CWT are a charity based in Nottingham that have raised funds to help IYH rebuild the sixth school we had always planNed to support, Sundara Devi. Malti is one of the trustees of the charity and made time to go and visit the school during a visit to Asia. This was fantastic and is it always great for those who support us to see in the flesh the difference they are helping to make. Thanks Malti And CWT!
Here is Malti’s report:
CWT was formed in response to the scale of devastation of the earthquakes in Nepal in 2015. Over 8,000 people were killed and 22,000 injured. Over 890,000 homes were destroyed. The most vulnerable group being the children who are prone to starvation, sickness, neglect, abuse and trafficking.
CWT is determined to bring communities together for fundraising in an efficient and cohesive manner such that, when a natural disaster occurs, these communities can share experience and resources more effectively to improve efficiency, share knowledge and resources, minimise wastage and maximise use of funds to deliver the end result. Our promise is to use 100% of the funds to the end cause as we are all volunteers. Our ethos is to work with integrity where each project will be scrutinised from design through to implementation stages.
CWT has held various fundraising events – Dinner and Dance, Fashion Show, Licenced Lottery to raise just over £25,000, to date.
The first project is in partnership with a UK based charity called In Your Hands (IYH). The project is based in Sundara Devi, Sindhupalchok, one of the worst and remotest districts affected by the earthquake in 2015. We selected this project due to several reasons outlined below:
Assurance of working with another UK based charity , IYH, who are governed by Charity Commission and who have a track record of building and sustaining schools in Nepal
Strong links of IYH with Mandala Foundation who have a strong local link and understanding of cultural, language and regulatory issues. Mandala Foundation also has a track record of building 15 such schools . This is one of the few NGO’s that were willing to work in this remote district out of the 110 odd others.
Mandala Foundation has access to local workforce ensuring costs would be kept to the minimal
IYH’s proven initiatives in staff training and securing sustainability funding for schools, ensuring quality and continuity of education. They support six schools effected by the earthquake.
I visited the school on 1st Nov 2018, along with Milan and Mahendra, two of the lead members of The Mandala Organisation (TMO) who managed the project from start to finish in partnership with IYH. The drive up to the school, about 1700m above sea level, on a muddy, narrow and steep road opened my eyes to the challenges faced in transporting building materials to such a remote area. Just to put it in perspective, it took over 1.5 hrs to cover a 7km journey . It was definitely worth it though. We were received with great warmth and appreciation by children, their parents and teachers alike. Talking to parents I gathered how invaluable this school would be in taking the young ones off the streets and giving them hope for their future. We heard stories of children being vulnerable to gangs who use them for furthering their businesses in begging and prostitution.
The school building has 5 classroom catering for about forty five 3-10 year olds. There is an office for the teachers and headmaster plus a computer room. Classroom catering for 3-5 year olds had some educational toys , puzzles and art/crafts with carpeted floor to sit on. The rest of the classrooms have very basic and minimal furniture. We were pleased to hear that having separate girls and boys toilets has helped to attract and retain girls at the school.
The school still faces some challenges. There is no direct water supply to the storage tank and thus water has to be brought in manually. A direct water supply will need installation of pipework with a water pump as water has to be driven up the hill. The tin roofing, which is a requirement of the earthquake proof building regulations, is trapping heat which in summer causes unbearable heat. By installing a suspended ceiling underneath will control the heat in the room. Four classrooms have a concrete floor which can get very cold in winter and is not easy to keep clean. A lino floor will help in keeping the warmth and maintain hygiene. There are only 3-4 desks for students to sit on. There are no chairs.The small playground is fenced but full of mud and stones. This needs to be laid with grass or a softer flooring. The school needs a total of 24 desks and 3 times the number of chairs. The school headmaster is looking at ways of introducing internet into the school and would like to have access to some computers.
This visit has certainly given me a great insight into how much the school means to the community in Sundara Devi.The community has already grown from 110 families to 150 over the last few months with the hope of attracting more families due to the school. The facilities are basic and need to be improved in order to maintain attendance and attract further numbers. Quality of teaching will also need to be assessed and monitored as will the sources of funding for sustainability.
Overall, on behalf of CWT, I am truly grateful to IYH and TMO for giving us their full support in making this project a reality. Their vision to see such a challenging project through is a testament to their passion and determination to help communities most affected by the earthquake. Both these organisations have also committed themselves to raising standards of teacher training and to maintaining running costs of the school. IYH is also about to launch a Womens Project which will include workshops on health and hygiene as well as distribution of reusable sanitary packs for the girls and women in the six school communities they support. Well done!
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