Julian S. Das
Since March 2009, when Sr. Martha Park Byongsuk first came to the Bus-Park slum of Pokhara, Nepal, life has improved for its impoverished residents. Byongsuk and fellow sisters have connected them with medical care; they also have launched St. Paul's Happy Home, a place for children to go after school, eat a meal, bathe and study.
School Sisters of Notre Dame manage a preschool has transformed the lives of villagers in Bandipur, Nepal. The Seto Gurans Child Development Center helps marginalized children succeed at the critical nursery school level, enabling them to prosper when they begin formal education. The preschool involves parents in daily classroom activity, and has helped bridge class separation within the village.
Sr. Alphonse Raj, a member of the Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod, ministers to those living with HIV/AIDS, who are often neglected and ostracized by their families and society after contracting the virus. If infected couples have children who are born with the virus, Raj's New Dawn center adopts the baby. About 50 such children now stay at the center, which provides basic needs and education. In addition, New Dawn's campaigns and programs in the past decade have helped many shed their fears.
Sr. Aisha Kavalakatt of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth started organizing women's empowerment groups in the village of Koshi Dekha, Nepal, in 2014. When the 7.8-magnitude earthquake April 25, 2015, leveled hundreds of villages and killed about 9,000 people in the small mountainous country, she pushed through blocked roads and returned to the village of 1,700 people five days later to help with recovery. She says she won't be needed soon, expecting Koshi Dekha to be self-sufficient by 2020.