Gisele Bolton

Gisele Bolton (Vikalp Women’s Group in India and CONCERN in Nepal): Prior to her fellowship, Gisele earned a BA from the University of Minnesota and an MA from City University London. Gisele volunteered in Honduras and Kenya, where she taught English and developed a connection to children with special needs. She also interned in the US with The Advocates for Human Rights and The Nonviolent Peaceforce. After working with transgender people at Vikalp, Gisele wrote: “One size doesn't fit all and we must always remember that.” About her fellowship at CONCERN she wrote: “(It was) enriching both professionally and personally! I always felt very supported and learned so much more about grant writing, fundraising, communications and development. I feel that is an area I'd now like to work in.” After finishing her fellowship with CONCERN, Gisele accepted another job in Nepal.

One month in Nepal

16 Sep

The past month at CONCERN has been extremely eventful! I have been busy familiarizing myself with CONCERN’s past work, current projects and their goals for the future. The team here is an engaging, energetic group that I feel so fortunate to work with. I have already learned more than I could have ever imagined in just a few short weeks. From going on field visits – to meeting with ambassadors – to continuously writing and editing grant proposals – each day is always different.

CONCERN is currently wrapping up a very successful three year project that reached over 2,000 children. They are now in the developing stages of creating a new three-year program that aims to eradicate child labor in seven brick kilns in the two districts of Bhaktapur and Lalitpur. The program aims to eliminate child labor through education, empowerment, and economic sustainability. I am privileged to be a part of the development of this new project and would like to share key ways of my involvement and what an average week is like for me here at CONCERN.

Field Visits
Field visits have been vital to deepening my understanding of the work CONCERN does, and to gain a better understanding of the new the program in development. I visited seven brick kilns that CONCERN currently works with facilitating non-formal education classes, daycare center services, vocational training support, and income generation alternatives.

The field visits to the brick kilns in the two districts of Bhaktapur and Lalitpur where there are nearly 200 brick kilns opened my eyes to the grave conditions of labor in brick kilns. CONCERN works in seven different brick kilns and in the past three years has reached over 2,000 children providing alternative options and support.

Organizations and Embassy Meetings
My main focus in this area is coordinating meetings with organizations and ambassadors from embassies to introduce the long-term program CONCERN is developing. I attend the meetings with the Executive Director seeking advice and recommendations on the project. A key component in these endeavors is to prompt interest in financially supporting the project. We tactfully ask the ambassador to raise the issue of child labor in Nepal with government officials. The meetings have gone very well and we’ve obtained valuable recommendations. We are now drafting proposals to the organizations and embassies to support areas of the larger project to be implemented in 2015.

Proposal Writing
Part of my fellowship in Nepal has been the development of a small proposal that will rescue twelve children from the brick kilns this year and provide them the financial support to attend school. CONCERN will provide their admission fees, exam fees, uniform, backpack, and school supplies. Upon finalization of the proposal, The Advocacy Project will launch a campaign assisting in fundraising for this project.

Moving Forward
As the brick kiln season starts in October I will go back to the brick kilns for more field visits. At this time we will assess how many children are working in the brick kilns this season and what the needs are for all involved including employers, parents, and the children. CONCERN prides itself on having a strong relationship with employers and parents, which enables them to work with the children. We will also continue meeting with organizations and ambassadors requesting recommendations and potential financial assistance to fund the new project.

I anticipate and look forward to a busy, productive and fulfilling rest of my fellowship with CONCERN!

Posted By Gisele Bolton

Posted Sep 16th, 2014

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