After 25 years loving and nurturing homeless children of Kathmandu, Nicole Wick, the founder of Nawa Asha Griha (NAG) Home of New Hopes in Nepal, came to visit us at ISZL this week. Over lunch with ISZL's Director Barry Dequanne and Middle School Principal Danny Hamilton, Nicole talked of her new plans and dreams for NAG, fondly known throughout ISZL as 'our school in Nepal'. Nicole still bursts with energy is an inspiration to us all.
ISZL has been lucky enough to accompany Nicole on almost all of her 25 year journey with NAG, from its days as a small refuge for street children in Kathmandu to today's wonderful, family home for 211 children. Today NAG is also a school educating not only residential children but also an additional 260 day students coming in from outlying areas.
ISZL can be very proud of all the success stories of our partnership. In recent years, since 2011, we have been involved in the training of NAG nurses, giving dignity and independence to NAG girls, supporting Nicole's mission to protect the rights of Nepalese women. ISZL currently supports the training of Nikita, Sarmila and Nima, and we now await news of five more girls hoping to begin training in August. In addition, and for the first time, we are hoping to branch out and support the first pharmacy student, Satish Lama. We wish all six the best of luck with their entrance exams! You can meet some of the nurses as they are interviewed by ISZL students in this short video.
This year, Munu Lama, the first ever NAG nurse, has accompanied Nicole to Switzerland. Munu is now heading the NAG team running the NAG clinic and the field hospital in the villages of the Himalaya. Thanks to you all in our wonderful community, ISZL was able to fund the purchase of 'Heidi', a 4 wheel drive mobile hospital vehicle bought in 2016 that enables the nurses to travel to these remote mountain villages. You can see more of their work in this short film. Although the initial motivation to travel came with the desperate needs after the earthquake of 2015, work now has extended beyond the administering of treatment and medication to general health care and education in nutrition and birth control, and to the supporting of the government drive to stop trafficking of young girls to India. Speaking to Munu today it is clear that their work is essential and most valuable. Munu is justifiably very proud.
Whilst we continue to support the nursing programme and the considerable running costs of the field hospital we always have additional projects on the go. Last August we funded the purchase of 'Edelweiss' the new school bus, and throughout this year we have supported the much-needed complete refurbishment of the NAG kitchen and dining room. As we move swiftly towards the next academic year we are beginning to think about Andrew Grey's plan to build an art studio for a NAG, due to begin construction in 2019.
In the Middle School meeting with Nicole today one student asked, “What will become of NAG when you die...?” Nicole loved the question and answered with the same open honesty, telling us of the wonderful people now running NAG alongside her. They were all raised by Nicole in the NAG family. Nicole is a self-confessed believer in dreaming and has committed 25 years to helping countless young, under privileged Nepalese discover their talents and realise their dreams. What an amazing life story.
With the generous support of the community we have raised close to CHF 30'000 this year. Our sincere thanks to all.
- Service Learning