With the holidays fast approaching I’m sure many of you are already thinking about what to get your friends and relatives this year. Another set of bath and body lotion, the same shirt you got them last year only in a different color,  not so good smelling cologne, next year’s calendar, socks and jocks, a motorized ice cream cone, electronic yodeling pickle, a furby (yeah, they are back)…all things most probably don’t want or need. Although these kind of gifts are always useful for re-gifting (shhh) why not put your money toward something more meaningful this year. With our increasing involvement in Saprinu in Nepal we decided to make it more available for people to donate to this cause. With the help from our friends at Fig Lancaster we created these Saprinu Gift Giving Cards!

We have three different cards of different amounts: $20 chickens, $50 goats, and $150 cow. The money does not actually buy the village these animals, contrary to other similar organizations. Instead, all the money goes right back to Saprinu. The school is at the heart of the community and Saprinu believes that through education people will build the skill and desire needed to foster a more sustainable community. Some of the volunteers in Archale helped us out by sending pictures and descriptions of things that are very important to the livelihood of people in the village where the school is. Here is the breakdown..

Cows give milk and have important cultural and religious value. Ghee is made up of cow milk and is even taken as medicine for some home remedies. The cow is worshiped during the second biggest festival of Nepalese Hindu, Tihar. The cow is regarded as sacred by Hindus and beef is forbidden in Nepal. Previously killing cow was treated similar to homicide by penal code. But, that practice was debated by non-Hindus and is quite controversial politically these days. Besides using cow excreta for manure, cow dung is used to paint the house floor in village. The floor space painted by cow dung is regarded as sacred. For religious events, cow urine, cow milk, cow dung are a must. Nepalese Hindus regard cow/she-calf donation to Brahmin priest in religious events as highest abode and it is also a must by the people whose is about to die and in 13th day event after a person’s death.

Goat rearing is another way for villagers to generate small amount of money. Local breed of goat are less prone to diseases and eats the grass/shrubs available in nearby forest. So, its common practice to keep few he/she goats in each house of the village. Mainly meat of he-goat (castrated in early stage of life) is eaten in Nepalese context (even non-castrated are eaten but very less). During the annual big festival Dashain, feast of he-goat is a must in Hindu Nepalese house [I guess similar to turkey during Thanksgiving in US]. These days the meat of he-goat is very expensive compared to other meat. [Its always talked that poor people cannot afford the meat and have to wait till Dashin to eat it. Even then many families can’t and are forced to take loan for it].

Chickens are reared for meat/eggs purposes. Chicken farming of local breed enables low income people to generate money easily compared to other cattle rearing. It is easy to rear few chicken since it does not need large feed, labor & space and also it generates cash quickly.

I (Laurel) am going to Nepal in January to help with Saprinu and would like to honor those who are recipients of these gifts by posting their names at the school somewhere. How cool would it be to see your name hanging in a school in a remote village in Nepal (there will be pictures!) Better yet, having those kids read your name and thanking you for your help. Now thats a gift worth giving to someone! In order to do this I need help keeping track..when you purchase these please tell the wonderful person at the front desk who your gift card is intended for and they will record it for me.

Dhanyabhad, thank you,

Love Laurel