Emergency Lifeline Halfway Home for Women, A Covid Response by NYF

Emergency Lifeline Halfway Home for Women, A Covid Response by NYF

Emergency Lifeline Halfway Home for women, is another Covid Response program developed by NYF.

When we at NYF realized back in March 2020 that COVID-19 would be coming soon to Nepal, our emergency response team in Lalitpur made the difficult decision to pause the normal operations of our Nutritional Rehabilitation Homes.

Now, our Kathmandu Valley NRH is being put towards a different, critically important purpose: a “Women Only” and “Women Friendly” emergency quarantine facility. NYF is being lauded by the Nepalese government for offering this valuable service, and for doing it with our own funding. Pictured below, Sunita, the manager of the NRH, begins the intake process for one of the first temporary residents of the facility, Bilhana (name has been changed), age 26, who was working abroad when the lockdown began and has been stranded outside of Nepal for months. We are proud to welcome her home.

Emergency Lifeline Halfway Home for Women, A Covid Response by NYF

Nepal’s country-wide lockdown was successful in slowing the spread of COVID-19, but now the virus is spreading more widely. According to international virus trackers, there are now more than 10,000 confirmed cases in Nepal, with 10,000 more swabs awaiting test results. The Nepalese government is predicting an increase to 50,000 cases within the next month, and the actual number of cases is certainly much higher than is known.

In our years working in Nepal, serving communities grappling with deep-rooted societal problems as well as those impacted by natural disasters, we have learned the power of love in the most daunting of moments. By now, we all know very well the dangers posed by COVID-19. But as we work day-by-day to develop and launch our COVID-19 programming, the NYF team fills me with hope.

This past week, NYF staff member Amrit (pictured below) transported our first seven quarantine guests to the NRH. Each woman, like Bilhana, has spent the past several months stranded abroad, unable to work due to lockdowns throughout the world. The Nepalese government has finally been able to rescue them and bring them home.

At this time, the NRH is not housing patients sick with COVID-19. Instead, we are providing temporary care for women and children who have been traveling abroad and cannot return to their home villages due to the 14-day quarantine requirement and the continuing travel bans within Nepal. In the coming weeks, we will also be housing women needing healthcare for ailments not related to COVID-19. We anticipate serving a number of pregnant women during this time, providing a safe, stable location for them as they wait for their children to be born.

Below, Heena (name has been changed), age 24, breathes a sigh of relief, looking at the beautiful Kathmandu Valley landscape in a restful moment. Here at the Kathmandu Valley NRH, she will have a bed, the company of other women who speak her language, hot nutritious meals, access to healthcare, and comfortable space for quarantining as her country moves forward.

At NYF, we are honored to be equipped to offer this service. We are grateful for the many loving donations that built our NRHs—buildings we never imagined would be used for this purpose, but which have prepared us for this difficult moment in world history. Thank you.

Keeping this program afloat will take work, however. Our staff members need PPE to ensure the highest levels of safety for the women in our care. Food costs will continue to rise, as will the routine costs of running a facility like the NRH: electricity, water, gasoline, cooking fuel, and incidental repairs. We will need masks for our guests, soap, hand sanitizer, linens, and more, all of which will be provided in a Welcome Kit upon arrival. In a crisis impacting the entire world, NYF needs you as much as it ever has—perhaps more.

As we work together in the coming weeks and months, we can prove how much #LoveWorks. Each thoughtful gift supports the health, safety, and wellness of women and children experiencing catastrophic instability during this worldwide crisis. If you would like to help support women thorough our Emergency Lifeline Halfway Home or another NYF program, please make an online donation today.

Som Paneru, President

Credit card donations via our website are still being processed without delay, as are direct bank transfers (EFTs). If you mail a check to our office (3030 Bridgeway, #325, Sausalito, CA 94965), please know that we continue to check the mail twice per week, so there will be a delay in our thank you letter being mailed to you.

If you need to reach us, please email NYF. You can also call us and leave a message, as staff will be periodically be calling in to check voicemail.

Community Nutrition Kitchen in Lalitpur, An NYF Covid Response

Community Nutrition Kitchen in Lalitpur, An NYF Covid Response

Community Nutrition Kitchens in Lalitpur are providing hot, nutritious lunches free-of-charge to children in locked down communities. This effort has been a successful launch of one of our new COVID interventions for people in Nepal. For each dollar donated, one child can enjoy a complete, delicious, nutrient-rich lunch. With food costs rising as Nepal’s lockdown continues, these lovingly prepared meals provide kids with the most vitamins they’ll eat in a week.

At NYF, our 30th anniversary year is developing much differently than we’d planned. COVID-19 continues to disrupt regular life across the world. But our dynamic family of supporters and our dedicated staff are determined to do all we can for the children of Nepal, especially during this time of international crisis.

Community Nutrition Kitchen in Lalitpur, An NYF Covid Response

Sejun (name has been changed), age 11, lives in Lalitpur, on the south side of Kathmandu Valley. He was one of 50 children who arrived at the NYF Community Nutrition Kitchen this week. As a growing boy, his appetite won’t slow down just because there’s a lockdown – and making food stretch from week to week is exhausting and nerve-wracking for his mother. When they heard that NYF would be providing free hot lunches for children like Sejun, there was no question about it. The day of our Community Nutrition Kitchen in Lalitpur, they put on their masks and walked down to the public school, where NYF staff members were waiting with steaming pots full of rice, daal (lentil soup), curry, sautéed spinach, tomato achar, lito (super flour), carrots and cucumbers. This provides a complete nutritional meal.

NYF is developing our Community Nutrition Kitchens in Lalitpur program based on similar successful programming that followed the devastating earthquakes Nepal experienced in 2015, as well as knowledge gained from holding our Nutrition Outreach Camps before the pandemic. We’re fortunate to have a nutritionist on our team in Nepal, and devoted staff members who know how to create delicious, kid-friendly, nutrient-rich meals for large groups.

Community Nutrition Kitchen in Lalitpur, An NYF Covid Response

As this program moves forward, NYF expects much larger groups than were served at this school in Lalitpur. Communities in Nepal are full of hardworking, devoted families whose livelihoods have been impacted by the pandemic. They’re wondering how they’ll manage to feed their growing children due to the lockdown. NYF is determined to help – but we’ll need a lot of teamwork to succeed!

The Community Nutrition Kitchen in Lalitpur this week was sponsored by my 11-year-old daughter, Karuna. In 2017, when she was 8, Karuna wrote and illustrated her first book, The Animal Adventure, to sell in support of children impacted by deadly monsoon floods. Now she’s been selling her book again, and for 5,000 of her hard-earned rupees (about $50), Karuna provided lunch to 50 kids like Sejun. Karuna’s generous heart is just one of the many reasons NYF knows that #LoveWorks.

Maybe you would like join Karuna to help us continue developing Community Nutrition Kitchens to provide healthy meals to more children like Sejun? Every thoughtful dollar donated provides a growing child with a hot, nutritious midday meal full of the vitamins he or she needs to stay healthy, strong, and happy. To make an online donation to NYF’s ongoing COVID Response, please click here.

Thank you,
Som Paneru, President

Credit card donations via our website are still being processed without delay, as are direct bank transfers (EFTs). If you mail a check to our office (3030 Bridgeway, #325, Sausalito, CA 94965), please know that we continue to check the mail twice per week, so there will be a delay in our thank you letter being mailed to you.

If you need to reach us, please email NYF. You can also call NYF and leave a message, as staff will be periodically be calling in to check voicemail.

Staff Spotlight, Olgapuri House Parents Bhim & Shreemaya Shrestha

Staff Spotlight, Olgapuri House Parents Bhim & Shreemaya Shrestha

This is a staff spotlight on Bhim & Shreemaya Shrestha, house parents of the senior girls at Olgapuri Children’s Village. If you enjoyed reading this, please check out:

Staff Spotlight: Junior girls’ house parents Bishnu Rana & Pushpa Thapa at Olgapuri

Staff Spotlight: Junior boys’ house parents Dipak Raj Onta & Samana Amatya Onta at Olgapuri

Two months into Nepal’s COVID-19 lockdown, the streets of Kathmandu are empty. 

But at Olgapuri, the senior girls’ kitchen is bustling. Shreemaya-Aunty is demonstrating the proper way to make a beloved snack: samosas. With peas frying alongside fragrant ajwain seeds, onion, ginger, hing, hot peppers, cumin, and other rich spices, the entire room smells absolutely tantalizing. Twenty girls watch eagerly as crumbled potato is added to Shreemaya’s large pot.

Shreemaya Shrestha and her husband, Bhim Shrestha, are the house parents in Olgapuri’s senior girls’ house. For the twenty girls living here, all between the ages of 14 and 19, Bhim and Shreemaya are the primary adult influences, in charge of providing the parental care that all teenagers need—reminders about homework, parent-teacher conferences, life advice, support in social interactions, role modeling, balanced discipline, and, of course, love.

Bhim and Shreemaya came to Olgapuri with a long history of childcare experience. They’ve worked together in childcare homes for a long time, and have raised many children with their natural warmth, personal care, and love. 

The two befriended the Olgapuri children through their work in other childcare homes, and their creative approach to helping children work through problems matched NYF’s goals beautifully. Bhim-Uncle and Shreemaya-Aunty formally joined Olgapuri as house parents in 2016.

Back in the kitchen, Shreemaya-Aunty is showing twenty girls how to roll samosa dough to the proper thickness to achieve a crisp, deliciously fried shell. The aromatic potato-peas-and-spices mixture is cooling on the counter, and several girls are tempted to sneak a taste—but they know it’ll taste so much better once wrapped into neat packets, deep-fried, and dipped in chutney.

This is just one activity the house parents have devised to make the most of the lockdown. Nobody can leave the Olgapuri campus, and the central dining hall for the four houses has been closed, so age-appropriate cooking lessons have been occurring in the four house-kitchens each day as family meals are prepared. By the end of the pandemic, Olgapuri may have budding chefs testing new dishes on their siblings!

While Shreemaya is teaching the art of the samosa (as well as other day-to-day tasks the girls will value once they’ve left Olgapuri), Bhim-Uncle is hard at work as well, reaching out to the girls’ schools, ensuring homework is complete, and troubleshooting online classes. He’s also paying close attention to the ways each girl is coping with the current crisis. Bhim is a counselor with a Master’s in Psychology and a Bachelor’s in Management. His skills are crucial to ensure that each girl receives the individual care she needs. 

Bhim and Shreemaya also work together to help organize outdoor activities on the beautiful Olgapuri campus, find creative ways to hold club activities, and coordinate with NYF staff members to keep programs as active as possible through the crisis. 

Normally, house parents take occasional weekends off to visit their loved ones outside of Olgapuri, but during the lockdown, they’ve all been socially isolated on the campus grounds, just like the children. It’s been a “different” experience—an extra-demanding chapter in a demanding career. Bhim and Shreemaya are busy and tired. But their love for the children translates into determined satisfaction. Through it all, they know the most important lesson they are teaching the senior girls is one that will serve them long into the future: how to survive and thrive in difficulties.

Standing in the warm, fragrant kitchen, Shreemaya-Aunty isn’t just teaching twenty girls to make a delicious snack. As she offers advice on dough-folding and the proper amount of filling, she is also listening to the girls discussing their worries, their hopes, and their daily troubles. She’s listening to the jokes they tell and the ease of their laughter, and she’s watching uncertain fingers grow in confidence as the samosas come together, lined up together on a platter, ready for the deep-fryer bubbling nearby. 

As the first samosas are lifted carefully from the simmering oil, the scent of deep-fried dough tempting girls to burn their fingers and their tongues on the golden-brown delicacies, Shreemaya-Aunty knows the girls’ success is what matters most. And she and Bhim-Uncle are committed to the success of each and every one of them. 

It’s because of them that #LoveWorks.

All across the world, families are gathering together to cope with the pandemic. If you believe in the work Bhim and Shreemaya are doing at Olgapuri, please help them by sharing their story on social media with the hashtag #LoveWorks!

And if you’d like to try Shreemaya’s samosas in your own kitchen, you can! Click here for Shreemaya’s very own recipe—a special gift for the NYF Family!

Vegetable Samosa Recipe, Shreemaya Shares her Recipe from Nepal

Vegetable Samosa Recipe, Shreemaya Shares her Recipe from Nepal

This vegetable samosa recipe is a special gift from Shreemaya-Aunty. She wanted to share this recipe with her NYF english-speaking supporters. Yum, thank you! These deep-fried (or baked) morsels will transport you to Nepal with none of the risks of pandemic travel.

Shreemaya and her husband, Bhim, are the senior’s girls house parents at Olgapuri Children’s Village, a holistic home for Nepalese children just outside of Kathmandu. To read about their work during Nepal’s COVID-19 lockdown, click here.

In our recipe, we’ve offered substitution suggestions for some specialized ingredients, though you may find both ajwain and hing online. We’ve also reduced Shreemaya’s original recipe (when cooking for twenty hungry teenagers, her recipe calls for 24 cups of flour!). To watch a Nepali YouTuber demonstrate the proper techniques, click here.

The “NYF American Test Kitchen” (NYF staff members and their families!) tried out the recipe below with rave reviews. A few tips: a tester who tried gluten-free flour was unsuccessful, but the filling was still delicious! Another who used puff pastry sheets reported a delicious, buttery result, if a much less “traditional” samosa flavor. And everyone was missing something different in their lockdown spice cabinet—but even without a few key flavors, each of us achieved samosas we’d be happy to eat again!

If you make samosas with your family, please share your photos with NYF on social media, with the hashtag #LoveWorks and a link to Shreemaya’s recipe!

Vegetable Samosa Recipe, Shreemaya Shares her Recipe from Nepal

Shreemaya’s Samosas
yield: 14 samosas

Dough (or substitute store-bought puff pastry sheets):
2 cups white flour
4 Tbsp. sunflower oil (or olive oil)
¼ tsp. salt
approx. 6 Tbsp. water

3-4 medium potatoes
2 Tbsp. sunflower oil or ghee (or olive oil)
½ cup + 2 Tbsp green peas
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. fresh ginger, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
Serrano pepper or jalapeno, finely chopped, to taste
1 tsp. ajwain or dried thyme
¼ tsp. hing (asafoetida powder) or garlic powder
½ tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. cumin
Himalayan rock salt (or sea salt) & black pepper to taste

Oil for deep frying, approx. 2 cups

Vegetable Samosa Recipe Instructions:

To make the dough, combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the oil, and with clean fingers, begin rubbing the oil into the flour, working the ingredients together for several minutes until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. You should be able to take a handful of these crumbs and press them together into a mass that holds its shape. Gradually add the water by tablespoonfuls, combining with your hands until the mixture forms a stiff dough. Do not overwork the dough or knead it, as this will create a tough exterior for your samosas. When a stiff dough has been achieved, cover it with a moist cloth or a thin layer of oil and allow it to rest for 40 minutes. Alternatively, you may use store-bought puff pastry sheets or similar to wrap your samosas.

Vegetable Samosa Recipe, Shreemaya Shares her Recipe from Nepal

To prepare the filling, peel and boil the potatoes until they are cooked through. Drain and lightly smash them (do not mash them – simply crumble them into small chunks), then set aside. Heat the 2 Tbsp. oil on medium heat and, if you are using ajwain, add it to the oil to begin releasing the flavors (if you are substituting dried thyme, add it later, with the rest of the spices). Add the peas and onions and cook, stirring constantly, until the onions are soft and beginning to turn golden-brown. Add the fresh ginger, then the potatoes and the remaining ingredients, stirring until well-incorporated and cooked through. Remove from heat and allow to cool somewhat.

Break your samosa dough into about seven equal-sized balls, then roll them, one at a time, into elongated ovals around 6-7 inches in diameter. Cut these ovals in half, forming semi-circles, and use a bit of water to create a cone by pinching the straight edge in half (see video for demonstration). Add about 1-2 Tbsp. of the filling to this cone, careful not to overfill, then pinch the opening closed with a bit of water. Set aside for frying and continue until all samosas are filled, keeping the completed samosas covered with a moist cloth to prevent them from drying out.

Using a wok or other deep pan, heat 2 cups of deep-frying oil (good options include sunflower oil, peanut oil, and canola oil). Heat the oil on relatively low heat – when you drop a small piece of dough into the oil, it should take a few seconds to come to the surface. Carefully drop the samosas into the oil by sliding them down the sides of the wok. Fry only 4-5 samosas at a time, slowly, turning them with tongs as they brown. Watch them carefully until you have a feel for how long they take to cook. They may take 15 minutes or so to cook. When the samosas are firm and nicely browned, remove them to a plate lined with paper towels and begin frying the next batch.

Baked Samosa Recipe Version:

With this Vegetable Samosa Recipe, you may also bake the samosas – once the samosas are shaped, lightly brush them with oil and bake on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy your vegetable samosas hot, ideally with your favorite chutney!

**Photo credits: Photos for this piece were provided by Shreemaya Shrestha, Eimi Olson-Kikuchi, and Katrina Reinert.**

Founder’s Day 2020: Olga’s Birthday Wish Comes True!

Founder’s Day 2020: Olga’s Birthday Wish Comes True!

On Monday, June 1st, NYF celebrated our first-ever virtual Founder’s Day in honor of Olga’s 95th birthday and NYF’s 30th anniversary!

Thank you to everyone who attended! We welcomed over twice as many guests as we expected, and in spite of a few technical glitches, the NYF Family enjoyed a heartfelt reunion of individuals all across the world.

Our attendees came from all corners of the United States, from Hawaii to New York, and from Nepal, Hong Kong, Thailand, and more. Dedicated European guests woke up in the wee hours of the morning to attend our live gathering. Some guests were brand new to NYF, and others have shared our journey from the very beginning. We are grateful to every one of you for helping make this event a resounding success. Dhanyabad!

If you missed the event or would like to enjoy Founder’s Day again, a full recording is available online: https://www.facebook.com/nepalyouthfoundation/videos/588209985430243/

Special thanks go to emcees Normandie Ramirez and Deborah Pardes; filmmakers Roy Cox and Robin Mortarotti; and photographer Alison Wright for helping shape the inspiring presentations; to law student Urmila Chaudhary for her courage in sharing her story; to author and philanthropist Isabel Allende for her beautiful toast; to the volunteers, board members, advisory board members, and staff working behind the scenes; and of course, to Olga Murray and Som Paneru for giving us so much to celebrate – even as they are all sheltering in place!

To learn more about the NYF team you met online, click here.

Olga’s Birthday Wish

To honor her 95th birthday, Olga wished for 95 gifts in support of NYF – one for every year of her life. With thoughtful responses still arriving, the NYF community has responded with over 100 gifts, making Olga’s birthday wish a beautiful, loving reality. Thank you to everyone who has and is still contributing towards Olga’s wish. #LoveWorks because of you, NYF’s thoughtful family of supporters. If you would like to make a birthday gift in Olga’s honor, please do so here: https://nepalyouthfoundation.org/donate/


NYF has launched a new social media campaign, and we need everyone’s help to spread the word! 

From the very beginning, the secret ingredient across NYF’s programming has been LOVE – love for Nepal’s culture, its people, its landscape, its languages, and especially its children. This love unifies board members, advisory board members, staff, volunteers, and supporters across the world – and this love works.

As the early generations of NYF children become successful, passionate, determined adults, we in the NYF Family are so fortunate to see the incredible impact of love in action. Many of our graduates have started careers in government, education, health, child psychology, architecture, and advocacy for individuals with disabilities. Others are living their dreams to provide opportunities to their own children – opportunities their own parents dreamed of giving to them. Still more are daring to challenge deep-rooted problems in their own communities, bravely following in the footsteps of their beloved Olga-Mom.

Please tell your NYF stories on social media, using the hashtag #LoveWorks, to share this powerful message with your friends. Together, our love accomplishes so much in the lives of so many children.

Founder's Day participants around the world share an onscreen #LoveWorks moment by shaping their hands in the shape of a heart.

Special video content – “Love Works” and “Love Becomes,” – will be made available on social media soon. NYF will also be rolling out new content this month – pertaining to Founder’s Day, our COVID-19 responses in Nepal, and program changes coming this summer and beyond.

To keep up with the Nepal Youth Foundation and all we’re working towards together, please click here to sign up for our email list.