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Calrossy graduate making a difference to those in need in Nepal

It’s a long way from Tamworth but still close to the values that have always been at the heart of Calrossy.

Class of 2014 graduate, Veronica O’Mara, is on the eve of heading to Nepal to continue her charity work with the Didi Foundation. The Didi Foundation is a small Australian registered Not for Profit Charity that supports and educates women, children and communities who are facing hardship. The Foundation does this by running life skill and other courses, such as computer, literacy and numeracy, maternal and child health, as well as funding and supporting underprivileged schools.

In Nepali Didi translates to “big sister”. Veronica first found out about the Foundation when she was doing her first degree and was Charities and Communities Officer at College at the University of NSW. She is currently studying Occupational Therapy at the University of Sydney and also working alongside her studies in disability research. She is hoping to do a PhD in the future in this area.

Veronica has always been drawn to charity work. That interest dates back to her Calrossy days. She was involved in charity work, participating in things such as the charity committee, SRC, volunteering at the hospital, the Sony Children’s holiday camp and more.

“This grew at university and presently, particularly around mental health awareness and also in empowering girls through education. Education is incredibly important in empowering people and giving them the opportunity to escape poverty, to be respected and be empowered. Whilst other ways are also essential, education is quite unique in the way it is future focused long-term support,” says Veronica.

“I found it as I was looking for an overseas volunteering opportunity and I asked Rotary about any options. I found Didi and then I organised this for a few consecutive years for the The Kensington Colleges at UNSW to support Didi Foundation – raising money throughout the year for women’s and children’s health and education programs in Nepal and then visiting after the year of university concluded.”

“One particular project which caught my attention initially was their program to keep adolescent girls in school - everyday of the month by manufacturing reusable sanitary pads which were distributed to girls in need. This is so very important both in health education but also in the empowerment of women.”

Interestingly, a very similar program to this, Share the Dignity, has been one of the leading charities supported by Calrossy Boarding in recent years.

For Veronica the Didi Foundation stood out because it makes a difference at the grassroots.

“This charity interests me a lot due to both the programs they support but also in the way they create massive change in the communities they reach. As a smaller charity, they are able to help in areas otherwise neglected and work with the Didi staff in Nepal to discover areas of need and facilitate this.”

“Their help makes a difference at a community level and because of these relationships, help can be specific and what people really need,” she says.

It’s about to be her third trip to Nepal, at the end of February and is currently raising funds for her work.

“Helping Didi is great because I can easily see what difference these supports make – especially when I visit from year to year and see their programs evolve.”

Veronica describes Nepal as a beautiful country with people who are so kind and welcoming. “Nepal is beginning to change lots, but there are still many inequities experienced, especially by socially marginalised people,” she says.

The latest fundraiser is raising money for two disadvantaged schools in Nepal - Jagriti and Ramechhap. All fundraising efforts will go to the Didi Foundation directly.

Both schools are in desperate need with their students disadvantaged different reasons. Veronica explains the Jagriti School is in need of school uniforms and educational resources. It is a school for child labourers with many working before and after school in brickyards to help support themselves and their families. But ultimately supporting quality and consistent education is so very important for these children and is key in escaping poverty.

Meantime, the Ramechhap School receives very little outside support. She describes how the children are of “the lower caste in Nepal”, which is governed by a centuries old social hierarchy.

“I have not visited Ramechhap before due to the remoteness of the school, but at Jagriti School I have personally seen the incredible support Didi gives in educating kids and breaking the poverty cycle. Ramechhap is in need of uniforms as well, particularly warm ones and educational supplies.”

“Please help support the Didi Foundation and the brilliant work they've been doing, particularly for women and children’s health and education in Nepal,” Veronica says.

Calrossy is proud to be able to support this great cause and has contributed to the Didi Foundation appeal. If you want to support this great cause ... there is around $1000 to go in a week!