Evolving with Every Turn
Friday, November 02, 2018
We had an edited version of the Do Lecture I gave 8 years ago go viral this week. We've received an outpouring of love and support from around the world, and we've been so honored. I realize that the story as presented by Goalcast and by other media in the past has contributed to perpetuating the white savior complex. We appreciate criticism like we appreciate praise. These are issues we'll continue to ask ourselves about as we plan for the future. My personal story could also insinuate that anyone and everyone can simply jump right in and do this work. What I know is that it’s important to build a strong and vital partnership with local leadership, government collaboration and oversight, as well as experienced experts and professionals. I also know that it’s important to move carefully when entering another culture or community.
Our co-founder Tope Bahadur Malla and our local team bring so much of this perspective. They have worked diligently over the past ten years and I recognize that they do not get nearly the acknowledgement from the press that they deserve. Personally, I can do better at elevating the incredible team of Nepali people around me and their voices. I have read, listened, reflected, and educated myself on this topic, and am committed to continuing to learn and evolve. I care deeply about these issues, this work, and the integrity of our organization. We are very proud of our work as a community and grateful for the support of people in Nepal and around the world.
Tope Malla and I are co-founders and partners. Together, over 10 years, we have a developed a local and global network that has guided us in child welfare and best practices, working in partnership with the Nepali government. Parenting takes many forms at Kopila and I am one of many people, including Tope, our spouses, and a team of co-parents, caregivers, and professionals who provide care for our children.
The majority of our programs -- such as our full service community school and women’s center -- exist to strengthen families and support children living with their families. We are committed to doing everything we can to prevent family separation. We protect the stories of our children, how and why they come to live with us. The children under the care of our home and safe house make up a small percentage of the total number of children supported in our programs and only come into our care after we have done our due diligence and determined that it is the safest option. We do this with the support of trained professionals and in collaboration with the Nepali government. We support biological family reintegration and contact when possible.
We have a strict no visitors policy because we believe in the importance of providing stability and continuity for our children. We feel that our programs are best run by Nepalis and trained professionals. There are two short windows during the year where a few select supporters and partners can come for a short visit to learn about our programs in a way that does not disrupt or exploit our children.
Photo credit: Molly Haley
We take your comments seriously. We're working hard to elevate the stories of our beautiful and extended Kopila Valley family, and we encourage you to follow our story on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Additionally, we invite you to read our blog, and to familiarize yourself with our journey and learning.
Together, Tope and I have learned many things and we've grown in many ways. We believe our organization is better and stronger because we come from two different worlds, with two different perspectives. We try to be generous and transparent in the way we share when and as often as we are able. You can imagine the time and energy it takes to care for our family, to run a school, a health center, a women’s center, and a safe home, all while building our new school and planning for the future. Thank you for reminding us of this opportunity to share more about how we do things. We will continue focusing on full days here in Surkhet and living by an example that is dynamic and evolving and considered with care at every turn. Thank you.