Sydenham High School volunteering trip to Nepal with In Your Hands 
Jo Pawley, Co-Founder and Trustee 
In October 2018 I was lucky enough to accompany a group of 16 sixth formers, 2 teachers and 3 parents from Sydenham High School in London to visit one of the government primary schools that In Your Hands supports in a remote part of the Central Region of Nepal.  It was a fabulous trip with an awesome group of girls.  They were fun, hard working, collaborative, totally up for the adventure and resilient.  
When In Your Hands was first set up after the earthquakes in 2015 Sydenham High School was the first UK school to become a link school to one of the six schools we support in Nepal.  This was their first visit to meet the children and volunteer at their sister school.  
It was a 10 day action packed trip that included volunteering, sightseeing, walking and rafting. However the girls all said that the highlight was the 3 days camping and volunteering at Shree Jugal Lower Secondary School.  
We arrived at the school to a wonderful welcome with marigold garlands from the children.  Our partners in Nepal , the Mandala Organisation, had set off before dawn to set up camp for us at the school.  A long row of colourful tents on the stepped mountain and a kitchen and dining room area. After a few welcome speeches and a dance display, the girls set up a number of fun activities for the students.  These included stories for the younger children, sack races, parachute games and songs.
Over the course of the next three days the girls alternated between a carrousel of fun activities for the children and painting impressive murals on the walls of three classrooms.  By the end of day 3 the walls featured Big Ben and fireworks, a red London bus with Paddington bear sitting inside the bus by the window and a mix of English and Nepali national flags and rows of prayer flags.  Shree Jugal School were so delighted with the paintings that as the girls were finishing up they asked them to paint the English alphabet and numbers on another classroom wall as well
While we were camping one of the Sydenham teachers and a parent who is a very experienced A&E nurse also ran a really successful first aid training session for the Shree Jugal teachers.  This received a really positive response.  The community is in a very remote location and the feedback to In Your Hands was that the training was really useful.  They would like more! 
In addition to three days volunteering the girls had the opportunity to visit Ulleyn’s School in Kathmandu.  This is a private IB school so the facilities are quite different to Shree Jugal.  It was another fun opportunity to volunteer for the morning in a very different setting.
It was an incredible trip.  I was so lucky to be with such a brilliant group.  Sydenham High School’s next sixth form volunteering trip is planned for October 2020.  I wouldn’t miss it for the world!  I am excited about it already! 

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