Trish Ginnelly with one of her Nepali street children.
Newport woman providing hope for Nepalese children
In 1998 Newport woman Trish Ginnelly went on a holiday to Nepal for two weeks. During her visit Patricia witnessed three young homeless children sleeping under a sheet of ply and decided that she could not stand idly by.
Describing the vicious cycle of hopelessness which she encountered in Nepal 13 years ago Trish says she befriended the youngsters. “I informally started helping out by cleaning their clothes, giving them a haircut and buying them food. I subsequently stayed on for a few months and one thing led to another. I eventually went home and told everyone I was moving to Nepal.”
In 2001 Trish co-founded the SATHI (Special attention to Himalayan Initiative) charitable organisation with American Kristen Leadem.
Since then both partners have worked tirelessly and enterprisingly to re-unite Nepali street children with their families, and provide education and medical programs to families in extreme need. These measures are seen as being vital way of keeping families together.
SATHI formed as a registered charity in the US and Nepal. Individual sponsors support individual children and the organisation are also in partnership with Comic Relief UK and a large number of church and community groups.
Trish says: “We both befriended the kids and decided to set up the organisation. It felt like the most natural thing to do at the time. The children and the circumstances inspired us to help them. It was never premeditated. It was just a natural progression.”
SATHI’s educational programs provide a range of services for more than 1,800 disadvantaged children between the ages of 5 and 21 years of age. Services include providing educational materials, tuition, counselling, social worker support, home and school visits, extracurricular activities, and ongoing motivation to remain and succeed in school.
Trish continues: “To escape from poverty the first step must be education. We take an holistic approach and we target individual children. We work closely with the communities and ensure the children are attending school and are healthy. We also try to motivate the parents who may be considering taking their children out of school to work and we try to show them that if they make an investment now the future generation will have the capability to take them out of poverty.”
SATHI now has 13 full-time professional staff and employ social workers, health workers, and accountants , most of whom are Nepalese nationals.
As a result of generous donations, SATHI are helping to ease the pressure on hundreds of families who are struggling to survive on less than $2 per day. In addition to SATHI’s education, health and income generation projects the organisation also distribute new clothes to thousands of children who would otherwise go without.
Twenty year old Sarita is one of the youngsters who benefited from the organisation. She dropped out of school to support her family after both her, her three year-old sibling and her mother were abandoned by her father. She said that SATHI helped to educate her three year-old sister and later supported her sisters life saving lung surgery.
Trish concludes by adding, “These people are very very impoverished. To help a family to take responsibility for their lives there has to be a support mechanism there to allow them to access education and support themselves.”
If readers wish they can make a small donation or monthly direct deposits to SATHI Nepal.
Their account information is: Bank Name: Bank of Ireland, Westport Brach; Account name: Patricia Ginnelly SATHI NEPAL/ Account # 73914030 / Trish can also be contacted at email@example.com