The Direct Help Foundation
Direct Help Foundation, Tdhf, is a direct aid organization. It began ten years ago to support Nepalese
children and women that do not have the means to support
themselves. Through the foundation basic necessities such
food, clean clothes, hygiene and education are provided for
Aguilar regularly visited Nepal and each time he was hit
by the same images:
poor, very poor people, living in the streets
of Kathmandu, undernourished children living in cardboard
boxes. Upon his return to his home in Barcelona, Spain, he
spoke of his uneasiness to a group of people and decided
following step was to legalize the initiative: The
Direct Help Foundation is recorded in the Generalitat de
Catalunya's Registry of Foundations as Nº 1571 and in Nepal with
the registration Nº: 33/060/061. After some time Toni
settled in Katmandú.
the birth of the Kumary Houses. Tdhf has created multipurpose
spaces in four houses where different
social actions are held, besides being a home for those who
All the Children and women reaching the Kumary Houses have
had a difficult past. The women all share a sad story: their
husbands have died, husbands who have beaten them, and they
suddenly become widows of arranged marriages. They suffer
a double misfortune because the moral of the Nepalese society
does not allow them to rebuild their life with another man.
So without studies, culture, money and opportunities they
an uncertain future into which they cannot help but drag
Kumary House each woman carries out a particular task.
One is in charge of the kitchen, another manages cleaning,
another does the shopping and another does the accounts,
all the necessary tasks are fulfilled. For their work they
receive a proper wage. Getting paid for working is an important
aspect of the self empowerment of these women, since many
have previously carried out jobs under false pretenses
a wage that never arrives.
is, without a doubt, one of the basic aims of the foundation.
Education is as important for the children as the women.
Thanks to the donations from sponsors and volunteers, the
children attend school throughout the year in private schools.The
women who attend the courses receive a ticket to use in exchange
for food and other products from the Kumary house store.
This is another way to motivate the women to attend the courses,
instead of begging in the streets for a few rupees.
As in many other countries, there is no social security in
Nepal, and so old age represents a threat: social abandonment,
poverty, disease and death.
Many of these aged people who a few
years ago were productive, continue to be very professional
and the holders of many secrets of a trade that gave life to
them for so many years.
incense project, Tdhf gathers the best craftsmen
of Nepal, that even though they are not
now profitable for some companies, they are very great
masters of trade for the children and thus can earn a salary,
these teachings, so that they can face their last years
with happiness and safety, feeling fulfilled and useful
the incense produced by Tdhf is handmade using both ancient
recipes and ancient methods. As you can see from these photos
provided by Toni Aguilar, founder of TDHF, the making of
this incense is very labor intense and needs many hands to
produce. Men and women come together to produce an
incredible product whose profits go directly to the needs
of the people. This endeavor helps the impoverished people of Nepal work
toward becoming self-sufficient. The profits also help subsidize
the orphanages, education programs, and meals that are provided
by the Kumary Houses.
the ingredients are chopped by hand into smaller pieces.
This is the first step in the getting of the raw materials
into powdered form.
the ingredients are powdered, they are then sifted by hand
so that the larger pieces can again be reduced in size.
This uniformity is very important for making a uniformly
textured dhoop that burns evenly and smoothly.
all the ingredients have been cut, powdered, and sifted,
now is the time for the mixing to begin. As you can see
from this actual work production photo, many hands are
needed to blend the dry ingredients and water together.
all mixing has taken place, the 'masa' is then kneaded
in a fashion very similar to the kneading of bread dough.
Again, this produces a very smooth and evenly textured
product for the next step of the production; the extraction
of the 'masa' into the dhoop sticks.
all the ingredients have been blended together and the
masa kneaded, the next step is to put the rolls of masa
into an extruder.
masa is placed into the hopper of the extruder. The hand
wheel is then turned and the result are strings of moist
dhoop, similar to the workings of a modern pasta maker.
the moist dhoop comes out of the extruder it needs to be
carefully straightened and placed on boards to slowly dry.
In this photo the woman on the left is straightening the
dhoop to dry while another woman is kneading a new batch
boards of incense are allowed to dry slowly. This, in addition
to the frequent turning of the sticks of incense, allow
the dhoop to dry evenly and straight.
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