Back at School but still Home-schooling too.
Every child is back at school on alternate days in order to enable social distancing in the class. Because Tanka, our School’s founder/manager set out a careful plan, the local mayor agreed to the school reopening when no other school in the area has been allowed to. Whilst there are no cases of Covid-19 in the village, there are a very few in Taplejung, the regional town.
Children continue to work from home on their non-school day and the Sponsored children/Ambassadors have formed a strong bond, meeting in small groups to read and discuss English books in English as well as using the computers to establish connection with their mentors.
Sending Gifts to a Sponsored Child/our Ambassadors
We have a snag about sending gifts right now. The problem is that this might be one of the most remote places on earth, with very poor roads and infrastructure and the country is in partial lockdown. Normally, Lesley Warburton, our Chair, goes out every six months and can take small items with her. In theory, international and even national flights are running but Covid 19 cases are rising in India (stop-over point) and Kathmandu city (Capital of Nepal) and so flights could be stopped at any time, leaving her stranded (India gave 4 hours’ notice when they went into lockdown)….making it too risky.
There isn’t any postal system in the Himalayas up in the village or even to the regional town, Taplejung. We have sent computers via Greenshields Distribution but it takes several months and costs £685 minimum to send.
The best you can try is to send to our partner company www.himalayanecstasy.com a parcel: Sujan Bhattarai, PO Box 12353, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal. You would be best to call him before to discuss: +97714700001 or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org The only time I tried this, it cost £25 from the UK to send a few recorders and took a couple months to arrive. They then had to be accompanied on the 64 hour bus/jeep journey across the mountains and so had to wait until someone was going there.
However, money is always good! Although I do understand that it feels less personal. You could send some yourself but, right now, Western Union seems not to be doing anything that involves people and neither children or their parents will have a bank account. We could send it out with the next payment we send to the school. You could specify what you want bought for him/her and we could arrange that…if it is available. Mostly that would be a football, chocolate, sweets, pens, water bottle, balloons, or plasticine. Typically, for a birthday, their parents might buy some chocolate and the child distributes it to neighbours and friends, and possibly gets some money back. In Nepal, you also give money at a wedding, and receive an envelope with some smaller notes back in exchange. In a society where money is rare, it is the top present. A child would rarely be given more than a few rupees (20p) to buy a snack and a small packet of biscuits costs about 10p.
UNICEF says that a sign of a good school is the staff development that occurs. We are currently engaged in a variety of staff development…..much of it by WhatsApp! We are lucky that Roy Blatchford CBE, one of our Trustees, is an acknowledged luminary in setting and raising school standards in the UK and around the world. He has been meeting the school leaders (Tanka, Chandra, Rosalia and Manoj) each week to introduce the school review and to discuss different elements. This results in the school leaders taking action to improve teaching. For example, Rosalia (Principal of the Montessori School) has already started teaching English nursery rhymes to the teachers and they stay after school for 30 minutes to work on improving their English language. We are also planning a schedule of teaching mini-modules to ensure that all teachers can use Word, PowerPoint, Paint and Excel. Aptitude Software has made sure we have computers, but it is not only the children who need to learn how to use them.
Volunteers / Interns
We have been very lucky to receive help from people from around the world at the school, but what is new to us is having Isaac Crawford (23) help us whilst based in the UK (although, Covid permitting he does intend to volunteer at the schools later this year). Isaac has been setting up Hubspot which should enable us to respond to queries and our friends quicker.
We also have Malaika (20) and Bharosha Bhattarai (19) joining the team. Their extended family comes from Hangdewa but moved to Kathmandu a while back. Their university plans are on hold and so they will be staying in the village for a few months to help with staff development (IT and English) as well as developing a staff handbook – and helping the children with spoken English.
We are very excited that our new website is now up. Please do go and take a look – and make suggestions about what else you would like to see on it.
Some research we have done
Over the last month, our Sponsored Children/Ambassadors have all received wonderful letters from their Sponsors/Mentors. We asked them what they would most like to know from their Mentors. And this is the list they made:
- About the daily foods eaten there
- Different castes of people living there.
- Famous places in their country.
- Main festivals celebrated there? And how?
- What are the major sports?
- Different crops cultivated there.
- The main occupation of people there.
- Which domestic animals do they keep at home? How do they treat them?
- Different kinds of fruits found there.
- What are the special animals and birds which are only found there and not in other countries?
- What are the major ways of transportation?
- What are the things which are unique from other countries – or very special?
- What are the rules and regulations in your place?
- What are the major natural disasters that have happened there?
- What kind of education system do you have there?
- What is the main cultivation?
- Which religions do the people follow there?
- What is your hobby?
- What is the staple food there?
- What kind of climate do you have there?
If you are not already a Sponsor/Mentor to one of our children, please do consider opening their eyes beyond the mountain. To learn more about what to expect, please visit: http://www.qlearningnepal.com/sponsor-a-child/
Thank you for all the support you give to the Q. Learning Nepal Trust. Please do contact us if you wish to know more, donate, sponsor or volunteer…..or visit us when the world is travelling again to remote, beautiful and culturally stunning places. Kanchenjunga Villa and 200 children await you.