Who We Are

Q • Learning Nepal Trust

Who Are We?

The Q•Learning Nepal Trust is a combined team of Nepali educators and Westerners.

We are about improving the life chances of young people in the Hangdewa region of Nepal by sustainably funding and inspiring a quality education and a connection to the world. As a team of Nepalis and Westerners, we put the village at the centre of its future and of each young person’s endeavours.

We believe that education will empower both children and the community – if done with the push and pull from parents and elders alike.

Despite the distance apart (6198 miles), there is daily contact between the UK and Nepal to discuss issues, budgets, new ideas, to share photos, news etc. Extraordinarily, there is huge trust and friendship in this very real team who go back to 2007 (or 2064 in the Nepali calendar). This is a unique model creating a blend of quality standards with a whole village, supported by people in the UK, wrapping their arms around each child.

Moti Bhattarai

Our Inspiration

Born in Hangdewa, the oldest of 8 children, in a farming family who lost everything in an earthquake – where schooling was optional in a mixed-aged class of 90 children, in a school 60+ minutes’ walk away and where the teacher often did not turn up. Moti barely learned to read and write.

At 14, he was put in charge of the family fortune, a single buffalo – that fell over the mountain edge when he was not paying attention. In distress, he never went home to face the music. Instead, he walked the length of the Himalayas to Kathmandu, eating from bins as he went. From 1992, he worked as a porter, a sub-cook, a cook, a local guide, a mountain guide and now as an expedition leader across the Himalayas. Eventually, he made contact with his family and, one by one, brought each of his brothers to the city for an education.

In 2002, together with his brothers, Moti founded our partner company www.himalayanecstasynepal.com He is the senior company advisor and field in-charge and leads many ‘wilderness treks’ and expeditions in Nepal and Tibet. When he met Lesley Warburton as her trekking guide in 2007, he told her how he saw the need for a school in the village to provide a quality education to make sure children got the education he wished he had had.

They visited the village together later that year……

Lesley Warburton

Charity Founder and Chair

Grammar School educated with a degree from Birmingham University, Lesley was born into a family who never went hungry, and she could choose the career she wanted. After a time in Human Resources (HR) and Organisational Development (OD) in the electricity generation and supply, and nuclear industries, Lesley trained in Group Analytic Psychotherapy and other coaching methodologies and spent 14 years self-employed as a consultant in change management and OD whilst bringing up Clare and Edward. When they reached secondary school, in 1997, she started Q•Learning Ltd www.qlearning.com with Karen Cove and Mike Cheeseman and became the Managing Director.

In 2009, after the Q•Learning series of books ‘Be your best…and beyond’ was published, she had a week’s work postponed at short notice and, exhausted, googled ‘where in the world is without a mobile phone signal’…and ended up meeting Moti Bhattarai in Nepal. Whilst trekking around Annapurna, she saw the need for young people to have improved life chances and agreed to build a school in Hangdewa. It has been one of the greatest privileges of her life. She works closely with the Headmaster and other teachers, bringing resources, learning, volunteers and opportunities to the schools, as well as strategic plans and so has recently given up running Q•Learning in the UK.

Tanka Bhattarai

Schools’ Founder/Manager and Constant Worker for Improvement

Born in Hangdewa, it was Tanka’s family who gave the land for the Big/Yellow School. He has a Master’s Degree and believes in the power of education to bring about change in the village. ‘I had to do something.’ He also has the family farm to run.

As a Brahmin Hindu, he has been brought up to value scholarship – and subsidises poor children out of his small salary to ensure they get an education. He works ceaselessly to do what is right and needed, and, before Covid-19 lockdown, without a day off in 12 years.

Chandra Maden

Principal, Pathibhara Q. Learning School and Beloved by the Village

Chandra’s family are farmers and Limbus. He has the depth of understanding and trust from local people that make him wise. He has seen the outside world when he worked in the Middle East in construction – and never wants to return!

As our Science and Maths Guru, with a Bachelor Degree, it is because of his coaching that we have so many children who believe they can succeed – with some now studying at university.

Rosalia Rai

Principal, Montessori Q. Learning School and Determined to Deliver Excellence

Rosalia was born in Sikkim, on the other side of Mount Kangchenjunga, as the youngest of seven girls and with no mother or father to grow up with – and yet has a Bachelor Degree in Humanities and in Education from Darjeeling. She has a determination to succeed in all that she undertakes and bravely flew to Kathmandu to study in the frenetic city to gain her certificate as a Montessori teacher.

With her as Head, the ’Little’ School is an exemplar of fun, energy, engagement, learning, care and beauty.

Manoj Tamang

Always up for Leading Something New and Challenging

Manoj studied in Darjeeling and has a Bachelor Degree in Philosophy and Humanities. He is passionate about looking forward in time and is our English and ICT teacher….and so much more. He also helped start and embed the Orange School as a Montessori one and will lead any agreed initiative.

Not being born in the village, not being of any local tribe or religion, means he has ‘clean eyes’ for seeing why some things can and should change – and the confidence of the community to deliver it.

Karen Cove

Trustee and Managing Director, Q•Learning Ltd – Makes things happen with Energy, Trust and Integrity

Karen and her family have visited the school over the years and they have financially helped to support it from the beginning. Karen runs Q•Learning Ltd, manages the largest OD Projects and works with clients across both the Public and Private Sectors.

Whilst Karen has a degree in Sport, it is her qualifications in OD, coaching and management that guide her every day.

Mike Cheeseman

Trustee and Chair, Q. Learning Ltd – Provides a depth of business advice and support few can equal

Mike set up and ran QA Training for many years, when it became one of the fastest growing UK companies and the largest IT Training company in Europe. After its sale, he became a non-executive director for several young IT companies and for Further Education organisations.

His wisdom and understanding of governance has inspired all the good practices embedded in the Q•Learning Ltd and the Nepal Trust.

Jo Thurston

Trustee – Delivering Magic and Entrepreneurship

Jo’s background as Chief Operating Officer of the UK’s largest NHS Community Foundation Trust, means she never panics and always finds a way to do what is needed – hence the magician! She carefully planned a different future from the NHS and exited on her 50th birthday: she then spent a year travelling the world with her husband whilst managing a holiday business that she had set up in the UK (to fund the travels and beyond).

Jo brings an understanding of tourism for Westerners that we emulate in Hangdewa at ‘Kangchenjunga View’.

Tom Crawford

Trustee – Grower of Businesses and People

Tom has grown public companies fast for the past 25 years in the UK, USA and world-wide. He has made his own luck and will be an energetic and innovative fundraiser. As president and CEO of Aptitude Software, the company donated computers and people to install them and to provide support over several years. This has proved to be a game-changer: not only have the children been able to learn skills for the 21st century, but his sponsorship has also provided them with a window on the world beyond the Eastern Himalayas.

The school now has undergraduate software engineers and all children love their practical IT lessons (most of Nepali children learn the theory only without ever having access to real computers). As a Chartered Accountant, he also brings a rigour to the CIO and an understanding of just how much money matters!

ROY BLATCHFORD CBE

Trustee – Promoter of Sparkling Classrooms

Roy’s professional life began in publishing – and he has never stopped writing. He started truanting from office life to teach in H.M Prison Brixton. From there he has spent a lifetime in early years settings, schools, colleges and universities, enjoying the wonderful double-act that is teaching and learning. From his home in Oxford, Roy has visited over 15,000 classrooms across the world and has a passion for promoting what he calls ‘sparkling classrooms’. He has led a number of schools, set up two national charities in the UK, advises governments, and currently serves on a number of Boards.

One thing he has learned about global education: you can’t take one country’s ways of doing and expect them to work in another. The trick is to beg, borrow and steal best practices and shape them to a particular setting. And that’s what he is seeking to do with the wonderful teachers in Hangdewa.