Archive for the 'Blogroll' 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.

Destruction on a Himalayan scale…

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

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.

Photo of a collapsed building in Kathmandu.

Buildings reduced to rubble just a mere 5 minute walk from our centre

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.

a photo of a recent gathering of children at just-one's centre in Kathmandu

Half of the children we support pictured here at our centre last month.

Done, dusted and back to normal!

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Just over a week ago now, my 2 Nepali colleagues and I had completed the final leg of the generously sponsored journey we’d gratefully received from the kind folks at Etihad Airways and were back to the charming chaos of Kathmandu’s airport. With more than 5 weeks of an almost non-stop whirlwind tour along the highways and byways of my native Ireland behind them, and the festival of a Diwali to look forward to over the days ahead, it was clear that they were both absolutely delighted to be home. While I could certainly have done with an extra week or so myself to have spent some time with family and friends back in Clonakilty, I must admit I was fairly excited to be back in Nepal too.

Photo of Sati smiling in Abu Dhabi as she boards the plane to Kathmandu

Sati happy to board the Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi to Kathmandu.

My excitement was based mainly on the overwhelming success of this year’s fundraising trip that we’d just completed. Successful not necessarily in terms of financial gain alone – but more the almost coming-of-age experience that resulted from having Sati, our teacher of over 7 years, and Bimal, the most recent addition to our dedicated team of local staff, come visit the community which has so generously empowered just-one and enabled our work to evolve and develop in the way that it has over the last decade.

I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t at least a few teary-eyed and lump-in-the-throat moments during the 100+ presentations we gave in over 50 schools throughout West Cork and far beyond, while Bimal explained to the hundreds we spoke with that, as well as being our newest member of staff, he was also one of the first children in Nepal to benefit from the organisation’s fledgling work ‘way back in 2005. Particularly poignant were those instances where the students he was speaking with were only a few years younger than him at most: young adults with childhood memories of helping children from faraway – children such as the now young man standing in front of them, smiling and sharing clearly sincere words of thanks!

just-one's chariot at the start of a 3,000km+ road-trip

just-one‘s trusty chariot at the start of what became our 3,000km+ road-trip

It was a wonderful opportunity too for both Sati and Bimal themselves to witness first-hand the incredible local support for just-one that’s helped to shape our important work in Nepal. Their initial astonishment was, I suppose, understandable when you consider that other than a few fills of petrol, the entire trip cost the organisation very, very little indeed! In addition to the 3 return flights kindly sponsored by Etihad Airways, arriving in Ireland a few weeks before my colleagues, I was incredibly fortunate to have been able to use my Clonakilty connections to arrange the complimentary use of a car courtesy of Pat Joe O’Donovan Car Sales, to have it comprehensively insured kind compliments of William Murphy & Sons Insurance and covered in free stickers by our generous friends at Walsh Printers.

There were a whole host of other local contributors too (like Clona Holiday Homes who generously provided a spacious 2-bedroomed apartment for the duration of their stay and O’Donovan’s Hotel who’ve always provided us with free-of-cost venues for countless meetings and events) which you’ll find mentioned on our facebook page – all of whom very kindly support our ongoing efforts to ensure that as close to 100% as possible of our locally-raised funding goes directly to the core of our work here in Nepal. It’s valuable contributions and provision of services such as these that allow us to fulfil our long-standing promise to equally valued donors like the lads at Ardagh Boys’ National School in Rosscarbery that the loose change they so diligently collect throughout the year will be spent directly on helping provide kids like them with opportunities they simple don’t have.

Boys, past & present, at Ardagh NS ending our trip with a €253 donation

Past & present pupils of Ardagh National School making a generous donation.

I’ve no doubt that it’ll take some time yet for Bimal and Sati to fully process the entire experience they’ve just had in Ireland, but I’m pretty sure too it’ll be recorded as a largely positive one. One that almost certainly bodes well for just-one‘s future work – both in terms of our valuable supporters’ improved perceptions of that work, as well as our staff and beneficiaries’ increased understanding of where much of our support actually comes from. I want to finish up here now by saying that I know that they, and the rest of just-one‘s growing family here in Kathmandu, will want to join me in extending a huge and heartfelt thank you to all our supporters – past and present – who’ve helped us get this far. And like me, they’ll be hugely appreciative too of whatever support – big or small – we continue to receive over the months and years ahead. Maybe you’d like to go here right now and see how you could support our work today… Go on – you know you want to!! ;o)