Posted on December 27, 2013 by Marina

‘Tis the season of giving back. One charity organization that Steam Whistle has closely worked with is WELNepal – dedicated to raising money to support adult literacy classes in Nepal.

If you’re looking for an organization to support or giveback to this year, WELNepal is a great choice. Here is a Q&A with president of WELNepal, David Walton.

What is WELNepal and how did you become involved with the organization?

WELNepal or Women’s Education and Literacy in Nepal is a charitable organization that was registered with the Canadian government in 2005, but it’s work started 18 years ago when president, I was spending some leisurely time in the lowland area of Nepal known as the Terai.  There I met a woman, who was teaching the women in her village to read and write in their Nepali script.  Her group lost their funding and needed very little money to complete their literacy class. I then donated the money needed and things took off from there. Being curious, I visited the resumed women’s classes to observe and was struck at how intent the women were on learning to read and write. Their obvious desire to better themselves would have been inspiration enough, but the fact that other women from other villages were now asking me to help them with literacy sealed the deal.

How did Steam Whistle become involved with the organization?

Some years ago, a mutual friend of WELNepal and SteamWhistle put us together during one of our early benefits. That friend of Steam Whistle is long gone, but the association I created between WELNepal and Steam Whistle is still going strong. Also, for the past four years, Max Walton (my son) has been working at the brewery, helping to make Steam Whistle beer. That familial relationship only adds to the strength of the partnership

This past year, our 13th annual benefit, Steam Whistle was there again for us, and for the women of Nepal. Each year, for the past 8 years, Steam Whistle has donated from 8 to 10 cases of beer to our benefit party which is attended by up to 100 guests.  Steam Whistle cheerfully delivers their donation to wherever our benefit is being held. And Steam Whistle offers VIP passes to tour their brewery which earns us much need money at our silent auction table.

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What do Steam Whistle’s Nepal classes include?

Over the course of two years, the proceeds from the sale of Steam Whistle beer and monies earned from the VIP tour more than covers the cost for a TWO YEAR literacy course for 25-30 women. The budget for this project includes training and salary for the women who teach the class in her village.  The money earned from Steam Whistle’s donation pays for all the text books needed by the students, as well as the working material each woman needs.

Can you share some before/after stories from Steam Whistle classes attendees?

Some of our literacy class groups are special.  For example, the 60 women from the two Steam Whistle classes in the village of Kapiya are a very good example. Most of the women’s literacy classes are content to wait patiently until their two year classes are complete to avail themselves of the rest of WELNepal’s projects.

Not so for the women of Kapiya.  They started requesting and demanding  projects from us long before their two year program was complete. Usually women’s groups can live our explanation that projects can only begin AFTER literacy classes are complete.  No so for the women of Kapiya.  The women of Kapiya would not take NO for an answer, and would not stop “pestering” our coordinators for more.  We at WELNepal have learned that any group that is so eager and has gained so much confidence from their studies to insist on MORE, NOW, will be successful in all we can offer them.

The women of Kapiya operate a very successful library.  They have been involved in our 3 day Health seminar and our 3 day ecology training.  This year coming, they will learn how to grow organic vegetables and we will then offer to rent land so that they can grow and sell their produce.

The women of Kapiya, have formed a women development group and are now involved in a women’s micro bank system. The women of Kapiya are now literate, and educated and organized.  They are confident, independent women who are proud of their achievements. They have learned to work together and for each other.  Steam Whistle provided the funding that was the foundation of all that the women of Kapiya achieved. This all began with the women’s Basic Literacy Class in 2010.  The women of Kapiya have come a long way in the past four years.

How can one get involved in supporting WELNepal?

Our website address is www.welnepal.org   Please take a moment, look it over and see what we are doing for the women of Nepal.

We have a mail out that keeps our interested friends up to date on what we are doing in Nepal.  We would love to put you on that list.  If you wish to hear more about our work, please contact me, David Walton at waltonda@yahoo.ca  If you have any questions, ideas, or thoughts, do not hesitate to use my address.

Of course, like all charities, what we really need is money. And a little money goes a long way in Nepal.  For example:

$25 covers the cost for one woman to take our TWO-YEAR literacy course.

$50 covers the cost for all the books needed for a group of 30 women to study for TWO YEARS

$100 covers the cost for our Remedial Class; a once a week reading and writing practice class for ONE YEAR.

Please help us to help the women of Nepal.

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