Beanies for Nepal: A heated heads-up for children
During his first visit to Nepal in 2002, and in subsequent trips, Michael Scutt, of the Rotary Club of Whangarei City, NZ, noticed abject poverty, which included the lack of even paper in schools, because, as the locals explained, “We use pencils so we can rub out and use paper again”, in stark contrast to the amazing spirit and character of the people.
On his second visit, Michael took a few beanies and scarves friends had knitted plus as much second-hand clothing he could take within the free airline baggage allowance.
Over time, Michael has developed a relationship with the Kumbeshwar Technical School, located in one of the really poor areas of Kathmandu City. It was here that the first beanies were donated. Since then he has delivered hundreds of hand-knitted woollies to the children of Nepal.
“Just seeing the look on their faces when you give out some of your woollies is heart-warming,” Michael said. “I have even seen them on the side of the road. It seems such a small gesture on our part, but to the children it is priceless.”
Others from his club have taken many kilos of hand-knitting, such as beanies, jumpers, “fish and chip blankets” (for babies who would have previously been wrapped in newspaper because their parents cannot afford clothing), in addition to money and books for the school library when they have visited Nepal on treks.
Rotary involvement extended to a Matching Grant for $NZ2500 to the school and through the Kumbeshwar School's own workers, comprising a section of the school that trains boy in cabinetry and furniture making, they built their own shelving and furniture for their library.
Michael tried a number of times to interest a Rotary club in Kathmandu to support the school, but without success.
The school caters for children from nursery age to age 14, education and vocational training for disadvantaged women and young men, and also has a boarding facility for up to 40 orphans at a time. They have a vision to create and support income-generating programs that directly benefit low income groups through the sale of KTS Fair Trade Products, provide free nursery and primary education to local community children of low income families and empower the local community and other beneficiaries to take greater responsibility for themselves and their future.