Remembering Roots- Connection of Hopes and Dreams!

Chennai, India, Oct 27, 2011:  “Wishes alone can’t fulfill our desires; I have realized that much,” Dilsara Setimore, 76, let out heavy sigh and continued, “I don’t have money to return home.”

On a rainy day of 1973, Dilsara had carried her 2 year old son Sundarlal on one arm and small bundle of clothes on other and had left Jhumlawang for Bijaura/Vijayawada. Her cousin brothers had been working in South Indian town Vijayawada for many years. So, when she came to the city, she had stayed with her brothers until she was able to be on her own working as a house helper.

Soon, it’s going to be 4 decades since she saw Jhumlawang for the last time. But, she says time has not made any difference in her memories. “I remember everything,” she said, “Life was tough there but I miss it.” Referring to curse-phrase ‘yek paile bhayes’ (may your footprint never return back) she added, “It seems, I have become the cursed one.”

“I guess, like my brothers I will also die here,” eyes brimming with tears her voice cracked, “Narpati bhai died here, then Dhanpati dai.in this foreign land all of them took their last breath.”

Dilsara- VIJAYAWADA-2011

Her son Sundarlal (Lal Bahadur Setimore) looked at her nostalgic expression and sadly smiled, “Whenever somebody from village visits her, she is becomes emotional like this.” He says he has no memory of village but feels connected through his mother’s constant mentioning of it.

Among the 150 people in Bijayawada who are originally from Jhumlawang Sundarlal’s family is among the very few families who are considered economically stable. “We are surviving, for now” he said, “But, I can’t afford to fall sick. If it happens then surviving will be a very difficult thing to do.” He owns a shop and sometimes does extra job as security guard. He is not learned man but his son Bharat Kumar and daughter Pujita are studying in college.

Almost all of the Jhumlawange in Bijayawada are working as security guard. Some of them are doing double duty to earn bread for their family. However, they are not compromising in their children’s education. “No matter how difficult it gets, we are not compromising with their education,” said Nim Bahadur Sunar (son of Aashbir Sunar ‘Aashe’). His children (two daughters and a son) are studying in school. Like Sundarlal, he also has no memory of village as he was born and brought up in Bijayawada. But, he has the images of village from stories his parents told him. He also knows that he has some ancestral land in Jhumlawang so after he retires he wants to go back there and make a living. “My children want to go and visit right now but I need to save money, make plans and go ahead,” he said, “It’s going to take time but I see myself in the village where my parents came from.”

Kamal Ramjali, whose great grandparents had come to the city in search of work and had stayed here, have been making plans to visit Jhumlawang. “Within few years I will visit my ancestral home,” he says, “I feel like it is calling me.”

These lingering memories, nostalgic feelings and connection to their ancestor land are shared by generations of Jhumlawange who have been here for more than half a century. They dream of going back home and living on their ancestors land. That dream, to some extend may sound too much of a romanticized to be true as they have settled their life here to some level. May be because they are aware of it that they are always enthusiastic about knowing what is happening in the village.

JV DIASPORA MEMBERS IN  VIJAYAWADA, INDIA

“It’s one way of connecting ourselves to our ancestor land and relatives,” Bharat K. Setimore said, “We feel connected to our root.” It’s with this desire of knowing more about the village and if possible to be able to help in village’s projects he was interested in the establishment of JVF-Nepal’s Vijayawada Committee, Andhra Pradesh, India. He is holding the position of General Secretary in the branch committee that was formed in September.

A 16-member JVF-Bijayawada committee was formed with the purpose of ‘keeping-in-touch’ with relatives back home. While it will be difficult to help monetarily for JVF-Nepal’s different projects in village they are trying their best to be of some help in making village ‘a role model’.

“Our best wishes are always there,” Nar Bahadur Ramjali (Narlal), President of JVF-Bijayawada said, “Apart from wishes, we are also trying to collect some fund for building ‘sajha-ghar’/Cultural Center.” He has been in Bijayawada for more than 20 years but has visited home twice in between

“We are extremely happy about all the development aspects happening in the village,” Narlal added, “It feels even better to be able to participate in village development this way.” He said through the committee they will be keeping in touch with whole Jhumlawange around the world and try to take part in development work of village projects.


Smita Magar
www.smitamagar.com

JVF in America!

New York, August 15, 2011. Jhumlawang Village Foundation USA has been established with the sole purpose of recruiting skilled volunteers and conducting fundraising programs for the various projects run by Jhumlawang Village Foundation (JVF) in Jhumlawang, Rukum, Nepal.

“Although the head office of the foundation is based in New York City, skilled volunteers will be recruited from California office,” said Mr. Kush Budha, International Coordinator of Jhumlawang Village Foundation (JVF) Nepal.

“From now on, friends and well-wishers of JVF can donate online for ongoing and future projects through PayPal by visiting our website from around the world. As Jhumlawang Village Foundation USA is a registered 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, financial contributions and in-kind donations from U.S. residents will be tax-deductible to the extent provided by law,” Mr. Budha added.

Ram Maya gets Rajkumari Scholarship

Jhumlawang, Rukum – February 21, 2011 – Talented student Ram Maya Shrestha was awarded Rajkumari Scholarship on Monday. Grade 2 student of Shree Prathamik Bidhyalay (Primary School) Jhumlawang, 12 year old Ram Maya will get Nepali Rs. 1,200 annually from Rajkumari Memorial Trust.

Ram Maya Gets ScholarshipRam Maya lost her mother in her early childhood. Ever since her father got married second time, she has been living with her maternal grandmother. More than anything, she wants to study as in future she wants to be someone successful, educated and useful to the society. However, due to financial problems, her family is not even able to buy stationery items necessary for her. So, understanding her situation and respecting her dreams, the Trust had decided to give her some helping hand.

Rajkumari Memorial Trust’s Chairperson Ram Bahadur Budha handed over the scholarship to Ram Maya. He hopes that the money, though small in amount, will be helpful in achieving her dreams through education.

The Memorial Trust is established in the remembrance of Budha’s late daughter Rajkumari Budha. The main objective of the trust is to encourage girls to have an education.

Scholorship Distribution in Jhumlabang

Jhumlawang, Nepal – February 21, 2011 – Twenty students of Primary School, Jhumlawang were handed over the stationery matters to help them in their studies on Monday. One of our France based partner organisations – Association Partages which focuses on supporting children in their education and basic health awareness provided those materials to students.

Mr Sher Bahadur Shrestha, President of Jhumlawang Primary School Management Committee, handed those stationery materials to students studying in grade one to five. Stationery matters included pen/pencils, geometry boxes, colour papers, drawing papers and students were also given soaps to encourage healthy habits.

Association Partage gives these supports in every 3 months. These stationary are given to the students with financial problem and those who need encouragement in studies.

Students who have been receiving scholarship from Association Partages in coordination with JVF-NEPAL

On the occasion, President Shrestha thanked the Association Partages Villeplane for its continues support and helping student on shaping their future. “For these children in this small corner of the world, these materials are priceless,” he said, “We can never be able to thank the organization for giving these students encouragement and helping hand in their studies.

Name lists of the students who received the stationery supports this month are given below:

Name (class)

  1. Bhagyasari Gurung (1)
  2. Suman B.K (1)
  3. Jun Prasad B.K (1)
  4. Prem Kumari B.K (1)
  5. Bishal Budha (1)
  6. Dhani Siris (1)
  7. Milina Gurung (1)
  8. Anita B.K (A) (2)
  9. Anita B.K (B) (2)
  10. Karma Kumari Malla (2)
  11. Mohani Rana (2)
  12. Binod B.K (2)
  13. Ritu B.K (2)
  14. Neb Bahadur B.K (2)
  15. Sharmila Shrestha (3)
  16. Gore B.K (3)
  17. Prem Shrestha (3)
  18. Thani Shrestha (4)
  19. Tek Man Shrestha (4)
  20. Topebdra Roka (5)

Construction for Community Health Center takes off

Kathmandu, Jan 14 – For Gaj Bahadur Gurung and Thum Kumari Budha of Jhumlabang village not a single day passes by without the thought, “If there was a hospital nearby, I would still have my child with me.” They lost their grown-up sons in separate accidents few years back.

If there was a hospital in village or neighboring village there were chances of their children’s survival. It is with this realization; they had donated the plots of land for the Community Health Center (CHC) project of JVF-NEPAL in memory of their sons. With the dream that one day others will not be as helpless as they were.

This dream of theirs along with other villagers is becoming a reality.

Construction of Community Health CentreThe CHC’s construction work has started from 25th November and JVF-NEPAL has aimed to complete the building construction by the end of this year. JVF-NEPAL hopes to operate CHC from beginning of 2012. It will serve not only community members of Jhumlawang (850 people), but more than 25,000 people coming from around the region who have been suffering from basic health issues for years.

The project is combined effort of the community members, friends of JVF members and well-wishers from around the world. It is particularly funded by Association Humanitaire Partage et Soins (AHPS), a France based organization. The estimated budget for the project is € 65,000.00 (Sixty Five Thousand Euro) of which AHPS has committed to contribute € 58,000.00.

Community Center Building Project

In the meantime, The Community Cultural Centre (TCCC)’s foundation work has started. However, due to the lack of fund and skilled manpower, the work beyond that has been halted for time being.JVF-CC2010-14

JVF-NEPAL aims to complete the multi-purpose community house by end of 2011. Once it is completed, it will function as meeting/training hall which will accommodate around 50 people, as wells as 2 double bed rooms for our guests/ volunteers and a library. The plot of land for this project was donated by Ram Prasad Gurung, in memory of his late parents. The estimated budget of this project is € 45,000.00.

The community members of the village are working voluntarily to contribute at least 25% of the total budget for each project. Diaspora members are contributing with their expertise and by giving about 5% of their earnings. They are also co-ordinating fundraising events around the world for this and upcoming future projects of JVF-NEPAL.

One of JVF-NEPAL’s Diaspora members, the Architect Mr Ajay Magar is leading a team of four sub-civil engineers- Mr Chhaya Budha, Mr Laxman Budha, Mr Tejendra Budha and Mr Shyam Thapa (all from Jhumlawang) to design these projects and oversee over all construction of the buildings.

Celebrating Maghe Sankranti with difference

Smita Magar
Kathmandu, 15th Jan 2011

On the first day of Nepali month Magh, (15th January) all Nepalese wake up to celebrate “Maghe Sankranti” as per their social, geographical and cultural background. While almost everyone enjoys it with special dishes made out of pure ghee and sweets like laddoo, fruits and sweet potatoes they have different reasons and beliefs about this festival.

One of the Nepal’s indigenous communities Tharu celebrates it as the New Year while Hindus have religious belief of salvation behind its celebration. In Jhumlawang, Maghe Sankranti is celebrated as the festival to worship sisters. It is like a ‘sister-day’. And, unlike a day celebration in other parts of the country, Jhumlawang celebrates it for 3 full days.

On the first day of festival, all brothers are busy worshipping their sisters with ‘nishro’. MAGHESKARNTI-2012 (29)A plate full of delicious foods, fruits, rice and some money is called Nishro which they gift to their sisters. It is also given to the cousin sisters so, whole day they are busy distributing it around the village and neighboring villages. Second day of festival is also ladies day. Early morning, girls form a group and go for ‘Magh khane’, like a picnic. They take all the food items, especially rice with them. As it is believed that they have to finish rice that day itself, they cook different food items out of it and enjoy the eating whole day. In between, they dance, sing and play different games as well.

In the evening, girls gather at chautara (meeting place of village) where all ages villagers are already there celebrating the festival by singing, dancing folk dance -paicharu and children playing ‘ping’ and ‘dhanu kadh’ (archery). The girls then dance ‘Hompai’ – a traditional dance. Through dance they make spectators laugh out loud with their funny moves and techniques.

The third day is celebrated with ‘Taro hanne ‘(archery competition) among men. Whoever hits the bull eye gets special treatment. They carry him round the village and feed them with delicious foods. Indigenous/ Magar culture expertise say this archery competition is a way of teaching/preparing the coming generation of hunting.

This way, Maghe Sankranti is celebrated with difference in Jhumlawang and neighboring villages as the ‘sister worshipping’ festival. Just like in Tihar, the festival of light, sisters worship their brothers, in this festival it is the sisters that are worshipped. This culture also points out that women are respected or at least tried to be given equal grounds. With that we can also say it is the festival that respects the siblings bond.

Wish you a Happy Maghe Sankranti!!!