just-one strives to actively promote and facilitate educational opportunities for disadvantaged and marginalized children in Nepal by working at a grass-roots level with the children, their families and their communities to implement a range of carefully developed, culturally sensitive, sustainable initiatives.Our Work Their Stories Your Help
Hot and sweaty from the 12km journey through dusty chaos in sweltering monsoon humidity, I’ve just arrived back to just-one‘s humble HQ in Kushibu having cycled across the city and back to collect the authorisation letter I need to get every 4 months from the Dept. of Information so that I can get my visa renewed and was very happily surprised at how uncharacteristically hassle-free it was this time ’round. Here’s hoping Sunday’s bureaucratic hoop-jumping at the Dept. of Immigration will go in a similar manner for me. I saw something just as I started my journey back and figured it’s worthy of sharing here as it relates somewhat to the bigger picture of Nepal’s general situation and where the work of organisations like just-one tie into it all…
Having crossed the bridge by Tilganga Eye Hospital and started pedalling up the hill towards the traffic mayhem of Gaushala Chowk, I noticed a battered old Mahindra 4×4 flat-bed truck chugging along beside me. As it slowly overtook me and left me taste the carcinogens in the haze of diesel fumes left in its wake, I had enough time to contemplate the most likely sad and morbid reality of the large metal trunk it carried as cargo. Our proximity to the airport at the time and the white bar-coded “KTM” label I saw stuck on one end by a carrying handle had me surmise that the 2 men crouched either side of the trunk, holding a white sheet over it as best they could, were most probably close family of the deceased migrant worker who, by now, will have already been cremated at Pashupatinath Temple – towards which the truck had turned right by the top of the hill, leaving me cycle on with a sense of sadness for someone I never knew.
Any time I’ve ever departed Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport I’ve witnessed just a fraction of the seemingly unending exodus of young Nepal workers being shipped out by the various local manpower agencies who fill the foreign demand for migrant labourers. On my numerous returns too, I’ve shared boarding queues and gulf flights with many of these workers flying home. Today though was the first time I’ve seen someone coming back to Nepal in such a stark and conclusive manner.
I’ll have to admit that I have no recollection of where I heard or read the statistic that 4 migrant workers return to Nepal like this each day and can only wonder whether or not any of the 1,000 or so Nepali folks who migrate daily ever ponder the possibility that “going outside” might not be all that they have hoped for… High-profile cases like the Qatar World Cup have seen the slave-like conditions occasionally featuring in mainstream media, along with the inhuman exploitation suffered (often initially at the hands of their own less scrupulous countrymen who charge handsomely for their questionable brokerage services) by so many unskilled manual labourers whose collective absence from Nepal currently leaves their native country facing a somewhat ironic labour-shortage of its own as it struggles to rebuild after all the recent devastation it endured.
What I also couldn’t help but wonder about though was the safety and well-being of the half-dozen or so now young adults who’ve unfortunately slipped through the cracks of what just-one generally offers to those we work with and, having invariably succumbed to family pressures to choose the short-term gain of foreign employment over the longer-term benefit of our educational support, are all currently working somewhere or other across the gulf. While the couple I’ve got occasional contact with on social media seem generally upbeat about their situations, one 19 year old now working in Saudi-Arabia did recently express regret at not taking his education more seriously when he had the opportunity.
Such is life, I guess, and we can only ever help those willing to accept our help. Seeing what I saw earlier though has me recommitted to notion that we have to constantly give it our absolute all to better ensure that we succeed with as many of those we work with as possible and help them achieve all that they’re capable of rather than risk becoming a much sadder statistic. If you’ve helped our work in any way, shape or form over the last 11 years then please accept my most sincere and heartfelt thanks on behalf of all here I work with and for. If you’d like to make a contribution and help our important work here to continue in the way it must, then you’ll find all the details you need here and can rest assured that your support will be very much appreciated and put to the very best of use.
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Much of what just-one has done over the last 10 years has involved closely working with the children and families we support here to help them in creating solutions for problematic aspects of their lives, and our efforts since the devastating earthquake on April 25th last have, in many respects, been carried out along very similar lines. As the earth shook and buildings crumbled, so many of those spared death and serious injury found themselves nonetheless exposed, vulnerable and facing a formidable struggle to return to normal life. ‘Normal life’ for many of those we work with was even at the best of times already a struggle – post-earthquake though, it’s hardly surprising that it’s now become an even more difficult challenge.
Our earliest response saw us providing what immediate support we could for the communities in which we work – both within the city itself, as well as a couple of affected villages in the neighbouring districts of Sindhulpalchowk and Nuwakot. Food supplies, clean water and tarpaulins shelters for some of those whose accommodation was rendered uninhabitable by the initial quake and the countless aftershocks which followed. With the initial paralysing fear and sense of panic now long subsided, efforts have already turned to doing all we can to ensure these families we’ve reached out to will remain safe and secure over the monsoon season which is currently sweeping westward across the Himalayas.
With a few temporary shelters already constructed for the families of children whose education we support, we’re currently approaching the final stages of what’s been a frustratingly long process of renting a plot of land to the north-west of the city, on which we’ll be building shelter for up 10 families who are still managing in tented accommodation. We’ve ensured the plot’s big enough to allow us comfortably and safely accommodate these needy families, while also having enough land remaining to allow us help them to set up a small vegetable farming project through which they’ll be able to generate additional income. Our accountant is with the landowner and a lawyer as I type, finalising the lease agreement, so hopefully it’ll signed and sealed before the end of the day.
I think it’s only fair to mention here in closing that absolutely none of this additional work that’s landed on our plate since the first earthquake nearly two months ago would have been even remotely possible was it not for the most incredible and humbling outpouring of generosity that I’ve ever experienced in all my years working with just-one – particularly from my native Clonakilty and the surrounding West Cork area. Each and every one of the numerous individuals, families, schools, companies, organisations, groups, etc. who’ve kindly made contributions, be they large or small, in support of our ongoing work here can rest assured that we will continue to make it our top priority to ensure that every single rupee received will be spend to the best effect for the benefit of those we support.
Know too that your kind support, be it past, present or future, is hugely appreciated by all here. Now, more than every before, we need continued and, if at all possible, regular support to help better ensure the medium to longer term sustainability of our newly added responsibilities. Please, if you haven’t done so already, do take a look at the variety of options we’ve listed here on our ‘Make a Donation’ page and consider if you’re perhaps in a position to kindly lend us some much needed support.
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It’s not yet 24 hours since a massive earthquake rattled the Himalayas and brought destruction upon the entire region. With the epicentre of this 7.8 quake laying roughly mid-way between the city’s of Kathmandu and Pokhara, Nepal certainly seems to have been the country which was hardest hit by this truly catastrophic event that’s still unfolding as I type these lines.
First off, I should say I’m incredibly relieved to report that, from what news and details I’ve been able to gather so far, the children supported by just-one and our team of staff have all survived relatively unscathed and are currently safe and well – albeit camped outside for safety and still frequently contending with the significant aftershocks which are expected to continue throughout the day ahead.
While I’m currently back in Ireland dealing with family matters, during what’s been a very surreal and emotional day, I’m happy to say I’ve had skype contact with both our Program Manager and our Chairman, as well as contact with one of our social workers, as well as a number of friends, on various social media channels and, as useless and all as I feel from here on the other side of the planet, I’m as confident as I can be that all those we work to support in Kathmandu will remain safe and well through whatever lies ahead.
As this first day-after starts to dawn across Nepal right now, I’ve got no doubt that there are some scary and uncertain days ahead with this tragedy continuing to unfold. Electricity and clean water will almost certainly be in short supply. Emergency medical services will be stretched to the absolute limit and most probably beyond. The number of dead and injured will only rise further – not just in the Kathmandu Valley, but throughout rural Nepal too and perhaps in Tibet, India and Bangladesh too where deaths have also been reported – as the true depth of this terrible destruction becomes more apparent over the days ahead.
Destruction that is so far beyond the scope and capacity of just-one that it would be completely disingenuous of me to even try suggesting that you could donate to us if you’d like to make a meaningful contribution towards the emergency relief work that’ll be desperately needed over the days, weeks and indeed months ahead right across the Himalayas… There are far larger, better equipped and more well-known global organisations which I’m sure have already started looking for the financial support they’ll need in that regard.
What I can and will say here though is that just-one does need urgent help to keep more than 70 children safe and well while we continue to support them and their families during this period of uncertainty… We’ll need support to help them and their families to start getting their lives back on track again… This is over 30 families who were already struggling against the chronic poverty which saw their respective children come to our attention in the first place… Long after Nepal’s current trauma has faded from the global news headlines and the wider public conscience, just-one will need continued support to keep doing all we do for the ever-growing family of children we work with and for…
So, while we can’t offer to help heal the immediate and massive trauma which hundreds and indeed thousands in Nepal are suffering right now, we do nevertheless provide a very real and meaningful channel for anyone who’d like to see their donation having an equally real and meaningful impact upon the lives of grass-roots beneficiaries desperately in need of and so totally deserving of support at this tragic time. Whether it’s a once off donation or a preferred monthly contribution in support of just-one‘s work, you’ll find all the required details here and can rest assured too that it’ll be put to the very best use in support of the incredibly brave and resilient gang of kids we’re so privileged to work with in Nepal.
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