Our summer newsletter 2022 – we hope you enjoy reading it!
Update on the NAG situation
«Red Panda»-Café and Greenhouse
On 8 March 2022 the “Red Panda” café opened its doors just by the entrance to the NAG. This small café is run by NAG-ers and offers them the opportunity to get practical experience in service and cooking. It is open to the public and serves delicious drinks, coffee, simple pastries and snacks. At the same time, the old school bus was converted into a greenhouse and now the first vegetables are growing inside, whose harvest is eagerly awaited.
At the beginning of March, NAG started a pilot teacher training programme for teachers from Odanaku, Kalikot, a remote area in Nepal. For five weeks, seven teachers from Kalikot came to NAG and received courses in didactics and pedagogy. Back in their village, they are now putting what they have learned into practice. Manjita Koirala and Jessica Winsor travelled to Odanaku after the training, to see how the implementation works. The training has been very successful so far and further cooperation with (remote) schools is planned.
Sport at NAG
Sporting events and other competitions also took place again after a Corona-related absence. At the national climbing competition, a young NAG girl, Meenisha, won 2nd place. Bravo!
Thanks to a large donation of climbing shoes from Winterthur, we can continue to climb with good quality shoes and, hopefully, achieve further top placements. We would like to thank Winterthur, as we are very happy! News from Switzerland
Two great fundraising ideas
Time and again, our donors surprise us with funny and extremely creative ideas on how to collect donations for the NAG. Last winter, for example, the carol singers went from door to door singing and collecting money despite Corona. In addition, the participation by one of our long-time NAG supporters in the Engadin ski marathon, wearing a very special outfit under the motto “snow, fun and donations”, was a complete success – he was also able to collect a considerable sum for the NAG. Apart from the benefit of donations, such ideas also draw attention to the NAG. A big thank-you to everyone for their great, fun and creative actions!
Corona is over, parties can be celebrated again!
If you don’t want to receive useless gifts for your celebration (birthday, anniversary, etc.), then our donation box is just the thing. You can order this free of charge from our office by e-mail or via our homepage. You will then receive a small box for collecting donations, along with flyers and decorative items, by post. You can find more information on our website.
Annual Event 22 at GZ Heuried, Zurich
This year we would like to welcome you to our NAG event on Sunday, 20.11.22 at GZ Heuried, Zurich!
The year 2021 started very well, because the school, after having to remain closed for several months due to the corona virus, was finally able to open its doors again. The situation has also calmed down nationwide. Unfortunately, the joy was short-lived; on April 29, 2021, the government again imposed a lockdown. The number of corona cases rose rapidly, oxygen was scarce in all hospitals and the school was closed again for all day students and the teachers were no longer allowed to go to the NAG.
In the weeks that followed, the mobile clinic was in constant use for the many corona patients in and around Kathmandu. Patient transport was organized to the isolation centres, oxygen cylinders were filled and distributed to the needy, medicines and materials were given to isolation centres and remote hospitals, and almost 4,000 food parcels were distributed to families who had no income at the time and were struggling to survive. In addition, the tailors in the NAG made “isolation kits” filled with a thermometer, masks and disinfectants, which were then given to those affected.
Switching the school back to remote learning was no longer a big issue, because the teachers and students still knew exactly what had to be done. Fortunately, many day students who were no longer allowed to attend classes were able to follow the classes from home and, above all, had all the teaching materials with them. NAG provided some of these students with cell phones and rechargeable SIM cards so they could follow the lessons. The school did not open its doors again until November for face-to-face classes for everyone.
The corona pandemic has shown us that a lot can also be done online. Because the NAG teachers taught their day students online for months during the lockdown, the idea of our new additional project came up: the Remote Village Classroom. Like our day students, children in the remote villages should also be taught virtually. The teachers in the villages can also be trained online. School education takes place where it was insufficient or not possible until now. Nicole started the pilot project last year and it is now to be expanded.
Nicole and her team have been dealing with the fate of the Rohingya refugees, a Muslim minority originally from Myanmar, since October. They have been systematically expelled from there since the 1950s and are trying to find refuge in Nepal. Around 300 displaced people live in very precarious circumstances in the refugee camp near Kathmandu. NAG provided medical care to the local people, brought them food and set up a small library for the children. Also, Nicole managed to stay with them for a year to secure the property, otherwise they would have become homeless again. So these undocumented people have a place to be, at least, for the next year. Ideas about how NAG can support the people in Nepal and further develop its work are not running out – there is still a lot to tackle!
Despite the more difficult conditions, the north school building was finally completed and, to the great delight of all, we could move into it! In addition to distance learning, school has also changed in other areas. In order not only to encourage the children academically, there are now no lessons in the classic sense on Sundays, but workshops. In the workshops, the young people and children should, in addition to the compulsory subjects, also gain insights into various areas such as cooking, handicrafts, music, climbing, filmmaking and acting.
Another year with Corona is behind us. Despite all the restrictions in Switzerland and Nepal, a lot has happened here. At the beginning of August, the “Badi Dachsen” convened for a whole week with concerts and an information stand for the NAG; our NAG event could once again take place “live” in the GZ Heuried. A big thank you to all loyal visitors, who came in such large numbers to the new location and celebrated with us. A heartfelt thank you also to everyone else who has generously supported the NAG throughout the year. Without your support none of this would be possible!
On behalf of Nicole, all NAG employees and the Board of Trustees, we wish everyone a happy and successful year.
Important: our traditional NAG event will take place this year on November 20, 2022 at GZ Heuried in Zurich. You will receive the invitation and the program in due course.
The year 2020 was also marked by the Corona pandemic in Nepal and at NAG. Government-imposed school closures, restricted mobility and closed shops were just a few of the problems that Nicole and the team in Kathmandu had to deal with.
A big challenge was the conversion of the school to distance learning at short notice. Because of the pandemic, the Nepalese government had decided to stop face-to-face teaching. To protect itself from the virus, NAG also closed its gates and did not allow visitors or teachers to come and go. Nevertheless, NAG found a solution within a very short time to continue teaching. The teachers were technically equipped so that they could hold lessons from home via live streaming. The ‘NAGers’ who live in the home follow lessons in the classroom on a large screen.
We have recently been allowed to teach the day students on site at NAG again, which has not been possible since March 2020. We hope that this will continue, as the day students suffer particularly from the Corona measures. At home, they often do not have the appropriate environment and infrastructure to participate in distance learning. In addition, the day students receive a hot lunch when they attend school at NAG, which is a great relief for poor families, in particular.
The government’s measures also hit the local population and the families of our day students hard. Since public life was completely shut down in the beginning and is still restricted now, many local people lost their jobs. However, the population did not receive any compensation from the government, which caused hardship for many families. NAG helped, and still helps, families with donations of food or money, so that they can continue to pay the rent for their flats, for example. NAG also provided financial support to nurses, some of whom were no longer paid by the hospitals, despite their hard work.
The Corona pandemic has thrown a spanner in the works of our construction plans. We could not finish work on the northern part of the school building as planned, because all construction work in Nepal had to be stopped as well. As soon as the situation improves, we will finish the school building, as planned. As previously communicated, the new part of the school building will include classrooms, a staff room and toilets, so that teachers will no longer have to share them with students.
Despite all the precautionary measures, the virus could not be completely kept away from NAG. In September, all residents were tested for Coronavirus. A few tests were positive, but fortunately none of those affected had severe cases of the disease, from which we have also been spared to date.
Despite everything, after a long wait, we received our first electric vehicle at the end of 2020. Our old minibus, which we used to transport smaller groups, urgently needed to be replaced. Even though electric vehicles are not yet widely used in Nepal, we wanted to focus on a sustainable solution and therefore ordered an electric vehicle already in 2019. Unfortunately, the delivery was delayed by more than a year. All the more amazing and gratifying that it suddenly materialised in the middle of the Corona crisis. This electric vehicle has been in use for a few weeks, working reliably and without any problems so far.
Even though we were unable to realise numerous plans in 2020 and had to improvise a lot, we hope all the more that normality will return this year. Either way, we can only continue the work thanks to your support. We sincerely thank you for this and your trust in us. Especially in times of crisis, like now, the population in Nepal is particularly dependent on support and we will continue to do our best with NAG in 2021, to help as many people in need as possible, even outside of NAG. On behalf of Nicole, all NAG staff and the Foundation Board, we wish everyone a happy and successful year.
Important: our traditional NAG event will take place this year on 29 August 2021, as always, in Horgen. You will receive the invitation and the program in due course.
The year 2019 has flown by and a lot has happened again at NAG. This includes construction work, sporting successes, help in remote villages and the fight against plastic waste.
The constant replacement and restoration of old buildings at NAG continued in 2019. The northern part of the school building is one of the few buildings that we have not yet replaced since we purchased the land. The building part was dilapidated and has not been used for a long time, for safety reasons. Thanks to donations from Switzerland, we are now able to rebuild the second part of the school building and in the future we will also be able to provide adequate infrastructure for the teaching staff. This includes a teachers’ room as well as toilets, which the teachers do not have to share with pupils. The old building has already been demolished and work on the new building is progressing rapidly, so that we can, hopefully, inaugurate it in the course of 2020.
This year we were also able to open the new art room on the roof of the girls’ dormitory. Thanks to the help of Andrew Gray and the financial support of the International School of Zug and Lucerne, we now have the right premises to offer appropriate drawing and art lessons for all classes. Andrew Gray himself taught at NAG for half a year. Under his guidance, the ”NAGers” painted many great works of art; our grateful thanks for this!
Sports activities are very important for the children and young people. While the girls’ and boys’ basketball teams continue to win many tournaments, our climbing team is now also becoming more and more successful. Only a few years ago, sport climbing was mostly unknown in NAG (and also in Nepal), but now there is a real boom: In 2019 NAG even provided the Nepalese champion in climbing. Since the sport is becoming increasingly popular, we have expanded the climbing wall at NAG. Now there are overhanging parts to the wall and, therefore, it is a challenge for the more experienced climbers among the ”NAGers”. These successes are great for the children. The most important thing for us, though, is that the children have the opportunity to learn and try things out. Especially for the weaker school pupils, this gives them the opportunity to find an activity in which they are strong and can build up self-confidence. We, therefore, also offer numerous other extracurricular activities.
However, the focus is of course still on the actual school education. Our goal remains the same: to provide education to children who would have no chance without NAG. In 2019, we have also taken in numerous children. Around 200 children are currently attending the internal school and living at NAG; 250 more attend school as day students and return home in the evening.
NAG’s own mobile clinic was again on the road in the remote villages. Our doctor and nurses are constantly providing practical and medical assistance in these villages, whose inhabitants otherwise would not have access to basic medical care, due to their remoteness. Even today, there is still little medical care in the distant areas and the mobile clinic makes an important contribution to providing for the population’s most basic needs.
NAG also committed to the fight against plastics in 2019. In order to protect the environment and avoid waste, NAG will use as little plastic as possible. Numerous measures contribute to this; for example, NAG no longer uses plastic bags and most recently its toothbrushes are not made of plastic either; the first consignment of bamboo toothbrushes arrived shortly before Christmas. At first glance, this seems like a small measure. With a consumption of 2000 toothbrushes per year, it makes a difference.
We can only do the work in Nepal thanks to your generous support, dear NAG friends! Also in 2019 we have received numerous donations, which have all made it possible for us even to help the children in Nepal at all. We thank you very much for your great trust in our commitment.
On behalf of Nicole, all NAG employees and the Foundation Board, we wish you all a happy and successful New Year.
Make sure to make a note of our NAG annual event: this year it will take place on 22 March 2020 in Horgen.
2018 was the year of anniversary celebrations in Switzerland and Nepal. For the last 25 years, Nicole Thakuri Wick and her team have built up NAG in Nepal and the NAG foundation Switzerland. This great achievement was celebrated at the NAG event in May in Horgen as well as during a great anniversary party in Kathmandu in September.
2018 was a year with changes within the board of the foundation: the president of the board, Romedius Alber, handed over to Sophie Winkler and Eliane Gallati to Roland Melliger. The NAG family would like to thank Romedius Alber and Eliane Gallati for their great support of NAG in the last years! In autumn, we welcomed Nicole Steck as new board member – she replaces Judith Wick, who will function as president of honor. With the new foundation board, we aim to lead the way into a successful and sustainable future of NAG. There are some challenges ahead – but we will tackle them together!
The festivities in Kathmandu included a theatre play, a “Hollywood” theme party and, of course, a disco for the kids. The NAGers dressed as movie characters (see picture below), they played different games and, for once, were allowed to eat sweets. It was great fun for everyone and will for sure be a long lasting memory.
Some of the celebrations in NAG took place in the new dining hall, which was finally opened in April 2018. Thanks to the great support from Switzerland, the new two-floors dining hall with an integrated kitchen can be used by the NAGers. In addition, and with hands-on support from Switzerland, some of the old sanitary facilities (toilets and showers) were renovated in November and a new water tank is under construction.
In particular, the new kitchen means big step forward: the NAG employees are now able to cook the 400 meals in a large kitchen with a (quite) modern cooking station and have appropriate storage rooms available. No heavy pots of rice need to be carried anymore, which means a great relief for everyone.
Despite these highlights, NAG keeps focusing on helping the poorest in Nepal as such help is still necessary. Unfortunately, Nepal is only making little progress in terms of fighting poverty and unemployment or providing social welfare. In 2018, we welcomed many new children at NAG who would not have had a chance of education otherwise.
The NAG mobile clinic went back to remote villages. Our doctors and nurses continue to provide medical assistance to people living in remote places as the villages who are still suffering from the damages of the earthquake.
All of this is only possible because of your generous support, dear NAG friends and supporters. On behalf of all the children, we would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your trust. And wish you all a fulfilled 2019 with many wonderful moments – Dhanyabad!
As we enter the 25th year of NAG we look back at its development over the many years from the beginning when we were sleeping on the floor of one room in a rough area till having our own home on the outskirts of the city. This has only been made possible thanks to your continued loyal support.
It has been most rewarding witnessing NAGers coming from the streets and slums developing their individual talents and also having the chance of following further studies. Some also founding their own families and themselves supporting NAG.
Our own registered clinic is staffed by Nag Doctors and nurses. Thanks to the separate donation of a Clinic car they also provide medical and practical support to remote villages destroyed by the earthquakes.
The NAG kitchen is now run by chef Soran, one of the first NAGers who studied hotel management and worked abroad. He has now returned to help in NAG’s kitchen, in addition giving cooking classes to the NAGers. As the dining and kitchen buildings were in need of repair we were fortunate in receiving generous support enabling us now to rebuild and provide a higher standard of equipment for the staff.
On the recreation side the children continue to use the various sport opportunities offered including basketball, cricket, table tennis and climbing with a Nager, winning 2nd in the Nepali climbing competition.
In addition to sport creativity continues to flourish. Impressive talent is shown in various forms of art, acting, dancing, singing also dressmaking and carpentry.
It is most rewarding witnessing the development of the younger children in the home who are well cared for by the nannies, attend kindergarten and are allowed to advance at their own individual pace.
The volunteers and visitors witnessing life in NAG have also been a good source of PR for us, returning to their homes and recounting their experiences. Some also having private fundraising events for the home.
WE would like to send our appreciation for your unwavering trust in our commitment and wishing all a most happy new year when we will celebrate NAG’s 25th anniversary
Nicole, NAG staff and members of the foundation
The annual NAG-Event will be held on Sunday, 27th May 2018 in Horgen. Detailed information in April