Devi Prasad sends regular emails to keep LEARN informed and updated about Shree Gyanjyoti School and life in Nepal generally. It has been interesting to follow these over recent weeks but frightening to see the rate of change there.
We reported at Christmas that Covid-19 rates in Nepal were low and that schools were open again following certain conditions. The school invested in 44 new desk sets in order to meet the conditions. Devi Prasad has been delighted to report that all has been going well at the school, students and staff are really happy to be back to ‘proper study’ and parents are pleased to see their children receiving such a good education once more.
January saw them sit their first exams and Devi Prasad was able to proudly report that all students performed really well and, once again, gained outstanding results.
The school year in Nepal usually runs from April to April but in February of this year, the government there decided to extend it by two months meaning that the final exams would be sat in May and the new school year would begin in June. The climate was improving and Covid-19 rates were so low that life was more or less back to normal. Life was looking good and the school organised a cricket tournament which they thoroughly enjoyed.
In March, Devi Prasad was pleased to be able to report that Nepal’s coronavirus vaccination programme was underway – available to all key workers and the over 70’s (although no plans at that stage for vaccination of the general public). The climate change in Nepal led to the government having to close schools for four weeks due to high levels of pollution in the cities but our school, being in a village, was unaffected, lessons and exams continued and the 53 taekwondo pupils all managed to upgrade their belts.
During April, they were able to celebrate good results in March’s mid-term exams, lessons continued and 11 pupils took part in the taekwondo section of the 3 day district sports tournament – 3 of them winning gold, 5 silver and 3 bronze medals. However, Covid-19 rates were rising rapidly in Nepal and their future was beginning to look much less predictable. On 23rd April, Devi Prasad emailed to say that it was looking more and more likely that schools would have to shut so they were going to start the final exams of the year the following week in order to get them done. Unfortunately, just four days later, he emailed again to say that all schools in Nepal had been closed and end of year exams postponed.
We’ve all seen regular desperately sad reports from India on the news. Nepal is obviously its close neighbour with many people travelling regularly between the two countries for work, etc. On 5th May, he emailed with the sadly inevitable news that infection rates and consequently death rates were rising rapidly in Nepal and that they now had cases of Covid-19 in their village. So far, he has been able to report that it hasn’t directly affected anybody connected with the school but the village is in total lockdown, the local market is shut and getting hold of daily essentials for general living is becoming very difficult. He remains very positive and optimistic, advising teachers to attempt to keep in touch with and guide the students as the students attempt to home educate with their limited resources but, clearly, life there is currently very difficult.
As trustees of LEARN, we are totally committed to ensuring that the children of Pokharathok receive the best possible education. However, we also feel a commitment to ensuring that extra help is given to the village where needed and where possible using funds that we raise independently of the LEARN accounts. We are currently in the process of communicating with Devi Prasad to find out whether they have any needs that require our help. Please watch this space for further details which we will post if it becomes necessary.
We (the trustees, Devi Prasad, all at the school and the families) do thank all of you for your continued support and remain immensely grateful for your thoughts, prayers and financial support.