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Sale benefits Nepali youth

Anna Boarini | Friday, November 30, 2012

Shopping for Christmas presents can be stressful and overwhelming. Shopping for Christmas presents while also supporting education in Nepal is rewarding.

Today, Badin Hall is hosting “A Conscious Christmas,” a sale benefiting Hope Initiative. The sale will take place from noon until 5 p.m. in the Badin Hall large social space. The sale will feature handicrafts and gifts handmade in Nepal by fair trade artisans.

Sophomore Badin Hall president Cristin Pacifico said the sale is an annual tradition, benefiting Hall fellow and design professor Ann-Marie Conrado’s Hope Initiative.

“Basically, we put this sale on every year and all the proceeds, everything we sell goes directly to Nepal and it funds Ann-Marie’s Hope Initiative, which is an orphanage house she set up in Nepal,” she said.

According to the Hope Initiative website, the mission of the organization is “to uplift individuals in developing countries by focusing on transformative education for youth and adults alike. Hope gives individuals the tools they need to create change in their own lives to escape poverty and dependency.”

The money helps send the children living in the hope house to school, Pacifico said.

“They [the kids] tested into one of the best schools in Nepal and that is where they are at school right now,” she said. “Ann-Marie comes in and we try to have regular Skype sessions with the kids. It’s just a great opportunity to get to purchase some really beautiful goods but also do it in a very responsible way.”

Pacifico said the handicrafts are the hard work of Nepali women and their families.

“You can bring back beautiful gifts for your family and it’s an awesome thing to see that you are helping people,” she said.

The Conscious Christmas is not the only event Badin holds to support Hope Initiative, Pacifico said.

“All the other signature events, all the money we raise also goes to Hope Initiative,” she said.
“When we come back from break we also have the Polar Bear Plunge, which is a bit more chilly. It’s for the more daring.”

Wednesday night, girls in Badin Hall were able to Skype the hope house children before they went to school. The children living in the house and attending school are Surya Kandel, Rajesh Nepali, Surackshya Pariyar, Sushila BK, Karan Gurung and Sabin Poudel.

The children in Nepal told the Badin Hall residents how school was going and sang a song in Nepali. When the girls asked if they could send anything to Nepal, the children asked for notebooks and pens. However, Poudel said a PSP [PlayStation Portable.]

Freshman Maddie Caballero said she stumbled across the Skype session Wednesday night.

“I fell in love,” she said. “The kids were so cute and they had so much honesty in their eyes.  They were just so happy to see you.”

Freshman Kristina Techar also got to Skype with the kids.

“It was very interesting. … I was expecting kids who were younger,” she said.  “But it was nice to have kids who were older because you could really talk to them.”

Techar said she was surprised to hear the children ask for what they needed, not what they wanted.

“When we asked them what they wanted us to [send] them, instead of saying things like hair bows, they asked for things that they needed, for example a science notebook,” she said.

Caballero said she was excited for the sale Friday and to get involved.

“I will probably be wearing the [Badin Hall] frog suit and hold up a giant sign and be really enthusiastic about the ‘Conscious Christmas,'” she said.

Contact Anna Boarini at aboari01@saintmarys.edu