PurpleLily in Nepal!
PurpleLily Founder/Director, Ginette Collin, reflects on working in West Nepal.
In March 2013, I was introduced to Maggie Doyne, the Founder/Director of Kopila Valley Children’s Home and School in Surkhet, West Nepal (www.blinknow.org). Maggie is an amazing young woman with an incredible story. While backpacking through the Surkhet area as an 18-year-old, she decided she must do something to help the orphans that she met there. Maggie invested her life savings at the time (5000 USD) to buy land and build a children’s home. Now, 8 years later, she has the legal guardianship of 40 kids, runs a school for 350 local children and has a team of local staff as well as dedicated volunteers. Last June, Maggie contacted me to talk about her latest venture, a Women’s Centre, as she thought it would be a great idea for PurpleLily to get involved. We talked and agreed that the Kopila women could undoubtedly learn a lot from our workshops.
The Women’s Centre has been operating for three months and offers Vocational Education training. The women are learning to sew and hope to eventually generate an income from this newly acquired skill.
It didn’t take long for me to realise that these women come from very difficult situations. Unfortunately, many are victims of domestic violence, single mothers and/or they live in destitute conditions. Aged between 12 and 50 years old, all of them have heartbreaking stories to share. Kopila provides a safe environment, a place where the women can come to learn new skills but also develop a support system. The women spend two hours every day at the centre. Here, they feel valued and they are treated with respect. PurpleLily’s Life Skills and Financial Literacy were a perfect fit for their self-development.
I quickly found out that the women are mostly illiterate, which meant some last minute adaptations to our workshops and activities to suit the participants. Nevertheless, I was focused on finding a way for the women to learn to become more confident, feel special and empowered! I also realised that the PurpleLily style of active learning / participant engagement workshops can be effective in different settings and circumstances.
With the help of Magdalena – Kopila Women’s Centre coordinator — and 2 fantastic local facilitators, we delivered 7 workshops at Kopila.
Although they all come from difficult situations, we made sure they understood active learning and enjoyed their experiences.
My short stay at Kopila has been amazing. I now appreciate, and am excited by the fact, that our workshops are easily adaptable to many cultures and languages. The women benefited from them and, more importantly, they loved attending. It has been such an inspiring and rewarding experience for me. I can’t wait to come back!