- What We Do
- Little Princes
Umbrella currently cares for over one hundred and thirty children in our five different homes in the suburb of Swoyambhu in Kathmandu.
The houses sizes range in size from 16 children to 35. There are two girl's houses, two young boys houses and one older boys houses. Though there are five separate houses they are all within five minutes walk of each other and together they create an Umbrella village and community. Each house is managed by the house parents, a married couple with children of their own. This couple acts as house parents and offer a foster parent type relationship to the children of the house.
Umbrella try to create a family atmosphere in the houses and all the children consider the other Umbrella kids their brothers and sisters. As the children get older in Umbrella they are encouraged to take on more responsibility and many take the role of 'big brother' or 'big sister' in the younger houses.
There is a simple routine in every house. They have an early start, waking up at 6am. There is study time in the morning which is followed by their first Dhal Bat meal, a meal of rice (Bat), lentil sauce (Dhal) and curried vegetables. They then walk to school and are in school from 10am to 4pm. After school the children return home, they have a snack, play and then start their studies. They have their second Dhal Bat meal followed by more studies. The children will often have activities with their volunteer in the evenings or watch an hour of t.v., as long as there is electricity, then is time for bed.
Education is a high priority in umbrella and so each house has a live-in college student who acts as tutor in the house. They help the children with their home work, studies and act as role models for the children. The tutors themselves often come from underprivileged backgrounds and so Umbrella helps them with their college fees and encourages their education and offers them an allowance in exchange for their work with the children.
For many years the children of Umbrella were sent to private, English medium schools. As the children grew older and the time came for them to leave school and progress onto the next steps of their education it became apparent that their expectations matched that of the standard of education they had received thus far and did not correlate with the standard of further education Umbrella was in a position to give. It was decided to move all the children to Government schools in April of 2011.
Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. In Nepal child traffickers prey on uneducated and vulnerable families in the rural districts of Nepal. They offer the families the promise of an education in Kathmandu and take the children away from their homes. By sending the children to government schools, like those available in the children's home districts, we are helping to dispell the illusion that education can only be found in the capital. By offering the child the same education as the parent can provide we can encourage more families to take back their children and bring them up within their own family unit.
We still value education and believe that the children will learn to work hard and earn their high grades in these government schools. As mneitoned, every house in Umbrella has live-in-tutors who help the children with their homework, and their studies. The method of teaching and learning in Nepal relies heavily on rote learning, in order to ensure that our children are getting the full benefit from their education we have introduced in house testing. These exams are held three times a year and are designed by the Umbrella tutors. The results of these tests help us see the children's development and help us address problem areas.
Education does not end when you finish school. Umbrella wish to provide a rounded education and equip the children with the necessary tools for adult life and the skills they will need to take the next steps out of Umbrella.
Our Next Steps Youth & Education Programme (NSYEP) is designed to prepare our older children for the demands of Nepal's competitive work place. Know more...