Warm Greetings,

It seems that I am always starting out with a quick apology for the delayed newsletter. I suppose that if I didn’t apologize no one would be the wiser! Alas, while my genuine intention was to have this update to everyone by the first week of April this update has taken longer than anticapted to compile. Please take a moment to read through to the end as there is exciting news throughout! 
As always there is a great deal to share with you. First, our November 2022 Fundraiser was once again a resounding success with total funds raised reaching $115,000.00. First and foremost, the credit for our success belongs to our wonderful corporate sponsors. Title sponsors Townline/TL Housing Solutions and Slegg Building Materials are just two of the many sponsors that together donated $85,000 to our event. Of course, it was our Event Committee - led by Sumitra & Liz - along with the crew from Boom + Batten - led by Paul & Erin - who brought it all together. Our 2023 event will be held on November 18, so be sure to put this in your calendar. 
We are very happy to share with you that our Mahendra School Deaf Children’s Facility is now complete. The project was first presented to me on my Spring 2018 trip. In October 2018, an ABIN Team visited the school and we were all moved by the children and the dilapidated facility that the program operated in. In May 2019, ABIN Board member Craig Fulton and I visited Nepal. Along with ABIN Nepal manager, Parshu, and members of the school community we determined the site, discussed building requirements and Craig initiated sketches. 
You will see that 2019 concept sketches have transformed into a stunning, functional, facility for the hard of hearing children and their caregivers & teachers. Furnishings and facility amenities are now being acquired and by mid-May we expect that the children will be moving into their new facility. Indoor washrooms and an indoor shower may seem normal to us westerners but for most of the children this is a new experience. At least 75-90% of rural Nepalis do not have indoor water in their very basic homes. I am really thrilled that with your support we have made this facility what it is today. 
There are photo updates on our website that show the progression of construction from Sept 2022 to just a few weeks ago. Some of us will be travelling to Nepal in October at which time we will be having a formal grand opening celebration with the children and the local community. I know that it will be a memorable celebration. Over the years I have found that rural Nepali celebrations are culturally and gastronomically amazing. I am thrilled to share that my wife Sumitra and our 3 and 5 year old boys will be on the trip. Perhaps you would like to be a part of this celebration? If so be sure to reach out to me. 

At last year’s fundraiser we also announced that ABIN’s Board had chosen our next school project. The Karang Sharada School project is now ready to commence construction. This is our 5th school construction project and our 7th educational support initiative since ABIN began in 2015/16. On the trip in October, we will have time to visit this project along with completed projects Him School and Sharada Secondary School as they are all within 1/2 days journey from our base which is Kandbhari. 

In October 2022, ABIN Board members Craig and Kyle participated in the foundation construction of our Deaf Children’s facility. While in Nepal they also visited a few potential project sites and returned to Canada with their recommendations for our Board. This was how we chose the Karang Sharada project. 

During their time in Nepal Craig, Kyle, Amanda & Carrie were invited to visit a women’s safe house and shelter that opened last year and is currently operating out of a small rented house in Khandbari. The shared experiences from the women and children at the temporary shelter was both riveting and emotionally impactful.  Operated by our NGO Nepal colleagues at SODEC & Changing Lives Nepal in the US, the current women’s safe house operation provides services that previously were not being addressed in this large eastern geographic region of Nepal where ABIN currently works. When women and children were fleeing abusive situations, or other violence the only place for them to possibly find safe shelter was the local hospital if available. 

When Craig, Kyle and I spoke at November’s fundraiser we shared the story of the shelter.  At that time I asked for comments/feedback from our supporters with respect to the possibility of ABIN pivoting slightly to get involved with the safe-house/shelter project. The feedback that we received was overwhelmingly in favour of involvement with this important initiative. We feel that the shelter initiate still falls within our expressed mandate of children and education. 

We have moved forward since November. 

Land has been donated by the llocal Nepali government, and a committee has been formed made up of ABIN, team members in Victoria, Changing Lives Nepal members in the US and of course also includes Parshu and team members from SODEC in Nepal. ABIN will be the primary funding partner for planning and construction while our partner organizations will continue to run the operations temporary facility and then of course its new permanent home. 

In March this year, ABIN Board members (father & daughter team) Randy and Alana resurrected our “annual” ABIN Trail Fundraiser. In March 2020 we had 130 runners registered and all was ready for our third event…. Until just 3 days before the race we made the difficult decision to cancel. Our 2023 event raised about $5,000.00 which is our first dedicated fundraiser for the safe house initiative. Thanks to Randy, Alana, our many volunteers, our runners and to Rajen and Nina from The Mint Restaurant & Lounge who provided their signature Nepali Butter Chicken for all at the end of the race. 
Moving forward we hope that you will consider helping with a donation for the women’s safe house initiative. Our Karang Sharada school project is fully funded and we feel we are 25% funded for the women’s safe house. Early budget estimates put the shelter project in the vicinity of $150,000 Cdn. Those of you familiar with construction costs will see from the sketches shown above that while we continue to build seismically sound structures, we also build in a prudently cost effective manner. 
We are a Canadian charity and thank you in advance for any support that you can send our way. As always, I like to remind that we are a 100% volunteer organization. All board members and volunteers pay their own way on all trips to Nepal. 

Rob Tournour