Fall 2023 Freedom School Report

Thank you so much for your support and concern for vulnerable children in Nuwakot. We have had an incredible year with many highlights including completing the construction of our dormitory and headquarters, the addition of another grade at the school, launching remedial education classes for adults, growing our Sustainability Through Community Agriculture program, hosting a health camp, and continuing to train and better equip our teachers. We now have 112 students (aged 2.5 to 13)  in our school, and 32 older girls/young women that we support for education in outside schools. We have 21 girls (aged 5 to 19) in our dormitory. We provide daily tutoring, nutritious food, counseling, uniforms and many other needs to the girls in our residential care.

Dormitory & Headquarters Construction

Our dormitory and headquarters buildings are now complete, and they are truly beautiful! The girls have moved into the new dormitory building, along with housemothers Anita and Sima. Our new hostel has the capacity to house 50 girls and enable us to offer a more stable and permanent situation for those that were in our care already. The girls love their new home, and wish to express their thanks to all who donated to make it possible.

Anjali and Liam have moved into their apartment in the headquarters building. 7 Teachers and staff members who live too far to walk to school are given free housing in our staff apartments on the ground floor. Our hostel girls enjoy nightly zoom classes in the TV room/classroom. Next spring, we look forward to setting up a computer lab in the adjacent room. Later in 2024, we plan to launch vocational training programs in the rooms designated for that purpose.  We have recently welcomed our first 6 guests to our guest apartments and we hope you too will come and visit us.

Our new buildings are environmentally responsible and cost-efficient with a solar energy system (donated by Rotary International clubs in MA and RI, USA) and a biogas system which creates energy from human and animal waste. The solar energy system has greatly improved the consistency of our electrical power, which helps a lot with our nightly Zoom classes. Before the solar was installed, classes were interrupted an average of 3 times an hour due to power cuts. Now we almost always make it through the 1.5 hour class without interruption.


We are now educating 112 students at our school, and supporting the education of 32 others at local government schools and colleges.  100 % of our Hasta School students  and 98% of our external students advanced to the next grade when the new school year began in May. 4 passed the rigorous ‘Iron Gate’ 10th grade exams (high school graduation). Two are awaiting their results after retaking the exams (did not pass the first time).  We had two girls (over age 18) drop out of school by their own choice.Each year we can add one or two grades to the Hasta School, according to Nepali government policy. In May, we received permission to add Class 2.  Since our Febuary report, we have welcomed – new teachers: Anita (music and dance), Sarita (assistant and subject teacher in UKG and LKG) and Kiran (sports teacher), Anju and  Mingma has joined our team as driver, handyman, farm supervisor and as a general assistant to Anjali, and Asha as our accountant and substitute teacher.

We provide weekly English and pedagogy classes for our teachers (thanks to Ms. Robin Singer and her team in Eastern MA for these engaging and highly effective classes). We have hosted teacher training experts from Kathmandu, India, Canada, and the US. Our teachers come from the local community or from similar village environments as our kids. Many were not strong in English when we started, but they have made great progress over the past few years. We look forward to providing more training and resources for our teachers in the coming years. They are truly the lifeblood of our school.

Hostel Girls

In our dormitories, we house girls aged 7-20 who are at particularly high risk, who had left school due to difficult circumstances, are behind grade level, or who live too far to walk to school and were not enrolled in school.  For girls who are too old or advanced for the Hasta School, we have made a relationship with a local government school which allows our girls to enter in the 8th grade, even if they left school in earlier grades. This way, they don’t feel embarrassed due to being older than the other kids. We provide intensive tutoring to help the girls catch up to grade level, and to thrive in school.

Remedial Education for Adults

Many of the parents of our students, and other adults in the village, did not have the opportunity to go to school as children. This limits their options in life, and makes their children more vulnerable to trafficking, labor abuse, and other problems. To address this issue, and as part of our community transformation mission, we have begun offering remedial literacy and math classes every morning. Small group lessons are led by Anjali and by some of our school teachers. So far, 25 parents have joined the classes and are making great progress. They are an inspiration to their children, to others in the village, and to all of us.

Sustainability Through Community Agriculture

Our Sustainability through Community Agriculture program has become a powerful tool for engaging our parents as advocates for their daughters.  The majority of our school families live in extreme poverty. They are subsistence farmers, trying to grow enough food to survive in a harsh and infertile mountain environment. This desperate existence is definitely a ‘push factor’ that contributes to the trafficking of girls. Parents living in these conditions do not have any extra money to pay school fees, but we believe it is important for them to contribute. Therefore, we began asking them to volunteer one or two days a month on our farm in lieu of school fees. It is hard work, and we have been very touched to see the dedication of these parents, who are willing to work long hours in the hot sun as their contribution to their children’s education. We believe that parents who have made this kind of a commitment to their daughters’ education will be much less likely to send those daughters to India in the future.
Working side by side with parents  and our dormitory girls (this month we were harvesting rice), Anjali and her teachers have had the opportunity build stronger relationships of trust, which opens the door for courageous conversations about trafficking and child marriage. People bond around working the land: everyone here feels very connected to the land. Our community farm has organically (pardon the pun) grown into an important part of our anti-trafficking outreach efforts, along with the adult education program.


Undertaking the construction of two large new buildings brought many challenges this year. As mentioned above, costs were higher than anticipated. Getting materials to this remote area was an additional hurdle, and workers were sometimes unaccountably absent (they went to work on better paying projects with no warning). The buildings are beautiful and highly functional but we still have some challenges to work on, such as drainage issues and non-functional electrical outlets.  There are still many traffickers living in this area, and sometimes they cause problems, by spreading false rumors about the project, attempting to turn the community against us, or simply being menacing and scary. However, as time passes and members of the community become more and more involved in the work – sending their kids to our school, coming for adult ed, working on the farm with our girls and staff, benefiting from the paid work we provide and the goods we purchase locally – the power of the traffickers in this place is diminishing. Day by day and month by month, Anjali’s dream of making this area safer for girls is coming to fruition.

Future Plans

Our focus for the remainder of 2023 is to finish furnishing the new buildings, and to fully equip the kitchens. In spring of 2024, we hope to get permission to add Grade 3, which will require hiring at least one additional teacher. We hope to host more long-term volunteers in the New Year and are particularly looking for an experienced teacher who can come for 2+ months to teach our teachers and help develop an interactive curriculum. Also in the spring, we plan to set up a computer lab and begin offering computer training to our dormitory girls and to high risk girls from the community. We hope to launch a counseling program in 2024. As no skilled counselors are available locally, we will engage a counselor from Kathmandu or elsewhere to come for a few months, and then continue with virtual counseling once relationships are established. Next year, we are looking to purchase some land in the higher village of Bolun to set up an eco-friendly chicken farm to provide eggs for the school, as well as generating income for the charity in the future. We have made a relationship with Engineers without Borders and a student group at UC Berkeley. They will be raising funds for this project and working with a local engineer on the building plans.

A Personal Message from Anjali

I am grateful for the wonderful people I have in my life. I am blessed to have such incredible partners who understand me in every situation and support me from their heart. They are not only my partners in work but they are the family and friends who keep me moving forward through every obstacle, and encourage me to continue the work, even in the most challenging times. I know if I didn’t have these wonderful friends and family, I would have never been able to come to this position in life. To have loving and caring partners means a lot in the success of any work.

Thank you for your generous donations, belief in this project, guidance and moral support!