We were at last able to visit the schools in Hangdewa and this is what we saw and heard…
Wherever you look in the schools, you will see children smiling, and wherever you walk in the hills of Hangdewa, you will hear the sounds of children laughing, singing, dancing, talking, and playing. This must be one of the happiest places to learn in the world. No crying, arguing, conflict, shouting or sulking.
And with gratitude
This is the first time Anupa (aged 12) has ever held a paintbrush. But we are now able to start creative sessions at our schools in the Eastern Himalaya. We have very few books, but recently Anupa received a present from her Mentor: a Kid’s Kindle uploadable with 1000 books. She wrote to say thank you, ‘Nowadays, I am very busy because I always wake up at 4.15 am in the morning and start to read for half an hour. Then I go to the market at 5.00 am to sell milk. It takes 1 hour to reach there, and I come home at 8.30 am and get ready to go to school. In our home we have cows and a buffalo, so I always go to the market. My father and mother are busy working in the fields. So, I am quite busy after school too (with homework and helping). Thank you for the lovely Kindle. I love to read books. I always think about how lucky I am to get a mentor like you. Your letters always give me good vibes. Thank you for all your support and help in my studies that bring my better future in my education.’ And when Class 8, who is leaving soon, was asked for what their one wish would be, Feshan, Head Boy, said, ‘to stay at this school and keep learning’.
We now need 28 new individual desks for our biggest students who are sitting on broken benches with their knees around their ears. Please help! Cost £25 each. www.qlearningnepal.com/donate/
Thank you to all who gave 62 Kindles, and to Barry and Jo Thurston who spent days registering them and uploading books. The top classes are all together reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone…and lower classes are enjoying new books every day.
A 15-year dream becomes a reality
We heard of a dream that villagers in Hangdewa had of giving the remote Himalayan children a quality education to help lift them, and their village, out of extreme poverty. We built 5 classrooms and started with 100 children. No-one had heard of a ‘science lab’ and all teaching was by rote out of textbooks. It has taken this long to learn to call it a ‘practical science room’ and to find a teacher in Nepal with practical science expertise who would share the dream. Siddhartha and the school leaders have finally done it (with money from generous donors and advice from UK professionals). The power of the dream!
We have an Alumni studying at university, including medicine, law, radiography, computers, nursing, teaching, and engineering. Soon our Class 8 (aged about 15) will move to other schools. They know they have learned how to study, even without the resources and good teachers they have had. They are a tight-knit group who work extremely hard. You must go there to understand what alternative teenagers they are. Here is a quote from Sudip’s letter to his pen pal, ‘Thank you so much for advising me about my exam. Yes, that’s true, our exam is very important, so I am prioritizing it. I am working very hard for my exam, my end of school one. My preparation is going well. I am nervous about it, though. It will be held in 3 weeks’ time, starting on 10th April.’ Last exam, Sudip scored 98% in Maths and 92% in optional Maths and As across every subject, so possibly not too much need to be nervous.
Some of Class 8 saying ‘Thank you’ And ‘Goodbye’
Meanwhile in the Montessori School, the children sing to learn
In small groups, whole classes and then the whole school, the Friday afternoons sum up the week’s learning in song. To the tune of ‘Row, row, row your boat’ the words are, ‘Drink, drink, drink your milk, drink your milk today. Mother, father, brother, sister drink milk every day.’ Then there are the counting forward and backward songs, and the alphabet ones too. Some self-confidence building in the middle (‘I am x, who are you?’). All done with a gathering excitement and huge gusto. Parents come from their fields to collect the hyper children, who have Saturdays off to recover, whilst others walk home with siblings.
This week, we have taken bookings for our Villa, and we are building more!
We believe that a combination of the ‘simpler life’, the rich Limbu culture and the breath-taking views of the Eastern Himalayas will be enough to welcome visitors and volunteers.
So, we are building another Villa nearby, also with views of Mount Kangchenjunga. We have bought the land and, for the price of two cows, also the water rights and all the milk we want! Together, they will sleep up to 12 in 3 households. We also expect to welcome a school party from Millfield School in 2023. Those of you who are Mentors, should know that each and every one of your Ambassadors asked if you could visit. They made extravagant promises of showing you round, taking you to temples and viewpoints and giving you a local feast. Please get in touch for a brochure and watch this space for the launch of the Kangchenjunga View website. All rental money funds the schools and provides employment.
Reserve your dates now for 2022 and 2023. Fly direct from Kathmandu across the Himalayas (including Mount Everest) in a 45 minute flight of a lifetime.
A snapshot of life for a student at our school in the last month….