Blog

Photo Share

Published on 03.19.14

Every year as our trip draws to a close, we print hundreds of photos for the kids to have. (Dozens of volunteers come every year and take photos but few of the photos make it to the hands of the kids!)

Enjoy the chaos that ensues as we hand them out.

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Holi Round Up

Published on 03.18.14

I couldn't help it. These photos were too cute not to post.

  • After a long afternoon of fun, it was time for a snack.

    After a long afternoon of fun, it was time for a snack.

  •  Ram served as our human bottle opener. He opened at least 50 bottles with this teeth and must have set some sort of record!

    Ram served as our human bottle opener. He opened at least 50 bottles with this teeth and must have set some sort of record!

  • We don't typically include soda in our nutrition plan, but because it was a holiday we decided a treat was in order.

    We don't typically include soda in our nutrition plan, but because it was a holiday we decided a treat was in order.

  • Cleaned up and hungry
  • Snack break
  • This year we remembered to bring lots of soap for post Holi fun.

    This year we remembered to bring lots of soap for post Holi fun.

  • Washing up
  • And then our fabulous clean up crew helped get the grounds back to normal.

    And then our fabulous clean up crew helped get the grounds back to normal.

  • And a huge thanks to Netra without whom we could not have had such a fun Holi celebration!

    And a huge thanks to Netra without whom we could not have had such a fun Holi celebration!

Happy Holi!!

Published on 03.16.14

My favorite holiday to celebrate in Nepal is by far Holi!

For one day the entire city of Kathmandu becomes a war zone full of water balloons and colored powder. Families gather on rooftops and pelt passersby with water guns, plastic bags filled with water, and even - when supplies run low - buckets of water. Gangs of boys and girls wander the streets, faces painted with powders of green, magenta, red, yellow, blue, purple, and sometimes even silver and gold.

We celebrated with the kids with an afternoon of festivities. Enjoy our photos posted below!

  • This is what the boys looked like on Holi.

    This is what the boys looked like on Holi.

  • The girls were a bit more sophisticated - requesting pink hearts.

    The girls were a bit more sophisticated - requesting pink hearts.

  • Ready for battle.

    Ready for battle.

  • Passing out colors to the younger ones.

    Passing out colors to the younger ones.

  • Arun getting Holi-ed.

    Arun getting Holi-ed.

  • The battlefield.

    The battlefield.

  • The boys on the top of the play structure.

    The boys on the top of the play structure.

  • After playing Holi, the kids performed the dance they have been learning in dance class. It was basically a Bollywood dream come true!

    After playing Holi, the kids performed the dance they have been learning in dance class. It was basically a Bollywood dream come true!

  • Holi dance party

Dance Dance Revolution

Published on 03.09.14

It’s been quiet on the blog front due to busy days, weak internet connections, and too many cute photos to choose from. So, I’ll start with a post about our dance class!

Years ago I started taking dance classes in Nepal at a studio in Tripeshwor with a teacher named Arjun. He was awesome. His trademark phrase was “ECKDUM FUNKY!” Translation: VERY FUNKY!

Since then, his dance class has become a school. They have classes in many different types of dance, but hip hop, Bollywood, and breakdancing are their specialties I believe.

Hom Sir, one of the teachers at the school, started in March, traveling weekly to give the kids dance classes on site on Saturday mornings. The kids love it – good for the mind and body!

Although it cannot do it justice, I hope you enjoy these photos or several of our dance classes so far.

For more resources (although a bit US-centric) about dance’s positive impact on the kids’ health and wellbeing, visit here:

http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/10409/1/Health-Benefits-of-Dance.html

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090331183800.htm

  • A little warm up stretching.

    A little warm up stretching.

  • Perhaps my favorite dance class photo.

    Perhaps my favorite dance class photo.

  • Hom Sir teaching the dance. The kids warm up with songs and exercises and then learn choreography to a Bollywood dance each class.

    Hom Sir teaching the dance. The kids warm up with songs and exercises and then learn choreography to a Bollywood dance each class.

  • Little Pawan lost his shoe.

    Little Pawan lost his shoe.

  • But then he was back on track!

    But then he was back on track!

  • We had dance class upstairs on the roof one morning to avoid the pillars in the common room. Pramila is performing the beginning of the choreographed dance sequence.

    We had dance class upstairs on the roof one morning to avoid the pillars in the common room. Pramila is performing the beginning of the choreographed dance sequence.

  • The boys shimmy-ing.

    The boys shimmy-ing.

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Game Time

Published on 02.23.14

To warm ourselves up during the weekend, we played one of my favorite elementary school gym class games: Fruit Salad.

Directions to Fruit Salad in case you want to try at home:
Everyone lines up at one end of the field. Each person decides which fruit they want to be. The person in the middle is 'It.' S/he calls out the name of a fruit, and whoever picked that fruit has to run across the field without getting tagged. If you get tagged, you join the tagging team in the middle. (If you get by the person who is It, you get to go on to the next round and pick a new fruit once everyone else has joined you.) And, of course, everyone must run across at once if the person who is It calls, "Fruit Salad."

I got to practice my knowledge of fruits in Nepali, and the kids gave me a run for my money - I think I only managed to catch the littlest ones.

Nepali lesson in fruit:
Apple - syau
Banana - kera
Fruit - phal phul
Mango - aap
Orange - suntala

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Snack Time

Published on 02.15.14

Part of our mission is to enhance the nutrition of kids at the homes with which we work. A great way for us to ensure the kids are getting vitamins and protein is to fund snack time!

Here are the kids at Siphal chowing down on some Nepali 'syau' (Nepali for 'apple').

  • Snack time
  • Apple me

The Land of Pashmina

Published on 02.12.14

Today we traveled to SK Pashmina's factory to pick out new designs and colors for the Kumari Boutique in 2014!

Guided by Ashok, we got to meet and observe the employees who were weaving, dyeing, and knitting beautiful pashmina scarves, blankets, and even clothing.

Note: Pashmina and cashmere are both made from mountain sheep hair. There is some discussion as to the difference between the two - according to Wikipedia :), pashmina is a finer thinner weight, but we are getting both one ply and two ply scarves for summer and winter wear!

  • Preparing to dye the pashmina.

    Preparing to dye the pashmina.

  • Weaving lightweight pashmina on a handloom.

    Weaving lightweight pashmina on a handloom.

  • Picking out fabulous colors for 2014!

    Picking out fabulous colors for 2014!

Launching The Kumari Project Safe House Initiative!

Published on 02.08.14

“We must pay attention to a child’s sense of inner value…children who are lacking affection from their mothers or friends have a sense of insecurity, fear, and distrust for the rest of their lives…we must provide maximum affection for our children.”
– Dalai Lama

After three years working with orphans in Nepal, The Kumari Project has discovered that the best way to make the greatest impact on the children with which we are working is to start a safe house for twenty five girls. The safe house will provide holistic care and a safe and secure home for our most vulnerable orphaned children to thrive.

Our goal is to house 25 girls in an independent facility, but as we fundraise to be able to continually support this effort, we are taking smaller steps to begin helping as many children as possible in a sustained way. Our trip in February and March of 2014 will explore the possibilities of co-housing a smaller group of girls in order to train our own staff and start to build our community in a more graduated way.

Please view our Safe House Information Booklet (attached here) for more details.

A HUGE thank you to Doug and Cathy at Verb Marketing in Eugene, Oregon for their creative design and continued support of The Kumari Project. Check out Verb at www.verbmarketingpr.com.

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Arrival in KTM

Published on 02.07.14

After 41 hours of travel via Seattle and Seoul, we have reached Kathmandu. Safe and sound but sans our checked luggage, which should be arriving today!

This trip I am traveling with Beth Eldridge, a stewardship council member and an extremely dedicated Kumari volunteer, who also happens to be my mom!

The plan over the next two months is to monitor, evaluate, and continue our educational, nutritional, and medical services to female and male orphans ages 4-16 while planting the foundation for launching The Kumari Project Safe House later in 2014 (See Launching The Kumari Project Safe House Initiative at http://www.thekumariproject.org/posts/launching-the-kumari-project-safe-house-initiative for more details).

Stay tuned for updates from the field and photos (my internet connection won't let me load any photos :( now but I'll keep trying!).

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Donate before the End of 2013 to get your donation matched!

Published on 12.30.13

Donations made BEFORE THE END OF 2013 will be MATCHED!

Please take a moment to donate! A little bit can go a long way for the girls and boys in Nepal.

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S'MORES AND WHISKEY WONDERLAND: A Holiday Fundraiser for The Kumari Project

Published on 12.10.13

THE KUMARI PROJECT invites you to ring in the holiday season with us!

S'mores and Whiskey Wonderland
Tuesday, December 17th
7:30pm - 9:30pm
Whiskey Red's (13813 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey)

Read about us in the Marina del Rey Argonaut: http://issuu.com/argonautnews/docs/argonaut121213/12

BUY YOUR TICKET by clicking here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/531394

Your $25 ticket will get you:
- three whiskey tastings,
- S'MORES (need I say more?)
- special off-menu appetizers crafted by Executive Chef Combs
brie and pear almond purses
vegetarian egg rolls
bacon wrapped scallops
chicken skewers

And the best part is: ALL proceeds go to empower and educate orphans, especially girls, in Nepal by providing education, nutrition, medical care, and job skills.

Can't make it, but still want to donate? Don't despair! Go to our website to donate: www.thekumariproject.org/donate

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @KumariProject to find out more about our work and upcoming events!

Thank you to Whiskey Red's!

Welcome to The Kumari Project!

Published on 08.22.13

VISION
The Kumari Project envisions building safe and joyful childhoods for orphans in Nepal.

MISSION
The Kumari Project's mission is to empower and educate orphans in Nepal, especially girls, by providing healthcare, education, nutrition, and life skills.

PHILOSOPHY
'Kumari' means 'princess' in Nepali. We believe all children deserve to be respected and honored, regardless or family circumstances.

KEEP UP TO DATE ON THE LATEST KUMARI HAPPENINGS:

JUST IN: Join our Charity Trek to the Annapurna Region of the Himalayas February 17-27, 2014!!
$1400 if you reserve before December 1, 2013 and
$1450 if you reserve before January 1, 2014

For more info and to reserve your spot, go to: http://www.thekumariproject.org/posts/charity-trek-to-the-annapurna-skyline

HOUSE PARTY SEASON
We are beginning our fundraising house party season NOW! If you are inspired by The Kumari Project, and want to host a gathering to share our work with your friends and family, contact us at arun.storrs@thekumariproject.org! If possible, Arun can even come out to your event and speak!

NEW INITIATIVE
Pay close attention to our social media. Be the first to know about the exciting new initiative we are launching soon!

HIRING ONE OF OUR OWN
This summer, we hired our first paid staff in Nepal. Meet Sumee Sigdyal! She grew up in the orphanage that Arun was adopted from in Nepal. She received a degree in psychology, and now works as our program assistant in Nepal!

  • Sumee helping sort donations from foreign volunteers and travelers.

    Sumee helping sort donations from foreign volunteers and travelers.

Mushroom Mission: Complete

Published on 05.30.13

After five weeks, our mushrooms are ready to eat!

With the help of Ram and Laxman, the Mushroom Kings, we grew enough mushrooms to grow three batches big enough to feed 65 kids twice in a week.

The kids also kept personal journals chronicling the growth of the mushrooms, incorporating art and science by drawing and writing about their observations.

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School is cool!

Published on 05.24.13

Catching up on posts from my last weeks in Kathmandu...

School is underway, and with the help of Netra, Ram, and Laxman, we tracked down the books for all 39 kids in Class 1-5 from the government school textbook retailer.

And distributed high quality notebooks to the older kids in Class 6-10.

  • Organizing books for the distribution.

    Organizing books for the distribution.

  • Menu picking up her books for Class 2.

    Menu picking up her books for Class 2.

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Back at Siphal

Published on 05.06.13

Back at Siphal, we did some redecorating to surprise the kids after school. With little Punam’s assistance with the sticky tack, we posted photos taken and donated by Beth Eldridge. Thanks also to The Color Lab for donating the lamination cost!

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Finding a New Home for Seven Kids at Bhimpedi

Published on 05.05.13

Lots to report of the past few weeks!

I accompanied Daniel Roig Barba, Program Manager of Amics del Nepal, and other Amics staff as they transferred seven kids from the Naxal Children's Home to the Bhimpedi Children’s Home.

The seven little ones were quite brave, traveling four hours south of Kathmandu in a jeep to join their new family in Bhimpedi.

Follow our journey here.

As Daniel promised, my heart has again been split - a piece of it now with the children of Bhimpedi.

  • Departing from Bal Mandir Naxal with five of the boys!

    Departing from Bal Mandir Naxal with five of the boys!

  • Snack and bathroom break on the road.

    Snack and bathroom break on the road.

  • Arriving in Bhimpedi.

    Arriving in Bhimpedi.

  • Exploring the new grounds.

    Exploring the new grounds.

  • Moving into the dorms.

    Moving into the dorms.

  • Binita gives Manoj - the youngest addition to Bhimpedi - a tour of the garden.

    Binita gives Manoj - the youngest addition to Bhimpedi - a tour of the garden.

  • Basu and Bipena enjoying their floral welcome gifts.

    Basu and Bipena enjoying their floral welcome gifts.

  • Resting after a long day of travel - you can't even tell who the newest additions to the Bhimpedi family are!

    Resting after a long day of travel - you can't even tell who the newest additions to the Bhimpedi family are!

  • Raju enjoying a post-breakfast swing.

    Raju enjoying a post-breakfast swing.

  • Morning dance class with the Bhimpedi ladies.

    Morning dance class with the Bhimpedi ladies.

Support a child's education for the upcoming school year!

Published on 04.17.13

It is that time of year again. The kids are getting ready to go back to school at the end of the month. And we need your help to make sure they will be academically successful in the upcoming year!

$30 pays for a month of a child's education
or $360 pays for an entire YEAR of a child's education

Donate $360 by the end of April and receive a child's drawing straight to your home (don't forget to write your address in the comments box on the donations page :))

www.thekumariproject.org/donate

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Self-Portraits with Siphal Kids

Published on 04.17.13

Last week, we took photos of every child at Siphal Children's Home and gave them each a print.

Many of the kids had never owned photos of themselves!

With donations from our stewardship council member, Beth Eldridge, we conducted an art workshop at Siphal Children's Homes where the kids (age 5-16) got to draw their own self-portraits.

Check out their lovely drawings here!

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Celebrations for Nepali New Year!

Published on 04.17.13

To commemorate the 2070 Nepali New Year, we spent the day with orphans from Panchkhal and Dolkha Children's Homes.

Doctors from Kathmandu, led by Dr. Anish and Dr. Prakash, volunteered their holiday to travel an hour and a half outside the Kathmandu Valley to Panchkhal to conduct our second annual medical clinic. This year they saw 45 kids from both Panchkhal and Dolkha homes.

The older boys from Panchkhal and Dolkha Homes (which house boys aged 8 -16) had a football match in the afternoon.

And while they played, the littler ones had a bit of a dance party and read books from our second round of library donations to Panchkhal and now Dolkha Homes.

  • Playing doctor as the doctors set up the clinic.

    Playing doctor as the doctors set up the clinic.

  • Second Annual Medical Clinic at Panchkhal Children's Home.

    Second Annual Medical Clinic at Panchkhal Children's Home.

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  • Making medication sculptures while they wait to get a check up.

    Making medication sculptures while they wait to get a check up.

  • Dolkha vs. Panchkhal

    Dolkha vs. Panchkhal

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  • Dance Party in the study room.

    Dance Party in the study room.

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  • Arun helping Arpan write the name of his home in a book.

    Arun helping Arpan write the name of his home in a book.

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The Mushroom Kings

Published on 04.11.13

We have been hunkered down planning events for the upcoming weekend, so get ready for a slew of updates ☺.

This week we launched the Mushroom Project in order to improve the variety and nutrition of food for kids at Siphal Children’s Home. By growing mushrooms on site, we are able to provide mushrooms - which would otherwise be too expensive for us to buy on a regular basis - for the 65 girls and boys at Siphal Children’s Home. (Mushrooms are also a perfect crop for Siphal because anything grown outdoors is at risk of being eaten by monkeys from the nearby jungle!)

The project is headed by twins Ram and Laxman Sunar who are studying science in +2 college. They are volunteering in their free time to oversee the project and help involve the kids in learning how to grow and maintain a mushroom garden.

  • Mushroom seeds!

    Mushroom seeds!

  • Stage One of The Mushroom Project: Break the straw into small pieces by hand!

    Stage One of The Mushroom Project: Break the straw into small pieces by hand!

  • Stage Two: Boil the straw in water and let sit.

    Stage Two: Boil the straw in water and let sit.

  • The Mushroom Kings: Ram and Laxman

    The Mushroom Kings: Ram and Laxman

Local Heroes

Published on 04.01.13

March 29, 2013

Once again I am astounded by the kindness of people that I have been lucky enough to meet while working in Nepal.

This week, I met with Dr. Anish from a private hospital in Patan. I first met him two years ago when he let me join a team from his hospital that was offering a free clinic to hundreds of people in a rural village on the Nepal/Tibet border. Last year, he and Dr. Prakash - from another area hospital - helped organize a free clinic with free medicine for over 100 kids that we serve. This year, they are willing and eager (!) to do it again, but even they are outdoing themselves this time: They will be volunteering their time to give health clinics to four orphanages every six months, and giving us a substantial discount on monthly checkups for over 200 kids!

I also met with Rachana, who has been volunteering her time to deliver funds an hour and a half outside Kathmandu to the food supplier of Panchkhal Children's Home every two months since last year. She also guided Kumari Project volunteer, Grace, to Panchkhal to do a clay sculpture class with the kids in December of 2012.

Lastly, I just met Netra, a boy who grew up in Panchkhal Children's Home and is now living in Siphal Children's Home in Kathmandu. He has been volunteering entire days to translate for me in Kathmandu and in Panchkhal while he is on holiday. He classes just started up, as he is in his first year of getting a B.A. in Engineering, but he still continues to be an effective liaison and communicator on behalf of The Kumari Project, enabling us to address important needs, coordinate a healthy, nutritious diet for over 100 orphans, and begin an exciting farming project in Panchkhal!

P.S. Due to a lack of electricity, my ability to post was delayed :(

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Happy Holi 2069!

Published on 03.27.13

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Murals: Round Two!

Published on 03.24.13

Today I headed down to to LASANAA, Nepal's Live Art Hub, to meet with artists and educators, Ashmina, Supriya, and Mek.

They will be leading an arts education project with the 25 kids at Panchkhal Children's Homes to collaboratively design and paint a multi-wall mural at their home in rural Nepal.

See our video of last year's mural project at Siphal Children's Home designed and led by Jess Rodrigues on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Kumari-Project/183997238330584?fref=ts

Find out more about LASANAA's great work: http://www.lasanaa.org.np/

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Reunited with Kids at Siphal Children's Home

Published on 03.21.13

I just returned from doing a preliminary assessment at Siphal Children's Home to survey the current conditions for the 65 girls and boys age 4-16 living there.

The children at Siphal are a combination of kids who were orphaned and children whose parents are currently incarcerated.

An Indian-based organization called IDEX (http://www.idex.org/take-action/volunteer.php) has been sending volunteers for the last six months to help teach English and provide board games and activities for the kids' after school playtime, which was exciting to see!

As often is reported the kids are not getting enough food. And the quality of the food is not as nutritious as it could or should be for growing minds and bodies! Their ability to get snacks each day is dependent upon unpredictable donations by visiting volunteers.

Last year we were able to supplement their diet plan with fruits, a variety of vegetables, meat, egg, milk three times a day, and snacks every afternoon for a short amount of time, but we were unable to sustain that level of funding as we were also supporting almost the entire menu at Panchkhal Children's Homes.

This year, with the support of our awesome 2012 and 13 donors, we will alleviate the serious food shortages at Siphal!

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See Us in Action in Nepal!

Published on 03.21.13

Follow The Kumari Project Blog to hear about Arun's adventures helping feed and educate orphans in Nepal!

www.thekumariproject.org/blog

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Executive Director Arrives in Nepal

Published on 03.17.13

March 16, 2013

Just arrived for two months to assess the currect needs of the orphans with which we work and to be sure delivery of services is as efficient as possible. The afternoon in Kathmandu is slow, warm, and dusty. In an effort to reduce traffic jams, the city decided to expand the roads. Because there is no more room in Kathmandu proper, expanding roads meant downsizing buildings, so streets are lined with buildings that have literally cut three to six feet off of their storefronts. For some this means destroying sidewalks and stairs and for others, it means cutting through stories of buildings to accommodate the road widening.

I am already feasting on Nepali favorites, enjoying momos (Tibetan dumplings) from Momo Mania down the street, and adjusting to the ‘load shedding schedule,’ which gives us only 14 hours of electricity every day.

Soon I will be off to Naxal Children’s Home, the Nepal Children’s Organization’s Central Office, and Siphal Children’s Home. Due to the recent prime minister appointment, there have been some outbursts of violence en route to Panchkhal and Dolkha Children’s Homes, so I am expecting my visit to see the boys there will be a bit postponed.

Very excited to get started on our Farming to Feed Orphans project thanks to Crystal Mountain Treks and Do Something to start subsistence gardens at Panchkhal and Dolkha Children’s Homes and to set up girls and boys for the upcoming school year (April 2013 to April 2014) with supplies, uniforms, and tuition!

Check back for more photos and updates!

Our success is because of generous donations made by people like you!

Support our work empowering orphans in Nepal by donating here: http://www.thekumariproject.org/donate

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We Reached Our Holiday Goal!

Published on 01.31.13

Thank you very much to our holiday supporters!

With your help we reached our goal of raising enough to feed 10 orphans for an entire year!!

Plans for the Executive Director, Arun Storrs, to go to Nepal in March are underway! Check back soon for more updates!

  • Raj Shrestha, the Director of Panchkhal Children's Home, buying fruit for the boys.

    Raj Shrestha, the Director of Panchkhal Children's Home, buying fruit for the boys.

Thank you to Three Summits and Crystal Mountain Treks!

Published on 01.30.13

Thank you to Three Summits and Jwalant Gurung of Crystal Mountain Treks (www.crystalmountaintreks.com) for their generous corporate sponsorship of NPR 200,000 for our income-generating Farming to Feed Orphans program!

With their help we will be able to farm the one and a half acres of land on which Panchkhal Children's Home sits and start a subsistence farm at one other orphanage in 2013!

Stay tuned for more info and photos!

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Holiday Season Matching Donor

Published on 12.27.12

On behalf of The Kumari Project, we wish you and your family peace and merriment this holiday season! We thank you for your incredible support so far this year.

In these final days of 2012, our goal is to raise funds to feed 10 children for a full year!

To make your contributions go further, all donations made before January 1, 2013 will be matched!

Feed an orphan this holiday season:

$15 pays for a nutritious meal for 2 children for 1 month!

$75 pays for a nutritious meal for 10 children for 1 month!

$180 pays for a nutritious meal every day for 2 children for an entire year!

The Kumari Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Your donations may be deducted to the full extent allowed by law.

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Kumari Receives Do Something Seed Grant!

Published on 11.13.12

The Kumari Project receives a Do Something Seed Grant

In partnership with Board member, David Tracey and volunteer Kim McCabe, The Kumari Project received a generous seed grant from Do Something to implement our Farming to Feed and Educate Orphans in Nepal Today and Tomorrow Project.

Project Summary
Farming to Feed and Educate Orphans in Nepal Today and Tomorrow will enable The Kumari Project to work with Panchkhal Children's Home to grow food for 107 Nepalese orphans, sell what they grow to generate a sustainable income to buy supplemental food for the children, reinvest in growing more crops, and further orphans’ educations by developing journal activities that engage the kids with the garden.

We will begin our project in early spring of 2013. Stay tuned for progress updates.

And in the meantime become a member at www.DoSomething.org to see what other awesome activities they support around the world.

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Happy Dashain from The Kumari Project!

Published on 10.17.12

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Executive Director Featured in The Register Guard's Dash

Published on 09.27.12

Regular acts of kindness

Budding actress remembers her roots in directing a nonprofit to help orphans in Nepal.

By Shirley West
For Special Publications
Published: Midnight, Sept. 5

Arun Storrs laughs when asked if she’s making a living now that she’s 26, a Yale graduate, and has been in a movie, “Ninja Zombies.” Then she starts piecing together the list of things she’s working on — a vibrant tapestry with threads that reach back to her birthplace in Nepal and forward toward work as an actor.

At the top of Arun’s list is The Kumari Project, a nonprofit she founded to help orphaned children in Kathmandu, Nepal. She’s in the thick of organizing an art auction and dance performance at Cozmic Pizza, Friday, Sept. 7, one of several fundraising projects she’s coordinating with help from an international network of friends and supporters.

As executive director of The Kumari Project, Arun receives no salary — all funds raised are used to boost children’s nutrition, health and education — but she thinks of these children as her brothers and sisters.

“I was born in Kathmandu, taken to an orphanage when a few days old, then adopted at seven weeks,” Arun says. She was three months old when her mother, Beth, brought her back to Oregon.

“I grew up going back to Nepal every three years starting when I was five years old,” Arun says. “Basically my mom wanted me to go back because she wanted to keep me in touch with my birth culture.”

Flash forward to 2007. Arun, a graduate of South Eugene High School, was majoring in theater as well as ethnicity, race and migration at Yale University and was inspired by a dance professor to combine performing arts and social activism. She applied for and received a Yale College Public Research Grant to work with Tibetan refugee children in Nepal. The project became fodder for her senior thesis, a dance theater piece, but the trip started a larger journey.

“I was teaching performance art curriculum to kids who were in a reception center,” Arun says. “I started volunteering weekends at Bal Mandir, the orphanage I was adopted from. It exposed me to the great needs and how such a little bit will go a long way.”

An ongoing journey

When friends expressed interest in going to Nepal, Arun organized a trip during her senior year for five students to volunteer at Bal Mandir, doing art classes and donating clothing. The group continued the next year, with Arun’s help. By then she had graduated and began working at the Women Faculty Forum at Yale. Drawn back to Nepal, Arun led a third and fourth year volunteer trip.

“After getting to go back to Nepal year after year I realized … the students were getting more out of it than the children. We weren’t creating any sustainable, systemic change. I wanted to do something that would make a real difference for the kids there,” she says.

In late 2010 she officially launched The Kumari Project, fundraising and program planning while in the states and traveling back to Nepal in 2011 to assess needs. During that trip she was able to fund educational expenses for 16 children.

“I found out the kids weren’t getting very good nutrition. They weren’t getting fruit, they weren’t getting protein, no eggs, sometimes milk with their tea; two meals, which is traditional, but no snacks, and no vegetables except potatoes,” Arun muses.

In early 2012, The Kumari Project provided $3,600 to two orphanages — enough to meet the children’s nutritional needs at one orphanage for five and a half months and supplement nutrition for one month at two other orphanages.

“We also worked to pay school fees and will have paid for 50 kids by the end of 2012,” says Arun, adding, “We’re working to support 107 for 2012-13.”

Also on her list

“In the last year and a half I’ve gotten much more interested in film and going back to straight theater,” Arun admits.

Hence her work in the indie films, “Ninja Zombies” and “Underground Sonata,” both produced by a former Yale classmate. In March, Arun played Clarisse in the Lord Leebrick production of “Fahrenheit 451.” Regretfully she recently had to turn down a juicy part in a Portland-area production. She’s just a bit busy right now.

The upcoming Kumari benefit aside, Arun finishes listing other fundraising projects her nonprofit has planned.

There’s a 14-day charity trek in Nepal that she’ll lead starting in late December. “We’re still looking for people,” she adds.

There’s the “Survivor” style fundraiser, in which two Australian brothers each pledge to live on a Thai island with only 10 items. “If someone donates enough money they can choose an item,” Arun explains. (Read about it at kumariprojectcastawaychallenged@blogspot.com.)

Finally, Arun almost forgets to mention Khana Et al., a small company she started with two friends to sell high-quality brown rice to expatriates in Nepal.

“It’s a bag-for-a-bag model,” she says. “For every bag we sell, we donate a bag directly to the orphanages to make sure the kids have brown rice in their diets.”

Back to making a living, Arun remembers that she is still doing paid consulting work for a couple of international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

And she recently got licensed as a Zumba instructor.

As for the future, she plans to make the jump to Los Angeles to pursue acting, while continuing to manage The Kumari Project.

“We’re looking to fund the orphanages’ nutrition for a full year, and next year invest in farming … and look at ways to generate income and improve the quality of food for the kids.”

For now, she’s hoping for a big showing at the benefit auction that includes more than 120 items from local artists and businesses.

“The community has been really generous, and I’ve been really thankful.”

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An evening of art, music and dance to benefit The Kumari Project, Cozmic Pizza, 199 W. Eighth Ave., Eugene, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 7. Features belly dance, bhangra, Nepali folk dancing and a silent auction with handcrafts and artwork. Entertainment begins at 7:15 p.m.

Copyright © 2012 — The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, USA

See full article here also: http://www.registerguard.com/web/specialdash/28479541-41/arun-nepal-bag-kumari-orphanages.html.csp

Art for Orphans Is a Huge Success!

Published on 09.21.12

Thank you to all the attendees, artists, local vendors, individual donors, and performers who helped make Art for Orphans a tremendous success!!

The final count is in, and together we raised just over $5,000!

A special thank you to:
- Cozmic Pizza
- Capper's Frames & Prints
- J. Michaels Books
- New Zone Gallery
- Cafe Zenon
- James Holchek, Video/Film
- Kindred Tribal Belly Dance
- Bidya Upahdyay
- Sat Pavan Khalsa and Eugene Bhangra

  • Arun Storrs introducing The Kumari Project

    Arun Storrs introducing The Kumari Project

  • Mayor Kitty Piercy speaking about global and local communities and Eugene's connection to Kathmandu

    Mayor Kitty Piercy speaking about global and local communities and Eugene's connection to Kathmandu

  • Ken Beeson, President of the Board of Directors introduces Kumari and Mayor Piercy.

    Ken Beeson, President of the Board of Directors introduces Kumari and Mayor Piercy.

  • Bidya Upadhyay performs a traditional Nepali dance.

    Bidya Upadhyay performs a traditional Nepali dance.

  • Kindred Tribal Belly Dance - Jenny and Lindsey - improvising on stage at Cozmic Pizza.

    Kindred Tribal Belly Dance - Jenny and Lindsey - improvising on stage at Cozmic Pizza.

  • Sat Pavan Khalsa performing a Bollywood number.

    Sat Pavan Khalsa performing a Bollywood number.

  • Eugene Bhangra Adults performing the finale of the evening.

    Eugene Bhangra Adults performing the finale of the evening.

  • A window into our silent auction.

    A window into our silent auction.

Listen to the Living Large Interview

Published on 09.05.12

Listen to Executive Director and Founder, Arun Storrs, on Living Large with Eric Alan on KLCC talk about The Kumari Project and the upcoming Art for Orphans event this Friday, September 7th: http://klcc.org/audio/Kumari%20Project%20090412.mp3

Listen to the KP Executive Director on KLCC

Published on 09.04.12

Stream an interview with Arun Storrs, The Kumari Project Executive Director and Founder, on KLCC's Living Large with Eric Alan!

Stream live here: http://www.klcc.org/Page.asp?NavID=130

Who doesn't love free cupcakes?

Published on 08.25.12

Come say hi at The Kumari Project booth at the Eugene Celebration's Community Causeway.

Saturday, August 25, 11am - 5pm
Sunday, August 26, 11am - 5pm

Come learn more about The Kumari Project and enjoy free mini cupcakes!

Check out all the awesome booths at CC here: http://www.eugenecelebration.com/causeway.html

Come to Art for Orphans: A Benefit for The Kumari Project

Published on 08.21.12

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Charity Trek Survey

Take our survey and tell us how you would like to travel to Nepal AND support The Kumari Project. Charity Trek Survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/D3G7LBX

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Join us for Art for Orphans: An Evening of Art, Dance & Music to benefit The Kumari Project.

Friday, September 7th
6:30-9:30pm
Cozmic Pizza (8th and Charnelton)

Free Admission

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Entertainment starts at 7:15pm with remarks by The Kumari Project Board President, Ken Beeson, followed by Mayor Kitty Piercy.

Enjoy a short presentation by The Kumari Project founder and current executive director before the dancing begins.

Kindred Tribal Belly Dance Duo

Nepali Folk Dance

Bhangra Dance with Sat Pavan and her troupe

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Silent auction features over 130 items from local artists and vendors.

- Nepali handicrafts
- Jewelry
- Prints
- Photographs
- Sculptures
- Ceramics
- Paintings
- Textiles
- Music

Donations from artists:
- Jud Turner (Eugene Weekly's Best Visual Artist 2011)
- Bruce Klepinger
- Julia Storrs
- Anne Storrs
- New Zone Gallery Artists
- Ann Dingledy-Rodie
- Marie Keis
- and more!

Certificates from:
Sweet Life
Cafe Zenon
Eugene Symphony
Off the Waffle
Euphoria
Capella's
Holy Cow
House of Records
and more!

Silent Auction closes at 9pm.

Also download and bring in the Cozmic Pizza flyer any time (below) on September 7, and 30% of your food purchase will go to The Kumari Project!

We look forward to seeing you on September 7!

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Downloads

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2011 Annual Report Released!

Published on 08.07.12

Thank you to everyone who supported The Kumari Project and helped make 2011 a wonderful first year of operation!

Download The Kumari Project's 2011 Annual Report here to find out more about our vision and accomplishments.

Thank you also to our very talented annual report graphic designer, Whitney Owen.

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Save the Date for The Kumari Project's Upcoming Benefit

Published on 08.04.12

Save the Date for The Kumari Project's upcoming benefit!

Friday September 7th, 2012
6:30pm-9:30pm (Silent Auction closes at 9pm)
Cozmic Pizza (9th and Charnelton)

Our evening will include live belly dance, bhangra, and Nepali folk dance performances, remarks by Eugene's Mayor, Kitty Piercy, and a silent auction featuring local vendors and artists, such as Jud Turner and Bruce Klepinger.

Come join the fun and bring your friends and family.

Admission is FREE!

If you are interested in volunteering at the event, we would love to have you. Please email info@thekumariproject.org.

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The Kumari Project Launches Logo

Published on 07.25.12

Thank you to Doug Ferguson and Cathy Hamilton of Verb Marketing and PR for working tirelessly with The Kumari Project to design our beautiful logo!!

After months of working with Doug to delve into how to represent The Kumari Project's mission, vision, and identity graphically, we are launching The Kumari Project's official logo featured above.

Check out more of Verb's incredible work here: http://www.verbmarketingpr.com/

Getting Healthy

Published on 06.19.12

Youth Plus Foundation of Nepal with a team of doctors and nurses from Nepal's premiere hospitals volunteered on their Saturday off to host a medical camp on June 9 for children living in Panchkhal Children's Home and Siphal Child Protection Home.

They provided routine check ups for 90 children and necessary medicines, which were generously donated by several local pharmaceutical suppliers.

Thank you to the doctors, nurses, and assistants who cared for The Kumari Project's children:

Dr. Nishan Bhueljal
Nepal Dangol
Dr. Prakash Dangol
Dr. Suman Rawal
Babita Shakya
Neelam Shrestha
Ranju Shrestha
Khusbu Thapa
Dr. Anish Yadav

Special thanks to Dr. Prakash Dangol with Youth Plus Foundation for assembling the health camps' team and to Dr. Anish Yadav for organizing the donation of all medications.

  • Medical Team with children at Siphal Child Protection Home

    Medical Team with children at Siphal Child Protection Home

  • Setting up to see patients at Panchkhal Children's Home

    Setting up to see patients at Panchkhal Children's Home

  • Lining up for exams at Panchkhal

    Lining up for exams at Panchkhal

  • Dr. Anish Yadav writing a prescription following his exam

    Dr. Anish Yadav writing a prescription following his exam

  • Waiting for their prescriptions to be filled

    Waiting for their prescriptions to be filled

  • Kids waiting for their exam at Siphal Child Protection Home

    Kids waiting for their exam at Siphal Child Protection Home

  • Checking in with the nurse

    Checking in with the nurse

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Mother's Day in Siphal Orphanage

Published on 05.10.12

I just arrived in Kathmandu one week ago!

We are working with local and international partners to balance their traditional Nepali diet of rice and lentils with more sources of protein and fruit!

With your help, we can ensure that the 72 kids at Siphal are growing up strong!

Arun Storrs
Executive Director/Founder

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Activating Empathy for Orphans in Nepal

Published on 03.30.12

The Kumari Project just submitted a proposal to Ashoka's Activating Empathy competition.

Our submission is titled 'Developing Empathy through Theater,' of course. :)

The Kumari Project's proposed program teaches empathy by using theater to help kids understand others' perspectives and become effective, collaborative leaders.

Theater is learning to step into another person's shoes. There is no better way to teach kids to internalize empathy through play.

Read more here: http://www.changemakers.com/empathy/

Logo Dreaming with Doug at Verb

Published on 03.23.12

For the past few weeks, we have been incredibly lucky to be working with Doug Ferguson and Cathy Hamilton at Verb Marketing.

Doug, the creative director, has generously given tons of time to helping us create a logo and look for The Kumari Project.

We are in the final stages of design, and we are excited to launch our new logo soon. But, in the meantime, get a peak at our process here: http://www.verbmarketingpr.com/?p=1678

Thank You Charlemagne Fox Hollow Elementary School!

Published on 03.16.12

Thank you to Tom Maloney, the principal Charlemagne at Fox Hollow Elementary School, for generously donating almost 200 used library books (some favorites pictured below) to The Kumari Project’s Creating Libraries Initiative. And a giant thank you to Instructional Assistant, Quena Keis, for connecting The Kumari Project with Fox Hollow!

I had so much fun the last two days sifting through books and reliving childhood favorites like Walk Two Moons, Tuck Everlasting, How to Eat Fried Worms, and Encyclopedia Brown! And it is exciting to think of these books traveling so far for more kids to read and enjoy them.

Check back in the end of June to see photos of these books in action in libraries in Nepalese orphanages.

Arun Storrs
Executive Director
The Kumari Project

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Help Us Send 30 Kids to School by April 30th!

Published on 03.13.12

Join us in funding 30 kids to go to school by April 30th!

For only $30 you can fund all educational costs, basic healthcare, and nutrition for one child for an ENTIRE MONTH.

Collaborate with eleven friends or colleagues and sponsor a child for an entire year for $360!

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MISSION
The Kumari Project's mission is to empower Nepalese orphans by providing basic healthcare, education, and job opportunities and trainings.

We are in the process of gaining our 501(c)(3) status and expect it to be retroactive to November 15, 2010. Please refer to our FAQ for more information.

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EDUCATION
We are paying school fees, which include tuition, school supplies, textbooks, uniforms, and test fees for orphans in Nepal.

SAFE EMPLOYMENT
We are setting up internships for young women to gain experience that will lead to safe and meaningful employment after leaving the orphanage system.

LITERACY
We are bolstering existing libraries in orphanages with new and used English and Nepali books.

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HISTORY
The Kumari Project was founded by Arun Storrs, herself an orphan in an orphanage run by the Nepal Children's Organization who was adopted when she was seven weeks old and raised in Oregon. After traveling back to Nepal many times, volunteering at the orphanages, and leading student volunteer trips, she started The Kumari Project. Our focus is to effect sustainable, meaningful improvements in the care of the orphans while in the orphanage and support after they leave the orphanage.

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Featured on Bellstrike Blog

Published on 02.25.12

Bellstrike has been an amazingly responsive and dedicated web host and designer! And on top of all that, The Kumari Project's work is featured this week on their blog.

Check it out: http://blog.bellstrike.com/post/18053006081/nonprofit-website-success-story-kumari-project

501(c)(3) Status:
We are in the process of gaining our tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service and have been assured by our legal specialist that we can expect to gain our 501(c)(3) status retroactively to November 15, 2010. Your contribution may be deducted to the full extent allowed by law. We will issue you a receipt at check out. Please refer to the downloadable letter on the FAQ page from our attorneys or contact us directly if you have more questions about tax deduction.

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Thank you to our donors!

Published on 01.27.12

Thank you to our generous The Kumari Project supporters who helped us raise $2000 this holiday season!

We greatly appreciate your support.

Check back soon to see an upcoming interview with the Executive Director of The Kumari Project on the Bellstrike Blog: http://blog.bellstrike.com/

Bookdrive at Eugene Bookstores

Published on 01.03.12

Drop off gently used books or buy new ones and donate them to The Kumari Project's Library Initiative at participating local Eugene bookstores!

J. Michael's Books
160 East Broadway
541-342-2002

Black Sun Books
2467 Hilyard Street
541-484-3777

Tsunami Books
2585 Willamette Street
541-345-8986

Books will go to start libraries in ten of the Nepal Children's Organization's orphanages.

Just Released: The Kumari Project's Info Brochure

Published on 12.07.11

Download now and SHARE it with your friends, colleagues, and family.

Thank you to Eli Barrett for her generous and skillful pro-bono design work!

Downloads

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Thank you to the Women's Opportunity Worldwide!

Published on 12.07.11

Thank you to Linda Carnine, Lynne Swift, Becky Schenck and the rest of the Women's Opportunity Worldwide for organizing the Gift Market during Eugene's Downtown Art Walk on December 2!

Women's Opportunity Worldwide provides opportunities for networking, collaborative fundraising, outreach, and education to organizations and individuals in Oregon's Willamette Valley, working to benefit women and their families, locally and globally.

Find out more at:
http://www.womensopportunityworldwide.org/index.php

Shop to Support The Kumari Project

Published on 12.01.11

Start your holiday shopping and support good causes at the:

Fair Trade Craft Boutique
174 West Broadway
ONE DAY ONLY this Friday, December 2,
5pm - 8pm

and

Eugene Hotel Holiday Bazaar
476 East Broadway Avenue
ONE DAY ONLY THIS Saturday, December 3
9am - 3pm

There will be wares from all over the world, and The RUNI Collection will be selling eco-headbands and necklaces.

If you can't make it, check us out at www.etsy.com/shop/therunicollection

Thanks to the Women's Opportunity Worldwide and Lord Leebrick Theatre.

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Help Us Reach Our Holiday Goal of $5,000!

Published on 11.22.11

Join our online fundraising campaign for the holiday season to support The Kumari Project's educational programs with orphans in Nepal.

We are 25% of the way there!!

HOW CAN I HELP?

DONATE
A little bit can go a long way!

- $8 pays for a pair of shoes for school
- $20 pays for school books for a year for one student
- $25 pays for fruit for one child for an entire year
- $30 pays for a school uniform for one child for the year
- $40 pays for diapers for one baby for a year
- $52 pays for school fees for a term for one child
- $100 pays for housing and food for an intern for one
month

Click the DONATE button on this page

OR

Make checks out to:
The Kumari Project
P.O. Box 5800
Eugene, OR 97405-5800

SHARE our work with your friends and colleagues.
LIKE us on Facebook
FOLLOW us on Twitter @KumariProject

HOLIDAY GIFTS
If you would like to donate on behalf of someone else, please put the following information in the comment box at check out, and we will send them a holiday card and thank you!
- their name
- their address
- your name (if you would like us to include this in our holiday card to them)
- the amount you donated in their name (if you would like us to include this in their thank you card)

TAX DEDUCTION INFORMATION
We are in the process of gaining our tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service and have been assured by our legal specialist that we can expect to gain our 501(c)(3) status retroactively to November 15, 2010. Your contribution may be deducted to the full extent allowed by law. Please refer to the 'FAQs' in the 'About' section for more information.

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Welcome to Our New Website

Published on 09.14.11

Welcome to our new website and our first blog post! We hope you'll find this site a valuable resource and tool.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know on our contact page.

If you would like to make a donation, please visit our donate page.

Keep checking back often!

Arati and punam