I had gone through most of my life looking for something,
trying to find what it is that was missing. I knew there was something in my
soul that was yearning, but I looked everywhere and in the end, I found it in myself.
The one place I was the most scared to look, as I never believed that what was
inside of me is what my soul needed, for me to love myself. When I started WatersFromHeaven I had no idea
exactly what it was that I wanted to do. We did renovations, library, science
lab, school supplies, but during the time I was doing this on the side, I would
just draw with the children. And somehow this activity became a part of my
heart when I saw the absolute joy that something so simple could bring to a
child. I realized that it does not take big works to bring happiness and make a
change in the world. All it takes is giving of yourself freely, without any
conditions. I never thought that I had anything to share that came from within
as I did not feel that I was trained, had any experience, did not really like
who I became or any of the things I believed I would need if I wanted to do
something meaningful. But the one thing that I knew I had was to be a survivor
and to not give up. As a child I had to do that and looking back now, I am
thankful for all the experiences that made me into who I am today. We all look
for our passion and so many times I looked at those that lived with passion and
their dreams and I felt that it could never be me. But standing on the brink of
leaving soon, not knowing exactly what the future holds or where it will lead, I
know that I found my passion. My passion is loving who I am and loving what I
do. Yes, fear is there, because it is something that is a part of us as humans.
But I am learning how to deal with it in a way that is not making my body react
in a way that makes me ill. I am not perfect, but I know that each of us are
special and we can all make a change starting with ourselves. And yes I do want
happiness and I want to share that joy with those of you that walk this road
with me, pass by, or if we even just share a smile. I am still stunned at the
amount of support this project has received, as WatersFromHeaven is not run by
a big team of people, but by strangers and friends that have been there through
this all. As this is not just my journey, but I believe, we each have our own
journey and somehow it all comes together in the end. Nothing happens by accident,
nothing happens without reason, as everything has meaning even in the worst
possible situations. I wanted to thank so so many of you that have believed in what
this project stands for and the reason for us doing this. You all have a part
of the spirit of what is possible in the world. Don’t give up on your dreams!
WatersFromHeaven (WFH), a
small grassroots organization, founded in Houston three years ago that works
with small schools in rural communities to promote art in the remote areas of
Nepal. The majority of schools in the villages do not have the necessary funds and
access to trained teachers that are the prime barriers for allowing art to be
in the school curriculum. However, WFH strongly believes that art is the path
to one’s creative mind and heart. Our mission with the free art classes is to
bring color into the classrooms and hand children the opportunity to express
their creativity through simple and easy art activities. In addition, the
workshops also assist teachers to improve their teaching methods and learn
using basic and recyclable materials in the classrooms, making art accessible
and affordable for everybody.
The project is called “Where there is color
there is Hope,” because we believe that art can uplift your spirits and
transform any moment into a colorful experience. We have already completed
three successful trips, and will be soon leaving on an eight- month trip in
September 2013. We will be drawing, painting, creating, and smiling and so on
in Letang, which lies in the Morang district of Nepal. We are always trying to
come up with new ideas with the workshops we do. Every year different
participating artists have been able to bring the variety in WFH’s works. In
Letang, free art and training workshops for teachers in the classrooms and
nurseries will be setup. We have recruited 18 teachers and artists from all
over the world to join on this project. Artists are not charged any fees for
joining and all the expenses are shared. We been collecting art materials for
the project and travelers have dropped off supplies and we will be taking the
rest with us. Please, do visit us at our Facebook page for updates www.facebook.com/WatersFromHeaven.
The time is getting closer for me to leave on the trip, and
I can feel the days ticking by one after the other. Sometimes it feels as if
the brakes are off and I realize that I have set myself on the path that is
open at this point and the future is completely unknown. As many of you know, I
have worked for two years on this project and to spread the word. It has been a
difficult road, but I know and realize that it is beginning to happen and soon the
dream won’t be just a dream for the children anymore.
The “Where the is Color there is Hope Project” is the air
that I breathe and I make sure every day, no matter how long my hours are at
work that I answer every email, put up pictures and spread the word, and get up
sometimes at 4 am other days at 5 am, so that I do can all the work I need to
for this project before starting my regular job. It gives me the biggest joy, the
hardest frustration and sometimes tears of despair, but there is nothing I
would do differently. But there is one thing I have dreaded, and that is is to
ask for financial donations. As you all do know I have never over the years
raised funds to pay for my own expenses for the trips. It has all been self-funded,
and I have worked many different jobs to get the money together. But this year
I need to do what I dread most. And ask for your donations. I will be leaving
for 8 months and the cost of the workshops for 8 months, art supplies, living
expenses and the flight ticket is too much for me to save in such a short
period. The time to leave is getting closer and I realize I need to ask for
your help. The reason for planning this trip for such a long time, is that doing
the short trips to do the art projects only has a small impact and the teachers
and children are so much wanting to learn more. And the only way to do that is
to spend longer time at the schools and begin to set up teacher training workshops
so that we can reach more teachers and schools.
The cost of my flight ticket is $1700 and I had won $500
from Travel2Change towards my ticket. But that still leaves me to save $1200,
visa fees are $40 per month and living expenses is minimum $300 a month. This
is the costs without the art supplies and basic things like paper we need, and
the supplies we would need to have for the workshops. I am doing everything
from my side to save the money, but it is a big mountain to climb, but I have never
backed down from the impossible. As you know by know is that the art and teacher training workshops are provided for free to the schools and the communities in the rural areas of Nepal. For these 8 months any teacher or artist joining me is paying for their own expenses and I do not charge them any fees for setting this up.
I know everybody gets so many requests each day asking for donations
from all over, but I hope that my character, my work and my heart has shown you
what I believe. If you could make a small donation, I would be so grateful and
it would mean so much. My paypal as well as my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and I
can always send you my home address if needed. Thank you for all your love and
support over the years as it has given me the will to continue. Thank you
For those that have followed my journey over the last 3 years and have been there to support me through the ups and downs, I wanted to thank you. On a positive note, I am still here and still believing in what can be possible. Some days are harder than others, some days are amazing. But that is the journey of life and we cannot give-up on the days we feel that it all is falling apart. Believe me I stood at that cross roads many many times these last 3 years, but there is this little voice that comes from the deepest part of my soul that keeps pushing me and does not allow me to quite.
I am now at the point of organizing 8 months of free art workshops,and when I look at the magnitude of work ahead of me I feel that maybe I am biting off more than I can chew for one person. But I know we can do it, it might not go perfectly as planned, there may be days that somebody might say this is not working out today, but if we allow ourselves to be flexible and see it as a learning experience then I cannot feel that I might fail. Honestly I have no idea how it will all work out and how it will all come together, but I believe that the universe has sent some amazing people to work on this project, people with heart and spirit, that is willing to take a trip to Nepal on the believe of what we will be doing is important. And for me that knowledge is so over whelming as WatersFromHeaven is not a big organization, is not something that runs on sponsors or big donations. My believe has been to build something that does not exploit volunteers, is not concerned about having our names put on buildings for recognition, but a dream that is built on faith.
I have not yet given up on the idea of an art center.Somewhere from where we can plan workshops, have a base to live and give free training workshops for teachers. Each time I do believe it is getting closer, and when the time is right it will happen. Knowing I have no funds to do this, might be a crazy idea, but I know we will receive this space somehow someday.
Some of you might know that I have been having the issue with getting a Nepali visa if I wanted to start the center, which has been my concern,as I do not have the thousands of dollars it would cost for me to go through this process of getting the visa. I had recently become an American citizen,and am very proud to say that. But the other day I was looking into applying for a tourist visa to India as we will be close to the border and I thought I might go over to Darjeeling for a trip. So then I read that American citizens can apply for 10 year visas to India. It was as if all the concern of how will I do this disappeared. So the good news is that I am thinking of doing the artcenter on the Indian side as I could live and do the projects in India and travel to Nepal for 5 months a year to work on the projects there. It might not seem so important a revelation to everybody, but for me it took away all the stress about how will I be doing this, as I cannot fly up and down from the USA and I need a space to live from where we can build something permanent.
Sometimes in life the answers to our concerns are not always what we were planning or thought it would be, but the universe will give you the answers when you open yourself to all the possibilities. I have learnt to be flexible during this process and allow myself to flow and not be set in myideas. And in this way we can work in 2 countries and reach so many more children and schools. I will set out again on this trip and look to find a space/place from where we can start this dream. And who knows what might happen. All I can say with all my heart is that I know art needs to be brought to the rural children in a way that it is accessible, affordable, and practical. Children need to be creative and they need that opportunity. CHILDREN NEED ART.
I was wondering if anybody travelling to Nepal had a small space in their back packs to take art supplies to Nepal. I am trying to collect enough supplies for the 9 months we will be there giving free art workshops, but am looking for any items you have in your drawers that is not being used anymore (it does not have to be new), that we can use for crafts and arts in the classroom. I have a contact in Kathmandu that will collect the supplies.
I have started making a list of items that you might have at home and what we could use in the classroom. Cookie cutters, glue gun, one hole punch, ink bottles, ink pads, measuring tape,geometry set, childrens scissors, big scissors, staples, staplers, thumbtacks, buttons, beads, colored chalk, colored construction paper, cotton balls, decorative color items to glue, glitter, white paper, paper plates, ribbon, yarn, strips of fabric, wooden clothing pegs, food coloring, corn starch, tracing paper, liquid glue, superglue, wiggly eyes, sequins, stickers, tape, cut out face masks, craft magazine ideas/prints we can use (am making folders with prints and magazine page tear outs), any craft activities or craft books, pom poms, markers, paint brushes, feathers, origami paper or books, decoupage glue, craft foam, letter stickers, pipe cleaners, tissue paper, ice cream sticks, wooden shapes we can paint, finger paints, soap bubble mix and bubble blow sticks, crayons, colored cellophane, craft sets, glitter glue and pens, felt, felt shapes, fabric paint, stencils, pencils, childrens clay.
Also the school asked for any type of simple board games, things like snakes and ladders, or puzzles,anything they can use for a game room. Also outside games for the children like balls, bats jumping ropes, etc.
If anybody could help it will be so much appreciated as this cannot be possible without your assistance.
The big job for me has started with collecting craft and training downloads for the schools and children. If anybody is willing to help or has access to free EBooks, or craft and training books that they could download or email me. As we will be there for about 7-8 months, we will be needing lots of craft ideas and training materials for the schools. I cannot really take many books with me and have to download and take it on flash drives. There is very little internet available because of electricity/load sharing, so we will have to have most of our information with us. Will really appreciate any assistance :)
I have been asked this question so many times, but I realize
for those of you that have been there no explanation is needed and for others
it just seems like a crazy plan. Why would I leave my home, my family, my job,
my security, the USA. Why would I place my dream ahead of what I have back
home? Sometimes in life, you just know what it is you need to do and there is
no real reason, just a knowledge. Will it be easy, absolutely not! Will I have
security, an income, and all the things that is seen as important. No I will
not. I was asked, “How will you support yourself?” The only answer I have is “With
faith, believing in what I do.”
I will be leaving September to go back to Nepal to start
working on the “Where there is color there is Hope project.” My dream has been for
a long time to start a small art enter in the rural areas. From where we can
train teachers, do art workshops and bring creativity into the schools. The biggest
problem that I realized on my last trip was that nursery children sat in a room
all day without any type of activities. Firstly because they have no supplies
and secondly because teachers are not trained in the majority of cases. The
teachers do not have access to information on activities for child development.
My believe is that we can assist teachers in schools in providing these free workshops
and show them ways to bring art into the classroom without having to spend any
I am trying to recruit teachers and artists to join me from
October month so that we can start working on these programs and begin setting
up something that would be more permanent. You can join for any amount of time,
but periods for longer than one month will be discussed based on your training
and experience. There is a lot of expenses to run these workshops for a long
period of time, but I know in the end it will all work out, even if now it
seems incredibly overwhelming if I try to take it all in at once. So my vision
is just taking small steps at the moment, which the first is to try and recruit
teachers and artists and with the help of FCL find a suitable space to live in Letang.
If anybody would like to join me, as you know I am not charging any fees for
you to join, but we have to cover costs like housing, food, art and workshop supplies,
program expenses, water, lights, internet and basic things like that. I wish I
could do it completely free, but unfortunately, I am not in that position. But
the expenses is not too high and I am sure with a combined fundraising effort
we will be able to cover these costs. I am budgeting around $300 - $350 should
cover all of this per month per person.
Letang is 13 hours from Kathmandu by bus and three hours
from the Indian border, very close if anybody wanted to travel to India. Visa
fees are $40 per month, but you can also get a 2-week visa.
I am planning to arrange
one workshop per day, which is about 2 hours at local schools and nurseries. For
those of you that want to do specific workshops, for example, photography we
can work out a program schedule with the community and schools as it is more
specialized. If you want to commit to this program, please give me an idea of
possible dates and what type of workshops you want to give. School is From
Sunday to Friday (half day). Saturday is rest day. This program is extremely
important to me and to the children. I am planning that this would be the
beginning of something more permanent in the community from where many schools
could be reached. I am open to your ideas and recommendations as I am only
learning still at this point. I am not trained in anything specific, but I have
a dream and a vision for the children and it cannot be possible without your
WatersFromHeaven is a small Non-profit organization based in
the USA. My dream has been to bring art into the rural schools of Nepal through
free workshops using local materials and recyclable items. The majority of
schools in the rural areas do not offer any art classes or creative activities for
the children, because of the lack of funds, equipment and the absence of
teacher training. Unfortunately, many children never get the opportunity to
develop their creativity, which is very important in the development of a young
child. The classrooms and preschool rooms are bare with nothing but mostly a
bamboo mat. Many of the children we have worked with have never even held a
crayon or colored in a picture.
I have called the project “Where there is color there is
Hope,” because I believe that art can uplift your spirits and transform any
moment into a colorful experience. I have just returned from a two-month trip
where I worked with a group of volunteer artists and teachers in two rural
districts of Nepal. The feedback and the response from the community was
extremely positive and I was surprised at how excited schools and teachers were
to get involved. I will be returning in a couple of months to continue this
project and hope that I would be able to focus more on teacher training so that
more schools can be reached. I am in the process of recruiting teachers and
artists for the upcoming projects later in the year. Please do email me at email@example.com or
visit me on Facebook www.facebook.com/WatersFromHeaven
and look at all the picture updates from the last trip. My dream has been to
set up a small art center from where we could set up programs for the rural
community and do the teacher training. It all is a process, but I believe that
anything is possible and that we should never give up no matter how impossible
it may look to others.
Teacher and artist Needed. If there are any artist or teachers that will be travelling to Nepal from September please do email me as we will be starting the teacher training and free art workshops from that time. Am planning on getting a space for us from where we can work and visit schools in the local community. In this way we can focus on making a more lasting impact and be available to assist teachers in the schools with training.
So much happened during this 2 month road trip that it is difficult for me to put it all into words. I am still going through the process of digesting it all and making sense of all the emotions that I have experienced, the good and the difficult parts. It is a process when you experience so much and how can you wrap it up in a few paragraphs. But I believe that the pictures will tell the story and give you a small glimpse of the magic we experienced with the children. Unfortunately I cannot post all the pictures on here, but if you have Facebook please do go to my page as I have some albums on there. I wanted to thank each and every person who helped in making this happen and all the great friends I made along the way. Please do read a friends blog post on the trip to Dang as Kelly captured it so well. http://thesingingcyclist.com/post/38617824144/where-there-is-colour-there-is-hope