Category Archives: Projects

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Workshop by Mercè Vega Castellví, beekeeper and artisan. 

This week we have been learning about bees. All the kids already knew that honey is produced by bees. But how does a hive work? How do bees make honey?

The first activity was prepared to differentiate the 3 types of bees: the queen, workers, and drones. Everyone draw his own bee.

We explained what is the work of each type of bee, and why the bees are important for the pollination. The second day we made a mobile to hang in the corridor. We began drawing working-bees and drones, flowers of different colours and hexagons for build the hive.

Making and painting hexagons, not so easy task.

With this activity we showed them how wives’ bees are organized. At the central part there are the queen, eggs and larvae. And in the external part the honey and the pollen are stored.

But how do people extract honey from a hive?

Mercè had been a beekeeper and she brought some tools. They loved test them.

Finally, we did a mural with all what we had learnt about bees.

The birth of a new project: NEPCAT connection

Writen by Marina Viñas, volunteer of Children’s Home

On the plane Barcelona-Nepal, an special passenger accompanied us: NEPCAT CONNECTION, a project whose main objective is the cultural exchange between Balmandir children and Catalan children, opening the door to new ways of living and understanding life by exchanging emails.

In Catalonia we have an accomplice – Glory Iniesta, teacher of the Col·legi Mestre Pla of Castellar del Vallès – who presented the project to their colleagues. All of them agreed immediately. So good! They have two classes of 5th and two 6th grade with which we started the project. So we can make four groups. Come on, let’s go!

We created an email account and divided the children into four groups, mixing them for ages, so the eldest ones can support the younger kids. It looks like an easy job, but it’s not when we start. The first day, I immediately realised that including one of the elder boys in each group was a great idea. That day, I had to start only with the two youngest children because the eldest had to study. When I said: “Come on, how can we start an email?”, I just got silence and astonished faces as answers. But persisting, in two weeks we managed to finish and send the first mail with each group. Then it was the turn of the Catalan students. Will they answer? Will it take long?

From left to right: Bishwo, Ashish, Samir and Manoj. The first group to send email.
Purnima, Raju, Ramesh and Sushil writing one of the e-mails

Meanwhile, we connect to google maps and begin to look at the place we are sending the emails. Children enjoy seeing the buildings and streets of Castellar del Vallès. Once we have seen the school and the houses around it and we have discovered this new Internet tool, the kids request me: “Can we see the Camp Nou?”. So “travelled” around the Camp Nou, Sagrada Familia and the sea! As if we were looking through a window.

Four weeks after landing to Nepal the project had already begun to take shape: one group had already received the first response! yuhu! And now, after eigth weeks of the arrival in Nepal, we had exchanged photos, food recipes, traditions…

Sixth B class from the “Col·legi Mestre Pla” (Castellar del Vallès)

We are very happy and thrilled, hoping that the trend is going to be very positive and gradually grows. It is not only an exchange of perspectives, of their day to day, of the concerns, traditions, etc. The “connection NEPCAT” wants to go further because it will also allow the group work, practice English, explore new tools to search for information, Internet tools, etc.

This is just the beginning

Yogurt afternoon snack

Written by Joana Alsina volunteer at the Children’s Home

In Balmandir, at six o’clock from the morning it’s the tea time for the biggest and the buffalo’s milk time for children. Five litters of fresh milk are bought every day, which quickly are gone! But we are in very special dates now and some of the biggest boys from Balmandir have gone to celebrate Dashain with their family so every day we can spare a few litters of delicious buffalo’s milk. Making mozzarella seemed too risky, so we decided to try to make yogurt.


Transform the milk into yogurt is not really difficult; you only need a portion of yogurt sample – which is needed to transform the milk -, a thermometer – to measure the water and the milk temperatures – and a yogurt-maker. Despite we have neither yogurt-maker nor thermometer in Bhimphedi, we still decided to try it.

Every day we take two litters of milk. Once it has boiled and while let it cool, we put another pot of water to the fire. This will works as a yogurt-maker. Once the milk cooled a bit – and we believe that it’s around 46 degrees – we add yogurt and stir it trying to avoid lumps. We fill in metallic glasses and put them in the pot with hot wather.

We put milk in metallic glasses and we leave in one pot with hot water.

Then we cover it with a plate and we wrap all with blanket to keep the heat all night, like in a yogurt-maker.

The next morning, we open the pot and …. surprise, yogurt is done! We don’t use thermometer and for this reason they get different textures every day. We don’t like routine so it is fine for us. We keep them in the fridge until we have enough for every child. Every three days in Balmandir there is yogurt afternoon snack!


The Balmandir family grows!

Written by Joana Martínez, volunteer at the Children’s Home

Last week arrived to our children home three new inhabitants ready to share with us a bunch of adventures. They didn’t arrive by jeep nor by bus or any other conventional mean of transportation. They don’t present either  the usual features that the rest of visitors do. Nevertheless, what we know for sure is our new mates will stay for a long time and that’s why they had a charming welcome from those who were in Balmandir. Do you already guess who are we talking about? Do you need another clue? They are furry, soft as a fluffy toy, funny and so cute! Do you know already?

The new Balmandir inhabitants are three newborn little goats! It’s already few months that some of our goats are pregnant and bit by bit the little ones will get born. For now we have already three of them, who arrived in less than one week between them. We are looking forward the rest of little cousins to arrive during the coming weeks.

Kush taking care of both, mother and daughter.
The two  newborn sisters barely can stand in their feet.
The mum caresses her daugther.
Kush with the whole family.

Didis and Kush took good care of them in every moment. They made the mother labor as much comfortable as possible and watch the little ones during their first hours of life. Kush is our shepherd kid: he takes the animals to graze, he feeds them properly, he heals them if they have any wound… He even delouse them with a special product when it’s required! Consequently you can imagine the arrival of the little goats has been a nice event; you should see how he is doing his utmost for them!

In Balmandir, the rest of us went to welcome them properly and to melt watching them do their first steps clumsily and the big adventure that was for them to arrive to their mother breast so thirsty. We leave you some of their first photos so you can also enjoy them! See you soon!

Didi Maya, Santa and me with the little goats.
The youngest of the family!
The two sisters.
Kush helping the littlest one to find food.

A greenhouse in the garden of Balmandir

Written by Joan Fisse, a volunteer at the Children’s Home

To improve the performance of the kitchen Garden of Balmandir and protect plants from torrential Monsoon rains that break the fruits before time, it seemed interesting to build a greenhouse, or more accurately a tunnelhouse, whose function is to work as a giant umbrella. We searched information on similar constructions in Nepal and found out that the most used material is the wired bamboo covered by a plastic. So we started the project!

First we chose the location in the garden and we decided on a barren plot that allowed us to make a 20m x 5m greenhouse. We were conditioned in terms of width by the size of available plastics. There was only one problem: in the middle there was a tree that was used as a support to a cucumber that was in full production. The garden is full of giant cucumbers.  Every day a child or two walks around with a plate with a chopped cucumbers offering to the other children, staff and volunteers.

After several conversations, on the same day in the afternoon, the cucumber and the tree that were in the desired plot had disappeared: Santamaya didi had taken the decision.


We started the adventure of buy the required materials. For that we had go to Hetauda (around 26 km from Bhimphedi on a bus). Finding the right materials and transportation is not so easy. The most complicated was to carry the sixty 6-8 m long bamboos. But luckily the roof of the bus works for anything so we put them there. Unloading was easier when we reached to the Children’s Home because everyone took part in the event.



We also cleared the ground of grass with the collaboration of everyone. Pere, a volunteer who came for few days, helped us in that as well. We built the six goals that should support the entire structure, cutting and painting the bases to protect them from the moisture, and began to put the first bamboo. On the goals and the central pillars we fixed the rest of the structure, working as often as the Monsoon rains allowed us.

But what the monsoons didn’t take into account was the arrival of Esther, an expert in agriculture and management of greenhouses, who gave us the push we needed to complete construction of the structure and the following steps till finishing the works.




After placing some wire to prevent rainwater to make small pools on the roof, it was time to put the plastic. It was an exciting time since it was a real team work. Three people pulling the plastic and other three people, with the help of three sticks with sacks on top, were accompanying the plastic to prevent it from tearing with any of the obstacles.



After testing the roof with the torrential rains of recent days, we fixed the plastic roof areas where water stayed.

Meanwhile two teams dealt with the two rooted trunks we had to take out of the middle of the greenhouse. We still had some works in mind: to refill the holes left by the rooted trunks, to kill grass and works of the soil using a plastic and the powerful sun of this latitude, add a fertilizer and finally to grow tomatoes, strawberries and other tasty vegetables.

All this would have not been possible without the participation of all including the new volunteers Mireia and Jordi and also the help of the two days visitors, Laura and Pol (volunteers two and a half years ago).








Bernat, a volunteer who has passed like a lightning, has really helped us with the construction of a germination table and with the works of high-altitude while assembling the structure of the greenhouse. On the table we have already some seedling growing of Moringa. In addition, Bernat has left, as well, the workshop as if it was professional workplace.



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Once children filled the holes of land, the smaller kids take the lead on the sealing of the solarization plastic. A great team effort! With good outcome! Only wait 3 or 4 weeks and already we plant!



Thanks to the information provided by Maya didi we can now prepare a good program for planting in the greenhouse.

We look forward to the first harvest!

A tractor comes to visit us!

Written by Marcel, Bhimphedi’s children home volunteer.

Last May 14th a tractor came to Balmandir to help us with the plugging of the kitchen garden. It was easier than ever!

Tractor working on the kitchen garden.
Tractor machinery
Work finished!

The children were delighted by this visit and they were the whole time near the tractor looking how it was working. In fact, when it finished the work, without any hesitation, they mounted on it and began to play as if they were actually driving it.

The children looking how the tractor was working
Kush, Manoj and Raju “driving” the tractor

This visit was a great help for us, because the corn that was planted has been growing and growing very much, we will have a good harvest this year, though you can not say till it’s done.

The corn is growing
It grows very quickly!
Now the mazes are 2 meters high. In the middle of the field: the “naspati” fruit tree (a fruit between an apple and a pear, very common in the area). The tree is now full of fruits. Always there is some kid on the tree taking some fruits for himself and for his friends.
On the beautiful mountains of the valley (or hills as they call them) the beautiful clouds, very common in the raining seasson. Now it rains every day…

Meanwhile, the smallest of the house have prepared to the volunteers a delicious dish, they cook for us some kind of grass (“sagh” in nepali) that was growing wildly in some of the margins of the kitchen garden. The most delicious grass we have ever tasted!

Bishnu, Som and Anoj heating the oil.
Cooking the “sagh”.
Almost ready to eat!

Buffalos in Balmandir

What do two Nepalis, a Catalan and four Basques do at 4 in the morning in a remote valley of Nepal?

We have a long walk up to Damar, where we are supposed to pick up our Bufala (bhaisi) and its male baby. It is clear, which makes the climb more bearable… and in Damar we are welcomed with a delicious tea, made with fresh buffalo milk.

Soon it appears… here begins the most interesting part of the morning: bring them down throw the long way to Bhimphedi without hurting them or hurting ourselves. Two hours later we arrive to Balmandir where children start shouting and running excited all around. They accompany them to their new home… and hug and squeeze the new baby of the family.


These past weeks we have been involved in preparing the stable for buffaloes and goats (bakhara in Nepali). The first thing we had to do was emptying the space that we would use as stable as it was full of wooden beams. Some of them were very long and heavy so we had to ask for help from prison workers. After Dani visited the prison at least ten times to ask for help, they finally came…

Two weeks later when the place was finally empty, we started with the reparations… and it seemed easy at first: one of the beams was broken, one of the pillars completely rotten, when replacing this one we had to move the one next to it, the metal sheet that made the back wall was set with the ripple backwards so that the water came inside, the roof needed fixes, making the door was not easy, we put an old unusable gate as part of the wall, we put six pillars to tie the buffaloes, a layer of concrete to smooth the floor inside and give inclination… Gradually the stable was taking shape. Meanwhile we also made a small extension to settle there the goats (previously we had ducks and chickens, and a dog with three puppies. This children’s home is becoming a farm!).

On the other hand, goats and buffaloes need grass, plenty of grass… so we used a part of the garden to plant grass: First we brought the ox prepare the land, then we removed all the remaining grasses and plants, and then we put the seeds. But then, to separate the area of grass from the garden area we needed a fence… so what better than to build it ourselves! We will leave this story for a future post …
So we finally have buffaloes in our farm !!

Nerea y Mikel
Long stay volunteers of Amics del Nepal for the Chindren’s Home of Bhimphedi and the program of reconstruction and improvement of the affected houses by the earthquake.

P.S. Did we tell you that Ricardo and Jorge came from Kathmandu the day before yesterday and brought 4 rabbits? Yes. In Balmandir we have also rabbits.

conills 1

conills 2

conills 3

conills 4

Ricardo is again in Balmandir

Ricardo, a member of the board of Friends of Nepal and regular in Bhimphedi volunteer has returned to Nepal for the fifth consecutive year. Ricardo is the creator of TaperNepal project, in which resources for the Children’s Home of Bhimphedi are collected through selling handicrafts made in Nepal.

This year Ricardo has come from India where he was doing a course related on his profession: Yoga trainer. But he is also a gardener by profession, which has been extremely useful in Bhimphedi every time he has come. Thanks to his energy, good mood, willingness to work, his knowledge and he himself being a handyman, every time he comes to the home things that seemed impossible are achieved.

This year I went to pick him up in the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), the country’s only international airport, located in Kathmandu. And as you might expect, Nepal never fails to surprise you. While I was waiting, watching if he appeared down the hall, suddenly a monkey pops! There are monkeys all over the city (the rooftops, on the millions cables hanging on the streets, temples…) but inside the airport?

It was not a little monkey, but from behind the glass everyone was watching him with a smile. Suddenly, it jumps up and hangs on the glass, and then it lands on the floor near all the people with amazing ease and tranquility. People are surprised but not get so nervous. It goes next a man who is sitting. He takes a bottle of Fanta beside his bench… he looks it without much unease… the monkey looks menacing to him blowing. But the man ignores it, and the monkey sits facing his prize. Suddenly he bites the bottle and the drink jumps pressed by the pressure. The man now runs. The monkey knows what it is doing, is not the first time… it slowly drinks its Fanta and doesn’t look up and go till the drink is over. Ricardo finally arrives. This country is great. A disaster in many ways… but great.




Back to Bhimphedi for fourth summer consecutively. This year was more necessary than ever to come to help; Because of the earthquake, for the kids, for Dani… for Nepal.

And to my delight, the Children’s Home is more beautiful than ever and full of life. The garden has lots of flowers, there is a shelter with chicken and ducks, the kitchen-garden is well maintained and Kali (the dog of the house) is about to give birth. Balmandir overflows life.

Just when I enter to Balmandir, Maya comes running to put a “tika” (red dot on the forehead). Maya is a wonderful “didi” (elder sister). I visit the orphanage and I see that the workshop I left last year with all the tools of the house organized is not there. Well… then I’ll have to do it again. Fortunately Kul has taken care of almost all the tools so, we just have to find a new place for them (because the older place is not so good after the earthquake).

Sort, clean, burn what is not worth… Next morning we have already finished the task and even I’d time to organize one room for me. Then Kul and I made an inventory of what we have and what we need, one of these days we will go to Hetauda to buy and improve our tool collection, thanks to the money collected by TaperNepal of Bilbao and Zaragoza.

Manoj with a mustache made of corn’s fair.
excursion al rio
On their way to the river to have a bath.
Working in the kitchen garden.
A wonderful International Team, from left to right: Mikel, Daniel, Anish, Ricardo and Kul.

Many people have made possible that I can go back, again, to be with these kids and enjoy helping in Nepal. Thanks to everyone!

The Owl, the Clothes and the Shelves

Since I arrived to Bhimphedi, three and a half months ago, until two weeks ago I hadn’t seen how a normal school day is for our kids. Just when I arrived big ones where starting final exams and I helped small children to prepare their exams that started one week after. After that, they had holidays that were supposed to last less than one month, but finally lasted more than two months. So I was asking myself if I would experience how is like the life of these kids when they go to school. As you can read in our last post, finally the schools have started but during these free weeks we have been using our time in different things.

The orphanage has a very big compound with lots of potentials and during these holidays we have been working to improve the center. When we are only two working in the house things evolve at a very slow pace, but when we are thirty we easily finish things that at the beginning seemed impossible to do. And still we have had lots of time to play to old and new games.

First game of Chinese Checkers in Balmandir

During the holidays, we have adopted a new pet in Balmandir. We found an owl without mother and the children have been taking good care of him, and even now that he is able to fly free, it comes back when it’s hungry.


When I arrived here already there was the idea of getting a sewing machine, because very often the kids had to bring the clothes to the tailor and they wanted to improve the bed sheets and curtains… But it’s not very useful to have a sewing machine if you don’t know how to use it. So Kush give the idea to send some interested kid to do classes with any of the tailors of the village. So Binita, Sita and myself started a course without knowing anything, but after making almost 30 pieces of clothes now we are “experts” according to Binita’s point of view.

On top of having fun for the long earthquake holidays, the girls have got an interesting skill that may be useful for them in the future.

Binita drawing on the clothes before cutting.
Urmila, the sewing teacher, shows to Binita how to do a difficult step.
Sita making a cushion.
Basu dressed with the first pieces of clothes made by Binita.

After the earthquake the volunteers had to change our headquarters, but in the new room we had all the materials, clothes and tools in boxes on the floor. So we needed a place to put all this things. After asking prices of furniture we decided it was too expensive and we came with a great idea: why not to make our own furniture? Quickly Love, one of the most active kids of Balmandir, made of this project his biggest priority, and he didn’t stopped till he had very nice shelves. This is what we can call “learning by doing!”



And this has been only the beginning, because after finishing it he continued reappearing tables and benches.

I  believe it’s very important to promote the interests of the kids, because it keeps them active and learning new usefull skills for their future.

Are you sure they will give eggs?

It’s been almost two months since we brought chickens from Hetauda, and although we have not got a single egg. Every morning we go to the henhouse full of hope and leave it with our hands in the pockets.

Didis tell us that if we don’t have a cock, hens will not give eggs very soon nor very often. Really? So we need a cock… but here they are so big and scary! After negotiating it with Kush, we decide to buy a cock, but not very grown up, we do not want him to break the peace of the henhouse.

Now we do have a chicken male!
Not bad looking at all.

For one cock is not worth going to Hetauda, so we buy it for 3 euros per kilo (the animals are not cheap here). We place immediately put him with the hens. The first day the cock is a little intimidated by these ten hens older than him that don’t stop biting him. But the next day they are already friends.

Now there is no excuse, We Want Eggs! If not, you all might end up together in the pot and served on Saturday Dinner!

Two days later Kul comes with a huge smile from the henhouse saying he has good news! We got the first egg!

The first egg where Kul found it.
Edu, the volunteer who has leaded the project, looks pretty happy.
Kul shows the first egg to all the kids that come from the primary school.