Nepal Youth Foundation
|Founded||1990, Sausalito, California|
Freeing 12,000 girls from indentured servitude has been a major accomplishment of the Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF) a U.S.-based nonprofit organization. The mission of NYF is to provide children in Nepal with education, housing, medical care, and support.
NYF was founded in 1990 by Olga Murray after she retired from a career as an attorney for the California Supreme Court. First called the Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation (NYOF), the name was later changed to the current one. In 2012, Som Paneru, who joined NYF in 1993 as a program assistant, was elected president of the organization. Olga Murray is Honorary Board President and Founder. NYF rescues and supports children in Nepal through a range of programs.The Nepal Youth Foundation's partners are private foundations and individuals around the world and non-governmental organizations in Nepal.
NYF earned its eighth consecutive 4-star rating, the highest possible, from Charity Navigator for its efficient use of donations. Only 2% of charities earn eight consecutive 4-star ratings.
Severe floods hit Nepal mid-August, 2014, leaving hundreds of families without shelter and basic necessities. NYF alerted its supporters and in one week the Flood Relief Campaign raised over $32,000.
A week after the flood hit, NYF staff and volunteers began distributing survival kits packed with essential items: tent, sleeping mat and mattress, blankets, pots and pans, utensils and more. This initial distribution aided 216 families in the Bardiya district in west Nepal.
By August 31, NYF’s distribution of flood relief supplies had reached another 615 families in the Bardiya and Banke districts, bringing the total number of families served to 831. Of these, 137 are the families of former Kamlari girls, and 76 of them are completely homeless.
NYF was the first humanitarian organization to reach out to these villages and distribute a complete set of relief materials. The team was led by Man Bahadur Chhetri, Regional Manager of NYF’s Empowering Freed Kamlaris program. The distribution was organized in coordination with the Red Cross and the local government, which provided security to ensure the process was safe and fair.
Liberating Girls from Indentured Servitude
On June 27, 2013 the government of Nepal declared the abolition of the Kamlari system, a major development in NYF's 13-year campaign to end child slavery. This means the government is finally committed to enforcing existing laws that have long been ignored, a move prompted by the growing power of the freed Kamlari girls and a shift in the attitudes of people throughout Nepal.
In parts of Western Nepal, many indigenous families subsist as farm laborers. Unable to make ends meet, thousands of them have been forced to sell their daughters to work in faraway cities as bonded servants. An ABC News report states that many of the girls, who are as young as six, never return home, while others are abused or forced into prostitution. Very few of the girls ever attend school. The fathers receive an average of US$50 a year for their daughters’ services, and the girls get nothing.
The Nepal Youth Foundation's Indentured Daughters Program works with local communities to encourage parents to bring their daughters home from the city and provides a piglet or goat which the families can raise and sell. NYF then ensures the girls attend local schools. Over 12,000 have been rescued and this year NYF is serving 8,000 girls and young women with 18 full-time staff providing mentoring and training services and coordinating the delivery of specialized services in conjunction with other NYF programs. There are still about 300 girls who have not yet been rescued.
Nutritional Rehabilitation Homes
At the Nepal Youth Foundation's Nutritional Rehabilitation Homes, children who are severely malnourished are restored to health while their parents are educated in child nutrition, hygiene and care. NYF funds and manages 12 residential rehabilitation centers for extremely malnourished children, in Kathmandu and in rural areas of Nepal. The children and their mothers live at these centers for an average of five weeks. By the time they leave, the child is in good health and normal weight, and the parent is educated in child care, including preparation of nutritious meals using foods readily available in rural Nepal. NYF's field workers later follow up in the villages.
Since 1998, the NRHs have rescued over 5,000 mother-child pairs. Each year more than 1,000 children's lives are transformed by this project. At the urging of the Ministry of Health, NYF is establishing NRHs throughout the country. These are established on the grounds of zonal hospitals, which draw patients from a wide rural area. There are 14 such hospitals in Nepal and NYF plans to build and operate an NRH at each of them.
The Nepal Youth Foundation provides scholarships for children who have no other way to attend school. The organization supports thousands of youngsters from kindergarten through medical school. These students attend private and government schools in the city of Kathmandu and in rural villages that are often more than a day’s walk from any road. In rural areas, this is usually the first generation to receive an education. The cost is only about $100 a year per child. An education will best prepare these youngsters for the very difficult future that awaits them, since an increasing number of the next generation in Nepal’s overpopulated hills will inherit no land and will have no choice but to compete for jobs in the cities.
The scholarships motivate parents other than those whose children NYF supports to send their children to school, too. There is social pressure in the village when some kids go to school and others do not. NYF also trains teachers and builds and improves schools.
NYF's Vocational Education and Career Counseling Center (VECC) sponsors children in training programs for dozens of different careers, such as website designer, hotel manager, nurse-midwife, electrician, cook, and lab technician, and the number continues to grow. VECC also provides career counseling to needy children. Many of the children supported by NYF, particularly those at J and K House, are orphans or were abandoned by their families.
NYF also helps educate disabled children who rarely have an opportunity to become productive members of society. Only 30% are educated. NYF supports dozens of blind, deaf and physically disabled youngsters in school, the large majority of them in special boarding schools at a cost of around $300 per child per year.
Crews began construction of a new children’s village last month. The complex will have houses for boys and girls, a dining hall, two hostels for the teenagers, farmland, large play area, a vocational education center and a guest house.The Nepal Youth Foundation presently operates two homes for approximately 40 children: J House (for boys) and K house (for girls). These children are orphans, were abandoned by their parents, or are disabled. On July 20, 2014, surrounded by their J&K House brothers and sisters and other well-wishers, five children laid the cornerstone of their new home. The project is expected to be completed by October 2015.
NYF provides these children with personal attention, as well as education and medical expenses. NYF commits to provide for these children through college. Most of the children are sponsored by donors in Western countries.
Of the money NYF accepts, 82% is used to help needy children in Nepal. Only 18% is spent on administration and fundraising, which includes processing donations, applying for grants, and staying in contact with our donors. Revenue for for the fiscal year ended June 2013 was just under $3 million. This has earned NYF 8th consecutive four-star rating, the highest possible, from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent evaluator of charities.
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- Meredith May (2008). "United Nations Nepal Information Platform". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
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- Sausalito Marinscope Newspaper, July 17, 2008
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- America.gov, July 10, 2008. Retrieved on September 20, 2008
- Marin Magazine, September 2008. Retrieved on September 20, 2008