Aitziber Alza, Olatz Lasa and Miren Beroz ONG Nepaldala: “Our goal is to truly change the lives of the girl beneficiaries”

Ayciber and Olac – left and center – work for an NGO in the region, while Mirren lives in Nepal. / F. DE LA HERA

Together with the Nepali NGO Avasar, they help and support girls in a remote area of ​​Nepal to access education

Five days from Kathmandu is the Nepalese Far West. Isolation and poverty place the families that inhabit this valley in a situation of extreme vulnerability, the most serious consequences of which are usually borne by girls. In order to empower and offer a better future to these girls, the NGO Nepaldala was established in 2018, composed of Aitziber Alza and Miren Beroz from Honduras, who have been living in Nepal since 2016, and Olatz Lasa from Irun .

– Look, how was the non-governmental organization created?

– Me and Ajciber volunteered separately in Nepal. I stayed there a long time and made several trips to the Far West. That’s how I realized that there is an extreme need for help because very few NGOs go there. At most, the workshops were held for very short periods of time, which had no long-term impact. So I thought something should be created that would provide a long-term outlet, really change their lives. I talked to Ayciber but we needed someone else and she suggested Olac.

COLLABORATION«The whole project was developed together with the local non-governmental organization Avasar, which consists of Nepali»FUTURE OF GIRLS«Almost all of them want to be nurses, teachers, doctors or engineers in their villages»

– Olac, have you been to Nepal before?

– No, but the offer to start the project made me the happiest woman in the world. My first trip was in 2019 when the three of us went to the Far West to really see what was missing and how we could help. We were clear from the beginning that we wanted to get to know the girl beneficiaries of the project first hand, interview them and their families, school principals and teachers, etc. We didn’t want to do it by hand.

“What did you find there?”

-They live very isolated and in situations of poverty that make them vulnerable. That is why it often happens that parents are approached by people with rather dubious proposals, but they believe them because they have no other choice, and that is why many girls end up in brothels in India, have disappeared, are married at eleven, etc. In addition, they have very extreme traditions, such as “Chhaupadi”, according to which a woman is considered impure when she menstruates and must spend those days outside the house.

– Is that why the beneficiaries of the project are always girls?

-Everyone in Nepal has a hard time, but girls even more so because they are not listened to, they are not the main food in the house, etc. In addition, there are almost no children in the Far West because they are sent to work in construction in Qatar, Malaysia, etc., where many die because they work in extreme situations.

– Nepaldala’s main project is ‘Ikasi’. What exactly does it consist of?

– “Ikasi” offers them the opportunity to learn so that they can decide what their future will be. We move the girls to Kathmandu where they live together in a house so that they can study as far as they want: university, higher education… And then we help them enter the professional world so that they are independent. For all this, we work with a local NGO called Avasar, which consists exclusively of Nepalis.

– Look, you live with them, do you find the change very shocking?

– When they arrive in Kathmandu, they are amazed by everything, but they adapt immediately. And now that the girls are twelve, when a new girl comes in, the older ones help her and protect her a lot. The union between them is beastly, they love each other, care for each other, call each other “sisters”…

– Once you are in Kathmandu, do you keep in touch with your families?

Yes, they maintain a constant telephone connection. And every year we save some of the funds so they can go back to the Far West to visit their families during Dashain, which is like Christmas for us.

– How do those who return to their villages live?

-Three years ago they came back super bounced because they were treated badly. They came and said they didn’t think it was right that they had their rights. They referred to things that by then they had normalized and had not voiced before because they were very submissive. And we take great care to tell them what is right and what is wrong; they are the ones who reason and with their training and experience decide and develop their own ideas.

– What do they say about their future?

-Almost everyone wants to be a doctor, nurse, teacher or engineer in their villages. They want to be able to help and develop their part of the Far West. Although they may change their mind later. For example, Mangala, who was one of the first girls to arrive, has just found a job as a nurse and is staying in Kathmandu so she can send support to her family.

– Iceber, what is your business here?

– I am responsible for the administrative part and Olatz for the design and website. We also organize fundraising events. And Miren acts as a bridge between Nepaldala and the NGO Avasar. The three of us are all volunteers, so the funds are entirely directed to the project.

– Olac, how can people collaborate with Nepaldala?

– We have best men and godmothers and partners. You can collaborate from five euros a month, which is something symbolic here and there, it is worth a lot. We also sell backpacks, bags to carry the yoga mat and other products that we brought from Nepal. And people can also contribute with their professionalism. All information is on the website www.nepaldala.org.

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