Construction tools and materials were purchased and on-site by January 19, 2018. The CSEB machine was delivered to the construction site on February 9, 2018, through which local soil is mixed with sand and cement to produce durable brick. On-the-job training was provided to the local construction workers by BUN, and BUN’s engineer will lead the entire construction process. Additional construction materials including stone, cement, rods, sand, and gravel were purchased on March 18, 2018. Work on the foundation level is ongoing as of the end of March.
Seven Summits Women has acquired 2,053.5 square meters of land for construction of the Environment Center in Melamchi, Sindhupalchok. We are also coordinating to lease 16,428 square meters or more of additional land. The local municipality is committed to helping us in this project, and the engineer traveled from Kathmandu to asses the land on February 11, 2018. We are now working on the budget and will soon have an estimate prepared.
On February 14, 2018, we hired Buddhi Maya Gurung, (currently studying for her bachelor’s degree) to facilitate Early Childhood Development (ECD) classes and ensure cleanliness and hygiene among the students at Shree Ganesh Primary School, Bhotenamlang. She also works in coordination with the school administration for effective maintenance of the grounds, including the regular supply of water (a scarcity at the school) and management of the school garden and playground in coordination with the students.
A makeshift workshop has been built on space provided by Mrs. Rukmini Gurung, and the team started training and sewing the uniforms on January 8, 2018. The tailor assigns specific responsibilities to each seamstress and monitors their work. We began distributing the uniforms to the children on February 11, 2018, starting with the two smaller schools: Panch Pokhari Basic School and Balsudhar Primary School. On March 28, 2018, we distributed uniforms to the 119 students at Shree Bachalamai Basic School. The remaining 252 uniforms, for the children at Golmeshwari Basic School in Tar, should be ready for distribution by mid-April.
After a survivor of sex trafficking shared her experience of incidents and occasions when female guides are bullied and harassed during the trek by male colleagues, we decided to organize a self-defense class for the women guides with Mr. Bikrant Bikram Chand, founder of Real Self-Defense Academia of Fight Management. A total of 6 participants took part in the class. Laxmi, one of the participants, said this is “a technique that each girl/woman should be introduced to, as it is not the strength in one’s body that makes us strong but the knowledge to save ourselves from the surrounding dangers."
Maya Gurung and Shailee Basnet are now respected leaders in their community. They have earned the reputation of being ‘doers’ among villagers who often only see ‘talkers.’ Maya and Shailee have signed an Memorandum of Understanding with the district government to rebuild five schools in Maya’s home village of Bhotenamlang in the district of Sindhupalchok. This district has the greatest death toll after the Nepal earthquake, and in Maya’s village, there is literally not a house standing. As a result, sex-trafficking is more rampant than ever. Keeping kids, especially girls, in school is the most effective way to ensure that they stay away from traffickers. Educating women in remote areas, as well as empowering them by creating choices, is the way to keep them safe and on track.