You’ll be forgiven for not knowing that today marks the beginning of the year 1133 – according to the Nepal Sambat calender, followed by the indigenous Newar community here in Kathmandu. I’m also hoping that I’ll be forgiven for the shameful 7-month gap since my previous post… Aside from being incredibly grateful, I must also admit that I’m continually amazed that we continue to garner valuable support from so many of you – despite my inability to keep this here website sufficiently updated. It’s somewhat bizarre that for someone who can (and does) talk at significant length about the ongoing challenges and successes of our important work here in Nepal, I continue my struggle to actually write about it on a suitably regular basis. Here’s to 1133 being the year when I finally get that frustrating mental block sorted for once and for all! For now though, so much has gone on since I last wrote that I’d be hard pushed to recount all of it here, but I’ll do my best to briefly summarise some of it at least – so those of you who have been kindly supporting just-one will have an idea of all that you’re actually involved in.
We were very pleased to see our important ‘giving is selfish‘ message making it, once again, into a much coveted information box in the Nepal edition of Lonely Planet, and even happier that my name and any reference to just-one‘s website had to be edited out of this 2012 publication to meet new editorial policy introduced at Lonely Planet PLC when they were acquired by the BBC. We were also delighted to learn last July that Intrepid Foundation selected us as one of the 4 organisations they support in Nepal. This has the potential to be of significant value to the ongoing success of our work as socially responsible Intrepid kindly match, dollar for dollar, any donations they receive for us here on their website! Mid-July too saw the annual renewal of our project approval documents successfully completed without too much bureaucratic hoop-jumping being requested by the relevant authorities here, such as the Social Welfare Council, District Administration Office, etc.
As the unusually light monsoon rains of July/August turned the city’s streets (in the slow process of being widened by the incumbent - so easily mistaken for incompetent - government) into muddy thoroughfares, we made a decision to temporarily wind-down the residential rehabilitation aspect of our work, to allow our small (yet truly amazing) team of local staff to focus on improving the various follow-up support activities we engage in for the long-term benefit of the children and families we currently work with. This is a decision which will see us not recruiting new resident children once those in our Transit Home at the moment have been successfully reunited with their respective families. While our residential facility is likely to remain empty for approximately 6 months, our humble HQ in Khusibu, where it’s based, will be far from a quiet and soulless place, as we’re now only weeks away from finally opening a library facility/activity centre on the ground floor of these premises – where we plan to offer after-school support to many of the children receiving our assistance, as well as providing non-formal education and basic tuition to a number children working in the local vicinity.
From August 29th last to November 11th just gone, my failure to provide anything in the way of an update (other than an occasional post on our facebook page or one of my equally sporadic articles for the West Cork People) was largely down to the ‘headless chicken’ nature of what turned out to be a round-trip of well over 25,000km – during which I gave almost 100 slideshow presentations as part of the annual fund-raising trip back to my native Clonakilty. Visiting nearly 50 schools this year (from Ballydehob to Belfast and Dublin to Dubai) I was happy to share the incredible successes we’ve been empowered to achieve by the hundreds of students and teachers I spoke with – all of whom remain as interested in our work as they are supportive of it. Perhaps the proudest of many anecdotes I’ve had the pleasure of sharing with our supporters was that Shakti Lama (the mountain-biking star mentioned previous in this blog-post) finished in 2nd place in his first ever international race during the Autumn and has since returned to Nepal with the very real prospect of proudly representing his troubled though beautiful country at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil!
I’m happy to report that the 10 week trip I happily returned from Sunday evening last, provided a very welcome break from the grinding and chaotic reality of day-to-day life here in Kathmandu and has given me renewed confidence that just-one can (and WILL) continue to go from strength to strength with the inspirational assistance we continue to receive from our slowly growing army of supporters around the world! For whatever role you may have ever played in this, I’d like to finish up by assuring you that (despite my general lack of saying so on a regular enough basis) both I and all at just-one are forever indebted to you for your kindness – without which none of what we’ve managed to achieve to date would have been even remotely possible. If, on the other hand, you’ve just stumbled upon us now for the very first time, you too can rest assured that any amount (large or small, once off or regularly) you might kindly choose to donate to us here today, will be of huge benefit to our ongoing efforts to show that, really, it doesn’t take much to make a difference.