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Graduation: Armed with new skills and opportunity

· Ashlynne Ray

Two months ago, 10 girls left their homes and arrived in Kathmandu for the first time- into an overwhelming environment and surrounded by new people. Now, after eight weeks of hard work our second group of DreamWeavers has officially graduated!

It has not been an easy journey for us or for them, but it is definitely a most rewarding one for all of us.

Looking back at the first day they arrived, shy and wide-eyed, having seen them grow and become more confident in themselves and their abilities has been so rewarding. The first time they visited the office, they excitedly admired all of the carpets- that's something that hasn't changed! Their visit to the office today was still filled with just as much excitement about the new carpets and enthusiasm towards the graduation ceremony that we held in front of friends, family, NGOs and government officials.

Nirmala, one of the DreamWeavers from the first phase, and Nagbanti, one of the new graduates, both shared their experiences. It was the first time either of them had spoken in front of a crowd; they were confident and composed and it was wonderful to see them gaining further confidence through the program.

The girls picked up the art of weaving so quickly and their beautiful carpet swatches were hung on display at the ceremony. Bimala, the Program Manager, conducted the graduation ceremony and Dev Anand Sarawagi, the company's Founder and CEO congratulated the girls on their success.

Rashmi Kafle from our partner NGO Nepal Youth Foundation honoured them with the traditional scarf Khata, and certificates were handed out by Ishwari Prasad Ghimire, Executive director of Nepal Trade and Export Promotion Agency. The girls were announced one by one; they switched their pink tassles from right to left, received their certificates of completion, and proudly took photos holding them up.

Everyone took photos and clapped for the girls; the ceremony was enveloped in a proud and excited atmosphere.

We've been so lucky to have such a wonderful group of girls in the second phase of the DreamWeavers program and we look forward to seeing what they make of their new opportunities.

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