HISTORY OF IN YOUR HANDS
Pauline Sanderson and Jo Pawley have been good friends for over 40 years and in September 2015 they set up the charity 'In Your Hands' (“IYH”) to help raise funds for the people of Nepal after the devastating earthquakes in April and May of that year.
In Your Hands was registered with the Charity Commission in the UK in September 2015.
Pauline and Jo both have strong links to Nepal. This was a major motivation for them to try and make a difference there. IYH began by organising a series of major fund raising events in 2015. The money from these events enabled the charity to re-build their first two schools. IYH were able to trust the results of their efforts by working with their long-term friends and partners in Nepal, The Mandala Organisation. Theyhave subsequently helped us to develop other welfare and educational projects along with rebuilding/repairing a further three schools in 2016/17.
This started as a five-year program. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world and we have been advised that it could take that long to rebuild due to the extent of the earthquake damage. However, the IYH strategy has evolved as we learn more and get more involved with the projects. As a result during 2016/17 we developed a long term and more broad reaching approach. We are hoping to develop and support an improvement in both education and the health and well being of those in the school communities we are supporting.
IYH PROJECTS 2016/17 & NEXT STEPS
IYH started by wanting to raise money to simply rebuild state schools that were destroyed by the earthquakes. We chose six schools that were in the worst affected areas from the earthquake and were not a priority for support from the government due to location or caste hierarchy. It could have been years before these schools were rebuilt with an unthinkable consequence of hundreds of children being vulnerable to exploitation on the streets. However, we work hand in hand with government policy in terms of supporting national curriculum, uniforms and policies. We have no intention of privatizing these schools. Our goal is to support and aid the government to create better educated and healthier schoos.
We learned very quickly that although the buildings were crucial, they were only one small part of the problem facing rural education in Nepal. It was not long before we were committed to providing more than just the buildings. We are working with partners, experts and volunteers in Nepal and internationally with the intention of making school communities better than they were before the earthquakes. We have focused on specific projects to improve education of the teachers, children as well as offering an opportunity to have a more informed understanding of women’s health, plus general health and wellbeing.
In 2017 we engaged an IYH Manager in Nepal, Shanta Nepali whom has proven to be invaluable to making the IYH projects a reality. She is vocational to the cause and always goes the extra mile. She is also Vice President of TMO so our partnership could not be stronger. Her local knowledge and insights have lead us to meet the right people to help us move our strategies forward and her ability to make things happen is outstanding.
An IYH Director, Jo Pawley, co-ordinated a visit to Nepal in February 2017. She leada group of supporters and charity partners from Britain, Canada and Thailand. The information and discussions that were held were a major contribution to updating the 2015/16 strategies.
In 2015/ 2016 IYH was on target for rebuilding two schools and identifying a further four schools in areas of Nepal worst affected by the earthquakes.
In 2016/17 IYH hit their target of repairing/rebuilding a total of five schools to a higher and safer standard for the children to go to school. The sixth school was such a big project that it was identified as a 2017/18 rebuild.
NEXT STEPS: Now five of the schools are rebuilt/repaired, the next step for 2017/8 is to upgrade all the facilities so we fulfill our original goal of providing a school that looks good, feels safe and has enough facilities to provide a healthy and well resourced education. This will include separate toilets for boys and girls and washbasins.
It was established that the standard of teaching was very poor in rural schools, especially for English. A Volunteers Program was introduced in February 2016 to help both the Nepali children and teachers in the IYH supported schools. The first volunteers arrived in autumn of 2016 at Gorkha. This is the only school that had suitable accommodation and resources for the volunteers to live comfortably enough. This was important to us because we want their energy to go into teaching. We do not underestimate the effort needed to live in a developing world in isolated areas with not running water or toilet facilities. This was the correct decsion. The volunteers have provided invaluable insights to the needs of the school as well as offering a modern and fun approach to learning English.
The recruitment of volunteers is helped by Jane Halsall (IYH Education Manager) offering a weekend of training before they go to give them some top tips on what works in Nepal. We have encouraged TEFL trained candidates and experienced teachers of all ages. Every candidate has to send a CV, covering letter, a character reference and complete the ICPC (International Child Protection Certificate).
NEXT STEPS: In 2017, only one of the schools we support was suitable to host volunteers. In 2018 the plan is for all six schools to be able to accommodatevolunteers. We will provide a mobile living space comprised of a sleeping tent, kitchen area and shower tent. They will be able to use the toilets at the school. We need to manage how we integrate volunteers so we do not overwhelm the schools but compliment and help them to develop them with modern techniques. The overall support IYH is providing to the teachers and children is now creating a level of trust in our commitment. We are not just a quick fix charity.
We also intend to create a more rigorous IYH Code Of Conduct for all volunteerswhich can be supervised by the Head Teacher at each school.
TEACHER TRAINING PROGRAM
Thanks to the feedback from our volunteers and insight from The MandalaOrganisation , it was established that most rural teachers in Nepal only get six days training. This meant neither the children or teachers were motivated or engaged with the benefits of education. IYH hosted a two day workshop during the visit of 2017 lead by Jane Halsall. Jane is the IYH Education Manager. It was so well received that the strategy to develop a long term Teacher Training Program was developed.
NEXT STEPS: 2017/18 will introduce two Nepal based teachers to IYH. Annu Rannawho is a teacher at an Ullens School in Kathmandu, and Vanessa Schroeter who is Swiss and has spent time in Nepal teaching with her TEFL qualification. The goal is for them to run two Teacher Training Programs.
Annu will have 100 days to develop their teaching skills in Nepali. This will be supported by a five-day residential training course hosted by First Steps, a charity from New Zealand but with a teaching academy in Nepal. Vanessa will offer 100 days of English training. These programs will be documented and certificates awarded for completion of each module. This is an important tool to motivate the teachers.
Five schools are linked to five British schools with a view to long term exchange of information and ideas. The sixth school will be linked in 2018. A key reason to link each school in Nepal to an English speaking school is to improve the opportunities for education. There will be regular updates via shared Face Book page videos and stories as well as teaching aids being shared.
NEXT STEPS: Due to the lack of secure areas for storage of computers and lack of wifi in 2015-2017, the communication between link schools has not been active. The reality is that the teachers need to complete sufficient teacher training and attend a computer course before we distribute the computers. We have a 2018/19 deadline for computers to be in each school and communication to start in earnest with their link school. This also allows time to establish energy and wifi supply.
HAGAM SENIOR SCHOOL
During the 2017 visit, a representative of BISP School in Thailand, identified a project his school wanted to support and IYH agreed to manage it. Hagam Senior School is the school where most of the children will move on to who attend the IYH supported primary schools. They were desperately short of computers.
NEXT STEPS: IYH will buy and deliver suitable computers and IT equipment once the needs and appropriate support have been established. They will be delivered in 2017/18.
During the 2017 visit, Jo and Jan MacNeil a supporter of IYH from a Rotary Club in Canada, spoke in depth to women and the Director of the REWA charity in Kathmandu. REWA supports and offers work to women who have been victims of various atrocities. They make reusable sanitary packs. IYH have established the need for the education about women’s health and the need for these packs in our school communities. It is essential that girls do not miss school every month once they have started menstruation. We need to educate the children, teachers and families in each community without disrespecting their culture.
NEXT STEPS: IYH will deliver a workshop and distribute sanitary packs for all the females in the school communities of the six schools. The workshop will cover essential information on how to use the sanitary packs and womens health and welfare in general. Shanta Nepali, the IYH Manager in Nepal will be working alongside and supported by medically trained staff from the Rotary Club in Kathmandu. This is scheduled for 2018.
Gorkha School was identified as having a serious nutrition problem to the point children were not attending school. IYH bought and supplied a kitchen, cook and food with the financial support of an Italian charity Associazione P.S. Funding is in place for 2016-2018.
NEXT STEPS: IYH would like to support a self-sufficient approach to food for the future, starting with the children growing their own vegetables and working with what they have to be self-sufficient.
Poor hygiene is a reason why so many children miss school. Shanta has been managing the upgrades to each school and making sure systems are in place to keep the toilets and wash basins clean. Along side the upgrades, Shanta has created a hygiene lesson so children wash their hands after going to the toilet and before eating.
NEXT STEPS: To encourage this behaviour, IYH has introduced an award (among others) to the school that demonstrates the best hygiene systems. The IYH Awards awill be announced in 2018 once there has been time for training and development of systems in each school.
IYH believes that how you feel about yourself is an important part of how you perform. Self esteem is an aspect we want to include in any educational strategy going forward. Looking smart in a uniform is part of that strategy. We included in our 2015/16 strategy, the intention of buying uniforms so every child would take pride in their appearance and feel they were equal and belonged to a team. We had intended to buy and provide uniforms in 2016/17. However, on reflection we decided to postpone this action until the schools had been upgraded to a better standard. It seemed more appropriate to have smart uniforms in a smart school to give a stronger message. We are guided by the government policy on uniforms. We have planned to the satandarduniform with allowable extras such as a warm fleece, warm leggings for the girls, shoes and a school rucksack.
NEXT STEPS: The uniforms will be distributed by Jo Pawley (Director of IYH) when she leads a team of IYH supporters and partners in February 2018. One of the IYH Awards ( mentioned above) will be for any school with consistently well presented children.
2016/17 IYH OVERVIEWS FOR SCHOOLS & EDUCATION
IYH has learnt a great deal in 2016/17 about the needs of teachers, children and volunteers. We have tried to listen, learn and action strategies to support these needs as well as trying to achieve our original goals of rebuilding safe schools.
We are also looking further than a child’s education at primary school. We hope to develop confidence in the children and their families that going to senior school is worth it and ultimately we could offer them an option of higher education in an IYH Tourism Academy or an existing establishment we can affiliate with that is already achieving this. These long-term goals should be achievable in the lifetime of the children currently in the primary schools we are supporting.
The communities we are working with have not got confidence in education. Our long term goals will only be achievable if we get it right at this stage in their primary education and build trust and get results not just for the children but for the teachers and families.
The following list is a summary of our 2016/17 strategies moving into 2017/18 and beyond.
1) Schools must look smart.
2) Schools are safe (earthquake proof)
3) Schools have enough classrooms
4) Schools have separate toilets for boys and girls with running water, washbasins and soap.
6) Classrooms have enough desks and chairs
7) Classrooms have access to necessary teaching aids such as whiteboards, computers, books and safe storage for all resources.
8) Teachers should have sufficient training, support and acknowledgement to motivate them to deliver a good standard of education
9) Volunteers should become an integral part of each schools curriculum for English.
10) Each school should have effective, educational and trustworthy links to a Britishlink school with view to developing long term relations.
11) IYH will develop a long term strategy to offer children and their families motivation to move on from primary to secondary and then higher education.
2016/17 IYH OVERVIEW FOR HEALTH & WELL BEING
The IYH strategy for health and well being is an on going project. We are always talking and learning from people who are offering their expertise. We have not incorporated all we hope to achieve in our current strategy but that does not mean we will not in the future. One example would be a mobile medical clinic. We need to do more research before we know how much we need to raise and who can manage it. We have been working with Dr William Harkness who visited Nepal in April 2017 to establish a first assessment on what training and equipment would be necessary.
However, 2016/17 strategy is specific and achievable can be summarised as follows:
1) No child should be prevented from attending school because she has a period
2) No child should be prevented from going to school because of hunger
3) Women and girls should have access to medical support and information that will keep them healthy and safe
4) A hygiene program should be in place so children wash their hands before eating and after going to the toilet and the toilets and washbasins are cleaned regularly.
5) Each child should have a school uniform supported initially by IYH that will contribute to their self worth and sense of belonging to a team.
2016/17 IYH OVERVIEW FOR COSTS & FUNDRAISING
The initial fund raising for the charity was established thanks to a road show of motivational talks and an on-line auction organised and delivered by the two Trustees and co-founders, Jo Pawley and Pauline Sanderson.
Once the charity was registered the fundraising continued in many different forms. This included donations, sales of local Nepalese merchandise by the IYH team (which also helps and benefits Nepal’s local retail industry) a trekking expedition to Nepal, other charities identifying our projects as ones they would like to support and individuals being inspired to do extreme things and host events as well as business policies to match fund their employees efforts.
Each school that linked to a Nepalese school was also obliged to raise an initial amount of £1500 to help fund the re-build of their link school in Nepal. However, all of them have raised far more and as the progress continues, we hope this stream of funding will continue for years to come alongside the educational support and friendships.
Our strategy moving forward is to link with businesses who want to contribute to our strategy by promoting our charity through their marketing and contribute financially from their profits. This will hopefully contribute to a regular income to support our fundraising events.
All administration for IYH has been done free of charge by lawyers, accountants, website designers and general goodwill. Those involved in the charity cover all of their own expenses, including flights and living expenses in Nepal to co-ordinate projects. This means all the money raised goes directly to the IYH projects and not on administration or expenses. As a result there are no costs showing in the annual accounts aside from the provision of funding to TMO to manage the school re-building and refurbishments on behalf of IYH.
In determining costs, the IYH Trustees have been provided with estimates of project costs. There have been assessments of the work done by actual site visits and the actual costs incurred have been reviewed with, as far as possible, all of the receipts for costs incurred provided. TMO provide a monthly cost sheet with receipts where appropriate.
An independent review has been undertaken of the annual report and accounts, and this too has been provided on an honorary basis.
COME AND GET INVOLVED
We would like to thank all those who have made this charity so much more than just a fund raising organization. In 2016/ 2017 we have had the privilege to meet and make friends with many truly inspiring individuals.
The individuals and organisations we would like to acknowledge from 2016/17 and give special thanks to include:
The Mandala Organisation – IYH partners in Nepal
Shanta Nepali – IYH Manager Nepal
Jane Halsall – IYH Director of Education
Emma Morley – IYH Financial Advisor
Sully Mogra FCCA - Independent reviewer of the annual accounts
Grafika Ltd - website design and management
William Hancock -Partner, Collyer Bristow LLP, legal support
Rotary Canada - Jan MacNeil a working partner with IYH
Dr. William Harkness – Medical Development
Equator Expeditions – support for volunteers and IYH visiting teams
Annie McGrath - Volunteer
Sarah Woodman - Volunteer
Naiara Unzurrunzaga – Volunteer
Lynn Eastwood - Volunteer
Auchnagatt Primary School, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
Barlows School, Liverpool, UK
Blessed Sacrament School, Liverpool, UK
St Francis De Sales, Liverpool, UK
SydenhamHigh School, London, UK
Norman Cunningham & Ryan Gordon
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