We can all remember the dreadful scenes after the devastating earthquakes of April 2015 in Nepal. With so much widespread damage across the country, we immediately decided to do what we could to help. As our Village Ways holiday is centred on the Sailung region, we set up an appeal to raise funds to support the communities there.
There was an urgent need for emergency shelter, and so tarpaulins were provided so that villagers could create temporary accommodation. Further funds were then raised for the reconstruction of a classroom block in a secondary school in the village of Kharpani in the Ramnechap district with the generous support of many past guests, travel associates, including Inntravel, staff and friends of Village Ways.
Kharpani Secondary School serves the villages of Pasiban, Kharpani, Kharsubathan, Tsharpa and Salme, with 250 students and ten members of staff. The new school rooms were completed on schedule at the end of January 2017, and have been in use since February.
Mrs Sukriti Bhatta, originally from Nepal and now based in Sydney, Australia, raised funds through Croydon Park Public School and community engagement initiatives to purchase school materials, including computers. These have been delivered and are in use in the school. Mrs Bhatta is hoping to create a partnership link between the two schools in the future.
On 2 April 2017, the school hosted an opening ceremony to celebrate the new building. Sunil Daley, who has been instrumental in coordinating and helping to ensure that the building work was completed, and myself, representing Village Ways, were warmly greeted by the headmaster, teachers and students.
Despite the opening taking place during the school holidays, children from every class turned up with home-made garlands to watch the lighting of the ceremonial oil and the cutting of the ceremonial ribbon, which I was honoured to do. After the unveiling of the plaque, it was time for the Sagun – a Nepalese ceremony in which flowers and auspicious foods are presented to signify the start of work and to bring good luck.
The headmaster, Mr Udhab, said that the staff and students are very happy, “We feel more secure in this building since the earthquake. The structure is safe. It is comfortable and warm even in bad weather; it is a nice working environment. The children now have the chance to learn basic computer skills. Since the building was completed, the government has been encouraged to spend some money towards repairs for the other classrooms, so we are very grateful.”
As the plaque by the door says, “Let the children who learn here flourish.”
On behalf of the Kharpani School, Village Ways would like to offer, once again, our heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped make this possible by kindly donating towards the project.