International Women’s Day 2017

Today we celebrate the enduring strength of women all around the world … and recommit ourselves to fighting even harder for girls’ education and women’s empowerment. On this International Women’s Day, we recognize the incredible value that women of all backgrounds add to every socio-economic system around the world — while receiving lower wages, experiencing greater inequities, discrimination, harassment, and economic insecurity.
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D365-w52-m12 — Thank you for a wonderful year

Thank you for a wonderful year at Edge of Seven. We have been consistently blessed by all our supporters, donors, volunteers, interns, friends, family and staff. All of you — Thank you so much. We’ve done great work this year and celebrating it with you all through email, social media, meetings, events, videos, blog posts, and phone calls is an incredible experience.

This year saw us evolve as we built classrooms AND communities. We supported new families and communities in Rwanda where we built a Training Center for a coop that needed space to train, to office and to store their crops. This vital space allows them to continue on their path of economic empowerment for the families and their community. This effort is exactly what we want to be doing — putting effort into building spaces AND communities themselves to succeed.

Our work in Nepal demonstrated this as well. We worked to support our on-the-ground partners in building classrooms while also building up “School Building Committees” to be vibrant agents of change in their villages and districts. This double-benefit effort creates systems that yield community ownership and empowerment by decreasing dependency. We continued our work in Naro Moru, Kenya on the Women’s Resource Center.

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All of you helped us to make that happen. Thank you. We will keep moving forward in 2017, with your incredible support in all the ways that you give it. To all of you who have already given gifts of time, support, encouragement and money — THANK YOU. For all of you who wait until hour 20-24 of day 365 to make your donation — THANK YOU TOO — and don’t wait too long 😉  http://bit.ly/2iAE0u5

If you have it in your plans for one last gift (or your first) this year, we are only $2796 from our goal on Global Giving. This special project helps us build new classrooms and communities in Nepal and you can also get a bonus by setting up a recurring donation here where your first donation will be matched 200% http://bit.ly/2iAE0u5  — should you wish to give generally to the organization please give through our Colorado Gives site: http://bit.ly/2ij40g0

On behalf of the staff, Board of Directors, Advisory Board, volunteers, interns and supporters have a great final few hours of 2016 and ‘here’s to the start of a wonderful New Year.’

— Peter Mason, Executive Director

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International Women’s Day is every day

While today may be International Women’s Day (http://www.un.org/en/events/womensday/index.shtml) sponsored by the UN and there may be a brief uptick in awareness, realize that some organizations hold this as their motto for 365 days a year.

Edge of Seven works every day toward creating access to education for girls and to break down barriers to women achieving the skills they need to start a business, improve their family or community, and to begin to escape from poverty.

It’s not a one-day salute, but a daily mission to make things better.

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Build classrooms. Build dorms for girls in Salleri Nepal with “The Small World” so they can attend school instead of walking for days to get to a school. Build a women’s resource center in Naro Moru (with the community group ACCESS) so women can build their own businesses. Work with communities in the Solukhumbu in Nepal to install a water supply. Build temporary learning centers after the earthquakes in Nepal so that there is a roof over the girls when they go to school during the monsoon. Install a computer classroom to help girls achieve their full potential. Work with “Africa Development Promise” to build a warehouse-office in Rwanda for a women’s coop so that they can build a better life for their families.

And let’s not rest on our laurels and “celebrate.” Let’s look at all the amazing and powerful things that we can do right now to make the lives of women and girls better in the developing world. Today Edge of Seven is launching 3 of the 7 new school buildings in the Solukhumbu that will keep girls in school. All 7 buildings (14 classrooms) will be completed this year. But even better is that next year that number will go from 7 to 28 buildings! We have to and we will do more — do better — make more strides for women and girls around the world. And not on one day, we’ll do it — every. single. day.

I hope that you will join us. Like our facebook page (www.facebook.com/edgeof7) or follow us on twitter (www.twitter.com/edgeofseven) or make a donation. If you’re interested in joining us this year to see our work in the field shoot us an email (http://www.edgeofseven.org/contact/)  and we’ll contact you with details.

Yea! for International Women’s Day. Now let’s go celebrate the next 297 days this year by doing good work.

Cheers — Peter Mason, Executive Director and the rest of the Edge of Seven team and partners

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Get a Yoga Bag from Nepal this February!

Did your New Year’s Resolutions include getting more fit and giving more back? If so, we hope you’ll join us this February as we celebrate love for girls and women across the globe with a special offer for our supporters.

Through a relationship with a very talented women’s collective in Nepal, we’ll be giving away a beautiful, handmade yoga bag to the first 9 people to donate $100 or more to Edge of Seven this month! All donations will go toward our Community Development Program and will help provide education and economic opportunities for girls and women in Nepal. Through our Community Development Program in 2014, we’ll break ground on a second hostel for girls pursuing a higher education at the local university in Nepal’s Everest Region, along with a secondary school in a remote village.

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You know you want one!

Your donations will support these projects, and do much more! To get your yoga bag today, simply:

1. Go to our website donation page.

2. Make your donation of $100 or more. Be sure to enter the best email address at which to reach you in the Contact Information form.

3. Write “Yoga bag!” in the Dedication Field and submit.

Once we receive your contribution, we’ll get in touch with you to gather shipping details and allow you to select the yoga bag of your choice (colors will be chosen on a first come, first serve basis).

Happy February, and Namaste!

Educated, Empowered and Unstoppable: First Class of Girls at Our Salleri Hostel has Graduated!

This month, we are celebrating the amazing achievements of the 38 girls at our Salleri Girls Hostel who recently graduated from higher secondary school, fulfilling their dreams of achieving a higher education. These girls were the first to move in to our hostel when we completed it two years ago, and it is truly remarkable to see how far they have come since then. A big congratulations to these inspiring young ladies!!

 

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To fully understand the challenges these girls were facing in their lives before they came to the hostel, consider that seven out of every 10 girls in the Everest region of Nepal don’t get to attend higher secondary school. This high dropout rate is attributed to several cultural and societal factors. Many girls cannot continue onto a higher education due to household obligations and early marriages. In rural areas, commute times are lengthy, and there is often a shortage of adequate schools nearby. Most girls cannot spare the time it takes to commute to and from school. Finally, many parents don’t see the value of educating their daughters since they themselves are uneducated.

In November of 2010, Edge of Seven collaborated with our local Nepalese partner, The Small World, to construct a hostel in the Everest region of Nepal in order to house college-bound girls from rural areas where higher education is not available. We completed construction in the summer of 2011 and continue to run vocational, leadership and language programs for the girls who were accepted.

This week the Salleri Girls Hostel also welcomes 40 new girls with similar ambitions, dreams and hopes who are excited to take advantage of the opportunities offered at the hostel. In the words of Karma Sherpa, founder and director of The Small World: “The girls will learn to live their lives to the fullest and multiply the power of education within their community to create opportunities for those who can make best use of it.”

Thank you to everyone who supported Edge of Seven, The Small World, and especially the girls in reaching this milestone!

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Completed hostel

 

We would also like to mention that there were two girls who could not complete their higher education at the hostel, as they were married at the ages of 17 and 16 a few weeks prior to their exams last year. We wish them the very best and hope that their time at Salleri Hostel offered them valuable lessons an empowered sense of self!

Push Your Boundaries with a Trip Abroad in 2013!

“If a writer stops observing, he is finished.” – Ernest Hemingway

No matter our occupation in life, most of us can find a way to relate to Hemingway’s quote about how relentless observation helps drive personal growth. By exposing ourselves to new situations, ideas and cultures, we create the space for powerful transformations to occur.

That’s why we are excited to announce that Edge of Seven will be embarking on several new, boundary-pushing initiatives over the next year to create more educational opportunities for girls and women in the developing world than ever before. And we want YOU to join us on a trip!

 In addition to working with two amazing new international partners and taking on our very first project in Africa, we will continue to build on our previous work to bring holistic improvements to communities in rural Nepal where higher education is not widely available to girls.

 In 2013, our work will take us (and hopefully YOU) to:

  • Miririni, Tanzania: Help build a dormitory and school to offer education to local girls;
  • Mankhu, Nepal: Help construct a Women’s Community Center, using the earthbag building method, to provide displaced and abandoned women with vocational training and healthcare;
  • Basa, Nepal: Help create more earthbag classroom space at our higher secondary school and build a female-sensitive sanitation system to increase school attendance rates for girls;
  • Solukhumbu Region, Nepal: Calling all high school students for our “Bold Explorations” trip, aimed at delivering adventure, improving leadership skills and promoting cross-cultural understandings.

Please check out more details about our upcoming trips  on our website and contact us today if you’re interested in taking a life-changing trip in 2013 or would like to support these projects here in the U.S.!

Connecting to Nepal

Reflections By Board Member Sarah Andrews

I can’t remember where I first saw the photo below of three young girls in rural Nepal using a frightening, trapeze-like pulley to cross a river on their way to school, but I do remember having a visceral reaction to it of disbelief and awe. In addition to being blown away by the peril that these girls have to face every day in order to get an education, I was impressed by their courage and determination. Not a personal fan of treacherous heights, I cannot honestly say where I might be today if as a child I had to face a tightrope above a raging river twice daily just to get to school. I can imagine, though, that blowing it all off and staying home would have sounded like a very appealing option.

    Photo Source: Global Giving

This past March when visiting the village of Basa in the Solukhumbu District of Nepal, where Edge of Seven is currently working with local organizations and members of the community to build a new higher secondary school, I had the opportunity to witness this kind of resolve in person. Arriving at the project site one very windy morning, I saw a cluster of girls gathered under a tree with their teacher. Because the village lacks enough classroom space for all the students, this lesson was taking place outdoors. It was a workable arrangement on that particular day, with skies sunny and temperatures cool, but one that would be completely impossible during monsoon season or the region’s extremely cold winters. (Edge of Seven’s new higher secondary school will provide enough classroom space for all of the students in the village.)

 Photo Source: Sarah Andrews

But the lack of legitimate desks and basic walls to block out the wind that ruffled the pages of their workbooks didn’t seem to bother the girls. They remained hunched, pencils-down over their papers, intent on absorbing all the information they could on this day when conditions were right for class to take place at all. In a country that is rife with weather inconsistencies and political strikes that close down schools, people learn to take full advantage of those moments where everything is in working order.

I’ve served on Edge of Seven’s board since its founding, and during that time I’ve been fortunate enough to volunteer on three of the organization’s projects, all of which have been initiated and driven by the communities themselves. For the past eight months, I have lived in Nepal and was able to assist on the Basa school project and the primary school that Edge of Seven and our local partner, The Small World, recently completed in the village of Phuleli. Despite the lack of electricity and consistently running water, I loved living in Nepal and am grateful for the opportunity it provided me to gain a wider understanding of a beautiful country that has over the years come to be like my second home.

While I can’t say that this wider understanding has led me to complete comprehension of how one might tackle all of the challenges facing people in Nepal, I can say that I feel more certain than ever that creating opportunities for education and empowerment, particularly for girls, is the best way toward progress and positive change in the country. That’s why I am proud to work with Edge of Seven and our local partners like The Small World who are tackling the issue at its roots by providing classroom infrastructure, scholarship assistance, additional teaching staff, and direct support to community-driven initiatives in rural Nepal.

I have been humbled more times than I can count by the determined spirits of the many young Nepali girls I’ve been blessed to meet over the years. And I’ve been inspired by the dreams that they have for their futures and the sacrifices they’re willing to make to make those dreams come true. I often wish I could have met these girls when I was their age. My younger self could have surely benefitted from the lessons my older self has learned from them.

I’m going to go ahead and risk sounding cheesy here by quoting a lyric from one of my favorite Arcade Fire songs, which says, “Every spark of friendship and love will die without a home.” I thought of it often in Nepal, because I think the same could be said about dreams. The dreams these girls have for their lives need to be nurtured and supported in order for them to become reality. When I see a completed Edge of Seven school or hostel, I don’t just see a building. I see a home for the hopes that the girls we work with have inside of them – a place where they can come out into the world and flourish.

You can follow Sarah on Twitter @atxsarah.