Inspiration over a cup of tea!
Our journey to help the kids is long and healing at the same time. It wasn’t long after Snow Manjushree school that I visited another school, Bal Sarathi run by the amazing Dr Mala Kharel. The journey started over a cup of tea with Rekha Ghimire and Mala and within minutes all the people around the coffee table put their heads together and made the storytelling session happen!

The energy around the table was buzzing as Rekha led the conversation and explained about how many schools in the area would love and benefit from a storytelling session based around social and emotional learning. We decided to go to Mala’s school, Bal Sarathi, and she burst into a lovely gracious smile.

The school doesn’t have a projector or screen, something which I needed for my storytelling presentations, our hearts sank, knowing that the kids might not have the visit. But of course the ever resourceful Pranjal made one call and it was all sorted. And he arrived the next morning with a full tech solution. A big hug for him from the whole team.

The School: Bal Sarathi
I had no idea what the school was like when the gracious Rekha drove us through the Kathmandu traffic to the school. She told us that the majority of the kids came from very poor families and begged on the streets before coming to school. And just like the other school, this would be the first time they would have had an author.

As I entered the building the lovely painting on the wall of rainbows and dinosaurs hid the cracks on the wall and the uneven floors. It was not your typical school building that we would see in more developed worlds but there was a great sense of home and protectiveness for the kids that overshadowed everything else.

Bal Sarathi

An extract from the school:
“Bal Sarathi, has come forward to deal with the problems of the disadvantaged children and their parents and provide them support, education, care, love and aims to contribute to realize the goal with the development and welfare of the children in Nepal. It’s a bitter future for children born into low-caste family status a bleeding , cultural wound that continues to haunt Nepal.

Balsarathi is making its efforts to those poor children since 2006. There were 6 children of beggars when the school was started and now over 125 students attend the classes six days a week and continue to benefit from nutritional lunches as well as free school uniforms , books , Bags and periodical medicine checkups.

Since the establishment of the organization, Bal Sarathi constantly committed for the improvement of the status of the disadvantaged and marginalized children and women and men by creating awareness, enhancing their skills and capacity, on various pertinent issues. To achieve the goal we are conducting vocational skills, health and promote gender equality and provide psycho-social support to the vulnerable group of the population.

Our organization has conducted literacy and health classes for the street and poor children. Over 125 children of 3-18  years of age are receiving the education and health care facility every day for 6 hours. Besides this, more than 25 students are getting support for their formal education in various schools with the scholarships and logistics support from the organization. Among them 7 children are sponsered by Sukrit Balbalika .These children are also taught to keep themselves neat and clean, and tidy and aware on health issues, and trained motivated to cultivate good habits and practicing healthy behavior. Free education materials and stationeries including transportation facilities, refreshments and mid day meal is providing daily by the organization.

Bal Sarathi’s activities based on Gaushala, Pashupati and Guheswhori area. Currently, organization supporting 125 children, providing quality education, hygienic food and stationeries.”

Storytelling Session
As the kids, teachers and our team set up for the storytelling session, I looked around at the many faces smiling with excitement and curiosity. Some kids came over to look through the books, enthralled by the illustrations. And one could see millions of questions forming in their head.

A hush fell in the room as I started my first ever storytelling session in only Hindi/Urdu. I wasn’t sure if I could keep the same flow as I was so used to doing them in English. But to my surprise it flowed and flowed and we had such fun! The kids joined me in coming up with their own stories of lions and tigers! The light of ‘Imagination’ lit forever in their minds!

Giving back together.
As always I wish I had more books, or sweets, colouring pencils or fresh juice to give everyone. But in its own time and with all your support this will happen, for now we were all content with what we had and left with amazing memories and friends for life!

There are numerous photos and videos attached to this article that I hope will serve as a window into their world! I had to put up the video of the adorable girl, using her imagination to create a wonderful story about a lion and a tiger who get together to eat biscuits!

Please contact us if you would want to support these children by giving books or in any other way.

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