Asna Orphanage, Western Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal
Asna Orphanage is a children rehabilitation center funded by the local government to provide free education and child care for Nepali children with financial difficulty in school age.
Current State of the Orphanage
How I Helped to Improve It
Old Books, Pens and Other Study and Entertainment Utilities
Bought New Textbooks, Practice Books, Color Papers, Color pens, Ball-Pens, Table Tennis Racket, Soccer Ball.
No Local Public Transporation
Bought Two New Bicycles for Long-Term Using
In Short of Homework Notebooks
Bought 35 Thick Notebooks for Every Student
Old and Unsuitable Clothes
Paid the Local Director to Buy New Clothes for Kids
By the end of 2012-2013 school year, I raised up to 310 USD funds with the help of Children In Need Club through bake sales, post card selling, and music concert in San Domenico School and on Facebook. With these money, I believed I could make some change to the life of children in Nepali countryside community. Initially, I had no clear idea about what to donate to the orphanage because I did not know exactly what they needed. Thus, I decided to find out when I get there. But still, I did prepare a special gift--Hui Mountain Ceramic Dolls--from my hometown Wuxi, to send a sincere greeting from my community.
Another gift from Children In Need club to Asna Orphanage -- A CD of Children In Need concert recording.
A greeting from Wuxi, China to Chitwan, Nepal -- Hui Mountain Ceramic Dolls
Club president Cherry Yuan helping with bake sales hosted for fundraising.
Although English is the official language in Nepal, not every Nepali can speak it, and even less Nepali citizens are able to speak it fluently. In spite of the language barrier, people in Chitwan, especially children, are rather enthusiastic and comfortable in making friends with strangers. On 25th June, after morning work in plants nursery, I was very tired and headed back to my host family. On the way back, I saw three Nepali school girls of about 10-year-old walking past. They saw me and waved to me with big smiles. As I waved back, the shortest, and probably youngest girl among them asked me with a fair-sounding accent: "Hello, nice to meet you. What's your name?" I was a little bit surprised because these children were more out-going than many adults. "Nice to meet you! My name is Fiona." They repeated after me, "Bee-ona." Afterwards, the shortest girl reached her little hand to me, wanting a handshake. Interested in her diplomatic behavior, I had a handshake with her. She seemed happy but shy, not knowing what to do next. She looked at other girls and these girls held their hands together. After a short hesitation, the shortest girl also held my hand gently. We four walked together on the thin path in Rampur village in Chitwan, while the bright sunlight showered over us.
In the afternoon, when I stepped into the orphanage, I was expecting faces of very young children. However, I saw many children of different ages instead. They sat by their own desks and some stared at my group with curiosity. Even though we had an orientation, we were still a little bit nervous. Sitting on the chairs prepared for us, we heard introductions about their names and favorites and also greetings from these children first, and introduced ourselves in return.
We at first didn't know what we were supposed to do to interact with these kids. Fortunately, some of them came to us and asked us to read English articles and practice questions with them to help them prepare for tests in the next week. We each led about five kids and I decided to pick one article about Chitwan National Park. As I read for them, I noticed they paid full attention to me and even corrected me when I unconsciously pronounced "200" into "twenty". As also an Asian, I was actually amazed by their English level--because when I was nine, I learned only simple words like "elephant", but these young Nepali students were already skilled in spelling "gharial" and "rhinoceros". Later when I picked some questions to examine kids in my group, most of them were very confident and answered perfectly. I have to admit I was impressed by their hard work and believed they deserved a better education environment.
One hour later, we had a lot of fun with these Nepali kids in their "play time". During the talk, one 14-year-old boy told that he wished to go to Singapore, and one girl finishing her high school shared her wish of going to the United States and becoming a social worker to return the benefits she had received. When asked why she wanted to go to the U.S., this girl blinked a while and smiled innocently: "Just want to see how the western world look." For that moment I wished to bring her to my school, because she deserved to join the bigger world. I also learned that some children here were not orphans. Their parents sent them to this children rehabilitation center mainly to get free education sponsored by government. Associating this with scenes I noticed in Kathmandu that the best buildings, other than temples, are schools, I felt glad that Nepali government had realized the importance of education and the power of next generation. The tomorrow of Nepal would become better because of these ambitious children.
In the next several days, our group worked in the nursery garden tirelessly during mornings and went to the children center in the afternoons. Once seeing the beautiful smiles and hearing the sweet laughs of these angels, we totally forgot about our sweats and exhaustion. We luckily had chances to enjoy the entertainments they loved. One of their favorite games is a type of board game like billiards. Instead of the real billiard table, they used a square wooden board with four holes in corners as the their table. Don't assume their limits, these Nepali kids were unimaginably good at this game. They studied very closely at the angle to hit the small disk. Some of them were even able to hit four disks into holes consecutively!
Playing together turned out to be one of the most efficient ways of making friends. Very soon our game-mates--these sweet Nepali girls--kept on calling us "sisters" and talked openly with us. They also made up Nepali names for us. I was called "Maya", which means "love" in Nepali. To help us better memorize our Nepali names, they even wrote on our arm, which is also why I still remember my Nepali name.
Just like boys everywhere else in the world, Nepali boys liked electronic devices and sports the best. In the play time, many boys circled around me and my group partners to play on our iPads and iPhones, and some others played soccer (which they called "football" in the British way) in the field. No matter playing what kind of games, these energetic boys showed endless fervor they naturely own at this age. One boy was closest to me. He said he liked me most, though the major reason was that I had "the most interesting game NinJump" on my phone. Everyday by the time we had to leave, he always asked me to promise bringing my phone again. Happy with his straight- forward candor, I therefore could never refuse his request at all. However, in return, I made a deal with him that he had to promise to review his studies and concentrate on his homework beforehand. If you want to play wild, you have to study hard first, right?
After observation for days and having a talk with the local director, I found that other than some daily utilities like notebooks, color pens, textbooks and clothes, children here are greatly in need of vehicles of their own. As two girls finishing high school in the local village, they would need to go to the town for college, but there was no local bus to go to downtown. I realized maybe they would need two bicycles, which could not only be used by these two girls, and also by future students who would need transportation for school.
With Lela, the local director, I arrived at Chitwan downtown to buy bicycles and other utilities for the children center the next day. Carrying the $310 funded by Children In Need Club, I picked two brand new bicycles of red and purple, which cost 13,000 rupees (=$136.55). Then, with the help of Lela, I hired a carter to carry the two bicycles back to the children center, and paid him 500 rupees (=$5.25). Next, we went to a bookstore to buy textbooks, practice books, color pens, ball-pens, table tennis, and soccer ball, costing surprisingly only 2000 rupees (=$21.01). On our way back, Lela and I went past market and decided to buy some mangoes, apples, and pomegranates for kids and also my host family, which cost 1200 rupees (=$12.61). The old lady selling fruits to me asked me why I bought so many fruits, Lela answered for me that these were for kids in the orphanage. Hearing this, the old lady gave me an warm and approving smile. At last, we found a grocery store and bought 35 thick notebooks for every single child in the center, and paid 8551 rupees (=$89.82). When negotiating with Lela about what to buy with the rest of funds, we thought the best choice was to spend these money on clothing. Lela suggested that he would be responsible of buying suitable clothes for kids, since everyone has different sizes.
Thinking about the faces of surprise when the kids saw their gifts, I was happy and expecting to go back as soon as possible from the bottom of my heart. What was more, this shopping experience gave me an opportunity to learn about the local customs and manners in Nepal.
As I expected, when seeing their gifts, children were very excited. The two girls receiving bicycles gave me big hugs and told me that they had been troubled by the transportation difficulty, and thankfully I solved their problem. Boys were especially excited with their new soccer ball and complained to me that they couldn't wait to play the new soccer ball but they were not allowed until the coming exams were over. I laughed and said: "Well, at least you can use the new notebook first!"
Project by Fiona Wang
A scene of our volunteers (left to right: Alice Gu, Dorothy Lee and Kelly Sun) staying with Nepali kids in Asna Orphanage.
Fiona's painting Spring Bird and Fish and Pond as the post card sold for fundraising.
Project leader and Outreach Coordinator Fiona Wang with a Nepali girl.
Dorothy Lee (left one) -- the Event Coordinator of our club.
Making friends with these beautiful kids.
The morning task, plants nursery, in the Rampur village.
Playing Board Game with Asna girls
CiN gifts of two bikes to Asna girls
CiN gifts of new shirts to Asna kids
Kids at Asna Orphanage
An Asna boy
A special gift for me
On the last day, our group accepted a warmest celebration for our departure. Kids gave us flowers and rubbed vermilion of red color on our foreheads, and this meant they wished us a lucky and safe day in Nepali traditional religion.
Meanwhile, they asked me to send their very best greetings and thanks to my club. A very young boy gave me a picture that he drew. On the paper, there is a beautiful image of Nepali countryside life: by a beautiful house with flowers, a man is feeding a cow; girls are looking at their test paper; a woman is breeding her baby and another woman is talking to her. He must be wishing me and my partners to remember how beautiful Nepali nature and people are.
After my days with these unsophisticated and kind persons in Nepal, although I had only been in Nepal once, I felt myself one of those people. Their simple wish and nice personality impressed me and I would never forget how kindly these people treated us and how much fun I had with these brilliant kids. I hope these Nepali kids would gain strength and inspiration through their education and experience with us. Despite that I could offer only a little contribution, I know spirit is the most important point. I hope, under Children In Need Club, I could spread my determination of serving children in need and bringing goodness to them even more.