Good News in a Troubled World

When the world seems to be so troubled and the news brings constant sadness and despair for the terrible things going on in so many places, it was lovely to receive the latest email from Devi Prasad that was filled with good news.

He reported that Covid infection is currently not present in their region so everything is operating normally and people are able to go about their daily routines and work.  This is great news for the school as it is currently able to teach in the school, go about its normal activity as well as lots of extra-curricular activities and generally care for its staff and students in the best possible way without restrictions.  The students are, of course, delighted to be back in regular ‘in school teaching’. He was also able to report that the 39 students eligible for Covid vaccines had now had their second dose. 

The general education in the school continues to be delivered to an excellent standard by our highly motivated and dedicated staff but on top of this, their municipality had organised dance and quiz competitions in late February.  Our school entered this and were pleased to come second and third which they were really pleased with.  Its so good to see the school not only enjoying great academic success but also really encouraging the students to be involved in so many other non-academic activities.  It really works at developing the whole person, which is so important and so pleasing for us as trustees to see.

Devi Prasad was also able to tell us that the school had been given some money by their rural municipality for painting the building.  They have used the money to paint 3 classrooms, 16 front and side windows and 14 doors!  It is great that they received the money as it shows recognition by the municipality and also good that they keep the premises in such good order as that is often not a priority in Nepal! 

It is almost the end of the academic year in Nepal and once again, we are delighted with the progress and achievements that our staff and students are so committed to working towards.  However, none of this would be possible if it were not for our fantastic supporters.  

THANK YOU

Christmas Blog

This time last year, the whole world was still in the terrifying grip of the Covid-19 pandemic BUT the first non-trialvaccine had just been given and hope was on the horizon. The vaccines have certainly transformed life, people have been able to return to socialising, work and school, etc. So, 2021 has seemed more ‘normal’ than 2020! (although, as we know only too well, omicron is threatening to unsettle all this a bit). So, what of our friends in rural Nepal?

They have also seen big changes this year. They have had numerous lockdowns to deal with but they too have seen a return to some level of normality. During lockdowns, the teachers taught the older children online (90% of them managed access to a computer or mobile phone) but taught the younger children outside their own homes. Some lessons took place socially distanced outside, whilst others went ahead in the classrooms. Whatever methods they used, they worked – once again, Shree Gyanjyoti topped the schools in their municipality in the exams. Testament tothe dedication of staff, students and their families.

Lessons outside

It has been a struggle for many in the village. Jobs were lost and other sources of income were drying up. We made an appeal to our supporters for separate donations (every penny donated to LEARN goes directly to the school itself) so that we could help Devi Prasad to feed people in the village who would, otherwise, have gone hungry – people in the village not directly connected with the school but in dire need. The school and the education provided is an incredible resource for the village but the care goes way beyond its walls and we thank you.

Devi Prasad’s latest update, in terms of vaccines, informed us that their Government were vaccinating all over 40 years plus year 12 students. At that time, none of our students had been vaccinated but he was hoping that it wouldn’t be too long before they were. We did ask whether it would be possible for us to buy some vaccines but the Nepali government would not allow purchase of vaccines.

They have managed to install two easy use contactless taps

Letters continue to be exchanged between St. Mary’s in Hawkshaw and our school in Nepal. This has been so wonderful for both schools. The children in both countries look forward to sending and receiving letters. It is such a great link between children in very different circumstances!

How happy and proud does this young man look?

Once again, this year has been a very difficult year for Charities. Michael and Maureen have recently been able to travel and give some talks and sales, but opportunities continue to be very limited. We remain massively grateful to all who support the work of LEARN. Your generosity continues to ensure that ALL children in this little village in Nepal haveaccess to a fantastic education and, therefore, a better future. Never underestimate the difference that your support makes. THANK YOU on behalf of students, their families, staff, LEARN and all those in the village that we have been ableto help.

It always feels uncomfortable thanking people for their generous support and then going on to ask for more. However,we believe so much in all that LEARN does that we need to continue to meet the needs of the school. We are genuinely hugely grateful for all that our supporters do.

However, if you feel able to offer further support:

1. The ‘Gifts for Life’ Certificates make wonderful Christmas presents and were well received by many last year.

2. Donations can be given at any time.

3. Consider setting up a standing order

4. Tell other people about us

5. Invite Michael and Maureen to do a talk and/or sale.

For information on how to do any of the above, visit our website: www.learnnepal.org.uk or email us atenquiries@learnnepal.org.uk

THANK YOU AND MAY YOU HAVE A BLESSED CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR

What A Time To Live In Bolton!

Bolton currently has the highest new Covid-19 infection rate in the whole country and there is much speculation that we Boltonians may all be put under local restrictions yet again whilst most of the rest of the country isrevelling in being able to regain most of its freedom.  (The story of Bolton’s life for much of the last 14 months!) 

Last weekend though, my children were able to receive their first Covid-19 vaccine because of where we live.  This means that every member of my family (and much of my extended family) has now received at least one vaccination – what a blessing and what a privilege.  After their vaccinations, we had a little treat visit to a local ice-cream parlour, before coming home to get food out of the freezer to eat after we got home from work/school the following day. 

We may be fed up of the restrictions and missing our family and friends but we have never been in the situation of wondering how we could possibly get enough food and other supplies to survive or whether we would be able to afford life-saving treatment if we could actually find a hospital with enough resources/space left to treat us. The following makes me really appreciate just how lucky I am to live and work where I do – yes, even Bolton ?!! 

On Monday, we received an email from Devi Prasad.  Their village is in lockdown with markets (no popping to the fridge or freezer for more food for our Nepalese families), banks, schools, etc. shut.  Covid-19 cases are rising rapidly and they are beginning to experience some deaths.  Most of the community have lost their jobs and, unlike during the first Nepal lockdown, there is no support or supplies from the government nor NGOs, etc.  Only 7% of the population of Nepal has received a first vaccination and the programme has now been halted due to supplies of the vaccine drying up. 

Devi Prasad estimates that there are 100 families in the village who are in dire need of help and estimates the cost to be about NPR 3000 (£18) per month per family.  He has a plan to be able to distribute food to the families.  However, they will need financial help to be able to do this (and he is also delighted to report that our school community have made 2500 facemasks for the protection of others in the area). 

We are asking, therefore, that if you feel you want to send a donation, no matter how big or small (every penny helps), please send it to Maureen, the Chair of LEARN, as the charity was registered solely to support the school and this appeal falls outside that object.   Donations can be sent:

Directly into Maureen’s EC account:

Maureen Hawksworth 

Sort code: 60-60-06

Account number: 46256539

USING THE REFERENCE: C-19 HELP

or by post to:

Maureen Hawksworth, 9 Brockenhurst Drive, Bolton, BL2 4HP.

A HUGE THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT FINANCIAL OR OTHERWISE. PLEASE KEEP THEIR COMMUNITY IN YOUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS.

Nepal Visit Update 1!

A couple of our trustees are currently visiting Nepal along with a couple of our other supporters. We were delighted to hear that they had arrived safely in Kathmandu and that the weather is pleasant.  On Tuesday, they visited the UNCLE orphanages (in their role as UNCLE trustees) and it looks like they were all enjoying the party!

They have been doing lots of shopping to buy items to sell when they present their talks about the school and have now safely (although it was a very bumpy 8 hour bus ride!) transferred from Kathmandu to Pokhara where even more shopping awaits! 

Tomorrow they travel to Tansen from where they will visit the school. We, at home, are really looking forward to their update on the school – it’s the first visit there since completion of the science room. It’s also wonderful to see first hand how the school, staff and students are progressing thanks to all of LEARN’s fantastic supporters. 

Thanks for all the support you give and look out for the next blog sometime after the school visit! 

2018 – A Big Year For LEARN!

Wow, what a year! Shree Gyanjyoti school has already been in existence for some time with much financial support being raised by Michael and Maureen.  This year, the school celebrated its 10thanniversary (in its current building) and LEARN was formed, becoming a registered charity in May, thus ensuring a more secure future for the fundraising for the school.  We have developed a website and various other social media sites (also gaining some media coverage in The Methodist Recorder!) alongside the more traditional methods of letters and going out giving talks/sales at many places across the UK.

We are very grateful to Bamford Chapel in Rochdale who have raised the money required to add a brand new science room to the school.  The building work is now complete and will be a really useful addition to the school.

During 2018, the school has had 199 pupils, 80 of whom are on scholarships and we have been able to provide books and other essential school equipment.  Again, we have our supporters to thank for this.

In addition to LEARN’s activities, we have (not using LEARN money but connected with the school) been able to send £800 to Devi Prasad Neupane towards the building of a new home following the devastation of his home in the earthquake a few years ago and also been able to buy 22 goats (with money still coming in!) for some of the poorest families who attend the school so that they are able to generate their own income.

In March 2019, a small group of us will be visiting Nepal and will be stopping off at the school. We look forward to spending some time there, meeting with the students and staff and to having the opportunity to discuss with them, as well as seeing for ourselves, the next priorities for spending the money raised by LEARN.

We take this opportunity as one year finishes and another begins, to thank you all, whether you support us financially, by following us on social media, by attending or organising one of our talks or sales or just chatting to us and encouraging the work that we do. Your support has and is making a massive difference to these young people – never underestimate the opportunities that you are giving them!  Thank you on their behalf!  We firmly believe that education is one of the best ways to tackle poverty and with thanks to you, we are successfully achieving this for a small but important group of people.  THANK YOU!

Trips and Goats

We have received a lovely letter from Devi Prasad Neupane telling us about an educational school trip that students and staff from our school have been on.  During November, they visited Pokhara-Gorkha-Chitwan National Park-GC Temple-Lumbini.  They have sent us some photographs as included in this blog.  It’s fantastic to see a village school being able to provide this kind of experience for its students – something that we just take for granted in this country.

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Also, following a talk given by Michael and Maureen, someone offered to buy a goat to enable one of our more needy school families to start goat farming.  The school have met with the parents and a number of families could really benefit in this way.  Consequently, the ‘goat fund’ is increasing and people are continuing to donate to this fund.  Great news for the families that will benefit.  Each goat costs around £35 and ideally, it would be nice to provide a pair of goats for each of 20 families. 

Thank you as always to our supporters – it is your continued and valued support that makes all of this possible.