11th October 2023 is the International Day of the Girl Child.
This week our guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Blacktown City’s Tuesday dinner meeting was Jan Pryor, founder of The Didi Foundation. Jan works tirelessly to build, develop and promote The Didi Foundation in Australia and Nepal. She works for the Department of Education NSW as a Visual Arts high school teacher and is a proud and active member of Northlakes Toukley Rotary Club.
Jan tells us “From my very first visit to Nepal in 2009, I fell in love with this beautiful country and the humble and inspiring Nepalese people and also felt so much ‘at home’ in the community I was staying in. I was also mesmerised by those glorious Himalaya mountains, that on a good day, surround the Kathmandu Valley. Then in 2011, on a holiday visiting my now friends, I was confronted with a heart wrenching story of two children whose parents had died and who desperately needed to be cared for. My heart ached as I listened to the sad story of these two poor children. My Nepali friends looked at me and said, ‘Why don’t you help’, so on this day in April 2011, my world changed and it saw the birth of Bright Future Learning Centre.”
Didi means “sister” in Nepali.
International Day of the Girl Child, “emphasises the importance of empowering girls through education, access to healthcare, and protection from violence and discrimination. This day also encourages girls to dream big, pursue their goals, and contribute to building a more equitable and just world”. UNICEF
Image Above March 2023
On this International Day of the Girl Child, I have been reflecting on the the last twelve years and the impact that The Didi Foundation has had on the lives of these girls. From incredibly difficult backgrounds they have seized the opportunity and worked hard to reach their full potential. This was only possible with the support of the Didi tribe.
About Bright Future Learning Centre (BFLC)
In 2011 myself and friend Linda Alcorn, unexpectedly, started Bright Future Learning Centre in Kathmandu, Nepal. It provided vulnerable and highly disadvantaged kids with a safe place to live and where they could be safe as children and receive a quality education.
To cut a long story short, we stopped at six children due to the exorbitant cost and decided it was more productive to support and educate mums, so that they did not have to give up their children due to poverty and hardship. That became the birth of the The Didi Foundation.
Anura is an example of how when given a second chance, she could change her life. She grabbed the opportunity and mapped out a road to success for herself. With the support of sponsors like Linda and Chris Rayson, she was able to complete her Year 12 studies and then go on to do an air hostessing course.
Today, she is currently undertaking her internship with a local carrier Buddha Air and dreams of working with Emirates.
The support she has received from the Didi Foundation and our supporters has encouraged her to dream big and allowed her to change her destiny.
After being sold to work in a house in Kathmandu at the age of six, Krishala has proved that with good care and a lifeline to success through education she could succeed. She has overcome her past hardships and topped her final exam in Diploma of Geometric Engineering. She is now going to sit for the government exam later this year and hopefully will get a government job that will set her up for life.
Krishala is on a road to becoming a change-maker in the world of surveying.
Gaurima lived in a remote village when her father died and her mother had no way to support her or her brother. So we were the lucky ones to raise this beautiful child. As a family we still have jokes that in her first report card she got all 0’s. The next report had all ‘0’ except for one. With tuition and hard work, she graduated with excellent results. She is now in her second year of studying a Diploma in Animal and Veterinary Science.
This is Nirmala (our baby)
This babe can sniff out a book store from a kilometre away. When she opens a new book she can not stop smelling the fresh print and can spend every spare hour reading. She is also studying the same course as Gaurima and works hard to get top grades.
Now 18, this gorgeous six year old came into our lives 12 years ago. Back in her village, due to her mother’s poor mental health, she had been raising her two younger siblings. Look how far she has come.
If you would like to learn more about The Didi Foundation or make a donation, visit their website https://didifoundation.org.au/