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Sisters pose with women at Navjyoti in Kathmandu, Nepal, where...

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Sisters pose with women at Navjyoti in Kathmandu, Nepal, where they have begun the rural women’s program. At present they have 15 young women who are very interested and eager to learn. Good luck to one and all!

From Rinzee Lepcha, SCN

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One Billion Rising in Dharan, East Nepal SCNs at Navjyoti...

One Billion Rising in Dharan, East Nepal

SCNs at Navjyoti Center, Dharan, East Nepal along with the staff and women of the self help groups too joined in the international campaign of One Billion Rising for Justice (OBR) on the 14th February, 2014. Preparations were under way over a month preparing women from the villages and migrant settlements for this event. Issues on which justice denied to them were articulated by the women. Together with our filed level animators they prepared pluck cards with slogans. They prepared banners, speeches, composed songs, skits, dances on their rights, their aspirations for a justice.

On the 14th in spite of the rain women young and old came to rally for a cause. We gathered in front of the Municipality and Marched to the Bhanu Chouk, heart of the town where they attracted the attention of all passers by who stopped to listen to the women. We had some eminent speakers like women social activists, lawyers, but most inspiring and heart-rending speeches were made by simple, poor women survivors of violence who broke their silence and released their stories demanding justice.

Written by Roselyn Karakattu, SCN

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Children's Day in Dharan, Nepal

The 14th of September is Children's Day in Nepal. In schools the teachers give the students well wishes and have an entertainment program followed by snacks. At Navjyoti School in Dharan we celebrated differently this year. The teachers and children decided not to have the snacks, but to give the money to three families in need of the neighborhood. Families whose houses were washed away in the recent flooding. Reena Theruvankunnel, SCN, had the three families present for the school assembly where they were given the donation. They accepted most gratefully and thanked the school family. Cheers to Navjyoti School for their love for the neighbor in need!

Under the leadership of Marina Thazhathuveettil, SCN, with her team of animators, children's day was celebrated with games and songs in Lauki a very remote village. Over one hundred children participated.

The children from the tuition centers facilitated by the Navjyoti Women's Centre also celebrated children's day. The animators conducted games for the children. Roselyn Karakattu, SCN, along with Sister Reena joined in the fun and presented the children with prizes and  snacks. The joy and the excitement shown by the students energized the Sisters and we felt right at home with the children.



Submitted by
Sister Reena Theruvankunnel and Sister Roselyn Karakattu

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Sisters in Surkhet in Prayer with the New SCN Leadership

SCNs Rosita Kavilpurayidathil, Dolsie D'Mello, and Mukta Chunki Tudu joined the new SCN Leadership in prayer today in Surkhet, Nepal as they begin their new ministry in leading the Congregation in its mission.

Blessings to SCNs Susan Gatz, Sangeeta Ayithamattam, and Brenda Gonzales!

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School Health Program Surkhet / Dailekh

Dear friends,

I am sharing with you some of the pictures of our mobile clinics. Since the roads are bad we could not reach out to some of the villages we had planned to visit for health education and medical check ups. In these photos are some of the views of the hardships we face during our travels. We even encounter the most unwelcome guests — the leech!

We count on your prayers. Sister Cecilia Simick

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Special Mobile Clinic Patient - Surkhet

On July  8, 2013, the Mobile Health Clinic team in Surkhet took care of 102 patients in the village and among them was a man with no name no family because he cannot speak a word. According to his neighbors he had burn injury 45 days ago but was not able to go to the government health post which is 2 to 3 hours walk from his house. Despite heavy rain he managed to come to our clinic. He had tied his sore with dirty clothes and the wound was infected. We have done the dressing and given him antibiotics and other necessary medicines. We also explained to his neighbor how to clean and dress his wound. We hope and pray that his wound will get better soon. The people of these villages have tremendous endurance to take the pain in their lives .




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Skill and Empowerment Training at Navjyoti Center

Certificate Distribution at Navjyoti Center

Twenty five women received certificates on June 28th during a cultural program prepared by them. Though 33 women submitted applications in January 2013 for Skill and Empowerment training of six months, eight of them discontinued due to personal reasons. The trainees hailed from three districts including Surkhet. They attended different awareness trainings like animation, health and sanitation, human trafficking, legal aid, gender sensitivity, street play and skill trainings like tailoring, hand knitting, weaving cloth, fabric painting, mushroom raising and vegetable cultivation. During the course of training, women and young girls were helped to learn ways and means of becoming empowered. Most of the trainees on arrival were found to be shy, afraid to speak in a group, victims of domestic violence, single mothers, economically backward, lacking skills and proper education. By the end of the training, they were changed persons. They were able to analyze their situations and change them. In this process, change took place in their families, domestic violence decreased, unity and co-operation was established. Women like Shushila Dahal and Kunta Acharya who faced family problems, lack of self-confidence and lack of family support were able to change the family situation and they became leaders of the group. They were able to compose songs, act in street play without any inhibition. Two of the ex-trainees shared their success stories. One of them opened her own tailoring shop, the other become a tailoring teacher. They are able to earn a living and are proud of it. Trainees put up a beautiful cultural program which amused the audience of about 100 people including NGO representatives, reporters of local news papers, guardians of trainees and the staff of Navjyoti School and Center. The speakers and guardians spoke of the self-confidence and self- determination of the trainees which would help them to go forward in life.

  Sister Rosita



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Mobile Health Camp in Nepal

Cecilia Simick, SCN, shares the following from her mobile health clinic in Nepal:

Dear Friends,

Greetings! I am sharing some of the pictures of the mobile health camp conducted in the remote village of Jajarkot. Dr. Rita Bhandari who works with INF Surkhet was very supportive and dedicated in joining us in the care of the patients. We are grateful to her. During the monsoon season it is too difficult to be able to travel to these villages.

In the village Balua of Jajarkot District in Nepal, Dr. Rita Bhandari and our team team took care of 205 patients, some had to be referred to the hospital and rehabilitation center for further treatment. The ferry which was supposed to take us over the Bheri river was out of order so we had to cross over the hanging bridge and get another vehicle to the village. We had to fight with bed bugs and other creatures at night, but we also enjoyed fishing in Cheda river to cool ourselves after the hard and hot day's work. Dogs and pigs too were swimming to cool themselves. We did have a great day and thank God for his care and protection all the way through.

Sister Cecilia Simick crossing the river.

Dr. Rita and Janga taking care of the patient with cyst


 This was the ferry which was broken due to overloading.

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Louis Kaucic Visits School for Disabled in Nepal

Here's Suma Muthukattuparampil, SCN, in her office at the school for the mentally disabled in Katmandu, Nepal. There are over 90 children who are bused daily (some are on the bus for up to 2 hrs just to get to the school). Those parents who can, pay a small tuition, those who can't, well, Sister Suma finds a way. The staff are really dedicated in their work with these kids. Most are profoundly handicapped or autistic and the thing they want, need and get the most is love and a supportive environment. Sister Suma is the head administrator, but it''s clear her greatest joy is when each child finds a way to visit her during the day.

This delightful girl visited while we were there, she was VERY happy to be in school that day. Sister Suma spends as much effort educating the parents on how to understand and care for their child, particularly the autistic ones. There was virtually no support in Nepal for this segment of the population prior to he SCNs opening this school in '78.

Sister Suma greets each of the kids as they get off the bus. From there, they go to a group assembly for some easy exercises before going to their respective classrooms.

Big hugs from each kid are a requisite start to the day. They seemed exuberant but she said they were much lower key that day due to  strangers being around (that would be John & myself).

This group is working on spelling out the alphabet. The teacher said it can take 6 months to learn a couple letters. The teachers make about $150 a month for all their hard work.

This guy was one of my favorites. A few of the kids & staff had just gone to Seoul, South Korea, early in 2013 for the Special Winter Olympics and Asis (RIGHT) decided to try snow-shoeing as a sport (he had never even tried it prior to getting to Seoul) and ended up winning the Gold Medal. Sister Suma made sure the local papers wrote up the story, so the school has it's very own hero!

These photos were shared by Carole Kaucic, SCN, sister of Louis Kaucic.

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Certificate Distribution at Navjyoti Center

Twenty-seven participants of skill and empowerment training conducted at Navjyoti Center completed their six month long training on Dec. 28. During the two hour long cultural program they displayed what they have learned from the training and the changes which have taken place in their lives. They expressed it through skits, dances, songs, poems, report and news reading. Three outstanding trainees received prizes. Participants of the training were from four districts. Among these were Dailekh, Salyan, Kailali and Surkhet. Women from Surkhet were from six VDCs and Municipality. Women from the neighboring districts were so much interested in attending the training that they took rooms on rent and lived closer to Navjyoti. They were given awareness trainings as well as skill trainings to empower them. Most of them came from the villages who were very shy, afraid to speak, and afraid to travel.

A few were single women and victims of domestic violence. Some were separated from their husbands and were living with their parents. As the result of the empowerment and the knowledge of women's rights they were able to speak up about their problems and are now united with their families.

Lalmaya Alemagar who is a single woman from a remote village of Salyan District has four children whom she could not afford to educate. She put her whole heart and soul into the training and became the most exemplary student among the trainees. She had never been to school, but attended adult literacy in her village. She is very confident that she will be able to start a tailoring shop in her village, where people currently have to walk six hours to reach the market to find a tailor.

Because of the newly found self confidence women like her are sure that they can stand up against any injustices and help other women to do so. Guardians and the guests from NGOs commented about the changes that have taken place for women in the rural villages.

These trainees are nothing less than the skilled artists. Navjyoti wishes them a bright future towards changing the present society.

Written by: Rosita Kavilpurayidathil, SCN

Sister Rosita is a social worker at the Navjyoti Center in Surkhet, Nepal, where she works to shape the future of missionary activities by providing training in social awareness, health education, skills training, self employment opportunities, education, legal advocacy, and agriculture to help women become agents of social change.

Sister Rosita says that she, "imagines a society where there is equality, justice, love, peace, forgiveness for men, women, young, old regardless of caste and creed and equal opportunity for all."

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Women Groups of Navjyoti Center Campaign to End Violence Against Women

Sixteen days of an International Campaign to end violence against women was organized in Surkhet by governmental and non-governmental organizations working with women there.

It began on Nov. 25, with a rally by organizations including Navjyoti Center ran by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.

Women and men processed through the market area with banners, placards and slogans to promote public awareness regarding violence against women. It has been a great challenge to all the NGOs working for women's development in Nepal.

The Chautari group of Navjyoti center prepared and displayed a street play on violence against women near Pipira Chowk where 55 women from Navjyoti's new women's groups, some neighbors and passersby were present to watch the awareness program. The story was based on an actual incident and touched the heart of the audience. The street play was also presented in their village in Thathapani where about 200 women and men were present. The chairperson of the area committee who was the chief guest for the gathering and was inspired by the emotional scenes and pledged to work for reducing violence against women in his area and he requested everyone present to begin with oneself.

Representatives of different NGOs spoke on the occasion. Discussions on the topic was held during the two gatherings of women group leaders of Navjyoti and they were motivated to work for ending violence against women and promised to begin it from their own families.

The 16 day campaign came to an end on Dec. 10 in the evening with a rally by organizations including Navjyoti Center and the human rights organizations in Surkhet, carrying lighted candles and placing them in Birendra Chowk. Different dignitaries spoke at the gathering regarding the need to end all kinds of violence against women and encouraged those present on the occasion to start practicing non-violence in their own families and to promote  peace in the families and in the world. During this period three estranged families have been reunited through the intervention of Navjyoti Center.

Written by Rosita Kavilpurayidathil, SCN
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Bicentennial Celebrations in Nepal

Sister Cecilia Simick shares some words from the Feast Day activities held in Nepal celebrating the occasion of the Congregations 200th Anniversary.

To read the story and see more photos from the day click here.
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SCNs Celebrate International Women's Day in Nepal

On March 8, SCNs in Surkhet, Nepal, gathered in honor of International Women's Day, a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.

Sister Cecilia Simick, SCN, shares these thoughts and photos from the day.

Dear Friends,

Nameste from Surkhet. I would like to share some photos of the Women's Day celebration in Surkhet. Lots of preprations were done to celebrate the day. Several meetings and plannings of governmental and NGOs took place more than a week before and the various activities were planned to mark the day.

Various games and competitions for young and older women were conducted and the prizes were sponsored by different groups of NGOs. The Navjyoti Center took a very active part in all these (you can see in the photos). Our women won the volleyball tournament too!

The rally began in the morning from Manalgadi Chauk (a center place). Various groups of women with their banners and slogans such as "Equal rights for women," "Violence against women should be stopped," "Women should have a rightful place in the family," "Women have the right to education, & health care," and "Long live the womens movement."

The Navjyoti womens group was the largest group to come for the rallies in their pink saries with black blouse among the goup there was quite good number of Muslim women who took part in the rally. Our women, Tharu women came in their ethenic costumes and danced all the way with mandal, cymbals, whistles, and the sound of claps.

Everyone appreciated the way our women took part in the Women's day. The Minister of Peace and Reconstruction Mrs. Satya Pahari was the chief guest. Various women leaders gave inspiring speeches, performed dances, and recited poems. It was indeed a remarkable day for all the women as well as for the men who had come to see the program. We hope the enthusiasm will continue to help women to move ahead.

With love,
Sister Cecilia Simick, SCN

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A Long and Hard Journey for Health Care in Nepal

The mobile health team in Nepal takes care of the patients in the villages of Surkhet where the poor and sick come for treatment.

An older, sick woman with severe arthritis who was brought to the mobile clinic in one of the villages in Surkhet, Nepal.

She was carried in a bamboo basket by her son and the neighbour from a village far away. There are no roads or even a proper footpath for which to walk. No two people with the stretcher can walk side by side. This basket, a doko, is normally used for carrying firewood, grass, dry leaves, cow dung, and other things. It is hard and painful for the person to sit on it. She has no choice, but pull herself to adjust in this transportation.

She has to sit in this basket and her son would carry her hours to reach their village over hills and valleys.

We hope and pray that her pain will be eased and she comes for the follow–up visit next month to the mobile clinic walking by her self. Until then please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

The mission of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth is to work for justice in solidarity with oppressed peoples, especially the economically poor and women, and to care for the earth. SCN family ministries in Nepal include:
  • Mobile health clinics
  • Rehabilitation of mentally-ill women
  • A school for physically/mentally challenged children
  • Schools for elementary through high school students
  • Non-formal education for village and street children
  • Adult literacy training in marketable skills in cottage industries
  • Centers for holistic care
  • Human rights education for women
  • Development centers which help women become leaders and transform the status of women in their home villages
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Ordination for Nepalese Priest, Cecilia Simick, SCN's Brother

Father Samuel Simick with his mother and sister (Cecilia Simick, SCN)

From UCANEWS | An ethnic Nepalese Jesuit priest from India has been ordained in the country’s poorest parish.

Father Samuel Simick, 32, was ordained on December 31, in Maheshpur parish, around 600 kilometers east of Kathmandu, by Nepal’s apostolic vicar Jesuit Bishop Anthony Sharma.

He joins three other priests, a diocesan and two Jesuits, who were ordained there by Bishop Sharma last year.

The ceremony, concelebrated by about two dozen priests, was held at the Moran Memorial School in Maheshpur, which is set amidst tea gardens.

Family and friends of the priest fromIndia, and over 500 other Catholics from acrossNepalattended the ceremony despite a series of transport strikes gripping the country.

The ordination of Fr Simick, who hails from northern West Bengal, increases the number of priests working in Nepal to 68, eight of whom have been ordained by Bishop Sharma since being made apostolic vicar in 2007.
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A Message of Hope in Surkhet

Cecilia Simick, SCN, sends this message of hope from Surkhet, Nepal.

Dear Friends in Christ,

The message of Advent … HOPE …  I would like to share this pictures of a boy, Bhakta Bahadur, and his mother. When the first child was born with a meningocele/spina bifida they were feeling so bad and felt he was a burden for the family. They were not able to get any help and as the boy was growing and the bundle on his back was growing. He was not able to sit or stand and gradually it was becoming infected. 

The mother was so desperate when she came to Navjyoti Center in Surkhet for the tailoring classes and met with Sister Cecilia. Sr. Elizabeth Eknorl, M.M, and her community then in Kathmandu, took care of the medical/surgical expenses in Kathmandu, and others reached out one way or the other to take care of the additional expenses.

Now he is going to school, though his walking is getting better and he still has problem with his bladder. His mother is so happy and grateful for all those who have helped her boy. They come to visit the Sisters once in a while.  To see the smile on Bhakta's face reminds us that God still works miracles in the lives of many through the generous hearts and brings HOPE . 

Thank you very much for all that you do to bring hope in the lives of people.

Sr. Cecilia Simick
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SCN Navjyoti Training Center's Charimaya Tamang awarded 2011 Hero Acting to End Modern-Day Slavery Award from Hillary Clinton

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, hugs Charimaya Tamang of Nepal, a trafficking survivor herself, as she is awarded the 2011 Hero Acting to End Modern-Day Slavery Award, Monday, June 27, 2011, during the release of the 2011 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, at the State Department in Washington.


Charimaya Tamang who was honored with the 2011 Hero Acting to End Modern-Day Slavery Award in Washington DC, said the recognition had encouraged her to fight human trafficking and injustice against Nepali women.

Speaking at a reception given by Nepali NGOs, Charimaya said that her new life began at Navjyoti (The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth centre for empowerment of women). It is at Navjyoti that she was assisted in confidence building, received various training and as a result of which she is now able to work actively for anti-trafficking. Roselyn Karakattu, SCN, recalled Charimaya riding on her scooter to attend many meetings.

Speaking to the media upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport from the US, where she was honored by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Tamang underscored the need of unity to fight the evil of human trafficking. “If we all work together and move forward, we can eliminate human trafficking,” she said.

Tamang gave credit to all Nepali women for the award. “This award is not my personal recognition but it is the recognition of the efforts made by all Nepali people working to end human trafficking. It is the pride of all Nepalis,” Tamang said.

Tamang added the international recognition further showed there are valiant women working to end modern day slavery. “This honor also testifies that hard work and perseverance pays in the long run,” she added.

Tamang, a survivor of trafficking herself, was felicitated with the award on June 27 in the US during the release of the 2011 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report at the State Department in Washington.

The 2011 TIP Report had noted, “Born into a poor family made poorer by the passing of her father, Charimaya Tamang was 16 when she was trafficked to India. She spent 22 months enslaved in a brothel before the Indian government rescued her and more than 200 other Nepali women in 1996. Upon her return to Nepal, Tamang faced social stigma and was outcast from her own community. But she courageously filed a case against her traffickers, becoming the first person to file personally a trafficking case with the district police. In 1997, the District Court — in a landmark decision — convicted and sentenced eight offenders involved in her case.”

In 2000, Tamang and 15 other survivors established Shakti Samuha, an anti-trafficking NGO.  In that role, Tamang raised the importance of including survivors in each district-level working group. She received a national honor for her work in 2007 and is currently one of two trafficking survivors serving as members of the government-led National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking. There are now five trafficking survivors serving as members at the district-level committees around the country.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday honored Nepali anti-trafficking hero, Charimaya Tamang, with the 2011 Hero Acting to End Modern-Day Slavery Award. Tamang was honoured during the release of 2011 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report at the State Department in Washington. Releasing the report, Secretary of State Clinton recognized ten TIP Heroes from around the world for their efforts in combating human trafficking.

Nepal has improved anti-human trafficking efforts despite limited resources, the report pointed out the need to fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

“While the Government of Nepal established the Central Crime Investigation Bureau’s special unit to investigate trafficking and increased its direct financial support for protection services in Nepal and abroad, the lack of proactive victim identification was cited in the report as a persistent serious problem,” read a statement released by the US Embassy here.

The report recommended that the government improve anti-trafficking efforts. The recommendations include increased law enforcement against all kinds of trafficking, establishment of a formal procedure to identify victims and promotion of legal awareness programme among potential victims and government officials.

The US government has been supporting various initiatives to combat human trafficking in Nepal. These initiatives, among others, include a five-year project funded by USAID to strengthen protection services for TIP survivors, capacity building of the judiciary and law enforcement agencies and awareness programmes among groups that are vulnerable to sex and labor trafficking.


From UCANEWS | By Chirendra Satyal

Ten years ago she was under “private” rehabilitation in Kathmandu at the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth convent.

Tamang was one of the first batch of over 200 Nepalese girls to be “rescued” from brothels in Mumbai (in India) in 1996. Catholic nuns in Mumbai had also helped rehabilitate them before they were flown into Nepal on special flights.

The issue was very sensitive as some locals in Nepal argued “why are you flying HIV/AIDS into the country?”

The airport in Kathmandu was sealed off so no journalist would take photos and sensationalize the issue of these “dishonorable” girls as they landed.

In Kathmandu the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth secretly took the girls to their houses and convent. The Nazareth nuns helped train the girls with a 6 month empowerment program and provided medical checkups. Tamang stayed with the Sisters for more than a year.

Rosita Kavilpurayidathil, SCN, (who has been working in Nepal for decades for women’s upliftment) said she could hardly believe the good news.

“Tamang had trouble with her close relatives while founding her anti-trafficking group — but she never gave up,” Sister Rosita said.
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Sheela Barla, SCN, is Welcomed to Navjyoti School in Nepal

Cecilia Simick, SCN, shares these photos from Surket, Nepal, of Sheela Barla, SCN, being welcomed as a new teacher to the community there.

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Surkhet. I am sharing with you few recent pictures of Sister Sheela Barla. She travelled to Surkhet with myself after her Junior's program in Ranchi, India. Sisters in Surkhet are very happy to welcome her into their community and the children are delighted to see a new teacher and Sister. They gave her a warm welcome. We wish her all the best and God's blessings as she commits herself to love and to serve the students of this part of the world.

With love and prayers,

Sister Cecilia

Children of Navjyoti School welcome their new teacher, Sister Sheela Barla.
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Silver Jubilee Celebration in Surkhet, Nepal for Sister Cecilia

Cecilia Simick, SCN, shares this message about her recent Silver Jubilee celebration in Surkhet, Nepal:

Dear Friends,

Loving greetings from Nepal. I'd just like to share a few pictures of my early Silver Jubilee celebration in Surkhet. The actual Jubilee day is on June 1. It was a beautiful day and the Sisters, staff, and children had prepared a wonderful program highlighted by Fr. Andrew with his music and singing, which added much flavour during the program. I was privillaged to have Rev. Pius Perumana, VG, my brother Rev. Paul Simick, and William for the occasion. Philomina Bading, SCN, from Kathmandu Community was also present. During the program my brother shared stories about my childhood days and our family, thanking God for giving me as their only sister/daughter among eight brothers. Indeed the memories of childhood days filled our hearts … up through the journey I have made until today.

We had a meaningful Mass on the May 7. Father Pius was the main celebrant and gave beautiful homily. We also shared snacks with all the invitees, staff and children on the 6th, and meal with the Catholic community on the 7th.

I look back to my 25 years of Religious life with Gratitude to God, to my SCN family, my own family, my friends , all those who have walked with me in my ups and downs, and supported me/us to carry out the mission/ministries in various places.

Thank you all for being part of my life …  sometime … somewhere you all have touched my life and I have grown.

With love,
Sister Cecilia

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Western Nepal — SCNs Expand Outreach to Muslim Community

A minority community of Mulims in Surkhet, Nepal has drawn the attention of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. Sisters have worked in various communities before in this part of Nepal, but this community has been overlooked by many.The confinement of women in their own families, their poverty, exclusion, and lack of education has moved the SCNs to work in this western Nepal community.

Rosita Kavilpurayidathil, SCN, and her staff have setup meetings and now administer her ministry to this community. In the beginning they were hesitant to receive assistance, but warmed up to the Sisters after repeat visits.

Here are some of what is has been accomplished:
  • Five women's empowerment groups have been formed.
  • Training classes in leadership and health have taken place.
  • Women are trained as village health volunteers.
  • Children have been encouraged to go to school and 65 children were given school uniforms.
  • Education materials were given to the local school.
  • Widows suffering from poverty were given food supplies and clothes.
  • Women from the community participated in public rallies for the first time in their lives.
  • Small tailoring and restaurant businesses have begun to help the people earn a living.
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Forging Into a New Frontier in Nepal

Cecilia Simick, SCN, works in Surkhet, Nepal. She is currently venturing into the new remote territory of Jajarkot with her health ministry.

Traveling there was difficult, as it could only be reached by ferry, operational only during the dry season. The only other access is by foot on a hanging bridge across the Bheri River. People have to walk miles for days in order to reach Jajarkot. Once across the river the Sisters still had to manage a road that is only three years old and still under construction. Rivulets and land slides make it difficult to reach this poor and remote district.

People here have to suffer a lot. There is no proper drinking water, no electricity, no cultivation, and lots of bare rocky steep hills. Sister Cecilia says, "The situation is really dire and I am moved to extend our work with mind and body, with our ever willing heart, to the poor."

The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth were welcomed to Jajarkot by the district health officer, Dr. Jhalak Gautam, who helped the Sisters begin to plan their work in the western and eastern parts of the district. Health facilities are very much needed since a diarrhoea and cholera epidemic had broken out two years ago and taken many lives in the villages where they are very far away from the district hospital and health posts.

People of those villages are eagerly awaiting for the mobile clinic and hoping their lives will soon be better with this medical assistance.

Sister Cecilia says this about her newest mission, "Indeed we feel called to do something for the people of Jajarkot villages who are deprived of basic needs for health, shelter and food. We will try our best to make this dream come true, reaching out to the suffering people in Jajarkot. Keep us in your prayers."

The whole of the SCN family certainly will be doing just that.
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Moving Mountains in Nepal

It had been ten years since her last visit, and Mary Elizabeth Miller, SCN, was looking forward to seeing how the ministries in Nepal were growing.

Landing in Kathmandu in February 2009, while transportation workers in the city were striking, the first few hours got off to an adventurous start as she found herself travelling by rickshaw in order to make her way to SCN ministries.

As she visited SCNs across the country, she was struck by one thought over and over, “Mother Catherine would be smiling at your work. She would be so proud. SCNs are truly reaching out to people in need, empowering women, helping the poor, teaching the children ...”

While in Kathmandu, Sister Mary Elizabeth visited the Navjyoti Centre. “To see the smiles and accomplishments of many of the disabled students and clients is truly inspiring,” says Sister Mary Elizabeth.

In Surkhet, Sister Mary Elizabeth witnessed the success of a women’s empowerment group. Coordinators reach out to women in remote villages and work to instill in them a sense of confidence and self respect. One of the women in the program shared, “we used to be fighting each other, now we work together.” And how they have worked together to clean up the village, learn skills, and to protect one another when family members become violent. Sister Mary Elizabeth says the women in the village are so proud of all they have accomplished, that they designed matching pink and black saris. Now when the women are seen together, they command respect. It’s as if others in the village “sit up straight, take notice,” says Sister Mary Elizabeth.

The need to empower women and children is great. Describing how women in one village were so shy and lacked confidence says Sister Mary Elizabeth, they would sometimes cry when addressed or even asked their names. These same women now have confidence, and are willing to stand up for themselves, and advocate for others. In empowerment programs, women also learn a trade, basic English and writing, hygiene, first aid, and other life skills. They are asked to return to their villages and empower others.

As Sister Mary Elizabeth travelled from ministry to ministry, she says she couldn’t help but be in awe of the Sisters working tirelessly to educate children and parents, care for the disabled, and those providing much needed health care. Upon visiting a SCN mobile medical clinic, she spoke to one woman who walked seven hours to receive care. The woman was one of more than 240 patients waiting to see a doctor that day. Most had travelled great distances and were willing to stand patiently in long lines. All were grateful to receive medical care. No matter what ministry or areas Sister Mary Elizabeth visited, she said she was constantly struck that the “people were so happy to see us, so excited and pleased we were coming to the village.”

Also visiting Nepal in 2009 was Bridget Kappalumakal, SCN, who found herself arriving in Kathmandu during a strike. That meant nothing on wheels would move- not even a bicycle, says Sister Bridget, nothing except the “two legs.” Sister Bridget recounts, “I did not know what I was going to do but then a boy appeared with a placard with my name on it and said the Sisters sent him to meet me ... I asked him, ‘how we were going to go’ and he said casually, ‘walking ...’ We saw no cars, motorcycles, rickshaws or bicycles along the way ... The boy walked ahead of us pulling the bag through the ups and downs of the road, mud, rock, water and everything else and finally, we reached home at the end of about 2 1⁄2 hours.”

Sister Bridget welcomed the strike as an opportunity that allowed her to experience the unpredictability of events that the people of Nepal and the Sisters must embrace. “One has to learn to take things as they come and make the needed adjustments,” shares Sister Bridget.

Sister Bridget’s visit in June to Kathmandu was just one week after the church bombing at Assumption Catholic Church that killed three people and injured more than a dozen. SCNs, stunned and saddened by the attack, knew some of the victims. The shock was still very fresh in everyone’s mind says Sister Bridget. The day after she reached Kathmandu, another victim, who had suffered burns, died. Sister Bridget went to the victims’ funeral. “I had the opportunity to be present for her funeral in the same church which was bombed a week earlier ... It was a very moving and heart wrenching experience as the father of the little girl and his other two younger children were holding on to each other and sobbing. They were inconsolable and all in the church were in tears. The effects of the bombing were still seen on the high ceiling of the church where the bomb blasted and went up.”

From Kathmandu, Sister Bridget made her first visit to Surkhet to visit a women’s center, school, and the convent. “Surkhet is a beautiful place and Sister Rosita Kavilpurayidathil, our pioneer woman there, has done wonders with the people especially women and children.”

Sister Bridget witnessed firsthand what she describes as the “empowered women of Sister Rosita.” It happened on World Environment Day in the village of Gadi, about two hours drive from the Center. Sister Bridget and others were about half way to Gadi, when their van was stopped by a road blocked due to a dispute. The Sisters had no choice but to start out on foot for a 2-hour walk, mostly uphill. After walking some distance, the Sisters stopped briefly for a break and a cup of tea. Women dressed in pink and black saris came along who had heard about the roadblock. “They told us they will go and bring the vehicle ... and bring they did,” says Sister Bridget. “About 15 of them marched down the hill ... and came back with the vehicle. What we were not able to do they did with group bargaining power. These same women, some years ago, could not even stand up and say even one word in the class let alone in front of others, have now been transformed into powerful forces in the society, able to demand their rights.”

Sister Bridget’s last stop in Nepal was Dharan, where she had yet another adventure. “When I reached the airport at Birathnagar, I found no Sisters there to receive me as we had planned ... I found out that there was a strike in one area and our Sisters were stuck ... So, they called one of their friends, a shopkeeper, and told him to meet me and take me to the place where the Sisters were waiting. I asked the man how we were going and he said on the motorcycle.” I responded, “On the bike? With my luggage?” He said, “Don’t worry. We’ll manage. So, I sat on the bike and kept my heavy bag in my lap and away we went.”

Sister Bridget returned to India with many memories and a renewed respect for all in ministry in Nepal and all who live in that country. “This is the everyday experience of our Sisters in Nepal. They do not know what will happen from hour to hour, from day to day. But they continue their ministries in joy and enthusiasm and dedication, believing in the promise of Jesus that ‘I will be with you always.’”

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Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Nepal

This video highlights the work in ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Nepal.

The mission of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth is to work for justice in solidarity with oppressed peoples, especially the economically poor and women, and to care for the earth.

SCN Family Ministries in Nepal include:
  • Rehabilitation of mentally-ill women
  • A school for physically/mentally challenged children
  • Schools for elementary through high school students
  • Non-formal education for village and street children
  • Adult literacy training in marketable skills in cottage industries
  • Centers for holistic care
  • Human rights education for women
  • Development centers which help women become leaders and transform the status of women in their home villages
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Priest gives a leg-up to handicapped in Nepal

A Maryknoll priest who established Nepal’s first day care centers for mentally handicapped children has returned to the country for a special program to help 12 young people take control of their education.

Hong-Kong based Father Adam Gudalefsky, 82, held the program from June 9-11 for the children from three day care centers in Kathmandu.

The program to help those with learning difficulties was held at the government-run Nirmal Bal Bikas center in Kathmandu.

“We have to learn to treat these special young people as adults and target the parents and the family as well, since they are the real teachers,” Father Gudalefsky told

“We have been trying to empower young people with handicaps to learn to educate themselves in some 50 countries and over 300 schools or centers throughout Asia and beyond,” said Father Gudalefsky, who is also director of the Interaid charity for needy children.

Filipino Sister Concepcion Madduma of the Immaculate Heart of Mary congregation, who accompanied the priest, also conducted sessions for teachers on psychology and sex education.

“Four children from our center got the chance to prepare for adulthood by learning about their rights, responsibilities and hidden leadership qualities,” said Ganesh Parajuli a teacher at Navajyoti School.

Navajyoti was founded in 1979 by Father Gudalefsky and was Nepal’s first day care center for the mentally handicapped. It is now run by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.

“After arriving here on tourist visa in 1977, three other Maryknoll priests and I conducted the first survey on mental health in Nepal.

“In 1979, we reported to the government that 15 percent of the population had mental handicaps due to poor health facilities and insufficient diet,” Father Gudalefsky said.

Members of the SCN family work for justice, serve the economically poor, and care for the earth. You can join these efforts by offering financial support to Navajyoti School.
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Church-goers caught up in Nepal’s general strike


Thousands of Maoists have taken to the streets demanding a change of government
KATHMANDU (UCAN) — Nepal has been brought to a standstill by an indefinite general strike by Maoists looking to bring down the government.

Tens of thousands of Maoists have taken to the streets of Kathmandu and other towns across the country, while shops and businesses are closed.

Many people said they were unable to attend Mass over the weekend because of the disruption to the transport system and because of the sheer numbers of protesters in the street.

Local Catholics living within walking distance from churches attended services but those who live further away stayed at home.

“There were only 15 people for morning Sunday Mass but about 30 for the evening one,” said Father Silas Bogati, acting parish priest of Assumption Church in central Kathmandu, told UCAN.

One of the strike leaders, Leknath Neupane, said the protesters will fight on “empty stomachs and camp in the streets till the present government falls.”

Though the protests have been largely peaceful, the disruption to daily life is raising concerns among Church people in Nepal.

School and college exams have been disrupted or cancelled and patients waiting to go home after hospital treatment have been forced to stay put. Those seeking treatment fear braving the streets to get to the hospitals.

“I found it frightening to walk to the eye hospital since the streets were thick with crowds holding sticks and red flags,” Maryknoll Father Joseph Thaler told UCAN on May 2.

Father Thaler, who works among brick factory workers in southern Kathmandu, had arranged for some 20 poor daily wage earners to have eye operations on May 3.

“I do not know if they will be able to get to the eye hospital,” he said.

The closure of shops has also raised fears over food supplies.

In the western town of Surkhet, Sister of Charity of Nazareth nun, Cecelia Simick, told UCAN, “We’ve tried to go shopping but found the shops closed. Only shops selling medicine were open. People and protesters will run out of food soon.”

The nun added there were at least 10,000 people staging a sit-down protest in their small town center.

The Church is also worried about churches being flooded with protesters seeking shelter while the strike continues. Maoist supporters have tried to seek shelter at Assumption Church of Kathmandu twice since Friday and church authorities have had to seek police attention from the nearby police station “in case of forcible entry is attempted.”

But some churches are opening their doors to the protesters. Pastor Simon Pandey, Protestant head of the National Churches Fellowship Nepal (NCFN) told UCAN, “They are staying in various churches, but let us say they are lodging peacefully.”
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