Our Three Oldest Students Excel at SLC Exams!

Congratulations to our three oldest students, who all received outstanding marks on their SLC exams! Radha, Rajkumari, and Anil were three of the original 14 students Haushala rescued from an abusive orphanage back in 2009, starting CYF as an organisation to support them through school. The three have now concluded their studies at Life Vision Academy, and these excellent SLC results are an impressive and exciting way for them to complete secondary school.

The SLC (School Leaving Certificate) is the final exit exam for Nepali students. It is a very important exam for students as it largely determines their access to college programs, jobs and more opportunities. It's also very difficult; only about half of the country's students receive a passing grade each year, and far fewer receive higher marks or distinction. SLC results carry a lot of weight in determining a teenager's future, and we could not be more proud of Radha, Rajkumari and Anil for their hard work and success!

This SLC batch is particularly exciting as Radha and Rajkumari are our first two girls to complete school at LVA and to take the SLC. Radha joined CYF when she was in grade three. She has no memory of her village in Makwanpur, but she has learned that it is important to keep going forward in life, and that as a girl she has to walk with her head held high and not dwell in the past. From the beginning of her time at CYF, she was grateful for the love that she feels and the education that she received. A message that Radha would like to share is that we should never give in to failure, that we should believe in ourselves and never think that we are alone as there is always someone loving and caring for us.    

Young Radha

Young Radha

Rajkumari joined LVA in class two and was brought to CYF alongside her brother, Elay. Her time at CYF is important to her because her mother is unable to provide her with quality education, and she gets to see her mother when she comes to Kathmandu for hospital treatments. She immediately liked the education that she was receiving and has continued to grow and learn over the years. She says she has learned to respect and love others, as well as discipline, knitting and how to make hand bands. Rajkumari would like to to share with everyone that she is extremely grateful for all of the opportunities she has been given and she is thankful of the entire CYF team. 

Young Rajkumari

Young Rajkumari

Anil joined CYF in 2011, and has had the full support of the CYF team throughout his many struggles.  His mother fought a long and hard battle with breast cancer, which she unfortunately lost in 2015, and his father is paralyzed. Anil himself was diagnosed with Menangitis two times within the last year, but he continued to work hard and succeed at everything that he puts his mind to. He has a lot of fun memories of his time at CYF such as caroling and playing basketball. He has learned that it is important to help the needy by giving what we have, and believes that everyone should help those in need in their own capacity. 

Young Anil (left) with his family

Young Anil (left) with his family

Haushala and Anil's Mom, Bishnu during her cancer treatments 

Haushala and Anil's Mom, Bishnu during her cancer treatments 

Congratulations to these wonderful, hardworking students, and thank you so much to everyone who has helped support them along the way! 

If you would like to help these three teenage graduates with their next step, all donations we receive via this page will help them afford higher education and vocational trainings. 

Donate to our Graduates' Fund

Our Students Go Trekking! "CYF Chasing the Himalayan Candy: Series 1"

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Trekking through the Himalayas, meditating by sacred lakes, trying new foods and meeting new friends: talk about an adventure! Our Life Vision Academy seniors had the field trip of a lifetime this April. Our 16 oldest students, accompanied by 5 of our staff members, made their way from our campus in Lalitpur to Pokhara, Marpha, Jomsom, Kagbeni and Muktinath! The kids designed the entire concept, naming the trip "CYF Chasing the Himalayan Candy: Series 1." Their goal was to collect the version of what candy is to kids they met on the way, while also collecting stories of all the places they visited to share with everyone in the CYF community. 

Our student Dilip wrote a journal about the trip, and we took a lot of photos to share with you. Keep reading to see our journey through his eyes!

Making this dream trip a reality was a collective effort all thanks to the sponsors who donated. Thank you - we are so grateful! The trip is named Series 1 because we are hoping to make this a tradition for LVA students for years to follow. To sponsor kids for an adventure next year, donate here

 

Our Adventure, as told by Dilip (Class 8)

First Day: Pokhara 

We woke up early in the morning at 5:30am. I was really excited because it was the first day of our trip. Being very happy, I brushed my teeth, washed my face and ate my breakfast. I changed my dress around 6:15am. Our van arrived at 6:45am. We went to pick up Haushala ma'am, Anurag dai, Matthew dai and Justin dai. We went and changed our vehicle in Kalanki. We all put our belongings in the tourist bus, then our journey began. We had a lot of fun singing and joking with one another. The bus stopped at Damauli to give us time to eat lunch. We ate our lunch, went to the toilet and climbed back in the bus.

We reached Pokhara around 3:30 PM. The bus took us a little farther than our hotel, so we had to carry our belongings to our hotel (Noor Hotel). We went to the lakeside and ate our snacks. After some time we went to Godfather's Pizzeria and ate our dinner. We ate pizza. After dinner we came back to the hotel and watched TV for a while. Then we slept.

Second Day: Marpha

We woke up at 6:00 AM. We got ready for our breakfast. We ate our breakfast. After that, three jeeps came to pick us up. We had to reach Marpha which was really far, so we left earlier from the hotel. We saw rivers, hills, hydropowers, caves, wild honey hives, etc. We saw Kali Gandaki River also. We stopped in a place to use the toilet. We bought snacks at the same time. After some time we stopped in Beni Bazaar to eat our lunch. I was feeling very bad because I was about to vomit so I didn't eat lunch. I ate chowmein and Sprite. Then we moved ahead. We stopped again in the Tatopani hot springs. We took a nice hot bath. It was really fun. In Tatopani there was Hotel Annapurna where we ate our lunch but only the students who didn't eat in Beni Bazaar.

We kept moving. We reached Marpha at 6:00 pm. We washed up, then we ate our dinner. We celebrated New Year and Meena's Birthday in Hotel Marpha Palace. After eating we played for a while and we went to sleep.

Third Day: Jomsom

We woke up at 8:00 AM because it was a short walk from Marpha to Jomsom, just 6 km. We ate our breakfast at 8:30. We also did meditation with Haushala ma'am.

Before we reached Jomsom, we visited the Sumtangling Monastery in Marpha which is 300years old. Monk Dhendup was very nice to share the history of this beautiful place.

We didn't go to Jomsom in the Jeep. We walked but the Jeeps would wait for us in Jomsom. When we walked we saw many things like rivers, mountains, jurlunge pool, fossils, gumba (monasteries), horses etc. Anurag dai bought me a Buddhist hand band which cost Rs 200. We took many pictures also. We saw a very big vulture just in front of us. We reached Jomsom early. We ate our lunch and rested for a bit. We were about to go for the trek but it rained so we stopped. After fifteen minutes we moved. We went to Bara Barse Mela in Thini. We danced there. After that we went to Dhumba Lake and meditated and journaled for a while.

Then we moved back. We ate noodles on the way. We returned to Xanadu and ate our dinner. Then we slept.

Fourth Day: Kagbeni

I was sleeping very well. But Anurag dai came and woke us up at 6:30 AM to show us a beautiful view of the mountains because it had rained last night. After that we packed our dress and ate our breakfast. After that we started to walk to Kagbeni. On the way we found many fossils.

We took a shortcut which was the river way. We reached another hotel in Kagbeni named Yac Donalds easily. We ate our lunch and rested for an hour. After rest we visited another gumba in Kagbeni which was 500 years old. We also saw a sculpture of Ganta Karna. We also took a short walk with Anurag dai.

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After that we returned to our hotel. We played a funny and interesting game with Anurag dai and Haushala Ma'am. Anurag dai told us we could reach Dolpa, Upper Mustang, Domangthang, Muktinath etc from Kagbeni. After that we ate our diner and went to sleep.

Fifth Day: Muktinath and Jomsom

We woke up at 6:00 AM. We packed our clothes and ate our breakfast by 7:00 AM. The weather was very cool. We moved at 7:00 AM from the hotel Yac Donalds.

It was fun walking but we got tired very fast because of lack of oxygen in higher altitude. But the views of the mountains and hills were so amazing that I didn't want to close or wink my eyes. We took many pictures on the way. We ate snacks in every break that we took. I was hoping to touch snow but it was in higher altitude. We reached Muktinath at 3:00 PM. 

We took baths in 108 taps and swam in two square ponds. We went inside after taking baths. Haushala ma'am put us tika and dora. After that we ate cooked noodles in the restaurant The Path of Dreams.

After that we came back to Jomsom in the Jeep. We reached Jomsom within 1 hour and 30 minutes. After reaching Hotel Xanadu we had tea and biscuits. We rested for a while then we ate our dinner. After dinner we played the same game that we played in Jomsom. It was really exciting moments that we were all having. After the game we slept.

Sixth Day: Pokhara

We woke up at 7:30 AM. We ate our breakfast and moved from Jomsom in the Jeeps. We all were having a Jeep race. It was fun encouraging the driver dai to increase the speed of the Jeep.

We didn't stop in many places because we had seem them before when we went there. We stopped in Hotel Annapurna and drank cold drinks. Then we moved ahead again. After some time we stopped in Beni Bazaar at Yak Hotel to eat lunch. We ate chowmein. After chowmein we ate ice cream also.

After that we again moved. We stopped at a waterfall. We played there for a while. We played with water and took pictures. 

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When we finished visiting we kept moving. We reached Hotel Prime at 5:00 PM. We took showers and watched TV for a while. We ate dinner in the hotel Tea Time. I ate a crunchy chicken burger. I also helped others to eat. After eating we came back to the hotel. We watched TV for a while then we all slept.

Seventh Day: Pokhara

We woke up at 8:00 AM in the morning. We packed our belongings and went to Hotel Iceland. Hotel Iceland was a very expensive and advanced hotel. The hotel had many facilities like: 1) Television 2) Air conditioner 3) Swimming pool 4) Room attached bathroom 5) Tea in room 6) Freeze 7) Cupboard, etc. 

We kept our clothes in the hotel. We went to PHAT KATH to eat our breakfast. It was Anurag dai's friend's restaurant. There was a snooker table also. We enjoyed playing with it. After some time we ate our breakfast. After breakfast we went boating. We went to the Peace Stupa, Haushala ma'am's house and a temple that was in the middle of Fewa Lake. 

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We did boat racing also. After boating we came back to Hotel Iceland. We went swimming for a long time. We ate snacks because we felt hungry so fast after swimming. After a while we went to a hotel and ate dinner. We also ate ice cream. After that we came back to the hotel and slept.

Eighth Day: CYF and LVA

We woke up at 6:30am. We packed our clothes and ate our breakfast. The bus was waiting for us so we reached there by 7:15 AM. We all kept our clothes inside the bus then we moved ahead. We were enjoying the jokes and memories that we had the last seven days. It was fun talking about funny things.

We stopped in a hotel to eat lunch. We ate non-veg lunch. After eating we climbed back on the bus. We caught a van in Swayambhu. The van brought us back to our hostel.

My Best Memories from the Trip are:

1) The jokes that everyone made

2) Happiness that I saw in everyone's face

3) The amazing beauty and creation of Mustang with hills, mountains, rivers etc

4) The suggestions that I got

5) The fun that we had

6) The achievements that we got when we made our way till Muktinath

7) The unity of our CYF family. Helping, caring and aways searching for one another.

8) Everyone's smiles also :)

For more photos from our trip, follow us on Instagram @cyfnepal!

This T-shirt Left on Everest is Transforming Life Vision Academy

Photo courtesy of Peter Ford.

Photo courtesy of Peter Ford.

In April of 2015, Peter Ford was on his way to Mt. Everest. His daughter Skyler turned 14 while he was trekking, and on her birthday, Peter left a t-shirt for her at the last teahouse before Everest Basecamp. Along with the birthday message he wrote on the shirt, he gave Skyler instructions for her to find it when she made her own trip up there one day.

Very fortunately, Peter returned home from Nepal right before the 7.8-magnitude earthquake sent a fatal avalanche down through the Basecamp and took thousands of lives across the country. Ever since seeing the news of the earthquake's devastation, Skyler has been determined to visit Nepal and leave a positive impact however she can.

Now, Skyler is fulfilling that goal, and CYF is thrilled to be a part of it. This summer, she will be coming to Nepal, retrieving the shirt her dad left for her two years ago, and volunteering at CYF's Life Vision Academy. Joined by Peter, her mom Rachel, her friend Catherine Torres, and Catherine's mom Sian, Skyler will first complete the challenging trek to Everest Basecamp, finding Peter's old teahouse along the way. After the trek, the group will spend a week with us at Life Vision Academy to paint our newly-constructed boarding school. By offering to fundraise for and physically paint our new classrooms, the Ford and Torres families are bringing us one huge step closer to opening a fully complete school for 200 students. 

Skyler and Catherine, who are both in 10th Grade at the Kent Place School in Summit, NJ, have set up an online crowdfunding campaign to buy the paint supplies for our school. In less than two weeks, they have already raised over $5,000! To support Skyler and Catherine's mission to make their trip to Nepal leave a lasting impact, please visit their fundraising page. They are also holding a book drive to fill up our school's new library. If you would like to contribute any storybooks or coloring books for them to bring to children in Nepal, please contact us at info@cyfnepal.org. 

Thank you to the Ford and Torres families for sharing your incredible and unique story, for your commitment to sustainably impacting Nepal, and for supporting the students of LVA! We are so excited to be a part of your inspiring adventure.

April 25.

One year ago, at 11:56am local time, everything changed.

April 25's 7.8-Magnitude earthquake tore through Kathmandu Valley and turned our world upside down. On this symbolic anniversary of April 25, we invite you to join us in reflecting upon the year that has passed and the thousands of lives that were lost.

One year later, our community is still shaking. We have had hundreds and hundreds of earthquakes since that day.

One year later, our community is still strong. Because of everyone who supports and encourages CYF, we have been able to stay determined and optimistic throughout this challenging year. We are continually inspired by the resilience of the Nepali population, and together, we are infinitely stronger than the #NepalQuake.

If you were to fly to Kathmandu today, you would still see rubble on nearly every street corner. Major temples and UNESCO heritage sites remain unrepaired, solemn ghosts next to posters of their former selves, showing tourists what they used to look like. It won't take you long to spot a damaged building with huge cracks running top to bottom; unfortunately, it is hard to spot the cracked ones that were painted over in an attempt to look repaired, yet still suffer from dangerous internal damage and could collapse at any time. Camps of earthquake survivors living in tents are still scattered across the city. And, of course, the earthquakes themselves are still coming.

Boudha Stupa, a UNESCO heritage site, under reconstruction in December 2015. 

Boudha Stupa, a UNESCO heritage site, under reconstruction in December 2015. 

Nepal has had hundreds and hundreds of aftershocks and new earthquakes since April 25's. Today, it is still common to have ones roll through that are over 5.0-Magnitude. This becomes of higher concern during the upcoming rainy season, as earthquakes like this can cause landslides, as they did on a huge scale last spring. These ongoing tremors also add to the psychological damage of last April's quake, particularly because Nepal is still expecting "The Big One" - a seismologically overdue earthquake, possibly even higher than an 8.5. As CYF 6th grader Mingma Lama put it, "Nowadays the earthquakes will come sometimes, and we all feel scared." It's hard to tell what will happen next when the ground starts shaking, so this tumultuous pattern continues to keep us alert at all times.

While these rumbles have become routine, it is 11:56am on April 25 that is still engrained in countless minds. Anyone who was in the valley can tell you exactly where they were in that moment, and how the ground rolled like an ocean. Our kids at CYF frequently mention the time, 11:56, when they talk about their memories of the earthquake. That one moment is impossible to forget.

Immediately after that moment, people around the world jumped into action, responding to what had happened in Nepal. Ever since, our CYF team has been working every day to rebuild our community, stand by our neighbors, and put all of your donations to their best use.

Kamala Tamang, the head stitcher at CYF's Haushala Cooperative, has led many of our earthquake relief projects across the valley.

Kamala Tamang, the head stitcher at CYF's Haushala Cooperative, has led many of our earthquake relief projects across the valley.

After the first earthquake, we joined together with friends, family, neighbors and organizations under the CYF Collective, a collaborative group to provide organized and effective relief aid. We delivered trucks and trucks full of emergency supplies and blankets, set up temporary shelters and classrooms, and built toilets in destroyed villages. We also brought rescue helicopters to remote areas, and set up sewing centers to provide earthquake survivors with business opportunities.

The CYF Collective's first helicopter rescue mission transported Furke Lama, age 55, from Dhap, Sindhupalchowk to the Dhulikhel Hospital. Her multiple injuries included a rib bone fracture, deep forearm wound, possible sepsis, and a severe chest infection. This rescue mission, led by Dr. Sajal Shakya, Dr. Roshan Piya, and Prajwan Shrestha, also airlifted two others to the hospital. During the same trip, they dropped 350 kilos of relief items to Gunsa, Sindhupalchowk as well. This helicopter trip was funded by our friend Marie Claire in France.

The CYF Collective's first helicopter rescue mission transported Furke Lama, age 55, from Dhap, Sindhupalchowk to the Dhulikhel Hospital. Her multiple injuries included a rib bone fracture, deep forearm wound, possible sepsis, and a severe chest infection. This rescue mission, led by Dr. Sajal Shakya, Dr. Roshan Piya, and Prajwan Shrestha, also airlifted two others to the hospital. During the same trip, they dropped 350 kilos of relief items to Gunsa, Sindhupalchowk as well. This helicopter trip was funded by our friend Marie Claire in France.

In order to achieve sustainable, long-term recovery in Kathmandu Valley, we focused in on what we consider the most important part of society to protect and invest in: education. On April 26, 2015, over one million children in Nepal woke up without a classroom. We partnered up with a few government schools in the valley that had been destroyed, working together to completely restore them. Today, reconstruction is almost complete in the Shree Bagh Bairav school of Kaleswor, Lalitpur, and the Milan Primary School of Chyasingkharka, Kavrepalanchowk. Shree Bagh Bairav's reconstruction was funded through CYF by the fundraising initiatives of Alex Trulock from Alabama.

The Milan Primary school was completely destroyed, only a short time after it was first built.

The Milan Primary school was completely destroyed, only a short time after it was first built.

Reconstruction underway in Kaleswor!

Reconstruction underway in Kaleswor!

We also sustained significant damage at our own school, Life Vision Academy, where our dormitory was destroyed. We are now in the process of moving to a new location in Godavari, away from earthquake damage. When the first earthquake hit in April, our kids camped out on the basketball court for a few weeks, until we were able to put up three prefabricated houses as temporary and safe places to live. Putting a roof over our kids' heads was possible because of support from our friends, family and global community.

Bindu in a power stance outside one of our three new homes.

Bindu in a power stance outside one of our three new homes.

One of these houses was funded by the Dan Fredinburg Foundation, which was established to honor the life of Google executive, climate activist and life-loving adventurer Dan Fredinburg. Dan tragically lost his life at Mount Everest Base Camp when the earthquake caused a devastating avalanche. The DFF was founded by his family and friends to honor Dan's commitments to life, education, children in Nepal, social movements and outstanding passion for this world we live in. We are extremely honored to include Dan's legacy in our school through this safe home for our students.

From www.thedanfredinburgfoundation.org. 

From www.thedanfredinburgfoundation.org. 

To everyone out there in the CYF community and beyond, we thank you for standing with us on this terrifying day one year ago. We extend our condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one to the earthquakes, and we extend our support to everyone who is still recovering. And we thank you, everyone in our worldwide CYF family, for sending us your support and hope in all of the days that followed, and for getting us through this challenging year.

If you'd like to make a commemorative impact today, please sign our pledge of remembrance or donate to our ongoing earthquake relief fund. All donations will go directly towards rebuilding schools across the Kathmandu Valley. 

The earthquake was so bad. I will never forget it. I wish that this day would never come back again. But, don’t worry about us.
— Roshan Lama, Class 6

6 Months Since #NepalQuake: Where We Are Today

On April 25, everything changed.

Today marks six months since the 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated Kathmandu Valley, triggering hundreds of earthquakes and aftershocks. These six months have been a roller coaster. Our relief projects would not have been possible without the support of our donors and friends. Thank you all for everything you've done to help Nepal rebuild. Your impact has truly made a world of a difference. 


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All donations to our earthquake relief fund enabled us to deliver immediate aid and to develop long-term recovery projects. We distributed emergency supplies, set up temporary shelters, and helped rebuild schools. We reached villages that the government never helped. We brought a rescue helicopter to remote areas. And we put a roof over the heads of our own children, replacing our crumbled dormitory with three prefabricated houses.


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All donations to Life Vision Academy have brought us closer than ever to a new school facility. When construction concludes next year, we'll open the doors of our dream home to 200 children. The earthquake took countless victims, including education; over one million students didn't have a school anymore on April 26. The new LVA will provide long-term earthquake relief by giving more kids a place to learn and the tools to grow.


It's not only about monetary donations; your friendship and solidarity have powered us through these six months. We've received so much support from friends, family, mentors and (former) strangers all around the world. The helpfulness of your hope, concern and advice is unquantifiable. Thank you for taking on this disaster with us. We are so grateful to have you as a part of our community.


We've come a long way, but we still have so much left to do. Together, we can keep rebuilding Nepal and create a safe future for the youngest generation. By donating today, you can help us finish these relief projects and push on towards our future. Thank you for your support!

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