Bona Fortuna is a place you truly can trust and believe in!
Author Joelle Perry – USA
Bona Fortuna is a place I truly trust and believe in. As a volunteer for the Hatune Foundation, and as an artist, I came this week to visit Bona Fortuna, to volunteer, and to teach art. The school and orphanage have been possible through my dear friend Hans Erling Jensen and his wife Ewa Samvik. I must say, these are two of the most splendid people I have met and they have done an excellent job here. Prakash Adhikari, the director of Bona Fortuna, and his family, are very welcoming and truly have the gift of hospitality.
As Hans likes to say, “the world needs more people like Prakash.”
A little background about the people there
Growing up, Prakash was raised along with many brothers and sisters. He did very well in school and worked hard aiming to continue his education at an engineering school. After all his hard-earned grades and dedication, it turned out there was one thing he lacked – money. It was only because of a lack of money that Prakash was unable to be admitted into the engineering school, and this experience marked him deeply. This is how his vision for helping the poor began.
Helping under-privileged children and families became close to his heart. When Prakash and his wife Sumitra began to give back to their community through an organization they started, called ADEC-Nepal, they quickly learned that giving gifts of food and clothing wouldn’t cut it. Every month or two they would have a program that even included a health clinic, but they found, over time, that the condition of the people remained the same. This is when they were inspired with the idea of starting an orphanage that provided 24/7 care for the most vulnerable – the children.
As this vision came together, Prakash met Hans in 2011 and they exchanged ideas. It turned out that they had the same goals and vision. Bona Fortuna was founded soon after, to take in the children of the poorest of their community, at no charge to their families. Raising up the poorest ones to be agents of change in the community is at the heart of the school.
Bona Fortuna is moving to better facilities
Prakash and Sumitra, really do make the perfect team for the job of running Bona Fortuna, along with their seven other team members. They regularly go through great lengths in passing legalities to keep the orphanage and school up and running.
This April, Bona Fortuna will celebrate two years since their opening. During the day, Prakash goes to the East-Pole Secondary School, where he works as Vice-Principal. He has been in the education industry since 1995 and teaches finance, administration, and accounting.
When we sat down together he described to me the hopes and dreams for Bona Fortuna. They are currently working on moving into a new building just down the block that is more suitable, and, in my estimation, a much more fitting and beautiful facility to house their school and orphanage.
They hope to open classes K-12 in the near future. Having so much experience in the education industry really makes him the perfect person to head this move. Only with your continued financial support can this dream live on.
Thank you for your contributions to the wonderful accomplishments of Bona Fortuna! Read more here!
The grand vision is to make a large school for the needy children.
Prakash and his staff share the same ideas as Hans Erling and his organization. They believe that through giving those without any hope a future, they can change the desperate situation in Nepal. For this reason, we do not work very much with adoption to people outside Nepal. At Bona Fortuna we are bringing these children up so that they too can help break the poverty in Nepal. Currently, over 40 percent of Nepalese people live in poverty and there are so many street children.
Bona Fortuna has also started a program, called Street Re-Clean. It started 3 years ago, initiated by Hans Erling after his first visit to Kathmandu. Every Saturday, the locals are invited to come out and help clean up the streets, which before were littered with trash. This program has brought awareness to the problems of pollution and brought the town to be more conscious of their ecological footprint.
I got to spend time with their orphans and preschoolers during my visit, and was very impressed. The orphans were happy, healthy, social, dedicated to their studies, well-behaved, and clearly loved. There are currently 18 children ranging from ages 5 to 14. We spent the week together singing songs, having drawing classes, and watching movies.
I then spent some days at the preschool that is under the Montessori Education System. Each child (for the moment 25) was given individual attention. There are four teachers, making a 1:6 ratio. At the early age of three and four, these children are already perfecting their writing and reading skills of the English alphabet! Their learning took place in the context of playtime, and the kids really enjoyed the program. First, they would be greeted outside, where they would play on the swings, in the playhouses, and on the net enclosed trampoline. Then, there was a sing along time, where each student said his or her name. I saw how this showed the children how to interact with others and how to be vocal and confident. They also would sing their national anthem. From day to day, the program was diverse and rich. After some writing courses, they had lunchtime. The day was filled with playtime and easy learning.
It was a thrilling experience to do art with these kids. I am certain that Bona Fortuna is getting these kids ready to enter life with a head start in every way.
Joelle Perry visited Bona Fortuna in Kathmandu in February and March 2017
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