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.

One day down… and a lifetime to go!

Written by Declan on March 31st, 2016 Categories: Blogroll, Education, Fund-raising, General, Latest, Our Work, Their Stories, Your Chance | no comments so far. write your own »

Though certainly falling slowly with each passing year, school dropout rates in Nepal remain unacceptably high and untold numbers of children who 1st enrolled in Grade 1 ‘way back in 2006 have not, sadly and for a whole myriad of reasons, made it all the way through to Grade 10 and so won’t have sat the first of this year’s School Leaving Certificate exams which started here earlier today. Unfortunately, the ‘Iron Gate’ – as the SLC exams are referred to here in Nepal – will most probably remain shut to them for the remainder of their lives.

4 of the 5 students from just-one sitting their SLC exams this year

4 of the 5 students sitting this year’s SLC exams with just-one‘s support

Thankfully though, of the 600,000+ students who have had the questionable pleasure of nervously starting their SLC exams earlier today, I’m very happy to say 5 of them come from the ranks of those supported by just-one. As nervous as I’m sure they may well have been, I feel pretty confident too that they’ll do just fine. End results aside, they’ve already done themselves proud in even managing to get this far and we wish them all the very best for the remainder of these exams and the lives they’ll go on to create for themselves after.

I’d also like to share our most sincere gratitude with all those who’ve so kindly supported our work over the years. Without this support, we’d have been able to do very little indeed so please take a well deserved bow for enabling us to actually offer all those we work with the opportunity of an education in the first place. Nepal’s future may well be more uncertain than it has ever been but I remain convinced that, rightly or wrongly, education is a key which will allow those who posses it to open more doors than those who haven’t been so fortunate.

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When things work out as they should.

Written by Declan on January 22nd, 2016 Categories: Family Reintegration, Fund-raising, General, Latest, Our Work, Poverty, Their Stories, Your Chance | no comments so far. write your own »

Isn’t it odd how quite often in life the right thing to do is rarely the easiest? So many times in our almost 12 years of operation we’ve encountered situations where reuniting the children we support with their families is nothing short of a mammoth (and quite often unending) task. There have been frustrating times when members of our team have most probably found themselves wondering why we couldn’t just refer the child in question to one of the relatively few well-run children’s homes in operation here and simply relieve ourselves of the responsibility.

It would certainly be the least difficult option for us to pursue but, with a growing body of research continuing to highlight the longer-term negative impact such institutional care options have on a child’s development, we’ve always remained committed to doing as much as necessary to facilitate a safe and successful family reintegration wherever possible.

I’m delighted to report that our most recent such case took an important step closer to this successful completion earlier this week when, after months of searching enquiries and painstaking detective work more than 100 miles from Kathmandu, the brother and sister pictured below finally got to meet their maternal grandfather.

Youthful disregard for the cultural reluctance to smile for photos! ;o)

While there is certainly a whole lot of work still to be done to ensure that these beautiful siblings will return to the safe and loving family environment they both deserve and long to be in, the smiles, laughter and sheer excitement experienced here on Tuesday last when Grandpa came to visit were more than enough to convince us that we’re almost definitely still on the right track. It was yet another one of those beautiful moments when all past difficulties and frustrations experienced in actually getting to this point, quite simply pale into insignificance upon witnessing something as it should be – a family reunited.

Huge and unending thanks to all those who make momentous events such as this possible – most particularly loyal and generous supporters such as you, without whom our incredible staff wouldn’t be able to achieve all that they do! :o)

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From certain chaos to potential doom…

Written by Declan on December 10th, 2015 Categories: General, Latest, Our Work, Poverty | no comments so far. write your own »

You’d be forgiven for knowing little or nothing about what’s been going on in Nepal over the last few months. Not least because of my own continued inability to keep this here website even nearly as up-to-date as it deserves and in deed needs to be (Cringe!) but also because, unless there’s a deadly earthquake to sensationalise or a quirky government-sponsored goat slaughter or similar to fill the “and finally…” news slot, poor ol’ Nepal never commands a great deal of the global media’s increasingly limited attention.

Earthquake devastation aside, it’s the political chaos, ineptitude and criminal inaction which has unfolded since that sees Nepal now in the grips of a humanitarian crisis the outside world most probably knows very little about. What started with violent protests (against the introduction of a knowingly divisive constitution some months back) disrupting the regular supply of goods across the Indian border, has continued to spiral out of control with the powers-that-be doing very little by way of constructive intervention and the black-market economy fast becoming the accepted norm.

Political intricacies and confusion aside, the current situation remains that with ‘normal’ supply channels from India being severely disrupted for months now, a slowly-growing array of daily essentials (including petrol, diesel, cooking gas and, perhaps most worryingly, medical supplies) are only available to those who can afford the extortionate prices demanded by those who somehow or another have managed to maintain a readily available supply.

Needless to say, the long-suffering Nepali citizens continue to struggle on, as best they know how, getting by on what little they have. Times are tougher than they’ve ever been before though and I find myself wondering if the resilient nature of Nepali people, which I’ve admired for years, isn’t actually one of their greatest weaknesses… One being cruelly exploited by those who have the power to create change but choose not to… Ke garne? Nepal este ho…

While it’s definitely a whole lot more uncertain than it’s ever been in the almost 12 years that I’ve lived here, I can’t actually say that it’s hugely different. The children and families we work with remain vulnerable and as in need of a caring and supportive hand as they’ve ever been. We’re incredibly fortunate at just-one to enjoy the continued support of a small but incredibly generous army of fans from all over the world who kindly empower us to do what we do.

From the hundreds of school students who were inspired by our visitors on this autumn’s Etihad-sponsored fundraising trip to Ireland, to individuals like Thomas Fitzgibbon who ran the Everest Marathon kindly raising over €7,000 and the 14 fundraising trekkers from Ireland who visited Poon Hill recently and contributed almost €35,000 between them are just some of the endeavours that have allowed us to continue reaching out to some of those most in need and help them get their lives back on track.

***Post-Script***

As I wrote that last paragraph just there and wondered how I’d wrap the post up ready to be published, I saw notification of a message received by our facebook page and went to take a look… I’m still shell-shocked by what I read but feel I must share it with you here too… It was from the daughter of one of the aforementioned Poon Hill trekkers to share the terribly sad news that her father, James Fitzgerald, died yesterday following a tragic accident at his home. It’s difficult to comprehend that the gentleman pictured to the fore of the photo below is no longer with us… :o(

RIP

James Fitzgerald, Nov 12, the morning we reached Poon Hill.

In sharing our deepest sympathies and most heartfelt condolences with his family, I’d also like to remind them that the legacy of his incredibly generous and valuable contribution to our work (well over €1,000 more than the €1,500 minimum each participant had to raise) will live on in the bright and happy smiles of the children who are already benefiting from the support he kindly empowered us to provide for them and their families. May he rest in peace.

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