A Blog Of Hope – what an extraordinary man!

I was recently sent the following document to read.  It was written some time ago by Devi Prasad Neupane (Shree Gyanjyoti’s founder).  I was really touched by what I read.  Not only does it emphasise the importance of enabling children to go to school who wouldn’t otherwise get that opportunity, but it is also so filled with hope.

To suffer such a life changing accident, to then be ostracised and rejected – so many people could just have given up their dreams.  Devi Prasad didn’t and as a result of his hope and determination, so many children are now being given an amazing opportunity.

When Dr Pam Dodson provided the funding for Devi Prasad to attend school, she would never have dreamed of the impact that his education would end up having on so many other lives in the future. It is so easy to feel overwhelmed by the size of a task ahead and end up doing nothing but every little thing counts!  Thank you for your support of LEARN.

Let Us Gather Up Courage

In 1970 our village acquired a grain mill. The mill was such a novelty that as soon as it started its daily grinding work, the children would rush to watch it operate. I was one of these children. My name is Devi Prasad Neupane, and I was born into a family that could not afford to send me to school. One day, as I stood watching the mill at work, my scarf got caught in the machinery and instantly I was pulled in.  

When I woke up I was lying in Tansen Mission Hospital. To my horror, I saw that my left arm and right leg had been amputated, and my left leg was in plaster. Fifteen days later, my left leg developed gangrene and had to be amputated below the knee. I was devastated. My wounds took a long time to heal, but the hospital staff comforted and encouraged me. They cared for me as a mother nursing her infant. Furthermore, they arranged for me to attend a nearby primary school—my first experience in a classroom! I was carried to and from the school every day.

Six months later I was taken to Vellore, India, and fitted with artificial limbs. I could hardly believe it—I had new legs! Slowly and painfully I learned to walk again. When I finally returned home, two years after my accident, I desperately wanted to attend school.  Dr. Pam Dodson at Tansen Hospital provided funds for me to enrol in class four, and continue up to class ten.

I decided I wanted to be a teacher, and applied for various teaching positions. But I received rejection after rejection. Schools did not want to hire a handicapped person. I nearly gave up hope, but then a friend’s brother, a local official, recommended me for an appointment at the school in my own village. This time, I was given a chance. Not only did I become a teacher, but I have also received appreciation and awards.

Today I am a happy man with a wife and two daughters. My wife, lamed by polio, shares my experience of the hardship and ostracism suffered by so many disabled people in Nepal. The compassionate help I received from UMN enabled me to ‘gather up courage and move ahead’, a message I share with others with physical disabilities. Compassion and courage have given me a new life.

Nepal Visit Update 2

Fabulous to hear from our ‘Nepal Trippers’ yesterday as they completed their visit to our school. One described it as “one of the best days of my life”, another spoke of the “impressive school”, “gentleness of the teachers, children and relatives” and the “underlying self-discipline”. She also talked of the “amazing, inspirational, yet modest mentor” that they have in Devi Prasad and the “determined, committed and far sighted” head teacher – so it seems that the school is in safe hands!

It was great for us to see the new science room that has just been added to the school. It is a wonderful addition but is still very short on equipment at this stage.  That will be one of LEARN’s next priorities – to provide the equipment that they will need but it is wonderful that, thanks to our supporters in Bamford, these children are able to learn the subject in a scientific environment.

Our ‘trippers’ were treated to some entertainment by the children and it was lovely to see the photos that the school had posted themselves on their Facebook page (some of which are included in this blog) along with the message “thank you to all helping hands”.


We look forward to our next trustees meeting when the ‘trippers’ have returned home.  To know and understand first hand what will be best for our school and to work towards providing that will be a real honour.

Our ‘trippers’ took with them a small plaque for the school.  We, at LEARN, can’t thank our supporters enough for providing the means by which these children are able to gain their “wings to fly”.  THANK YOU!

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.

A Good Night Out

Just back from a sale/party at a friend’s house. She’d put on a few snacks and drinks and Maureen had set up her Emmanuel Crafts stall and her LEARN stall.

 


 

There was also another local artisan card maker selling her products.  The Emmanuel Crafts stall sold all kinds of bead work – predominantly jewellery but some surprising items such as coasters.  All come in attractive gift style packaging.

A range of genuine Nepali items were available on the LEARN stall including a range of bags, scarves, notebooks, blankets, etc.  The blankets deserve special mention – made from Yak’s wool, they are incredibly warm but very light, making them perfect for people who need the warmth but can’t tolerate the weight of a thick blanket.

It was lovely to catch up with other friends at the party and great to watch Maureen’s young granddaughter demonstrating her fabulous sales technique – she put The Apprentice candidates to shame!!