Reach Out Nepal is an Australian registered NGO which sponsors the education of children and, through various Projects, helps to relieve the poverty and distress of many poor families in Nepal.
Begun in Australia in 1996, Reach Out Nepal Incorporated is run by a volunteer committee of ten and was registered as a Charity in 2008.
We are a small group achieving big things! From Australia, we work closely with local Nepalese people who take care of the allocation of our funds as appropriate. We are funded by generous people in Australia, Canada, USA and UK who either sponsor an individual child or make a donation that is allocated where needed.
Nepal is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. Two-thirds of its population lives below the poverty line.
Children are often deprived of their basic right to education even though basic schooling is free. In Rasuwa District where we operate, 85% of the population is illiterate.
Who we are
As an Incorporation we are required to offer optional membership that allows Members to attend and the right to vote at Meetings.
To become a member simply contact us and ask for a membership form. A member of the Committee will happily sign your application. Your signed proxy is appreciated if you are unable to attend a meeting (usually only an AGM as we hold ‘email’ meetings when making minor decisions).
Photo: Elizabeth, Kushendra and Nola in Kathmandu - see 'Our history' below
$5 to join
“On my first trip to Nepal in 1994, I was overwhelmed by both the poverty & beauty of this tiny Himalayan kingdom. On that trip my guidebook suggested that Kumbeshwar Technical School (KTS) would accept unwanted clothing and so I contacted its Director, Kiran Khadgi, and thus began my association with and love of Nepal.
Written by Nola Ainsworth, Founder and Chairperson of Reach out Nepal, April 2021
Photo of Nola with Hari
KTS was begun in 1983 by Siddhi Bahadur Khadgi to cater for the untouchable lower caste. It runs a Nursery, a free primary school for 250 children & a Hostel for 20 children. KTS also provides vocational training in carpentry, carpet weaving, spinning and hand knitting. KTS is a member of FAIR TRADE & exports knitwear and carpets to Italy, Japan and UK and these activities help to fund the school and Hostel. The Khadgi family’s story is inspiring- see www.kumbeshwar.com
In 1995 my husband & I began sponsoring a child in KTS. Gradually other family members & friends joined until we had more than 20 sponsors. Today those sponsored children are out in the workforce except for one young adult whom we are still sponsoring.
Political unrest has been a part of Nepalese culture for centuries. With the increase in Maoist activity in 2001, resulting in the deaths of many public servants, KTS found they were turning away children from the Hostel due to lack of space so two of Kiran’s sisters, Karuna & Sheela, opened HURESU, a home for abandoned / orphaned children or children of mothers who had been abandoned by their husbands. Three of these mothers stayed on as maids and we still sponsor some of their children today.
CHILD SPONSORSHIP AT HURESU ORPHANAGE, KATHMANDU
In 2003 there were 5 children being supported by 13 sponsors. By the end of 2004 we had 21 sponsors supporting 19 children and maids and during the next 10 years sponsorship steadily grew, mostly by word of mouth. I ran the organisation for 14 years on my own, operating under the title ‘Reach Out and change a life in Nepal’.
REGISTERED AS A CHARITY
In 2008 I registered it as a Charity to be known as ‘Reach Out Nepal Incorporated’ using the current logo. It was then necessary to form a Committee, have our own Bank account, hold formal meetings and be audited. Committee members were coerced from among my family and friends & we now have a Committee of 10. Optional membership is offered to all sponsors.
It was hard work keeping track of funding and overseeing the best interests of our growing children from afar, so in May 2012, during a visit with Elizabeth Cambourn, a sponsor friend and Committee member, we were introduced to Kushendra Mahat who soon became our Financial Adviser ‘on the ground’ in Kathmandu. We asked him to find us a bigger home for our children as many were now in high school and he suggested that a boarding school might better suit our needs. He took us to visit Glen Buds Boarding School, however in its location it would have been too small. A few months later we received notification that it was relocating and we were offered spaces for all our children.
SPONSORED CHILDREN TRANSFERRED TO GLEN BUDS BOARDING SCHOOL , KATHMANDU
At the end of 2012 most of our children and two maids moved into the Hostel at Glen Buds Boarding School in Maharajgung, Kathmandu. Here they studied up to Grade 10.
After eight months we were informed that Glen Buds Boarding School was amalgamating with Oracle Academy as both schools were finding it difficult to attract the necessary numbers of students to make the schools viable. So, all the rooms in Glen Buds Boarding School were turned into classrooms and the boarders were moved to the Oracle Boarding School, a fifteen -minute walk away. This amalgamation lasted only a few years and then our students returned to live on campus at Glen Buds again.
The eldest four students, who chose to live with their mums, have now completed a Bachelor’ degree - one each in B/Hospitality, BSc/Physics, BBS and BSc/Social Work. One young lady is studying for her Masters’ degree on the Gold Coast in Queensland.
In 2021, seven of our students are studying for their Bachelor’ degrees, two are in Class 12 and all have left Glen Buds. We still sponsor four children and support the tuition of one boy, who has no sponsors, in Glen Buds. While we don’t sponsor additional children in Kathmandu, we will continue to sponsor the current children while needed.
In 2019 Glen Buds moved to a larger campus and extended its Classes to include +2 (11+12).
Sadly, the Covid-19 pandemic took its toll and they are now struggling to get back on their feet.
Our students living outside Glen Buds received support during the pandemic so that they had funds to buy food and pay for accommodation and sundry items as they were in lockdown for most of 2020.
MEETING HARI DEVKOTA
Sometime during the middle 1990s, I became aware of Porters’ Progress, an organization that takes care of porters’ rights. Through this organization I met Harikrishna Devkota, an inspiring young man with a dream to help not only his fellow porters but also the people in his village and surrounds. Whenever I was in Nepal we would discuss different ways that we could help. After participating in a Habitat for Humanity Build in 2009 I was particularly impressed with how its motto of ‘a hand up, not a hand out” worked. Homes are only built for those families who have jobs and can repay a small micro loan. Family members must put in ‘sweat equity’ on their own home, that is, they must help in the construction.
HHCP BEGINS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH US
Hari and I wondered if this idea could be implemented in his village.
In 2011 Hari sent me a document about his sponsorship program in The High Himalayan Community Project (HHCP) in the Rasuwa District, a five-hour bus trip from KTM, and asked me to circulate it among our sponsors. I was hesitant at first because, as these children live with their families, sponsorship would be for their education alone and so each child would require only one sponsor. If, for some reason, a sponsor stopped then that child could no longer go to school.
I sent the document to our current sponsors and was overwhelmed by their immediate response. Soon the word spread, especially in Griffith, through some women who were part of my Team on another Habitat Build and sponsorships grew.
As the children’s sponsorship program continued to grow Hari and the School Sponsorship Committee acknowledged that support from the outside world was not a bottomless pit and not everyone could commit to long term financial support.
GOAT SPONSORSHIP BEGINS
When we met in October 2012 Hari told me about the Goat Project that would assist families to become self-sustaining and thus no longer rely on outside support. I immediately paid for the first goats and from there the scheme has grown.
The micro-savings program set up by HHCP continues to attract lots of families who value the opportunity to save for their children’s education.
Then the EARTHQUAKES occurred, the statistics of which speak for themselves:
7.8magnitude on April 25, 2015
7.3 magnitude earthquake on 12 May*
8,773+ people killed and more than 23,000 people injured
750,000 houses and 6000 schools destroyed
1 million children unable to return to school
8 million people directly affected - more than a quarter of the population.
In the Rasuwa District where RONEP works with HHCP some 12,000 families were made homeless and struggling to survive. 53 schools completely collapsed, 967 people died and 173 were still missing. Fortunately, the earthquakes struck during the day when most of the villagers would have been outside working in their fields. Otherwise, the toll may have been far higher.
All 69 of our sponsored children survived; sadly 16 people from our Pig and Goat Projects were killed.
It was the saddest day for us all.
Reach Out Nepal was inundated with donations small and large, from near and far and we were able to send immediate relief of more than $50000 to help
provide 8 sheets of corrugated iron to 1000 families to make shelters
distribute 2000kg rice, 100kg lentils, 100kg salt, 500kg sugar, 200L cooking oil
distribute 280 tarpaulins.
The Nepalese Government received millions of dollars in relief funds and eventually each family was given $US2000 to rebuild their home to certain specifications. Failure to follow these guidelines would result in no financial help should there ever be another earthquake.
Life slowly returned to normal, schools and homes were re-built and sponsored children continued to thrive.
Then came Covid-19. The Nepalese Government did not have the means to cope with a huge outbreak of the virus so the country went into lockdown for most of 2020. HHCP was extremely fortunate to receive support from the Rainbow of Hope for Children Society, Alberto, Canada. Patrick & Laura Hessel, whom I met on another Habitat Build, were responsible for this assistance as many of the people were starving.
The achievements of our sponsored children never cease to amaze me; likewise, the work ethics of the families given income-producing opportunities and they are the reason why I continue to carry on with this work.
How grateful I am to our generous sponsors who continue to support us in our endeavour to ‘reach out and change a life in Nepal’. I hope you will join us.”