The year 2015 has indeed been yet another fruitful and meaningful year for ChangeFusion Nepal. As we bid adieu to this year, we would like our readers, supports and well wishers to revisit our journey with us reflecting our top activities of the year which are as follows:
‘A Shop with A Story’: The idea of setting up our social entrepreneur’s collective was visualized for years by the founder director Luna Shrestha Thakur as Change Fusion Nepal started from the very room at Baber Mahal Revisited where the shop is now. She thought instead of making it as a working space, it can be the much needed outlet of social entrepreneurs. It was towards the end of 2014 that the team started working on the concept. The idea behind this initiation was to provide a retail market and outlet for the social entrepreneurs ensuring utmost quality and authentic products. We have been constantly grooming and mentoring our chain of social entrepreneurs and helping them rediscover their initiatives by creating their distinct brand and identity locally and globally. The shop officially inaugurated in Jan 24th 2015 is solely be owned and run by a group of social entrepreneurs under joint ownership fostering mutual partnership and promotion of social initiatives. Despite the ongoing crisis, the shop has been able to self sustain itself and the credit goes to our loyal buyers who love our products. Thank you everyone!
Closing of the Youth Action Fund (YAF) program through the ‘Change Makers Course’: For the past 3 years from May 2011 to April 2014, CFN supported around 38 youth on small projects through YAF and based on the learning of this project, we developed an extensive ‘Change Makers Course’ which focused both on aspects of personality and project development. The first batch of Dec’14 had 9 graduates and the final batch closing on June 2015 had 5 graduates. Suman, Suyog and Dikshya, from the group ‘A-Step ‘ completed their project of making a school bus eco friendly while group Dipendra and Reshmi of team ‘Pariwartan’ completed their digital storytelling video on gender perceptions. The closing event was scheduled on April 25th, but was postponed till June due to the earthquake. kkMarking the closing year, we extend our sincere gratitude to Soros Foundation for 4 years of support to this project.
The Dharti Initiative: 25th April 2015 will be marked as a black day for Nepal in years to come. Who could forget the dreadful shaking of mother earth for months which lead to the loss of over 9000 lives and pushed many on the poverty line. During the earthquake, ChangeFusion Nepal launched its ‘Dharti’ initiative, targeting the vulnerable community of Bhattedadha, Dhulikhel in efforts of relief and restoration with the help from ChangeFusion Thailand and ‘Saving Nepal’ online fundraising campaign. With the preliminary needs assessment to the distribution of relief materials to the entire package of 100 sustainable shelters, solar lights, water, agriculture and children welfare, the initiative encompassed various aspects for uplifting Bhattedadha. The support from individuals and group nationally and internationally has been an overwhelming experience and the journey is ongoing with regular monitoring and supervision. Whether it be the story of Rekha Tamang or Dewan Tamang, all that has been done can be viewed at https://medium.com/@Dharti.
After Bhattedadha, we installed our remaining 6 sustainable shelters on 31st May’15 at Kakani upon the recommendation of our social entrepreneur Shanti Dolma as 6 of her staff members had lost their homes and were living under vulnerable conditions.
Additionally, we were able to facilitate 21 sustainable shelters donated by Portal Bikes to the distant village Dolakha, the hometown of our social entrepreneur Sita Tamang in the month of July’15 once we came to know that people were living on tripals and falling ill due to monsoon.
Our social entrepreneurs were also hard hit by the earthquake and so the team decided to engage its resources in the ‘Hridaya and Helping Hands’ project. On 6th June’15, ChangeFusion Nepal officially formed a social entrepreneur’s support chain with the provision of recyclable fund to the needy members.
Our ‘helping hands’ initiative connects us with our social entrepreneurs and we go around helping the social ventures after identifying their problems and challenges. Irrespective of the diversity of ventures and its needs, we strive with passion and sincere efforts for its enrichment.
Currently, CFN team member Leena is leading ‘helping hands’ supporting diverse social venture and Hema, our adviser and expert of Finance is helping Sabita of Kritipur Hosiery with her finances so she can have a good track of income and expenses in her venture.
One such example is Shanti Shakya of Kakani Himalayan Natural Dyes, among others. She was seeking for financial capital support. Now she has received the necessary raw materials and two stitching machines for completing her orders.
Also, the helping hands are working with The Kevin Rohan Memorial Jewelry Workshop, led by Usha in bringing the new designs. They are also encouraged to maintain proper finance records and are monitored at regular basis.
As for Sita Tamang, founder of The Candlestick Women our team members helped her to buy tab from the candles she sold throughout the month of October. Now she can connect with the world and learn and share new ideas and designs for her venture.
Moreover, for Friend Handicrafts, our team member Sakar is currently involved in making their own website along with helping in their online database. Through the social entrepreneurs supporter’s chain they had also received recyclable loan for repairing their workstation post earthquake.
We have also provided a workstation for the social venture ‘Women Dreams’ as their workstation located at Kathmandu was destroyed by the earthquake.
Bangkok Diaries: ChangeFusion Nepal strives to enhance the ‘Knowledge’ component of the social entrepreneurs through extensive six weeks of workshop during the month of July till September. The idea of the Bangkok trip seeded when the team of Change Fusion Nepal took the women entrepreneurs out for a Korean lunch to celebrate their workshop progress. Within a month time, the entire trip was planned from making the passport to getting an interest free loan of joining the trip to boarding the flight. The purpose was an educational tour for professional development along with personality development and change in perception of the 12 social entrepreneurs. The details of the amazing trip and lessons from individual travelers can be read at https://bangkokdiariesblog.wordpress.com
7 days of Hidden Journeys Nepal: Like a cherry on top of the cake, despite the current shortage and crisis, our 7 days of Hidden Journeys tour was a refreshing experience. At the beginning, the November tour started with an online crowdfunding campaign for 10 days via https://kriticalmass.com/p/hiddenjourneysnepal. Post the catastrophic earthquake, there were concerns among the team and the guests who had inquired. Based on the series of virtual meetings, the 3 guests who had pre-paid and pre-booked for the tours were extremely supportive and so with their positive response, we rescheduled the trip which started from November 20th’15 when the guests arrived at Kathmandu. The journey was a great learning, sharing and growing experience for everyone including the guests, our social entrepreneurs and the team members. The details of the tour ranging from visiting Bhattedahda, to meeting with various social entrepreneurs to the trip to Sindhuli to a lecture series for knowledge sharing can be viewed at length at https://barsharthapa.wordpress.com/2015/11/27/7-days-of-hidden-journeys/
Pilot phase of Matribhumi Burner Chulo at Bhattedadha: The journey of change and exploration at difficult times marks a beginning of a new dawn in the lives of many. The relationship between man and fire has been an indispensable and our social entrepreneur Madhukar Ji’s ‘ Matribhumi Burner Chulo’ has found its way to our Bhattedadha family. The specialty of this Chulo is its unique concept with an amalgam of scientific technique infused with the local mud and stone with a mud chimney design. This will be a less smoke alternative to the households along with saving 60% of firewood. Our team headed to the village along with Madhukar ji and technician Ram ji who did a live demonstration of making the chulo at Fulmaya didi’s place along with training 2 locals. For the pilot phase, the technician will stay in the village for 2 more days to guide the new trainees so that they can assist the interested members of the 100 households to build their own chulo.