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Educate the Children, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community Improvement & Capacity Building, Economic Development, Education, International, International Economic Development, International, Foreign Affairs & National Security, Microfinance

Mission: Educate the Children provides educational opportunities for low-income women and children in Nepal. Programs include scholarships for indigent children, improvement of public school facilities, training of teachers, establishment of pre-primary education opportunities, and programs for rural women that incorporate literacy, health education, and income generation components.

Results: Over the course of nearly a quarter of a century, ETC's work has benefited at least 15,000 people directly and countless more indirectly. Residents of the areas in which we have worked have benefited from: (1) Improved public health conditions: ETC has constructed hundreds of sanitary toilets and offered public health training events for thousands of attendees. Chronic diarrhea and other bacterial illnesses are very common, and cause people to miss work and school, but these problems decrease significantly when people have and use sanitary toilets and begin to sanitize their drinking water, wash their hands more frequently, and keep their farm animals separately housed. (2) Improved nutrition and food security: ETC has helped farmers increase their yields significantly, and learn to grow/raise a wider variety of more nutritious foods. (3) Improved educational systems: ETC has improved schools both physically and in terms of the quality of education offered. Moreover, teacher job satisfaction and student attendance rates are higher, and student drop-out rates are lower, after ETC has worked in a given school compared to before, and compared to national averages. (4) Increased household incomes: ETC has helped women gain the skills and confidence to start their own businesses (often, but not always, agricultural). They also gain status in the community and are more willing and able to speak up for their own rights, advocate for community improvements, and participate actively in their children's educational processes. A major reason for ETC's success has been that we involve the target population all along, from the planning stages through implementation and evaluation. The residents of our project areas know that their specific needs and situations are being addressed, and they feel a real sense of ownership of the activities and results. This is important for immediate success as well as for long-term sustainability: because the residents are so engaged, the benefits of the work endure long after ETC has left a particular area to begin working in a new set of villages. In the immediate post-earthquake period, ETC responded quickly to meet villagers' urgent needs for shelter, and to enable the construction of dozens of temporary classrooms. Looking ahead, ETC will be closely involved in the reconstruction of sturdier school facilities. We will also continue our usual programming - helping women to grow more and better food, and to earn more money, will be even more important than ever before as families seek to rebuild their homes and their lives!

Target demographics: marginalized and impoverished people, especially women and children,

Direct beneficiaries per year: about 4,000 residents of rural Nepali villages

Geographic areas served: Nepal

Programs: (1) Women's empowerment - including literacy training and entrepreneurial training (2) Children's education - including infrastructure improvement, sponsorships to enable impoverished children to attend school, and teacher training (3) Sustainable agricultural development - including provision of supplies and training to help small farmers (mostly women) grow greater quantities of more nutritious food for their families and as an income-generating activity Please see our photo essays at http://www.etc-nepal.org/publications.php for more information about how ETC helps people to make better lives for themselves and their families.

Community Stories

59 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My wife and I have supported Educate the Children for twelve years and look forward to continuing our support in the future.

As a professor of Indian and Tibetan religion, I have been doing research in Nepal, India and elsewhere in South Asia since 1983. Over the course of this time, I have seen firsthand how NGOs either succeed or fail in their attempts at changing social and economic dynamics for good or for ill. The worst simply dump money into the hands of social predators or criminal gangs in the name of 'development' allowing these parasites greater license and power than already encoded in the post-colonial social fabric, thus compounding the catastrophe.

Consequently, before we began our support of Educate the Children, I looked into ETC's plan, their operation, their efficiency and their integrity. Suffice it to say that I was extremely impressed with all aspects of their operation on the ground in Nepal.

Instead of just throwing money at a problem — and hoping for the best — ETC sets up over the course of six years place-specific institutional co-op structures (women's cooperative groups) that continue after ETC withdraws from an area. The primary target of our support is the oppressed (dalit) peoples of specific areas of Nepal, as these people are without any kind of indigenous resources and they never will be, since they are outcaste pariahs in their own country.

ETC has correctly understood that the women of the dalit families are the key to social transformation in South Asia. They have the moral authority in the village and the motivation to succeed. If the mothers and daughters in a family are educated and economically empowered, then they become agents for their own success. For the last twelve years we have received letters from our women's groups, saying over and over again, in various ways what is essentially the following story:

In the first years of the six-year cycle, initially the women's husbands strongly resisted their involvement with the women's cooperative, and would treat them badly if they were caught returning from a meeting where they were being taught to read and write, to count and keep records. But once the goats/chickens/buffalo purchased with co-op funds began to give eggs/milk/offspring, then the husbands changed their behavior and began to brag about their wives in the village. Other men then wanted their wives to become educated, and gain access to the co-op funds, so they could brag about their wives as well. Seeing how the process was dependent on education, the women then wanted their daughters to gain an education so that they could be a source of family support as well.

These institutionalized women's co-ops, after developing their own people for six years, are now endowed with funds (as the women must pay back what they borrowed) for their own continuation, and can maintain themselves as self-governing entities. This is all made possible by the extraordinary central office ETC maintains in Kathmandu and the field offices set up wherever they provide support.

Thus, not only does ETC funnel donor funds to these groups, but develops skills among those people for their success, and establishes long-lived institutions that will survive for some time. The benefits extend to social perception as well: seeing that the oppressed classes can raise their economic position, their sanitation and their living conditions with ETC support, then their status in the larger Nepalese society is slowing changing.

We are now at the beginning of the third cycle for the support of women's co-ops among the dalit groups of Nepal, and we are extremely satisfied that our hard-earned money is being well invested in the future of those groups. I strongly recommend that you seriously consider supporting ETC for many years.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ETC is an organization of the highest integrity.
I have been associated with ETC for over 20 years, having volunteered in its struggling early days, and am continually inspired by the work, and the development, it carries out.

Litearally thousands of Nepalis have had their lives changed for the better and they now have dreams for the future where, formerly, they had resignation about their condition.

All staff are recruited and trained in Nepal, a further commitment that EFT has. Donors are encouraged to visit the projects to see EFT's work and many do, which further supports fundraising.

in the USA, it is a bare-bones, pared-down organization; no office; no full-time staff. This allows for the maximum amount of donations to be forwarded to the projects and staff support in Nepal. That said, it is totally professional in its dealing with donors, who are treated with the respect and gratitude they deserve.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering in Nepal in education-related projects for over 10 years (including 8 months for ETC's Dolakha development project!) and have seen many different NGOs' development model, and in my opinion ETC's is one of the best and most effective. They don't come in to a community to "fix" the community's problems for it--they come in to a community to help the community fix its problems itself. They offer much-needed skills, such as teacher trainings that help teachers learn other teaching techniques besides "drill and kill", which is almost universal in Nepali schools. And in a very male-dominated society, they really help women empower themselves. When I was in Dolakha, I lived in a village family's house and I can remember hearing groups of women walk by my window at night as they returned from their literacy classes, laughing and talking. And I remember hearing the mother of the family, who was usually so busy with the daily chores of farming and feeding her family that she rarely smiled , happily humming to herself during those quiet moments of the day when she had time to practice her literacy lessons. And now, years later, the women of that region have formed their own micro-lending group and are managing it quite well--now that's empowerment!

1 jcraft

Donor

Rating: 5

Outstanding work promoting the well being of Nepali communities through education programs for women and children.

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3

Donor

Rating: 5

An organization dedicated to building family strength in Nepal. Working in communities facing unbelievable challenges every day. Making it possible for children to learn, women to gain the skills they need to guide their communities, creating sustainable agriculture for better nutrition for the whole community. When the devastating earthquake hit, they were on the ground helping communities help themselves. Building temporary shelters to keep families safe during the coming monsoons, built of materials that will be incorporated into the permanent homes they will build when conditions allow construction. Children are back in school, fields have been planted. Amazing.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

My friend Mary told me about ETC, which was started by a friend of hers. For the many years since first learning of the wonderful work that ETC is doing, my neighbors and I have been very happy and proud to support this organization with annual donations.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

ETC does great work educating the children of remote villages in Nepal.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

My husband saw the benefits of this nonprofit over 25 years ago and has been donating since. We have 2 daughters and he wanted to help educate girls in Nepal. Our daughters wanted to see the schools we had been donating to so 15 years ago we visited the schools. We enjoyed meeting the children, teachers, the parents and seeing the home and school gardens that benefitted from agricultural classes also from ETC. Women were so proud of how much more productive their gardens are due to knowledge about good garden practices. They were proud of having better and more food for their families and having extra to sell.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

This small non profit is outstanding. They are known in Nepal for their effective staff and grassroots relationships, which give them enormous credibility in the geographic areas where they currently work and where they have worked in the past. An absolutely credible and effective NGO, which has deserved my support for well over a decade..

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I was on the board of ETC in the late 1970s, early 1980s. I continue to be impressed with the work they do in rural Nepal. I particularly like that they work to make their work sustainable in one area before moving on to the next. Empowering women in the villages has made a big difference in the lives of many people of this beautiful country.

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2

Donor

Rating: 5

Our interest in Nepal comes from six wonderful years living in that beautiful country - three as PC volunteers, and three as teachers in the International School in Kathmandu. It was my privilege to serve on the board of ETC back in the 1980s and my husband and I have been supporters ever since. This is an organization that does a wonderful job working in the field helping the Nepali people to become self-sufficient. It has been a joy to receive yearly updates from the women's organizations and students that we have supported and to see the difference ETC is making in their communities and lives. There are many organizations who want our money, but I know with ETC the money is actually going to help improve the lives of the Nepali people. I have been impressed by the hard work done in the country in the aftermath of the earthquakes in April - it is so good to see pictures of the children back in school now. Thank you, ETC!

1 Sally Wendkos O.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been thrilled to be able to support Educate the Children for more than 25 years, since I first heard about the excellent work they do. And over the years I have been impressed by the further reach of their activities, from helping children to making a broader impact in the communities they serve in Nepal by helping mothers, which benefits the entire family. I have some expertise in the field of family and children's welfare and believe that ETC is an excellent example of what a nonprofit group can do.

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1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been proud to contribute to ETC for more than twenty years. I admire its outreach program of education and support for entire families, not only children.

1 lindafarthing

Donor

Rating: 5

ETC stands out because of the high quality of work it does and its commitment to the people it works with. Its model - of working across generations so that women and their daughters mutually support each other in improving their status and family's situation- is worthy of replication. In a complementary form to this focus, it works with men too particularly in improving local agriculture. The ultimate goal is to avoid fostering dependence on external support by helping communities to improve their incomes through working together to strengthen education, nutrition, and the status of women. I had the privilege of being ETC's director in the late 1990's and have been a donor ever since. I can't recommend it highly enough.

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1

Advisor

Rating: 5

Educate the children does wonderful work in Nepal and has for over twenty years now. I was privileged enough to be its director for three years in the late 1990s, visited ETC in Nepal again in 2007 and am pleased to see the organization is still flourishing and still doing such a great job of providing community-based services to under-served populations. I remain a donor because I think it is so effective in the work it does.

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1 Margaret S.1

Donor

Rating: 5

What an exceptional staff. So communicative. Love how efficient they are with funding. Keep up the great work.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The story of "Educate the Children, Inc." is especially inspiring - in fore thought, planning, dedication and follow through. I've been to two fund raising events with Barbara Butterworth and Mike Gill (In the USA and in Nepal). They inspire the attendees with their passion for Nepal and the dedicated, solid work of ERC, their volunteers, staff and donors.

My wallet happily flew out of my pocket after I heard their presentations.

1 markturin

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have known, worked with and supported Educate the Children (ETC) for many years now. I am an anthropologist and linguist and have been working in Nepal for 25 years now. The community-focussed approach to engagement and ethical development to which ETC is committed is truly transformative and unique. I remain a great supporter of the work they do - and HOW they go about it. Keep the fire!

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1

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have been very familiar with the community-focussed work of ETC for over 15 years, and remain impressed with their work. Since then, I have continued to follow, support and recommend ETC to colleagues and friends. More recently, I felt honored to be invited to join the Advisory Council and have been delighted to serve. Following the series of earthquakes that devastated Nepal in 2015, ETC-Nepal was very responsive and engaged with the communities that it serves and continues to advocate for the empowerment of historically marginalized communities.

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1

Donor

Rating: 5

I learned about ETC and met volunteers in the nineties while I lived in Ithaca NY, and I was impressed by their focus on how to empower people. Since then, I have sponsored ETC rural women's groups. The members of these groups prosper by helping each other, by improving their farming skills, learning management, and acquiring literacy! They are proud to send their children - especially their daughters - to school.

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3

Donor

Rating: 5

ETC is making an invaluable contribution to improving life in rural Nepal by educating women, thus improving the life of their families. In women's cooperatives that are supported for several years by ETC, members acquire literacy and accounting skills, they learn about nutrition, improved gardening, and sanitation. With starting funds given to their group they implement these skills in their homes and gardens and raise their standard of living. They send their daughters to school. After a period of initial help from ETC, these groups continue independently, and often help new cooperatives to form. Time and again, reading letters from cooperatives that I helped to support, I have sensed joy and pride of achievement!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

We've donated for about five years and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing our contribution goes really far.
We've helped individual children attend school and have supported a classroom; we've always received great feedback on how the money is being spent.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Each year when I am in Nepal, I visit the ETC project at its implementation area, an 11 hour bus ride from Kathmandu. What they do is remarkable - working with women, children, schools and local leaders to better the whole community though income generating projects, education, reconstruction and much more. I have worked extensively in Nepal and so am familiar with the work of many NGO's there. ETC's ability to do a lot with a little and be an integral part of the community puts them head and shoulders above most NGO's.

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2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have worked in Nepal as an educator for more than 20 years and have had experience with numerous development projects during that time, ETC is one of the few that delivers on its promise to make a sustainable difference in the lives of the people it works with. ETC's approach is not top down but rather the organization works with villagers, women especially, to identify and respond to their needs. ETC's staff are in the field actively working with farmers, teachers, and children. The result was noticeable when I walked through the project area with some of the staff. Villagers knew the staff, and frequently came up to us to make suggestions or talk about progress, and in turn the staff knew the villagers by name. It is rare for NGO staff to have such a constant and visible presence in the areas they work in.

When visiting an area where ETC works, it is easy to see the impact - green kitchen gardens dot the hillsides, homes have latrines, and the area reveals a sense of pride in its accomplishments. This is an organization more than deserving of support.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a Board member on Educate the Children, Inc. for two years and can say it is the finest group of people with whom I have ever worked. The organization supports women and children by empowering them with the dream of education and a better future. All members of this organization strive tirelessly to bring hope to people in the most remote parts of Nepal and do so with the courage of champions.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been involved with this organization for 25 years, in many capacities (volunteer, staff person, and board member), and both in the US and in Nepal. Educate the Children (ETC) is a very high quality small nonprofit organization running terrific programs in cooperation with communities in rural Nepal. The multifaceted programs are adjusted according to local needs and priorities, in full cooperation with the communities. Each program component (ie, women's groups, literacy classes, microfinance, health, school support, scholarships, agriculture) supports and reinforces the others, ensuring real impact and lasting positive change. I highly recommend Educate the Children.

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4

Board Member

Rating: 5

Having lived and worked in Nepal, I've seen these projects first-hand many times over many years, and have talked to participants and observed community meetings, literacy classes, women's group meetings, etc. Based on that, as well as on external evaluations and on over twenty years of personal involvement with the organization, I can state with confidence that Educate the Children's work with individuals and communities in Nepal is very high quality and has a long-term impact. Of particular significance is the ability of this relatively small organization to adjust interventions to the needs and desires of the communities, working in real partnership to address local needs, thereby truly empowering participants and creating strong local ownership of the projects. This is something that is difficult (if not impossible) for larger organizations -- driven by restricted funding -- to manage, and yet is absolutely essential for success.

I also would point out that it is noteworthy that supporters of (and donors to) Educate the Children include a good number of US-based academics (professors) whose field is Nepal, as well as many former Nepal Peace Corps volunteers, and also former ETC staff members (myself included). These are folks who have an insider's viewpoint and know how to critique what's going on. The fact that they are themselves donors speaks volumes for the quality of the organization's work. I've been involved with Educate the Children since 1992, serving in a wide variety of capacities including volunteer, staff, executive director, and board member. This group does good work! It would be great to have you join us in the effort!

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1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I had heard of and donated to ETC before I joined its board but in the time since I have become even more impressed by how effectively the organization works in remote communities in Nepal. Ithaca-based staff do an extraordinary job on less than the proverbial shoestring, and staff in Nepal have gained recognition locally and more widely for being absolutely committed to working closely with community members on a variety of projects aimed not only at educating children from minority populations but also at educating and empowering their mothers and families. Few other nonprofits accomplish so much with so little. Working on the ETC Board has been an inspiring experience.

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1

Donor

Rating: 5

ETC does great work in Nepal with focus on low caste and ethnic minority women and children in local communities. It is small and highly effective, and I support them enthusiastically.