Updates As Summer Is Ending & Is Fall Arriving

Updates As Summer Is Ending & Is Fall Arriving

    R Star has once again unanimously voted to add highly qualified Board members who know Nepal well including how to run a foundation.  Sandy Ramsey ran her own organization for 10 years.  We are delighted to welcome Sandy Ramsey who will be advancing us in our work by her expertise and experience. Perhaps you recall articles we wrote about Sandy giving a Teachers Training in Nepal in 2019, also visiting our grade school with Rosalind and instructing the principal, Jitu?  She is a perfect match for our passionate board.  She offers her points of view in this newsletter for you to enjoy.
    After more than 6 years of living and working in Nepal, Sandy made a heart choice to return home to be closer to her kids and 6 grandchildren.  Welcome, Sandy Ramsey!

    Here is a short bio on Sandy with a photo of her family. 

(Sandy) holds a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is also a licensed in professional counseling, marriage, family therapy, and has an emergency management certification from the State of Nebraska. Sandy has been providing disaster response for nearly two decades. For 10 years she taught college psychology courses while also operating a private practice, specializing in trauma. She has responded to disasters, first as a mental health worker and  then as a responder, all over the United States  and in foreign countries.  Sandy also presents at international disaster conferences. In 2011 Cambridge Who’s Who recognized Sandy as a VIP of the Year for showing dedication, leadership, and excellence in trauma therapy.
    Siddhartha Silwal has been on our Board a year.  He is quite the eager and knowing volunteer too, as you will read in his bio. He is a great addition to what we do in Nepal.   Where Sidd grew up is where R Star works and serves!  He knows what we do and what they need.  Thank you for joining us and adding more of your knowledge to guide us.  Welcome, Siddhartha!
     “Siddhartha is how I am known.  I became acquainted with  the R Star Foundation when I met Rosalind, ”Auntie”, in 2003 on her first working trip to Nepal. Both my wife Gita, and I liked the project with the goats for the village women very much as we understood how the project would lift the women. We are both from the rural area of Kavre which remains one of the poorest Districts of Nepal.

    My wife and I legally immigrated to the USA in 2007. In 2014 we were granted our green cards. 

    Auntie has remained in contact with us through the years as well as participated in some of the ‘road’ shows I work to promote the imports I manufacture in Nepal.

    We have supported R Star ever since we arrived with a percentage of our sales; introductions to Nepali dignitaries, supplying clothing to be sold at events R Star has a presence. 
     When I was asked to join the Board in 2009, I was honored but was not available to do so until the year 2019 because of growing my business and raising my two sons with my beautiful wife.  (I am inserting here, Gita has cooked her incredible meals for our events from time to time, and honors us with her Nepali dancing.  She gives flavor to our events, every time!).  It pleases me to be part of the continuing and broadening works for the village women which I directly know about as my Mother remains in our village of Methinkot, one of the villages which benefited from the first project, the goats. We know exactly how the programs work and witnessed the changes in the lives of many, many women and their families as well as beyond our village home.

   I know I will complement the ongoing work of R Star because of my direct rural village life heritage, especially the Kavre District. I can guide by knowledge regarding the pulse of what is needed to bring the most good for those we serve in Nepal.  My Nepali community here in the USA will further benefit the goals of R Star.  I am excited to be part of a selfless group as R Star is!”  

Siddhartha obtained his B.S. & Master’s Degrees in Business Management at Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal.

    R star is proud to share Sidd’s Nepali business:
                Kala Imports LLC
                560 S. Los Angeles St.Suite No. 49,
                Los Angeles, CA 90013
Where are we at this time with COVID affecting pretty much everything?  
    The PAD project is going gung-ho!   Our lovely elder Marilynn is still doing the sewing for our Nepali women.  We shared about her last month in our newsletter. 
    In addition to sewing, Marilynn has been doing research for our kits for the pads each woman will receive.  She’s even brought in her own volunteers to help her with adding the snaps, creating the internal kit aspects, even offered to put the kits together for us.  She is also pushing me to know more and faster but in the sweetest of ways to spur us forward!  Marilynn remains a force to be reckoned with and how proud I am to work with her for our rural ladies of Nepal while learning about her lifetime of volunteering.
Road Grading & Paving as well as Water to the Homes – UPDATE! 
 We are actively working as we can in Nepal with the road grading which is coming to completion for our area.   COVID has slowed the efforts considerably, yet we are progressing.

    The piping of water to remote village homescontinues advancing since last we shared.  The owners of the homes are digging the trough to lay the pipes which bring the water to their homes.  COVID time is perfect digging time even though it is also monsoon season since no one can leave their homes or districts presently.  The entire country of Nepal remains on lockdown on both sides of the border.  There are Nepali’s who were scheduled to return home following working in another country who are unable to return even though their contract has been completed with their visas expiring.  The more the testing is done, the higher the COVID cases appear, but this is not to say they are getting ill or dying at a high rate whatsoever.  Just the same, the Nepali’s are in high fear.
Reaching for Amazing Grants
The Single Women’s Village
    The Monarch Beach Sunrise Rotary in Dana Point is aimed at writing a grant. They are working toward a large water project for our Single Women’s village.  I will say here, ‘single women’ are usually divorced/widowed women who are considered burdens on society.  

The following article by our own Board member Sandy Ramsey will clearly share the depth of their sad reality based on the cultural attitudes toward single women.
     Little is offered to the Single Women because they are seen as a liability and most unfairly treated currently.     
   We are hoping our water well project Rotary grant will go forward with the expertise of the volunteer grant writers from Monarch Beach Sunrise Rotary to lessen the single women’s life burdens and flourish individually and collectively. 
    Additionally, the Single Women’s Village are movers and shakers who are not deterred by the cultural view of them to be successful and productive, even happy. 

              New Hope to the Widows in Nepal by Sandy Ramsey

    In  Nepal, “widow” is a harsh and hurtful word. It  is  derived from Sanskrit and it means “empty.”           
    According to the Women for Human Rights (WHR), a nonprofit in Nepal the term “single woman” is preferred over “widow” because the state of being single is  a natural phenomenon. Widows are the poorest, most marginalized, and abused sector of the population. Young single women are often illiterate, unskilled, and are many times displaced after their husband’s death. They are desperate for employment opportunities to improve their situation both for themselves and for their children. The rising number of young single women resulting from conflicts in many countries, and  in Nepal in particular, has forced them to look outside of their community to earn a living and this is driving them to take huge risks that make them vulnerable to human trafficking. Widows are the poorest, most marginalized, and abused sector of the population.
                 “Widows are seen as a curse on their families”
   They are identified as inauspicious, a symbol of ill omen, and the cause of the deaths of their husbands.  It is common for their husbands to die even before the bride sets foot in her husband’s home. Most of these men die due to illnesses such as cholera, malaria, snake bites, or they might even disappear over-seas, where they go to seek jobs and wealth.  The child widows in many cases do not even know who they were married to or to which family and village their husbands belonged.   Such child widows who are known as vaikalya are considered vile and omens of bad fortune and are treated worse than other widows…They are denied basic human rights such as regular meals, clothing,  and access to education, …”
   Lily Thapa, the founder of WHR, (Women for Human Rights) says, “In a patriarchal and male dominated society like Nepal, where women are systematically discriminated, the status of widows (to whom we use the term, ‘single women’ due to the agony and humiliation attached to the word widow in Nepali), is extremely low. They are the most marginalized and abused sector of the population. The scenario worsens as soon as the Nepalese woman is widowed and she is seen as a curse befallen on the family. The death of her husband opens the floodgates of hell for her, and this is even worse if the woman happens to be quite young.  A young single woman (widow) is often viewed as an adversary, and the family often taunts her as being responsible for her husband’s death.  The widows are put through a life of humiliation and are always looked upon with hatred and suspicion. The moment they become single they lose their independence, means of livelihood, and get tied down by the ancient iron rules of culture, systems, and belief of the society.”
   Generally in Nepal, a woman’s position is derived only from her relationship with the men in her life. This is her father, brother, husband, and then her son during her later years. If she has moved to another village, away from her biological family, and is widowed, she then resides with her in-laws and is under the domination of the males of that house. Most widows find themselves financially dependent on others and are forced to lead a life that is at the mercy of their in-laws. Having a widow in your home is considered to be a bad omen. They are always looked upon with suspicion. In the home of their in-laws, the widows and their children can be abused in horrific ways with little to no legal recourse.

    Easily you understand why we reach to help the dismissed, marginalized, and physically harmed women because they are Single Women.  Their only crime. 
    You have the opportunity to assist us to help them. 

    We thank you for what you can do and have done.