Over the past couple of years, I have been twice to visit Nepal and the Hands with Hands projects. It is a wonderful way to get to know the country and its people. and I was often very touched by what I saw and experienced there.
The children are wonderful, and the homes are really homes, rather than institutions, the children and the people who care for them are like a big family. For many of the children this is their first experience of having a proper home and family life and they seem immensely grateful for this. It was lovely to revisit some of the kids on my second visit and see the changes happening in their lives.
After this second visit I decided to support one of the older children, so he can continue with his education. He is very bright and wants to be a doctor.
I also went to one of the villages where a micro-finance project had begun with the women there. The women had their new businesses up and running, and they were a group of strong, empowered women who were transforming their lives and the lives of their families and the whole community. I was impressed and very moved, to see how a small amount of investment - if directed intelligently to a project such as this, can really make a vast difference to people's lives. This gave me a real sense of hope for the world, and how many small actions can create huge changes.
And trekking in the Himalayas is so wonderful, and refreshing for the spirit.