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main blog0015 : covid-19 mask production in sarlahi

krishna bikram shah july 31, 2020; friday 21:00 nst (nepal standard time)

the lockdown is finally over!

we went from full lockdown to semi-lockdown after 84 days on june 15 (ashad 1). nothing changed a nepali month later on july 16 (shrawan 1). but then the evening of day #120, viz-a-viz july 21 (shrawan 6), as i was having dinner at sameer(*) dai's home, the government announced that semi-lockdown restrictions would also be lifted. it felt surreal, as surreal as when the lockdown started back in march. 120 days later it was finally over. but not really... schools, malls, gyms, and other public places remain closed to this day. but this is a huge change. and a welcome one too.

(*) dr. sameer mani dixit, the de facto public health expert on corona virus in nepal.

global cases now over 17 million and cases in nepal hovering just below 20,000... i don't know what to make of the numbers anymore. the average worldwide curve looks steeper than ever.

shall i mention the iss (international space station) this month too? ;)

this is my 5th blog entry written in lockdown, but i guess technically not any more. so, the 5th blog entry comes 10 days into the lifted lockdown. for context/buildup to this blog entry, if you have not already done so, kindly check out my last four blog entries:

  • 2020/06/30: blog0014 : the new norm

  • 2020/05/31: blog0013 : life during lockdown

  • 2020/04/30: blog0012 : the covid-19 relief fund

  • 2020/03/31: blog0011 : corona lockdown

july... what happened in july... here we go...



2020/07/31 COVID-19 Informal Class at Padariya School

2020/07/31 COVID-19 Informal Class at Dhangada School

like i mentioned above, the government has not given the green light to open schools. therefore, we are not officially open yet. but i also wrote over the last two blog entries -- we cannot stop students and teachers from coming to our school premises and "talking" to each other with social distancing measures in place. i would like to stress on the fact that the villages in sarlahi where our schools are still have zero coronavirus cases to date, although the overall region (province #2) is highlighted as a hotspot of nepal thanks to the cities and towns close to the indian border.

there is "halla" that schools will be allowed to re-open on august 17 (bhadra 1), along with the international airport. we'll see what happens. it's all bittersweet. it would be all sweet if the virus were under control, but we all know it is not. we also know that many places around the world are getting hit with a second wave. what's happening in the u.s. does not look promising at all. so there is that fear factor too. but still, maybe our school villages in sarlahi can stay isolated enough to remain with zero cases.

we're over 3.5 months into the 2077 academic year and i am now getting worried about our children's education. we've been put-putting along for 3.5 months now. i know it's a very sensitive situation and there is no silver bullet, but i really hope that we do not jeapardize our children's futures by making the wrong decision now.

to learn more about our sarlahi schools, please visit the project 3k page...

project 3k

our sarlahi schools are funded 50% by international donors: Chance for Life Nepal (Germany), Nepalhilfe Bietigheim-Hersfeld (Germany), and Zukunft Entwickeln (Germany). the other 50% is all local. of that 50%, 15% is via income generation (fish farming and milk delivery), and then the rest via our fundraisers like recycle/reuse for education (see below) and our flagship crowd-based fundraiser, p3k.

project 3k

more info @

copy/paste from my last blog entry -- i personally would have made a trip (or two by now) to sarlahi to take photos of children, make new registration forms, and get them ready to email out to supporters. but alas! everything is on hold. i can't wait to get down to sarlahi. i really hope i will be able to soon. we normally request our p3k supporters to renew their support after we have sent them the updated registration forms, but this time around since we have no idea when this can happen, we were pondering about the idea of asking supporters to renew their support in advance, even before they receive the updated registration forms for 2077. we asked for your feedback and you supported us. so, since last month, quite a few of you have renewed your support for 2077 even without receiving updated forms. thank you so much! :)

if you don't support a child for npr 3,000 (usd 30) a year yet, kindly do so -- click on this link: [].

recycle/reuse for education

"recycle for eucation" and "reuse for education" might finally pick up now with the lockdown over, but proof of the pudding is eating it. numbers are still pretty low. let's hope for the best!

if you have recyclables and/or old clothes and household items to donate, please call us at 01-5550700 or email us at [ ]. thanks!

covid-19 mask production in sarlahi

and now we finally come to the title of this blog entry: covid-19 mask production in sarlahi. the title says it all, more or less. and we've managed to align it with our other endeavors -- from eco-friendly to education with self-sustainability. best of all, we're going to treat it as our 3rd income generation project in sarlahi, after fish farming (1st) and milk delivery (2nd). little did we know that our 3rd income generation project in sarlahi would be put together in light of the covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. please take a look at the attached proposal still in draft stage:

Download • 1.07MB

not to regurgitate everything that is written in the proposal, it's basically making reusable eco-friendly covid-19 safe masks (and perhaps also other covid-19 protective gear) in sarlahi. funds earned in sarlahi stay in sarlahi and pay for teachers salaries at our non-profit free-for-all community schools for underprivileged children.

and believe it or not, within three weeks of writing the first draft of the proposal, the project is already fully funded! the proposal has not even come out of draft stage! when we wrote the first draft of the proposal, we sent it out to our supporters, who really liked the idea and started fundraising. from sharmila ranabhat in canada via her gofundme page to nepalhilfe bietigheim-hersfeld in germany first unsuccesfully approaching their local rotary club, but then later raising 100% of the required funds via their own networks.

since the proposal is still in draft stage, so many details still need to be fleshed out. but we're not alone; we're working with other organizations which are very resourceful. instead of me explaining everything third person, allow me to copy/paste an exchange of emails which would be a good segue into the next section, global compact nepal. this is an example of cross-pollinating between global compact nepal and hoste hainse. you may have seen this on social media a few weeks back -- sabah (another global compact nepal member) just made 40,000 masks with undp in kathmandu and donated them to the nepal army. so, we're collaborating with someone who just got done doing something like this in kathmandu. now, we want to replicate it in sarlahi.


Date: Mon, 20 Jul 2020 09:47:17 +0545 To: Sristi Joshi Malla, Robin Amatya, Kritishma Karki, Bijeysh Ranjit, Bisam Gyawali, Tania Dhakhwa, Nilima Raut From: Krishna Shah Subject: [hh: sabah/danfe/un] covid-19 mask production in sarlahi, province #2 (income generation project) Cc: Hoste Hainse Office dear sristi dijyu & robin sir (sabah): dear kritishma & bijeysh (danfe): dear bisam, tania & nilima (un system): am taking the liberty to write this group email to share with you a project that we are starting from hoste hainse, a member organization of the global compact. it's nothing new -- a lot of players have jumped on this already, from goldstar (mero mask) to kallisto (fashionable mask). it's covid-19 mask production, but the difference here is making them in the village of sarlahi (where we run our educational projects) and running it as an income-generation project for the village so that the earned funds stay in the village. plus making them re-usable and eco-friendly. i have already secured funding for this project. the reason i am reaching out is for collaboration, if possible. both sabah and danfe are active in producing covid-19 related gear (masks, shoe covers, ppe's etc.). the un system is also working with sabah directly. what i seek from sabah, danfe and the un system is as follows: 1.) help with the training component. we need trainers to help our villagers make masks (and other covid-19 related gear). sabah may be the subject matter expert here. danfe has projects in neighboring areas in province #2 (janakpur and dhanushadham). the un system may want to get involved for facilitation as well as guidance, especially with standards. 2.) help with selling/distribution. making masks may be the easy part. once we make them, we would like to sell/distribute them via our sustainable channels. i know this may become more and more difficult as more players flood the market, but we will have our sustainable edge -- and that is also built into the project -- we want to make re-usable environment-friendly eco-friendly covid-19 safe masks. the attached proposal outlines this: 2020-07-20 Proposal - COVID-19 Mask Production (Income Generation) at Padariya, Sarlahi v0.3 DRAFT.pdf why sarlahi? because hoste hainse has been running our non-profit free-for-all community schools for underprivileged children there for the last 20+ years. we touch the lives of over 2,000 underprivileged children across 4 schools. 15% of our budget is now covered by income generation projects -- fish farming and milk delivery. funds earned in sarlahi stay in sarlahi. we want to expand this income generation now with mask production. in the interest of not losing you by writing a long email, i will stop here. ;) the attached proposal is still in draft stage. if we can work with sabah/danfe/un on the training component (or perhaps even more areas?), we can flesh out the training as well as production portions of the proposal. but like i mentioned earlier, since it is a small project, funding has already been acquired. i just want to align everything strategically before we get started. i look forward to your replies. thanks, all, and have a great week! stay dry. regards, krishna


Date: Mon, 20 Jul 2020 16:58:11 +0545 From: Robin Amatya Subject: RE: sabah/danfe/un] covid-19 mask production in sarlahi, province #2 (income generation project) To: Krishna Shah, Sristi Joshi Malla, Kritishma Karki, Bijeysh Ranjit, Bisam Gyawali, Tania Dhakhwa, Nilima Raut Cc: Hoste Hainse Office Dear Krishna ji, Greetings from SABAH Nepal. Thank you for considering SABAH to support in training community members for masks production. Our master trainers based in eastern terai are willing to train the community women based in Sarlahi as proposed. We can discuss further on implementation modalities in mutually convenient time. Looking forward to hearing from you. Best wishes, Robin


Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2020 11:23:16 +0545 To: Sristi Joshi Malla, Robin Amatya, Kritishma Karki, Bijeysh Ranjit, Bisam Gyawali, Tania Dhakhwa, Nilima Raut From: Krishna Shah Subject: [hh: sabah: robin] RE: covid-19 mask production in sarlahi, province #2 (income generation project) Cc: Hoste Hainse Office dear robin sir: thanks for your quick reply. we can take this offline starting the next email, but wanted to cc everyone one more time for transparency that we've started communicating to take this further. for implementation, the following questions are bubbling up for me at the present: 1.) how long does sabah training last? 2.) how much does it cost? 3.) how does it work logistics wise? we are located here: The Hoste Hainse Padariya School: 4.) can we sell our masks via the sabah network? let's start here. we can also hop on a quick call or have an in-person meeting if that's more convenient. thanks! regards, krishna


From: kritishma karki Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2020 14:30:02 +0545 Subject: Re: [hh: sabah/danfe/un] covid-19 mask production in sarlahi, province #2 (income generation project) To: Krishna Shah Cc: Sristi Joshi Malla, Robin Amatya, Bijeysh Ranjit, Bisam Gyawali, Tania Dhakhwa, Nilima Raut, Hoste Hainse Office Dear Krishna Ji, Very happy to hear of the new project. Congratulations to the entire team of Hoste Hainse. It is wonderful that it is based in Sarlahi. As for the training part, we have halted our project in Dhanusa for a few months, we will resume the training in a couple months. As per Robin Ji's email, team Sabah is on board with the training,(which is great). Danfe can come into picture in the second phase, "help with selling and distribution" through our store. We will be more than happy to provide a space at the store along with promotions through our social media portal. Please keep us updated about the progress of the production. Best wishes! Best regards, Kritishma Karki President Danfe Works Ph. 9851154488


Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2020 15:22:39 +0545 To: Sristi Joshi Malla, Robin Amatya, Kritishma Karki, Bijeysh Ranjit, Bisam Gyawali, Tania Dhakhwa, Nilima Raut From: Krishna Shah Subject: [hh: danfe: kritishma] Re: Re: covid-19 mask production in sarlahi, province #2 (income generation project) Cc: Hoste Hainse Office hi kritishma! thanks. am loving the support. :) sounds good... am sure we'll create quality masks with the help of sabah. am also sure we'll sell enough of them with the help of danfe. :) on top of all of this, am sure with the might and backing of the u.n., we'll reach corners of the world that we have not even thought about yet. ;) thanks again for all your support. we have already secured full funding for this project, but since so many people like this idea, there is still individual fundraising going on with own targets. for example: this person used to be a volunteer at hoste hainse about 10-12 years ago and is now settled in canada. if this proof of concept succeeds, perhaps we can replicate it? just thinking out aloud. regards, krishna


sorry that was a bit long, but now you know what goes on behind the scenes when a proposal is in draft stage. it should have brought some clarity on some fronts. there are still a lot of questions, but that is why this proposal is still a draft (although already funded). :)

but one thing's for sure -- sky's the limit as far as collaboration goes. support from all corners of the world. nepalhilfe bietigheim-hersfeld just wrote that they want to wire over the raised funds asap so that we can kick-start the project asap. sharmila ranabhat wants to send her raised funds over asap as well. since we've got so much support, it will be even easier to replicate and/or scale this project across other villages as well. the key is full transparency. we hope to start a section on the hoste hainse website where all financials of this mask project are transparently published, just like we did during the earthquake.

on a side note, the mask idea was born right at home, during lockdown, when we experimented with azrak cloth from sindh in pakistan, which was gifted to me by iucn volunteer and friend, tahira irfan, during my trip to islamabad last november to attend the iucn regional conference pre-corona. our gatekeeper, rudra, and his wife have a sewing machine at their home. we gave them some ideas on how to sew masks which was catapulted to the next level by their 13-year old daughter, mamata, who looked up further designs on the internet and guided her mom to make the best masks out of the azrak cloth. the result? well, see for yourself:

2020/07/07 Home-Made Azrak Design Mask

when we talked to robin sir at sabah, he gave us the idea of making these masks in mithila art, a type of painted art prevalent in the north of india and south of nepal. and i think that's exactly what we're going to do!

stay tuned to find out how this project will unfold...


hoste hainse is a member organization of both ungc as well as iucn. the u.n. global compact is the voluntary wing of the united nations which urges businesses and organizations to embrace social responsibility. iucn, on the other hand, is all about the conservation of nature.

hoste hainse is constantly involved in both ungc as well as iucn activities. in addition to being the executive director, pro bono, for hoste hainse, i am also the executive director, pro bono, for global compact nepal. what i constantly try to do is put all these hats together and make them synergize for a greater good.

the covid-19 relief fund

"the covid-19 relief fund" via global compact nepal is still in full swing. it was the topic of my blog entry three months ago. please refer it to for more information:

  • 2020/04/30: blog0012 : the covid-19 relief fund

hoste hainse is working with global compact nepal on covid-19 relief efforts, both immediate as well as long-term. i had posted the draft proposal in my last blog entry already, but here it is once again:

Download • 668KB

if you would like to get involved, please visit


prakrity sessions

time for prakrity sessions. yes, you know what that means. we're coming toward the end of this blog entry. i like to end my entries by pointing you to my radio shows for the month. needless to say, they are fundraisers for hoste hainse. still -- no, i do not have a page dedicated to them on the hoste hainse website yet, but i promise i will do that soon. :)

july 4th weekend we completed 9 years of the radio show. 9 years of doing the broadcast weekly -- not just your weekly uplifting electronic music radio show, but also a fundraiser for the education of underprivileged children in nepal.

a fundraiser for the education of underprivileged children in nepal

more info @



i'll keep it short this time.

references to previous blog entries for 2020... in case you have not read those and would like to:

  • [ blog0014 : the new norm ] - june 30, 2020

  • [ blog0013 : life during lockdown ] - may 31, 2020

  • [ blog0012 : the covid-19 relief fund ] - april 30, 2020

  • [ blog0011 : corona lockdown ] - march 31, 2020

  • [ blog0010 : german ambassador sarlahi visit ] - february 29, 2020

  • [ blog0009 : hh blog reloaded (again) ] - january 15, 2020

thank you for reading. if you have any questions or comments on anything that i wrote about, please feel free to reach out: [ ].

"speak" to you next month.

cheers, krishna

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