This is a very special post for us at Musa Masala. We started our website in June of 2016 with one of our purposes being to highlight some of the great work being done in Nepal in the non-profit area. We searched for small organizations that worked on goals that would change individual lives through dedication and a desire to help in a focused, well-managed fashion. We interviewed Peter Schmieding of Tsering’s Fund in September of 2016. (Check out that post here. Three years later, both Musa Masala and Tsering’s Fund have come a long way!)
We got ahold of Peter as he prepared for a screening of Tsering Fund’s new documentary short film, “Namaste Ramila” in Bozeman, Montana. “Namaste Ramila” is a documentary created by filmmaker Wes Overvold and Tsering’s Fund. The hugely important film explores the trafficking of girls in Nepal and how access to education can save vulnerable children from what is simply modern day slavery. Please check out the Tsering’s Fund website and social media platforms, linked below. We’ll keep you updated on where you can see “Namaste Ramila.” What a joy to hear about the progress Tsering’s Fund has made!
So it has been several years and a lot sure has happened. On a personal note, I believe you knew my wife and I had adopted three Sherpa daughters (3 sisters from Chukkung in the Khumbu), but we went ahead and adopted their cousin, Lhakpa Doma Sherpa, who is from the same area. She is now a 2nd year dental student at Kantipur Dental College in Kathmandu. The other three are 13 (Class 8), 16 (Class 10) and 21 (a sophomore at Montana State University).
Over the last few years, since the quakes, we have transitioned back to our normal work, which is primarily the education of young women in order to protect them from trafficking and also to give them the chance of an English education. Though we completed the two schools we rebuilt after the quakes, we have not taken on any new major earthquake related projects. Our work with education still revolves around four main schools and has further begun to focus on two schools in the Sindhupalchok Region.
Our largest effort is with Jyugal Boarding High School in Chautara, the same school featured in our film “Namaste Ramila.” We now have 110 girls in school there, including some 70 that are day students (live at home) and some 40 boarding students. We are proud of our relationship with Mr. Uprety (the principal) and the staff there. They have been great partners in our efforts to locate young girls in remote areas outside of Chautara, who live too far from school to attend, and place them in Jyugal School as boarding students. This has become our primary focus and will be for the foreseeable future, as the trafficking of girls is rampant in this area and we feel we can do the most good there. By finding and boarding these young daughters of mostly poor subsistence farming families, we can not only protect them from trafficking, but also give them an excellent English language education through at least Class 12, if not further. “Namaste Ramila” is a beautiful film which documents how our efforts help young girls and their families when someone steps up.
Our other main focus is with Melamchi Ghyang School, located way north in the Helambu Region of Sindhupalchok. We now have close to 30 girls boarding there and we are focusing again on young girls living too far from school to be able to attend. Though they are at capacity for this year, they anticipate having room for a total of 100 boarding girls at the start of the school year in April of 2020. In fact, we believe this school and the Helambu Region will be the subject of our next documentary film, which we will begin creating in November.
We continue to sponsor some 55 boarding students in Shridiwa Boarding School in Kathmandu. Several are graduating each year and nearly all of them are going on to Class 11-12 and many are also now in college. We are not actively looking for new students to sponsor there, due to the cost and our desire to reach out to the rural areas, like Chautara, as we feel we can make the biggest impact for the least amount of resources invested. We still have 11 children in Namache Bazaar in the Khumbu, but for the same reason have decided not to look for new students to attend there. In and around Kathmandu, we have children sponsored in various schools and they number about 40.
Our effort to locate and sponsor nursing and health-related students has grown to where we have some 8 young women in nursing school (one RN graduated), one nurse practitioner student, a lab tech and our daughter, who is in dental school. Many of our students have gone on past Class 12, as their sponsors have agreed to keep funding their education and we have many in college studying tourism, business or media.
We still continually support several orphanages in the Kathmandu including Bal Mandir, Happy Home and several others. We provide food, clothing, money and, in one case, provided 155 egg-laying chickens!
Our fundraising has been great and we have focused this last year on finding a specific sponsor for the nearly 250 children/young women we sponsor. We are at nearly 100 percent now and almost all new children end up with a specific sponsor within months. We find it easier to keep raising the funds needed, if each specific sponsor agrees to pay annually for their child’s education. Our new film will be a big fundraising tool as it generates interest and shows potential donors just what their money can do.
Thanks, Peter! We will do all we can to help with the promotion of “Namaste Ramila” and we will hopefully have lots going on together in the future. Jam Jam!!
Learn more at TseringsFund.org.