Archive for the 'Their Stories' Category

One day down… and a lifetime to go!

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

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.

When things work out as they should.

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

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)

Same-same, but different…

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

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.