In 2012, a devastating earthquake displaced countless children in Nepal. As a result, the government began placing these children in local orphanages. One of these orphanages was the SCIF Orphanage in Kathmandu. SCIF was founded by a young man named Basanta Nepali, initially to help his sister who was paralyzed from a work accident after falling from a banana tree. One by one, he was asked to bring in more and more children. He gladly did so, and the orphanage began to grow. He didn’t have any money, but he figured out how to support the orphanage through donations and volunteer tourism.
Iron Vine’s work with U.S. international development agencies takes us to many different countries around the globe, mostly in the developing world. Our relationship with Basanta and the SCIF orphanage began on a work trip to Kathmandu in the summer of 2018. It was a Saturday afternoon, and the Iron Vine team visited the orphanage to bring toys to the children. We met the kids—seven boys and six girls—ranging in age from three to ten years old. We learned that the entire orphanage is a simple house just outside of the city with the boys and girls each sharing a single bedroom. The children all attend private schools where learning English is part of the core curriculum. We spent time playing with the kids and meeting the volunteers and staff. The kids even showed us some of the group dances they were working on. We immediately asked how Iron Vine could get involved to support the orphanage.
The next day we purchased and installed a clean drinking water filter system for the house in the kitchen. On our next trip to Nepal, our team members Troy and Robert brought laptop computers for the children to help them complete homework and do online research. Within minutes, the kids had the laptops up and running on the house’s local WIFI! On our next trip to Nepal, we donated warm winter jackets to support the orphanage’s annual Winter Project. By the beginning of 2020, the children had outgrown their modest house, and moved to a bigger house. Like many homes in Kathmandu, there is no central heating or hot water in the new home. For this year’s Winter Project, we sponsored the purchase of blankets, mittens, warm clothes, and a solar-powered hot water heater for showers.
At Iron Vine, we feel a responsibility to support the greater global community when possible. We’re thankful for the time we’ve spent with SCIF and for all the work Basanta and his team continue to do to improve the lives of these special children. We look forward to continuing our partnership with them in 2021 and beyond. If you would like more information or want to help out, please contact us or visit their website: http://volunteerworknepal.com.