A wonderful article from the Nepali Times, written by Ama Ghar volunteer Neil Dixit – hope you enjoy!
Ama Ghar – Providing a home, a family and education to children, who otherwise may not have had the chance
TEXT & PHOTOS by NEIL DIXIT
Bonnie Ellison, Country Director of Ama Ghar, remembers the day the children arrived in Godavari after a long bus ride from Pyuthan. “They were scared and didn’t know what to do. But three of the older girls, Rupmala, Bindu and Sharada, quickly took charge. Without them, this place wouldn’t be what it is today,” she says.
Such a family-oriented atmosphere, reminiscent of home, was always the intent of Founder Shrawan Nepali. During his adolescence, Nepali stayed at the all-boys Paropakar orphanage, one of the oldest in Nepal. His bond with Ama Tika Basnet there inspired him to set up the orphanage with her and Shekhar Silwal. “She was the closest person I had to a mother figure growing up. She changed my life, and helped me become the No.1 student in class, from being the worst,” he recalls.
With the support of US-based NGO Ama Foundation, Nepali and his partners opened Ama Ghar’s doors in 2001. Today, it houses 39 cheerful children, who are getting the benefit of a loving home and a top-rate education. But is it sustainable?
“We’re trying to find ways to become more self-sufficient,” explains Ellison. Indeed, Ama Ghar is looking for ways to generate income through the children’s talents. “They’re all good artists! So why can’t they sell art?” Why not indeed. The spirit of the inhabitants of Ama Ghar is such that you can simply sense that their prospects are bright, if only because the children are ready to take their future into their own hands.