My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Nepal Youth Foundation, Sausalito, CA, USA
I met the founder, Olga, fifteen years ago. Please read her story, as she told it to me and you'll understand why NOF should be noticed. Ogla is 87, and she spends half her year in Sausalito, California and the other half in Kathmandu where she works to buy girls out of bondage in a rural farming district in southern Nepal. Poverty forces families to sell their daughters, as young as 7 years old, as domestic slaves or worse.
Olga told me her story: On her first trip to Asia in 1984, she found herself captivated by the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Nepal. “I got off the plane in Kathmandu and was overwhelmed by the beauty of the land, the exotic surroundings, but most of all by the children. They were poor beyond anything I had ever experienced – dressed in rags and dirt, malnourished, mostly unschooled, but with an amazing capacity for joy. I thought that for the price of a good haircut, I could make a huge difference in their lives.’” So she returned to the USA determined, somehow, to do just that.
By raiding her own savings, and securing donations from friends, she returned to Kathmandu with the wherewithal to establish a home for the country’s throwaway children – street urchins, handicapped kids, orphans, or children who had been abandoned - often by parents too poor to feed them.
She learned about the practice of child slavery years ago and since then has worked tirelessly to find a solution. Nepal Youth Foundation pays parents to keep their daughters at home and in school. However, in lieu of cash, her foundation, Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation (NYOF.org) offers families a piglet, which they can raise on kitchen scraps and sell, ultimately receiving about as much as they would from their daughter’s labor. Girls receive a school uniform, notebooks, pencils, a school bag, a daily snack at school, and most importantly, an education.
“What began as a pilot project with 37 families now includes 2,500 girls,” she marveled.
“I realized that education is the best way to ensure a better life for these children,” Olga says, knowing this would become the cornerstone of her work. Over the last 16 years, not only has the number of supported children expanded (to 3,000 plus), but so have the ways in which they are helped. In addition to scholarships, NYOF funds the salaries of more than 65 teachers in various poor rural areas of Nepal, and teacher training in a country where teachers are not trained. Her foundation also runs two boarding schools and nutritional programs in Kathmandu.
Olga was an attorney who worked for 37 years helping write opinions for two California Supreme Court chief justices in San Francisco. Today she crisscrosses the globe to help children.
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