How do you celebrate your 60th birthday?
A big party would be nice. Maybe a trip somewhere warm, or a little adventure someplace I’ve read about in an in-flight magazine.
Instead, I want us to build a school. Really.
Here’s the backstory.
Five years ago my daughter Claire and I somewhat innocently signed up to build a school in Southern Nepal. The plan was to get our hands dirty, see Nepal for the first time and support a good cause.
We didn’t expect to have our lives changed.
Southern Nepal (the school we built is in the western province of Dang, Nepal, near the Indian border) is one of the poorest regions of the country and young girls are often poached by the more wealthy Indian population into bonded labour. Even if families are able to keep their girls at home, there’s little opportunity to attend school, so they grow up without literacy or skills to make a living and are left to live in extreme poverty.
Every day, our small team of amateur school-builders was blessed by grateful mothers who’s way of thanking us was to prepare a simple meal in stone ovens and then carry it on their heads across the fields from where they live. Sitting in the shade, eating off fresh betel leaves, it was clear our gift to these mothers was much more than sun-baked bricks and a tin roof. For these families, a school is about hope and possibilities—a chance for their daughters to experience more and do more with their lives.
For 14 years Her International (originally named IWEN) has been working to curb the selling of young girls into bonded labour and helping these young children complete their grade 12 schooling – including mentoring when needed.
And we are running out of space.
This November we are building a new school, a stone’s throw from the one Claire and I helped built 5 years ago.
That’s where I need your help.
This campaign is all about you and me doing something important. Every year, more girls are graduating – the first in their family with an education – and expanding their world. Some go to university, some get a job, some start a family and all of them have a unique and special advantage to help their village or country.
We can make a difference where it’s needed the most. We can give a Dang.
The real reward is what’s going to happen every day in the new school. But if you want to make a big dent in the cost of the build, here’s what I can do for you:
- $500. Your name on a brick placed on the front wall of the school.
- $1000. Up to 4 bricks with names on the school wall.
- $5000. A very special Thank You package from Nepal, plus I will personally mail a very fat Nepalese cow to your home address.
Your donation is tax-deductible.
Here are the full school plans:
- Project goal for 2-story school is $30,000 CDN ($23,000 USD). Full funding by 31 May 2018.
- Location is Gadawa, Dang, Nepal
- Build team arrives in November to start construction. School opening 2019.
About Her International:
- currently funds 182 girls’ education ($300/year).
- supports 930 mothers in 29 micro-credit groups to provide literacy training as well as loans to buy land, start businesses and repair homes.
- In 2014 opened Unako house (“her” in Nepalese) to support: scholarship students’ tutoring, microcredit groups, a business incubator, and creating crafts sold for fundraising.