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Summer Newsletter – 2001

Posted by on September 20, 2012

Dear Friends,

As the weather heated up with the onset of summer Tashi Waldorf School concluded it’s first school year. Our final term was brought to a dramatic close with the staff’s production of the children’s play ‘Three Silver Coins’. Based on a Tibetan folktale the play was written by John Walton a good friend and supporter from Kings School in England. We translated it into Nepalese and got to work! The production was directed, designed, and produced by Laurence Penetrat a volunteer Eurythmist who has been working with us for the past three months. It was a great experience for all the staff! For most of us, it was our acting debut. Hopefully the first of many!

May has brought a certain quiet as the children are on holidays. The office is still a hive of activity with reports to write, funding applications to make, and a new school year to prepare for! A little drum role here folks: Tashi Waldorf is preparing to reopen and welcome no less than 36 children. A brand new Kindergarten classroom is designed and decorated bringing us to a total of 3 Kindergartens. As I write the carpets are being laid and the walls have already been lovingly painted in soft pink. The carpenters are making the furniture and the blankets are ordered. A large bag of tiny flip-flops lies in the office waiting for little feet, as 26 new children shall soon be joining us. All of our children, except for two, come from families where the parents work as laborers, either in construction, carpet factories or in making handicrafts. Again, we must turn to our extended family of donors to ensure that these children receive the education they need.

Let us introduce you to some of our new children:

Monita Gurung is 4 years old, has big brown eyes and soft hair. This gentle little girl suffers from a physical disability, which impairs her movement particularly on her left side. Her parents have been faced with the sad reality that there is no special needs education for young children in the Kathmandu valley. Even though ours is a regular kindergarten, the teachers and teaching director have willingly accepted Monita knowing that her options are few. Hopefully with care and attention she will blossom and enjoy her school experience.

Anju Adhikari, a bright young girl, and only child, lives with her mother in Boudha. Her father left them some years ago. Her mother struggles to support them by carding wool at home but is often unwell. Life is not easy for single mothers in Kathmandu. We hope Anju will benefit from the positive school environment and her mother can work with ease knowing daughter is getting a good education and draw support from our parents’ community.

Manisha Thapa is 3 years and 8 months, the youngest of 4 daughters. She is excited to be joining her older sister Saju at school. Saju has attended Tashi Waldorf School since our opening last year, and we are happy to welcome her younger sister this June. Saju and Manishra live with their two sisters and parents in one room in Boudha. Their father works at a carpet factory and their mother is a housewife.

Nine of our children will be coming from Shanti Sewa Griha, a community for leprosy suffers, and the very poor. Shanti Sewa Griha provides food, lodging and vocational training for its residents. They run a health center that provides free health care to those in need and a craft shop to sell products made in their workshops. We are delighted that these children can join us, and are very happy to be associated with such a worthwhile initiative.

In the colourful stimulating and safe environment of our kindergartens our children receive a wonderful educational foundation. They are given the freedom to play and discover, and to develop naturally without stress or pressure. Our teachers have been working and training in Waldorf education for many years now. The school is located in the leafy suburbs. It is an oasis of peace, calmness and clean air away from the bustle and pollution of the inner city. Each day the children receive a nutritious snack and lunch, vitamin supplementation and medical attention as needed.

In order to promote parental responsibility, foster a sense of community, and avoid creating a culture of dependency all our parents contribute to their child’s education. An arrangement is worked out with each family according to their means. On average, our parents contribute from 5-10% of their income to the school. A sizable contribution on their part. However, our costs are much higher than this. To help cover this cost we have started a child sponsorship program. Through the program, we match children and sponsors. Sponsors receive an introductory package, which contains an introduction letter, a brief biography of the child, some photos, and some artwork done by the child. Reports are sent annually to sponsors. At the moment as our operating costs are US$50 per child per month, we are looking to find two sponsors per child. We hope in the future, as we continue to expand to reduce the cost to US$25 per child. Our school caters for children from age 3 to 7. In their final year, we will prepare the children to enter grade school. As we are committed to ensuring that our children receive a full and high quality education, we hope that our children's sponsors will continue to support them throughout their education. This will enable us to help our children and their families to find placements in mid range private schools. Though even private schools suffer from limited resources, they are of a much higher standard than government schools. Sponsoring a child at Tashi Waldorf School is a simple and direct way to make a meaningful contribution to a child here in Nepal. It is a small step you, as an individual, can make towards ensuring quality education and equal opportunities for all children.

To cater for our expanding school we are also taking on two teacher trainees. The trainees shall work in the school while pursuing on-going in-service training after school hours. It is wonderful to be able to offer this employment and training opportunity to two young women. This increased human resource will also give our existing teachers the freedom to pursue studies abroad thus deepening their commitment to Waldorf Education and strengthening our initiative in Nepal.

Our Teaching Seminar Program for 2001 has been a great success. To date we have run 4 seminars covering, early childhood development and education, doll making, arts and crafts and eurythmy. The seminars have been widely supported by the teaching community in the Kathmandu valley. There is little or no formal teacher training available to teachers in Nepal so they are very happy to avail of this opportunity. It is thanks to our volunteer trainers from around the world that we are in position to offer these seminars and we are very grateful that they have been able to come and work with us.

To date we have been amazed and touched by the continued generosity and support we have received from people and groups all over the world. Without your help, our school would never have become a reality. However our future is not secure. In order to continue running our school in 2002 we desperately need your help. We need 60 child sponsors or the equivalent in funds given as one-time donations to operate our school next year. Our year-end report for year 2000 and our plans and budgets for 2001 are available upon request. Any help you can give will be deeply appreciated.

Thank you most sincerely,
Everyone at Children Of Nepal & Tashi Waldorf School