is that strange to our culture, where corruption is on the daily agenda and working attitude as well as social norms distinguish a lot from our ideas….
The project Sachham Nepal offers children, adolescents and single mothers – the weakest links in a such a destitute country as Nepal – the perspective of a better live. With all her experience and her lifeblood Kathrin puts priceless energy into the complete personal and individual support of those people. For me it is a great request that the perspectives of all the people of Sachham may remain and by this a little bit more hope can be brought to Nepal and the world.
Riehen, March 2018
Report of January 2018
Because I couldn’t fly to Nepal in Fall as usual, I’ve had a full schedule in January. But the biggest challenge for me was the cold. Not even three or four layers of clothes were enough and nights stayed uncomfortable despite of five hot water bottles.
Nevertheless, I spent a very beautiful time in Kathmandu and had the chance to experience a lot of help and meet good friends.
The day after my arrival Malika Prasai left us. This was what we agreed on. There also have been some tears. Malika was since the beginning of Sachhan with us as a manager. To live together intensive and close like that leads to a deep relationship. I want to warmly thank Malika for her work done for Sachham.
I hoped to find a new manager for the association, which was the reason why I came to Nepal in January. For this position, I wished to get a woman and a man, what I did. Maya finished her education as a social worker and worked as a teacher. Bire will take his exam as a social worker in three month.
Last springtime I described my big journey to the village. We spent a very good time and could bring the family back together. During Fall we got the message that the mother of the four children again got mentally ill and runaway. When she was brought back, she needed to be tied up with her hands and feeds to the bed. I almost couldn’t stand these thoughts.
When I arrived in Kathmandu in January two of the mother’s brothers visited us (the uncles of our four children). Both were very depressed and the older brother, (the one we support with his study), even needed to determine temporarily his course of studies. In addition to their sick sister, their house broke down after the first big snowfall. To rebuilt the house would cost CHF 7’000.-. I asked how much a stay in a hospital would cost for their sister. The children couldn’t understand why they couldn’t call their mother. After our visit in Spring they always had very casual conversations with her.
Therefore, I went to the bank and got the named amount to bring the mother to a close hospital. I gave the uncles some pictures of the children and told them to hang them next to the bed.
I hope the picture of her children will give the mother the courage to live when she feels better.
The latest news has been much better. Sabina (the name of the three children’s mother) again helps to carry water and overtakes small chores. I also found someone who checks if our money is really used for Sabina.
Before I travelled to Nepal beginning of January, a joyful message reached me. A friend asked me if the three children – which we brought to another home last Spring – could come to us for vacation for several days. I gladly allowed this.
We adults and our seven children were very rejoiced about the visit. It seemed as they never had been separated. They remembered sayings and jokes they’ve done nine month ago.
We particularly notice that the three children fit very good in their ‘new’ home and are very happy there. Nevertheless, all are looking forward to the next vacation together.
At the moment, we only have two mothers with children in the house. One of them works as matron for us and does a very good job. The second mother we now could employ as a chef. Both of them are very important support at the house.
Coming Spring we want to accommodate one or two more mother(s) and their children. I hope the new management team will be incorporated by then. Next to a lot of understanding it needs quite strength and a strict attitude to get the new mothers used to a regulated daily routine.
We are also happy to have other mothers which we are able to support outside of our house. Those women live since years alone with their children. Sometimes they ask repeatedly if we could support their daughters and sons with school fees. Every time I am sorry to not be able to help them. Some of them I already know for eight years. Brave women, who never give up and retry with every visit of me to Nepal if their children could get in.
The adolescents, who live in- or external, do their studies. They have to study a lot. The costs are very different and sometimes very high. But it makes us happy, because all of them make a big effort and are very thankful for the support they get from us.
I also realized that a lot of them need our support to encourage their self-confidence. They want to have somebody to tell him/her their worries and fears and they have to realize, that not every problem is as heavy and unsolvable as they think. Sometimes they also need a correction to their behavior. Which they accept offhand.
The students also help housekeeping. They do cook on Saturday, on their day off, clean their rooms and do the dishes alternately in the evening.
Consistently we are asked for assistance in an emergency. I hope I am able to support some of them. Often, we got asked if we could pay the money to take an exam, which cost CHF 120.- to 150.-. Most of the mothers cannot afford this amount because they have no work or have been sick. They also ask for money to buy instruments for their musically gifted children or a cell phone to be able to receive homework form College – this is how it is done in Nepal.
We still help with diapers in the home for the disabled. During wintertime more diapers are needed. A lot have changed there. Since a group of Australians as well as a group of Nepalese have taken care of the home a lot have improved. Now the home is having a roof against sun and rain, as well as warm water and a washing machine, but most of all wheelchairs.
Curative pedagogical care is still missing almost completely. But if progress keeps going as last year hope for improvement remains.
Hereafter I recognized another delighting new trend in Nepal. Three of my visitors told me independent of each other their ideas for the future. In their opinion in 10 to 20 years it won’t be able to generate enough money to run their social homes and operations. Therefore, they are thinking about building an extra income.
Two of them already began to grow organic vegetables, partly on the ground of their fathers. This doesn’t cost any rent and the ground is used again. We got the offer to keep a part of the profit if we sell some carpets. Those carpets can be self-designed – if wished. I already brought photos and patterns of colors, as well as different yarns home.
On April 11, 2018 at 19:00 o’clock our general meeting will take place at the nursing home Wendelin at Inzlingerstrasse 50, in 4125 Riehen. All of you are warmly invited. After the regular meeting and some pictures the nursing home Wendeling offers an aperitif as usual.
I am looking forward to welcoming a lot of you.
I want to thank to the management of the nursing home for the possibility to hold our general meeting at the Wendelin.