’Here we are in Nepal in the remote Himalayas and most of us have not been to any other countries or perhaps just one other, like India next door. But we know that our children want to have good jobs and opportunities like children anywhere in the world, not just farmers – or labourers in the Middle East. They want to go to university and study many, many subjects. When they come to our school, they learn to speak and to read and to write good English. And this is very important for the future. And they use the computers, and they learn how to write and to research and even to paint on them. But when they leave our school, they become lost. There are no computers to use, and they forget some of their English too. So we must find a way not only to teach our children but to make sure that they keep improving their skills once they leave. And to do that, we have to think differently about our school. The education we provide must improve every year. We know that the children learn more now than they did from the education they had a few years ago. Every year it gets better, and the children learn more and more. And yet now we also must think about their language and IT skills’ retention and how we can help them succeed in the world.’’ 3 years ago, our leadership team told us their vision and, as a result, we sponsor some older children at Kangchenjunga School in nearby Taplejung until they are about 16. Photo below shows Eifion’s child centre during Tihar (Deepawali) in 2023.
For our 16-18-year-olds, we are proud to be partnering with Eifion: to help our poor and remote children, many from minority ethnic groups and low castes, retain and develop their skills and potentially gain qualifications for the future. Eifion has built a hostel / child centre for orphans and the poor with beds for up to 28 young people in Kathmandu near an excellent school with good facilities. Those who are academically able can be offered a place in the hostel where they will be safe, properly fed and have a good place to live and study. This will be life changing. Thank you Eifion.
33 Students & Teachers from Millfield School in UK Visited Us
The world has come to Hangdewa. Most of our children have never been further than a few miles and so it was incredibly exciting to welcome 33 students and their teachers from Millfield School in the UK. MS students are the global young who can travel the world and many have stayed in 5* resorts in dream locations. For us, they camped in our Montessori grounds and devoted their days and evenings to volunteering with the children and painting the school. Brilliant exemplars for MS.
The Millfield students travelled by bus from Kathmandu and walked to the school from Taplejung, combining their visit with some trekking. There were trips out, art, science, sport, music, photography, drama, games, baking and so much more…. The UK visitors said it was life-changing. For our children, it was a taste of what being a teenager could be like. For Karen, Lesley and all our teachers (who turned up every day in their Dashain holidays)…..it was amazing and exhausting! The evenings were modelled on the best of youth clubs and we even had movie night with pop-corn. The days were projects in the morning, lunch in the village (our children’s first meals out) and trips out in the afternoons. The children jumped into jeeps to go higher up the mountains to fly kites and proudly took MS students to their homes for tea. The first-ever-cake was baked in Hangdewa and the first ever all-girls football match was played. Children learned so much from rugby to playing the drums, whilst Mama Mia rehearsals were sung out across the mountains, day after day!
Millfield School not only topped up our tiny library with lots of wonderful books, sourced by their chief librarian, Stephen, but also brought football shirts, just Lego, cameras and cash which will help us build two more classrooms. The students fund-raised to visit and were proud of sponsored events they had put on. Given the plethora of activities and resources available to students at Millfield, it was amazing that so many chose to come to our remote school. We are grateful they did come, and the memory of their two week visit will stay with all of us forever.
One of the projects was to photograph what was special about Hangdewa and what helped to protect or what harmed it. This was where science and art combined: students and children collected beautiful leaves and flowers which they loved, and also rubbish (especially plastic) which they hated. The resultant photo (on the previous page) should remind us all how easily we contribute to the destruction of beauty. Back in the science room, student Josh was digging deep into his GCSE Chemistry memory to back up visual lessons with science experiments. When vapours and explosions got too big, he moved out to the playground!
This Year, our Class 8 School Trip will be to Kathmandu
Two years ago, we started school trips to take our top class 8 (students aged 13/14) away from the mountainside to a large town for them to have new experiences and learn to cope away from home. This is important because we currently only have classes until they are young teenagers – and most of our children have never been away from their village or family, even for one night, and yet, to obtain a quality education after our school, they have to go away from home for 6 days a week, 46 weeks a year (in Taplejung or elsewhere). We have been lucky enough to receive sponsorship for the trips the last two years (Ilam in the tea growing hills, and Darjeeling just across the border in India).
This year we want to take our oldest students to Kathmandu to stay in Eifion’s hostel/child centre and meet the children who live there. They will have the opportunity to meet new people, explore the city, the World Heritage sites, museums, gardens, large shops and more. To do so, they would need to travel 370 miles along challenging roads in the Himalayas. Our children are not used to jeep or bus travel and get travel-sick. So they must fly the 45 minutes it takes in a small aircraft. Imagine the excitement! We estimate the 5-day trip for 14 children and 4 teachers will cost around £2,500. If you could help with a donation, please do! New donation – Online Social Fundraising Donation Platform | Givey or pay into our usual account.
Volunteer Teachers Do Practical Maths, English and Sport
We were thrilled to have teachers Adam and Rachel from Pangbourne College UK volunteer at our Yellow School in their summer holiday. This is what they said about their experience:
If you ever want a truly remote adventure that allows you to challenge your teaching skills and make a difference while doing it, then Hangdewa is the place to go! School classes range in size from 14 to 30 pupils and all are filled with a cheerful desire to learn, which is upheld by every pupil’s willingness to always try their best. Bot of us were able to experiment with a variety of teaching approaches to allow the pupils to experience a taste of the British teaching style. They embraced every challenge we set them, including maths grids in the playground, dancing to English songs, creating pretend news broadcasts, athletic games and many more unique activities. At the Q. Learning school, we both felt a sense of joy in teaching, particularly as our focus, at all times, was purely on the pupils themselves; a delight that is rarely found in the daily rush of UK schools. The staff too were keen to learn and were fascinated by information about teaching and pedagogy. School leaders and all the staff are dedicated to seeing the school succeed and welcomed any advice we could impart to them. The whole environment is entirely welcoming: dinner with locals and walks with teachers and children meant we were never short of good company. We are planning that it was not only a ‘once-in-a-life experience’ but we hope to repeat! A magical place with an extraordinary school.
Our Montessori School
We have continued to add resources to each classroom so that our smallest children learn in a variety of ways; the teachers have responded with the usual energy that we have come to expect of them. Because of the extent of the learning that happens in early years, the children are able to excel when they reach the Yellow School, when the Nepali curriculum takes over. By adding two classes into the Montessori School, we will be making room in the Yellow School for two new top classes (up to age 16). This also provides the opportunity for around 150 children to stay longer at the Montessori School and continue to benefit from its engaging teaching strategies, larger classrooms and larger playground.
The importance of literacy (Nepali and English) and numeracy.
Indoor Sports Day and outdoor play. Musical cylinders help with sums.
Thank you everyone for your support of our schools in Hangdewa. You are making the difference.