The association HAMRO SAHARA has rather incidental origin. After completing her professional education, Ramona Zimmermann, a young lady from Canton Glarus (Switzerland), wanted to discover the world and at the same time do some social work. She decided to enter a volunteering activity in a children’s orphanage in Kathmandu, Nepal. Shortly after her return, in spring 2015 Nepal was hit by a strong earthquake. This natural disaster resulted in over 8’000 deaths and 20’300 injuries. Furthermore the catastrophe destroyed or seriously damaged infrastructure and cultural heritages within the whole region. With great dedication, Ramona started to collect money for the reconstruction in Nepal. Together with her sister Larissa she returned to Nepal to provide on-site support. The collected money served to repair the orphanage in Kathmandu and pay the school fee for the children.
After this investment, Ramona still had plenty of donations left and she wanted to find an expedient project to invest in. The further journey took the two sisters to Gorkha. The former capital lies close to the epicentre of the earthquake and has been damaged badly. Even half a year after the disaster plenty of houses could not be used, amongst them the public school. The lessons have temporarily been held in emergency tents. Ramona and Larissa engaged themselves actively as English teachers and got to know the local circumstances. As Gorkha is not directly located at the touristic main route, the region gets less support in terms of donations. This is why Ramona and Larissa chose this area to build up a project.
Besides school operation, the public school used to run kind of a hostel for children coming from distant villages. This was as well home for children, who couldn’t count on the support of their families. As in many places where childcare is in the hand of public service, the situation for the kids has not been ideal. They have been living together in a small space and did not have personal care besides school life. Unfortunately there has been no alternative for children with no or little support from their families in the whole Gorkha district. So came up the idea to open a child house and start the project HAMRO SAHARA.
With Kalpana Shresta, the English teacher at the public school, the two Swiss girls had the fortune to find a local representative with good relations to authorities. With her selfless and warm-hearted nature Kalpana has since been developing and leading the institution HAMRO SAHARA Gorkha. With her help we were able to find a suitable house with a large garden. The property seems to have been waiting for a project like ours. After overcoming some bureaucratic barriers, the organisation has been officially registered in Nepal and on the 29th of November 2015 the opening ceremony of the house took place. Since then HAMRO SAHARA gives a loving home to children out of difficult situations to let them grow up in a child-friendly environment. So far we are hosting five kids which are looked after and supported by two native housemothers.
In February 2016 the next big step of the project has been completed with the foundation of the partner association HAMRO SAHARA Switzerland. With different events this organisation aims to collect donations and excite new members for the project. The undertaking has a long-term character and it should offer sustainable support. The association’s board as well as many other helping hands put great effort into HAMRO SAHARA and work for the organisation without payment. It is very important to us that each donation 1:1 goes directly where it is needed to improve the children’s life.