Dear friends,

Holiday greetings from the entire Samaanta Foundation family. In what is quickly becoming Samaanta tradition, I am pleased to share some news from the Foundation to wrap up what has been another busy, exciting, challenging, and fulfilling year.

The cornerstones of our fellowship include academic excellence, willingness to serve, potential to lead, and commitment to ‘pay it forward’. We are happy to report progress against each of these cornerstones- and more- over the last year. None of this work would be possible without your help and contribution, and we hope you will consider supporting our work this year as well.

Academic Excellence

Academic performance is one of the most important criteria against which we select and assess our fellows. This year has been a very strong year for most of our fellows, as highlighted by the following achievements:

  • Manisha and Dipesh (Fourth cohort Bachelor’s fellows) scored over 70% in their CSIT third semester exam. Similarly, Sharmila and Pema from the same cohort scored 3.9 and 3.6 GPA (out of 4.0) respectively in their BBA Third Semester.
  • Archana (Fifth cohort) scored 3.72 GPA in her BBA first semester exam.
  • The first semester results for the Eighth cohort of fellows ‘leaves room for improvement’, but this is not surprising. Our experience over the last eight years shows that first year fellows take some time to adjust to their new schools and environments, but they catch up by the second year.

Service

At Samaanta, we place a lot of emphasis on service, as we want each fellow to also find ways to serve their own community in every way possible. Some highlights from this year include:

  • Suraj and Archana conducted a workshop on “Mental Health and Self Care” and led an interactive session for 25 tenth grade students on “Exposure after SEE” (national exams) at Shree Jana Bikash Secondary School, Sindhupalchowk.

A picture with the participants after the interactive session

  • Prajit conducted a “Community cleaning” program and organized a football workshop for kids, in collaboration with a local youth club, in his own locality of Pokhare, Sindhupalchowk.

    Youth club members and community people cleaning roadside water canal.

  • Meghnath and Suraj participated in a traffic volunteering session.

Meghnath at the opening ceremony of the volunteering session

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leadership

We expect our fellows to be leaders, and we provide them with support and opportunities to hone their leadership skills.

College leads during a Teach for Nepal Event

Four of our fellows- Manisha, Sharmila, Suraj  and Dipesh– were selected as “College Leads” for Teach for Nepal. This was particularly rewarding because these fellows have all benefited from the Teach For Nepal program, and TFN is one of Samaanta’s closest institutional partner

Similarly, two of our fellows, Asmita and Navindra, were invited to be panellists on a TFN-organized event, where they talked about their journey from public schools to elite higher secondary schools in Kathmandu, and the impact and potential of a Samaanta Foundation fellowship

 

Asmita (centre) sharing her experiences during the TFN event

Sanumaya (6th cohort fellow) was awarded an international scholarship to travel to India to participate in a prestigious and exclusive 360 Plus Leadership Collective initiative.

Besides making new friends from around the world and honing leadership skills, Sanumaya also enjoyed the opportunity to travel abroad (and fly) for the first time in her life.

 

 

Two of our 6th cohort fellows, Anjana Nagarkoti and Sanumaya Lama, successfully graduated as Women LEAD Nepal  leaders.

Two other fellows- Asmita and Pramila from 7th cohort- were selected as Women LEADers for 2019-2020.

 

Pay it forward

The leadership team who founded Samaanta benefitted tremendously from the scholarship opportunities in Nepal, the UK, the US, Germany, and Switzerland. In a way, this Foundation’s work allows a way for us to “pay it forward” to deserving public school graduates in need of support to pursue quality higher education opportunities. We expect each of our fellows to also embody this sense of giving and paying it forward. The nature of how fellows pay forward is entirely up to them, their interests, and their talents.

This year, in addition to serving their communities, our fellows have also begun to pay it forward by contributing to the Foundation itself. The first two cohorts of fellows, who began in 2012 and 2013, have now graduated, and are now gainfully employed. They have signed contracts with Samaanta to make regular contributions so that we can provide more fellowships to deserving students in the future.

Jeni attending a cluster meeting of Teach for Nepal Fellows in Lamjung

In addition to making financial contributions, our fellows are also paying it forward through their actions.

As an example, Jeni Shrestha, our first cohort fellow, is serving as a Teach for Nepal fellow and will be spending two years in rural Lamjung, teaching Math in a public school, as she wanted to help other public-school students like her.

 

 

 

Professional growth

We have always been committed to support our fellows in their professional growth. Some important highlights for our students this year include:

Bikram (far left) with the team during a campaign by Shikshya Nepal

Partnerships

Samaanta Foundation has been blessed with friends and institutional partners who believe in our work and support us unreservedly. Our partnerships have grown in this way this year:

  • Foundation Care for All (FCFA), our first partner, has continued to grow their support. In addition to financial support, they are using their networks- including with Rotary- to expand the scale and scope of our work.
  • The partnership with Home Loan Experts (HLE) has also gone from strength to strength. This year, we have a record number of mentors from HLE who are guiding our fellows.
  • Similarly, through the support of Franks Family Foundation (FFF), we have been able to strengthen our internal systems and processes.

International success

Over the years, Samaanta has also supported fellows to explore opportunities and scholarships abroad. We have had tremendous success, with four fellows receiving scholarships to attend United World Colleges around the world, and two of them now pursuing their undergraduate degrees in the US on full scholarships. Remarkably, all of these fellows have also been girls.

Shrochis and Susmita in Oxford

We have been able to maintain our record this year, with a fifth fellow, Asmita, having been selected to receive a full scholarship to attend UWC Norway. Asmita is the first person from her village in Janakpur to even come to Kathmandu on a scholarship for her education, and she will certainly be the first person to go abroad on a scholarship!

One of our fellows, Susmita, is currently studying at UWC Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For her winter holidays, she is currently visiting me in Oxford. In addition to taking a well-earned break, enjoying Nepali home food, and exploring Oxford and London, Susmita is completing her homework and preparing her college applications.

 

Team growth

Two team members, Jeni Maharjan and Akhilesh, Thakur have been with the Foundation for six months now, respectively as the Program Officer and Program Associate. They have brought with them their zeal, experience, and enthusiasm, and are doing a fantastic job of taking the fellowship forward. We are so pleased that they have joined our family!

The Foundation is going strong, and we are very happy with the model we have built to support our fellows and allow them to flourish. Finances remain our primary challenge, as the Foundation and our aspirations and our expectations of what we want to achieve grows. Each year, we come across many more deserving students from disadvantaged communities than we can support. Please consider supporting us this year as well so that we can continue to build on this work.

As ever, thank you so much for all your love, care, support, ideas, and contributions. This Foundation would not be what it is today without you. Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a very happy new year. May 2020 be very happy, peaceful, and prosperous for us all!

Yours Sincerely,

 

Shrochis Karki

Executive Director

Samaanta Foundation