Poverty is complex, and there are no “quick fixes”. We use an integrated model of community development that focuses on the below fields to make a real impact on the ground.
People in marginalized communities the developing world are often “invisible”. No one hears their stories, they have no venues to advocate for their needs, no way to speak out against oppression.
Tevel’s media program strives to give these people the skills they need to tell their own stories- to themselves, to their children, to the government and to the world. Using techniques ranging from simple wall newspapers, through radio programs, Facebook, photography and video editing, our volunteers give villagers tools to make themselves heard.
Many teachers in the developing world have only minimal training. They lack tools to deal with children with special needs and have no training in creative teaching techniques. They lack teaching materials and often teach only through rote memorization, including for very young children. In order to ensure the long-term impact of our intervention, we don’t replace the teachers, but rather work with the teachers, training them in new techniques and approaches to education. We help the teachers set up age-appropriate learning environments and work with them to find appropriate approaches for working with students with special needs. We also organize teachers clubs where teachers can share best practices, successful techniques and provide peer support to one another.
We have also placed a special focus on early-childhood education. Existing early-childhood frameworks are understaffed, and the staff lack training and equipment. The youngest children are often neglected at a critical period of their development. Tevel has helped to create daycare centers and school classrooms that provide a stimulating, colorful, loving educational environment as well as nutritious meals for the children. Tevel staff and volunteers also provide training to the staff in early childhood development and educational methods. Toddlers and young children in the program show a significant leap in their development as the result of being in an age-appropriate framework.
BOOSTING FOOD PRODUCTION FOR NUTRITION AND INCOME GENERATION
Tevel works with farming villages that do not grow enough food to sustain themselves year round. Due to the lack of food, the villagers are drawn to move to urban slums where they eke out a livelihood in a polluted and dangerous environment. Families often break up under the pressure and children are forced to work from an early age. Our agriculture program aims to help the farmers significantly increase their yield allowing them to stay in the village if they so choose. We do so using the following techniques:
WOMEN CREATING COMMUNITY CHANGE
Women are often the backbone of poor families in the developing world as men migrate for work or even abandon their families permanently. Our programs support women from poor and marginalized communities with a supportive framework through which they can build their self confidence and gain knowledge and skills. Weekly meetings focus on group bonding, women’s rights, environmental awareness, health and hygiene (with a focus on women’s and children’s health), budget and savings and income generation. In addition, the women have the option to participate in literacy and numeracy training.
In all communities where Tevel works we encourage women to take active roles in the public sphere including in the village council and other venues of local government, empowering them to become agents for change in their communities.
Using techniques developed in Israeli and international Jewish youth movements, Tevel started the “Hami Yuva” youth movement in Nepal.
Now active in 45 villages as well as in the Kalamati slum neighborhood of Kathmandu, the youth movement empowers thousands of young people to take responsibility for themselves and their peers and act as mentors to younger children. Initially our Nepali and Israeli staff ran the youth movement activities. We then developed a leadership cadre among the Nepali youth and trained them to lead the movement. The youth leaders from all communities came together for seminars in Kathmandu during which they defined their common goals and developed skills for creating change in their communities. Today, the majority of Hami Yuva activities are initiated and led by these young leaders. The connection between youth from all of our rural and urban project locations and their shared identification as members of one youth movement nourishes a enthusiastic leadership cadre striving to raise awareness in their own communities and lead the way to social change in Nepal. Click here to see a clip about Hami Yuva, or follow Hami Yuva on Facebook.
The two most common causes of death among children in Nepal are diarrhea and respiratory illness. The former is often caused by lack of sanitation, which spreads intestinal disease, and the latter, by the use of open fires to cook indoors. We tackle these problems as well as others by creating awareness in the communities and providing them with tools for better sanitation and ventilation. Interventions have included public health days in local schools, training sessions in women’s and youth groups and helping the community build better sanitation facilities.
One highly successful project in this field has been bio gas toilets. Bio-gas toilets solve both sanitation and respiratory problems: they convert human waste, mixed with animal waste, into clean, odorless cooking gas, replacing indoor wood fires and preserving trees. We collaborate with the villagers, local community NGOs and the Nepali government and to build bio-gas toilets for all the village families. Health conditions in the villages where this has been implemented have improved dramatically. Slurry from the bio-gas reactors also serves as fertilizer for agriculture.