by Declan Murphy. Clonakilty native Declan established just-one in 2004.
Having initially established just-one and helped guide its important work over the last 12 years, it’s with great disappointment that I now share news of an unfortunate series of events in Nepal which has brought an unexpected and untimely end to our work there. The situation, broadly summarised below, arose when, in response to news of my planned departure from the organisation later this year, the just-one board in Nepal was subjected to an unwarranted take-over.
A meeting held without quorum in Kathmandu on April 2, 2016, saw eight non-members (unknown to all but one board member) illegitimately appointed to the board as executive officers.
Subsequently, this new board issued a month’s notice to just-one‘s entire team of staff, initiated the closure of our Transit Home facility and informed beneficiary families that support was to be withdrawn and the organisation closed.
Most telling perhaps is that, having arbitrarily sacked the team of social workers so crucial for the success of the follow-up care provided to our beneficiaries, an IT Officer has since been employed to create a new online presence (website, facebook page, etc) – soon to be soliciting donations and volunteer support, with the unauthorised use of the text and photos from this very website!
It’s important to emphasise here that this now questionable operation has neither the approval nor support of any of the numerous individuals who’ve helped shape just-one into what it had become over the years. We can in no way endorse any work this group may or may not engage in and, in line with our recent press release, must again reiterate that WE ARE NO LONGER SEEKING OR ACCEPTING ANY MORE FUNDS as the organisation is now to be closed in due course.
Given the ever-present goodwill and willingness to contribute to the clear need that continues to exist in Nepal, I imagine many of our valued supporters may have difficulty in comprehending how something like this could actually happen. Perhaps those more familiar though with the NGO sector in what remains one of the most corrupt countries in the world will better understand that, sadly, such occurrences aren’t all that uncommon. As satisfying as it most certainly would have been to witness our good work to date continue, with the Nepali operation now so fundamentally compromised, I’m afraid that is simply no longer possible and hence a difficult decision was made to break ties and wind down.
It was with this regrettable eventuality in mind that, prior to their dismissal, the long-serving and committed staff did their utmost to ensure the balance of funds with the organisation in Nepal were spent on ensuring as best they could that each of the 70-plus beneficiary children received, in advance, everything they might need for a trouble-free and successful year at school. The just-one board in Ireland have also expressed their firm commitment to ensuring what limited funds remain will be applied solely to the purpose for which they were kindly donated – helping disadvantaged children access educational opportunities they would otherwise be denied.
While it’s certainly not as straightforward or effective as it once was, with the assistance of some dependable individuals and trustworthy organisations in Nepal with whom I was able to put my colleagues on the Irish board in touch with, they have already successfully managed to provide the additional support needed by some of the beneficiaries who had begun falling through cracks which, not surprisingly, have appeared since the withdrawal of support services. Efforts will continue as much as possible to help link these children and families to other NGOs for the various services they may well need into the future.
So as not to let just-one‘s story end on a note of sadness or failure, I’d like to close by highlighting the various great achievements which we’ve made hugely positive contributions to over our years of operation. I must applaud too the incredible support of ALL those who’ve so kindly believed in what we stood steadfast for since the very start. With so many lives utterly transformed already, the positive effects of our dedicated efforts to date will continue to ripple outward, long into the future. Children who lacked opportunity have grown into independent young adults with promising futures ahead of them and there are others too still making that important journey. I’ve no doubt whatsoever that, despite what’s happened (and perhaps in spite of it) each of them would want to echo the unending thanks and gratitude I wish to express to each and every one of the countless individuals who’ve so kindly played the innumerable and varied roles in just-one‘s proud existence. Thank you all so very, very much and goodbye!