Author: Stella Deetjen

In memory of Mikhail Gorbachev

When I learned of Mikhail Gorbachev’s death today, the news took me back to 2006, when I was able to meet him in person. Mikhail Gorbachev presented me with the “Women’s World Award of Hope” in New York. That was a very special moment in my life to meet this man who made history and was a Nobel Peace Prize winner. His charisma and presence are vivid in my memory. My condolences go out to his loved ones. I have lit a candle in memory of him. Namaste, Stella

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Killer in the Kitchen

Madhav P. Bhatta, Professor of Epidemiology and Global Health at Kent State University in the USA, was born and raised in a rural mountain village in Baitadi district in far western Nepal. Madhav Bhatta received his Master of Public Health (Epidemiology and Global Health) from the University of Pennsylvania and earned his PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA. Why open fire should stay outside When our immediate neighbors light their backyard wood burning firepit to enjoy cool Ohio autumn evenings with a sip of wine and good company, I sequester myself...

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Birthcenters for Mugu Nepal

Stella Deetjen tells the story of Sushila, who made building birth centres Back to Life’s core mission. Without this encounter we would probably not have built our 15 birth centres. When I first came to Loharbada village in 2009, I wanted to learn as much as I could about the daily lives of the women. It was the beginning of our projects in Mugu. Sushila immediately besieged me and never stopped talking. We found out that we are almost the same age, both are mothers and she let me share her hard everyday life. From fetching water, the hard work in the fields, her meagre home without...

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Das Namaste-Magazin Ausgabe Frühling ist da!

Liebe Freundinnen und Freunde von Back to Life, In diesen schwierigen Zeiten erhalten Sie unsere neue Ausgabe namaste mit mutmachenden Geschichten und bewegenden Schicksalen aus unseren Projekten in Nepal. Leiten Sie das Magazin gerne an Familie, Freunde und Interessierte weiter.Nur gemeinsam können wir wirklich etwas bewirken! Viel Spaß beim Lesen und ein schönes Osterfest, wünschenIhre Stella Deetjen& das Back to Life-Team Hier finden Sie Ihre Online-Ausgabe zum Download.

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Happy New Year, dear friends of Back to Life!

As the year comes to a close, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of Back to Life’s supporters. It is thanks to you that we were able to help the people of Nepal in this difficult world situation in the second year of the pandemic. You have not only donated money to the local people, but also hope – and all this although you of course also had your own worries and needs to shoulder. I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones have been well and are healthy. Thank you for staying with us along the way. I always appreciate your comments, likes and clicks. This is...

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Learning by playing

School uniforms, warm clothes and school supplies mean a lot to needy children, but not everything. This is one reason why we at Back to Life also expand and build schools, construct sanitary facilities, equip classrooms, set up libraries and train teachers. Because one thing is certain: education is important! But emotional education also plays a big role. Our commitment to this: playgrounds. First! Rupkala, a first grader, is ready for school in the morning before breakfast is prepared. But only since the playground was built at the school. “I love bobbing, sliding and swinging,...

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A school time full of experiments

Back to Life sets up a student lab Thakaltar School in Chitwan offers education from kindergarten to grade 10 and soon up to high school graduation. This is a rarity in a rural, poor area like this and therefore needs special support. Back to Life is a long-time partner of Thakaltar School. We have been working there since 2015, working with the community to transform a poorly equipped village school destroyed by the 2015 earthquakes into one of the best rural schools in the district. In March, it was time to move on to the next chapter for the school. Back to Life has established a student...

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There are two winters in Nepal

Hemanta & Shishir Nepal has 6 seasons to offer Once you have been to Nepal, you will probably never forget the country. It’s wonderful. The nature is incomparable from the lowlands in the south, the Terai, which is only 70 meters above sea level, to the highlands in the north, which include Mount Everest as the highest point in the world. The altitude rises slowly, making Nepal an extremely geographically diverse country. The diversity is also reflected in the six seasons:– Winter: Shishir– Spring: Basanta– dry summer: Grishma– Late summer with monsoon...

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Damit er nicht alleine bleibt

Wir helfen einem Zweieinhalbjährigen Wenn eine derartige Tragödie geschieht, erschüttert das ein ganzes Dorf wie ein Erdbeben. Doch am Schlimmsten hat es den zweieinhalbjährigen Milan getroffen. Er steht jetzt alleine da. Einigkeit Seine Eltern Putali und Dharmaraj waren einst ein glückliches Ehepaar. Sie lebten in den Bergen Mugus, im Dorf Loharbada, in dem wir 2012 unser erstes Geburtshaus eröffneten. Als einfache Lastenträger verdienten sie gerade soviel, um ein genügsames Leben zu führen. Als Putali schwanger wurde, freuten sich beide, bald eine richtige Familie zu sein. Im...

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The Namaste Magazine Winter Edition is here!

Dear friends and supporters of Back to Life,We are very pleased to present you the namaste winter issue and to inform you again in detail about the latest developments in our projects in Nepal and to review the year.Feel free to forward the magazine to family, friends and interested parties.Only together can we really make a difference! Here you can find your online edition for Download.

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In focus: the earthquakes in 2015

On April 25, 2015, Nepal was hit by a severe earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 – the epicenter was only 80 km from the capital Kathmandu. Devastating tremors raged for 90 seconds. People ran outside in panic. Houses, roofs, stairs and walls collapsed. Power cables, masts, water tanks and advertising signs became lethal projectiles. There were landslides in many places. Countless schools, historic buildings and temples as well as roads, bridges and other infrastructure were destroyed. The force of the plate shift was so strong that Kathmandu was shifted three meters to the south. It...

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Mangal Rokaya reinvents itself

A self-determined life despite polio thanks to income generation THIS IS MANGAL’S STORY | Mangal was born healthy. He started walking when he was 12 months old. Today Mangal is 26 years old, he comes from a family that works as a day laborer in agriculture high up in the Mugu mountains. SUDDENLY EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT | His mother reports that as a toddler he suddenly had a fever, then was weak and often cried. Weeks passed before the parents realized that he could no longer stand. They did not know about the disease “polio”, until Mangal was about 5 years old that someone...

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Good and cheap solution – the clay oven

In some areas of Chitwan, many families only settled down a few generations ago. Before that they lived as hunters and gatherers in the forests that now form the ‘Chitwan National Park’. With the opening of the national park in 1973, families had to give way and get used to a new lifestyle in the hills outside the park. They have always used open wood fires for cooking and have continued to do so to this day, as other fuels such as gas or kerosene are unaffordable. The women, because collecting wood is women’s work, often have to walk long distances in order to carry the...

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In conversation with Rup from Mugu

Educated – Agricultural Experts for Mugu Our measures for agricultural development in Mugu, with which we want to give the residents the opportunity to sustainably improve their income situation. One of the long-term measures is to give young Mugu men an agricultural education. After completing their training, these young agricultural experts return to their villages and share their knowledge with the locals in order to achieve the greatest possible multiplier effects. Rup Bahadur is one of them and has completed the 15-month training as a “junior agricultural technician” at a state...

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The future on four legs

Goat breeding as a new source of income In our project villages in Chitwan, southern Nepal, the people would like to make a living from farming. They plant vegetables, fruits and cereals for their own needs, but the arable land is usually much too small and the yield is not enough to feed the family. Since most of the residents have no other income opportunities, they walk through the neighboring villages every day to offer their labor as day laborers on the surrounding construction sites or on the market. Often, however, they return home empty-handed as there is not a job for everyone. The...

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Never dangerous again

The power of the sun protects people and nature A few weeks ago, before the onset of winter in the Mugu mountains, we returned to the small village of Kimri. The project visit was originally planned for spring, but due to the corona crisis we had to postpone our plans to autumn 2020. Good timing, because now the promised solar lighting systems were produced and could be installed by our employees. New attitude towards life When our colleagues approached the village after a two-day walk, they could already see Kimri’s stone houses from some distance, the sun was shining and the colourful...

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Kimri on fire

From emergency aid to our largest construction project FIRE! When this call resounds in a remote mountain village, it is clear that it can quickly turn into a catastrophe. It was the same in May 2018 in Kimri, a mountain village in Mugu. A domestic fireplace for cooking turned into a major fire that completely destroyed 19 houses within one day, stole the families’ already meager belongings and burned irreplaceable artefacts of their religious lama culture – some centuries old. 112 people – old people, young people, parents, children, from now on they were all faced with...

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COVID-19: the current situation in Nepal

Unfortunately, the developments of the corona pandemic do not stop at Nepal either. As early as January 2020, it was announced that a Nepalese student had been infected in China before returning to Nepal. In the weeks that followed, the number of infections rose rapidly around the world, but initially no further infections were reported in Nepal. The epidemiologist Prof. Dr. Madhav Bhatta of Kent State University in the United States, speaking to us at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, expected the COVID-19 epidemic in Nepal to be more advanced than official statistics suggest. Strict...

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Dreams come true – lessons up to high school graduation

School building is a focus of our project work in Nepal. We aim to create new grades where there is a lack of secondary schools. Back to Life already turned to the school in Thakaltar (Chitwan) after the earthquake in 2015, as they could no longer use part of the building for school lessons due to the damage. We added a large, two-story building with … classrooms to the two smaller, undamaged buildings. Built earthquake-proof and equipped with tables, benches and monitors to enable modern and effective teaching. At that time, 292 students attended the school, the only one far and wide...

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Expanded – the path is free up to 8th grade

Back to Life has been supporting the Janajyoti School in the Chitwan District, near the Chitwan National Park in southern Nepal, since 2010. The school is located in a village that is characterized by deep poverty. The Chepang people who live there are among the poorest minorities in Nepal. That is why we support the families with, for example, scholarships for school children, school meals, health care, access to clean energy and income generation. In 2016 Back to Life rebuilt and equipped an earthquake-proof school building with two classrooms, which was previously destroyed by the severe...

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