A Letter from Himalayan Children’s Charities Founder, Bruce Keenan

Nepal is a country of paradox. High, high peaks and deep, crushing poverty. Every trip to Nepal is meaningful. I am blessed with friends and family and the privilege to be with them for holidays, graduations and annual celebrations. This recent trip I was able to celebrate Holi, graduation and International Women’s Day.

You hope, when you do this kind of work, that you can make a small change in a big world. And seeing these young women (two thirds of the HCC students are women), celebrating their accomplishments in this reciprocal way is powerful. It was a young girl that planted the seed for HCC in my mind, two dynamic and bright sisters that got the ball rolling, so the annual celebration of women feels like the culmination of these last 24 years. These women, from extremely challenging backgrounds, are dreaming the biggest dreams they can; setting goals and achieving them. All in a country where only 13% ever attend university at all. Where marginalized populations are mostly uneducated or under-educated and 33% of girls find themselves married before they turn 18. 

Every year the Khushi Ghar family puts together a day of activities for Women’s Day. Students read poetry and share their experiences and art. Everyone participated and it was an astounding day. It’s incredibly moving to be a part of this new generation of educated, powerful Nepali women. They are succeeding in spite of huge personal obstacles and vast societal discrimination and systemic sexism. Not only are they succeeding, they are thriving. They are rejoicing in their womanhood. It was a beautiful day.

It blows my mind to think how truly big this small difference is that we are making. Two more women graduated out of HCC this spring, with jobs in their fields (journalism and medical technology), and the life skills they need to succeed. They were 16 years old when they joined HCC and they are shining examples of the difference we can make in the life of a child. 


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