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 money.
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 help.