CitC News Feed
On the 23rd August, 8 CITC cyclists will be braving the epic 7 day ride from Lake Geneva to Provence and St.Tropez. The ‘Raid Alpin’ is a classic road cycling challenge covering 700km over tough mountainous terrain, including an arduous ascent in excess of 14,000m.
CITC’s Mike Hagen and Alan Alker will be cycling the long and winding road from Liverpool to the starting point in Geneva, meaning they will have covered over 800 miles before they even begin the challenge!
As part of a Global Rotary Bid, donations could be matched, meaning that every £10 raised will increase to £25 plus Gift Aid. This is great opportunity to maximise the proceeds which will make a huge difference to our project work.
All money raised will go towards building classrooms in the remote village of Bung in Nepal. Progress is already being made here; in April with the support of a Rotary Grant, CITC were able to open high quality, earthquake resistant classrooms. The development included furniture, gender specific toilets and clean running water. The new build has made an incredible difference, replacing 4 out of 21 inadequate classrooms but there is still work to be done. Our continued efforts will benefit over 700 students, as well as their families. Read more about our Bung project here.
Find out more about this incredible challenge and donate click here.
Further to our exciting announcement that a grant of £32,780 has been secured from Soroptimist International which will facilitate our 'Inspire Programme', the Soroptimists have released a fantastic news article about CITCNepal. We are thrilled to be able to run the programme which will benefit so many women and girls in some of the most remote parts of Nepal as well as the wider community.
It has taken 90 days for Vivienne Arkell and Joanne Chapman to walk from Land’s End to John o’Groats with the support of their friends Tracy and Jason.
They have covered an astonishing 1,235 miles, persevering through rain, shine and numerous pairs of boots!
Their determination has raised an amazing £2,354 between them for CITCNepal!
The end to end challenge officially finished at 4pm on Thursday 29th June at Duncansby Head (the most north easterly point in the British Isles). Check out Vivienne’s fascinating and highly entertaining blog to read more about their adventure and to see their stunning photographs that really show off Britain’s great beauty.
Their efforts will help us to continue to make a difference to children in some of the most remote areas of Nepal by building classrooms and delivering a high quality education. Read more about our projects here.
Click on Image to view 2016 Accounts
In May 2005, a group of 8 people trekked together to Everest Base Camp. They were led by Dawa Geljen Sherpa, a Sherpa whose family have lived in Lukla for generations. Son of a Yak farmer, Dawa learnt early how tough it can be getting on in life without the benefit of schooling. His father died when Dawa was still in primary school and Dawa left school to start work to help support his mother and family. His dream to improve the education of children in his home town of Lukla became a reality when he met Davie Woods, Ian Lowrie, Graham MacDonald, Linza Corp and Michele Findlay on their life changing trip to Everest Base Camp.
From the inspiration of Dawa and the energy of the group, Classrooms in the Clouds was born and on 29th August 2007 Classrooms in the Clouds was registered as a charity with the Charity Commission.
Vivienne Arkell and Joanne Chapman with the support of their friends Tracy and Jason have now reached Scotland! They have remained in good spirits, appreciating the beauty of the coutryside even during torrential downpours and rough terrains! Check out Vivienne’s blog for more stunning photographs as well as an entertaining commentary of their endeavours.
Vivienne and Joanne's amazing efforts will enable children from some of the poorest parts of Nepal to access a good education. Find out more about our exciting projects here.
On the 29th May 2017 Passang Geljen Sherpa completed the Everest marathon, the highest marathon in the world! Starting at the Everest base camp (17,598ft) and finishing at Namche Bazaar (11306ft), it covers 42.195 km over rough, gruelling mountain trails. He finished in an amazing 8 hours 29 minutes!
Passang is passionate about providing a good quality education for children in Nepal. This is an area that resonates strongly with him as sadly, his father died when he was just 9 years old. This left his family with no income and no means to enable the children to go school. His own experiences have inspired him to make a difference, to provide children from some of the poorest parts of Nepal with the opportunities to succeed and reach their potential.
His fantastic efforts have raised over £6000 for Classrooms in the Clouds. This will contribute towards our exciting Kangel school project, where we will be building 6 earthquake resistant classrooms as well as providing clean water and gender specific toilets. Work is already underway, find out more here
Donations can still be made click here
Vivienne Arkell and Joanne Chapman with the support of their friends Tracy and Jason are walking the length of Great Britain to support education and build a better future for children in Nepal.
Since setting off from Lands End on April 1st, the team have overcome challenges, worn through the soles of numerous pairs of boots, and persevered through a good mixture of British weather including wild, wet and windy conditions but have nevertheless remained in good spirits and shown drive and determination to reach John o’Groats, covering 1,300 miles!
It was a pleasure for CITC trustees Mike and Sarah Hagen to join them on Sunday as they headed from Buxton to Birch Vale, even Scout the dog came to show her support.
Vivienne, who has been keeping a blog of the adventure (click here) explains how she was Insipred by Dawa Geljen Sherpa, founder of CITCNepal who, motivated by his own experience of having no school available in his hometown as a child, was determined to make a difference for others. His experiences have shaped CITCNepal’s aspirations to enable learning opportunities for children in some of the most remote and underprivileged parts of Nepal, to build schools in their own villages, keep families together and encourage children to stay in school for longer to achieve a brighter future and break the cycle of poverty.
Congratulations to Sally Walters and Ruth Hill for completing the Miners Trial Spring Triathlon on the 14th May at Severn Centre, Highley, in Bridgnorth. This is a huge achievement involving a 400 swim (in an outdoor pool) an 18k cycling route around the Severn Valley and finally a 5k run along the River Severn.
Sally and Ruth are part of a partnership between Classrooms In The Clouds and schools in Dudley, West Midlands to raise money to build classrooms in Nepal.
Their fundraising efforts through this event have raised £530 for CITCNepal and will contribute towards the creation of much needed Early Years classrooms, where children can develop a love of learning in earthquake resistant, safe learning spaces.
Hundreds of primary school children in the Dudley area supporting their peers in Nepal through some amazing and creative fundraising events. Sponsored walks, non-uniform days and many more unusual ideas are being held to help some of the most underprivileged children in the world. Read more about our Sister Schools here
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Providing clean water and gender specific toilets with 4 new classrooms has provided unique facilities for young students at Shree Sagarmatha High School. Over 750 students from age 3 upwards attend the school. In a remote and underprivileged village, many children find work and support their famililies by carrying out heavy farming tasks and fetching and carrying. Education can break the cycle of poverty and the provision of good quality classrooms, dedicated teachers and healthy environments is a huge factor in keeping students at school.
CITCNepal has supported the building of 4 classrooms, gender specific toilets and clean water. Significant funding from an International Rotary Grant and the British Foreign Schools Society provided a springboard to other fundraising by CITC. The quality of the building is plain for all to see and attracted many complimentary comments from the local community. The excitement in tasting clean freshly filtered water was inspiring. No one in the village will have tasted filtered water from a tap in their village. The village's common water source runs in the main street from a standpipe and people use this to wash, cook and drink from. The District Education Official has said in various settings that the CITCNepal supported project is the model for all other NGOs to follow!
Click on image for link to International Soroptimists Education to Lead
We are delighted to confirm the success of the Classrooms In The Clouds bid to the International Soroptimists Educate to Lead Campaign. Inspired and led by the Soroptomists' International President, Yvonne Simpson, through her Education to Lead Programme, the bid will facilitate the CITC "Inspire Programme" with intensive and focused training for at least 10 CITC sponsored teachers and more than 1200 girls. Trustee Dawa Geljen Sherpa, pictured right with Yvonne Simpson and members of the Kathmandu Soroptimists.
As well as Intensive Teacher Training and mentoring, CITC will be able to provide follow up support through 2 Educational Support Workers working in the classroom alongside CITC teachers in at least 10 schools in the remote regions of Nepal. Developing child centred learning approaches using the 'Train the Trainer', model CITC will also be supporting First Aid and Menstrual Health training to benefit women and girls in village schools and support more enlightened approaches to female health and welfare. Involving the whole school community, CITC's Inspire programme will support gender equality in schools and develop strong female role models through CITC's female teachers and CITC partners in the school and village communities.
We are deeply thankful to the Soroptimists Educate to Lead Campaign and the support of Chester Soroptimists, in particular Anne MacDonald pictured left with CITC Trustee Dawa Geljen Sherpa. Chester Soroptiimists have championed the CITC initiatives and we look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with the International Soroptimists Community. Thank you very much.
Ueli Steck pictured here with his friend and climbing partner Tenjing Sherpa
Ueli Steck's tragic passing on Mount Everest on 30th April 2017 reminds everyone what a perilous endeavour mountaineering is. Ueli is known as one of the most accomplished climbers of his generation and reknowned for his speed and athleticism. The world has lost a master in the world of alpine mountaineering and a dearly loved friend, partner, son and brother.
Tenjing Sherpa, his close friend and climbing partner, had been in Lukla recovering from frostbite to his fingers and was preparing to rejoin Ueli to complete their latest expedition to climb the route connecting Everest and Lhotse, when the accident occurred. Tenjing had the Classrooms In The Clouds' banner with him to take to the summit of Everest in celebration of the 10 years CITC have worked in the Solukhumbu building classrooms and championing teachers. Tenjing, has summited Everest 3 times and like so many Nepalese mountaineers, works daily in the treacherous world of the icefalls of Everest. Each year Tenjing prepares for the Everest season knowing that his job is to navigate the mountain and face each challenge with selfless courage. Husband of CITC Education Support Worker, Mingma Chhamji Sherpa, Tenjing described Ueli as "my best climbing partner and friend".
On Sunday 30th April, Tenjing accompanied Ueli back to Kathmandu on the saddest journey of all. Our thoughts and prayers reach out to Ueli's family and friends and all those in the mountaineering community who have lost a shining star. Ueli's legacy will live on forever.
Cheshire Apprentice Firefighters are currently fundraising for CITC. They will be going out to Nepal in April 2018 and the money they are raising will fund building new classrooms.
Over the last few months they have been busy, dedicating their time to raise funds and to engage with the public about CITC. It is great to see the commitment and enthusiasm shown by the apprentices in order to provide learning opportunities for children in Nepal.
Kate Roberts joined CITCNepal Team in March 2017 and works alongside Sarah Hagen to provide news and information for CITCNepal supporters and donors. A trained Primary School Teacher, Kate works part time with CITCNepal and keeps in touch with everyone sharing good news and updates of all things CITC.
Sonam Sherpa CITCNepal Engineer (centre)
Sonam, CITCNepal Engineer's home town of Lukla has a clean water system that feeds all homes and shops in the town designed and installed under the professional expertise of Sonam. Sonam is part of an innovative and cutting edge group of young business people in Lukla who have been responsible for many strong initiatives that are changing the lives of the local people. They are the new generation of young educated leaders who have the skills and the knowledge to build strong futures for their communities.
Dawa Yangee CITCNepal Sponsored Teacher, Principal of Himalayan English Boarding School, Lukla
"I am very much well here with the kids in Himalayan English Boarding School (HEBS). I did my teaching at Lukla School for the past 2 years and I joined HEBS recently. About my family, my father left us when I was 12 years old. At the time my brother was not even a year old. And now we are six members including my mother,2 sisters,1 brother, my daughter and me. My home town is Lukla. I stay with my mom and daughter here in Lukla. I did a lot of struggle during my past 26 years. At the time of schooling, I kept dreaming of my father and thought to do a lot for my family. What I came to know is that, without a father a family is a burden. I completed my plus two from Xavier International and I joined Goldengate for my Bachelor but unfortunately due to some financial problem I left in the middle of the session. I have a responsibility to look after all my family. With the earning, here in Lukla, I pay for my sister's college fee and get stuffs that is needed in the house. I wanted to teach to make difference in children's lives and help guide them to make the right choices in life. I would love to be with the kids because it gets me linked to my old days. I would love to share my feelings and would love to listen to what they say which makes more connected within the teacher and child behavior. I feel proud to say that I am one of the CITC sponsored teacher because CITC has overcome with lots of teacher training that I have never gained before. It also has helped me in encouraging doing a lot of things beside teaching. I always wanted to be a part of CITC family and now I am which I usually dreamt of. Mingma Chhamji Miss has always supported me and motivated me forward from being failure. Thank you so much for making me a part of CITC family."
Passang Geljen Sherpa, 30, is running The Everest Marathon on May 29th 2017. It is the highest Marathon on the Planet starting at Everest Base Camp, 5,545m and finishing in the Sherpa town of Namche Bazaar at 3,446m over rough mountain trails. It is one of the most gruelling races in the world.
Passang knows from first hand what it means to fight for an education after his father died when he was 9 years old. Nephew of the Founder of Classrooms in the Clouds, Dawa Geljen Sherpa, Passang says "I am extremely proud to be brought up in my Everest region. I want to be part of this 42km marathon race to raise funds for the kids through Classrooms In The Clouds..."
When Passang's father died the family had no income and they could no longer go to school as mum could not afford to send all the children to school on her meagre earnings. After hearing the tragic story of Passang's father's passing, trekking clients' of Passang's father agreed to sponsor the education of one of the children. Passang was sent to boarding school in Kathmandu to continue his education. During his school holidays he worked as an assistant guide to help the family out.
Dedication and hard work meant that Passang graduated from University with a degree in 2008. He now runs his own travel company, Sherpa Holidays and in May 2013, at 26 years old, he fulfilled a lifetime ambition and climbed Everest.
It is 10 years since CITCNepal was founded by the charismatic Dawa Geljen Sherpa and our celebrations are focusing on the heart of the communities that are the spirit of CITCNepal. In that time we have built over 40 classrooms and sponsored and trained more than 10 Nepalese teachers. Please consider sponsoring Passang and Tenjing who know only too well the real life-changing impact of having an education. Classrooms In The Clouds builds classrooms and sponsors and trains teachers in some of the most remote regions of the Everest region. Over 95% of all donations are spent in the villages and reaches those children that need it the most. Thank you very much.
Building classrooms, sponsoring and training teachers and providing clean water and gender specific toilets really does change the future for thousands of children in the remote villages of Nepal. Classrooms In The Clouds ensures that over 95% of donations are spent in Nepal at grassroots level in partnership with the local communities.
Chhiring Tamang Starts at Shree Lukla Lower Secondary School
by Samden Sherpa, Education Development Officer
"I started school and I felt so excited to share my knowledge with the children in small grades. The first day at school truly made me happy. I’ll keep my enthusiasm high all time and give my best.”
Chhiring Tamang recently sponsored teacher with Classrooms in the Clouds. She was selected for the post of Lower Secondary Teacher at Lukla Lower Secondary School to replace Mingma Chhamji Sherpa who has now been promoted as the Education Support Worker for CITC.
Chhiring is 24 and is pursuing her final years Bachelors Degree in Business Management. Chhiring is also interested in sports and other extra curriculum. She has experience of being Master of Ceremony at different local programs. She is extrovert, friendly and very passionate about teaching. She recalls her school days when she would look at her teachers and dream of being like one of her favorite teachers. She thinks a teacher has a very respected life in the society and also is responsible for the better growth of every child at a school. She shares that she applied for the post of CITC sponsored teacher to live her dreams of becoming a good teacher.
In her Demo Lesson she was confident and interacted very well with the children. She was well prepared for her lesson and had arranged adequate teaching materials for her class. She is loud and clear when she talks to the students. In fact the students liked the way she was very audible and clear when she was delivering her lesson. She began her First day at School on 8th November 2016 and she says “ I started school today and I felt so excited to share my knowledge with the children in small grades. The first day at school truly made me happy. I’ll keep my enthusiasm high all time and give my best.”
We are often asked about the history of CITC Nepal and our plans for the future. This document gives an overview of Classrooms In The Clouds and helps describe where and how we operate and will be regularly updated. I hope you find it useful
Click link or image below to view
Click on image for Autumn 2016 Newsletter
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Gita Basnet, Principal of Shree Bakhapalam, checking for vital signs
- Bimal Kumar Rai recalled his experience on how he could help one of the injured people in his village that had broken his leg, falling from the tree. The splinting technique he had learnt from the training had helped him provide better First Aid to the victim before he was taken to the hospital.
- Guna Raj Gautam, the principal from Sotang Lower Secondary shared his experience of organizing a class on First Aid to his students from senior grades.
First Aid Refresher Training 2016
Organized by: Classrooms in the Clouds
Date: 13th September 2016
Venue: Shree Bakhapalam Secondary School
Participating School’s Number: 11
Number of Participants: 26
Reported By: Samden Sherpa
The number of victims in Nepal earthquake exposed the vulnerability of Nepali community against any probable natural disaster and the severity of insufficient paramedical personnel in the country required in time of immediate rescue and relief operations. More than 8700 individuals lost lives and 2000 thousand were wounded. Ministry of Health and Population had reported that more than 1085 health facilities were damaged among which the majority were the primary health care centers, village health posts and birthing centers. It’s predicated the incapacity of the country to provide immediate rescue and paramedics to the severely injured during the disaster had caused 20% of the total death and many of the victims in the remote and rural areas were compelled to try the local and traditional remedies in lack of medicines and health facilities. The situation reflected on the significance of locally working organization like Classrooms in the Clouds to train and aware communities at local level to prepare communities ready and responsible to face similar or any disaster prone situation that could arise any time any where.
The communities that Classrooms in the Clouds works with are mostly in remote and rural part of Solukhumbu and Dolkha. In some of the places, villagers have to walk for 2-4 hours to access the nearest health facilities. Lack of education and knowledge of modern medical services induce people to yet try the ancient medial remedies and follow the witch doctors for treatment. Every year there are cases of many deaths due to unavailable timely medical treatments and people’s false belief over the traditional medical practice like dhami and jhakris. Even, the schools in the communities aren’t well facilitated with basic health services like first aid service, menstrual health management for girls and other health related basic capacity required at school. Also, none of the education program of Ministry of Education prioritizes on training the teachers on First Aid or other primary health care awareness at school level trainings. In such state, the Classrooms in the Clouds organized First Aid Training was dedicated to aware the teachers on scientific approaches and practice of First Aid, saving lives through proper first aid service, controlling any medical situation from worsening in times of any accidents, natural disasters or similar situation arising in a school environment and the community, and to develop local capacity as a First Aiders to benefit the community in time of any medical emergencies.
The teachers in the community had very well received the First Aid Training. More than 70 teachers from 15 different schools in the Lower Solukhumbu benefited from the training. The training had covered themes like, health and school environment, food and nutrition for better education, preventing and curing basic causes of diarrhea and vomiting, First aid and its principle, prevention and hygiene, practical lab vital signs and assessment, treating cuts, wounds, bleeding, musculo-skeletal injuries, moving patient, treating burns, choking, snake and insects bites and women health.
Some of the teachers had read or heard about the First Aid treatment system and had also practiced it but had never had opportunities to practice and learn them so, they weren’t sure of the practices they were carrying on. Bijaya Kumar Nachhiring, one of the teachers shared that the training was very effective for correcting the false practices they were carrying on. He said before the training, they usually hit on the neck region of the spinal cord thinking that a choking person would spit out the food or item that was stuck in the windpipe. They realized how dangerous the method was after learning the correct technique. Bhagwati Raut shares her experience how women had always had difficulties dealing with their health issues at school where majority of the teachers were male and appreciated the training team for including the topic women’s health during the training. She felt the male teachers would show more concern and respect to women health issues after receiving the training. Mani Kumar Rai, one of the CitC sponsored teacher shared he was very delighted to have received the training as the training didn’t only empower him with the skills to be a first aider but he could also enhance his skills by facilitating one of the trainings at another schools.
One year post the training, Classrooms in the Clouds organized the Refresher Training at Shree Bakhapalam Secondary School in Sotang. Participants from 11 schools of Solukhumbu participated in the training program. Teachers had walked for 3 days to participate at the training from schools like, Himalayan English Boarding School and Lukla Lower Secondary School. Few of the teachers were new although only the previous participants were called. They shared they had been provided the opportunity in absence of the teachers who had previously attended the training and were very excited to learn about First Aid in spite it was only a refresher training.
On the way to Solukhumbu, the trainers’ team, including Samden Sherpa and Nurse Liza Nargakoti, noticed more than 20 landslides. Some of them were so big that it had obstructed the highway and vehicles were stranded for hours at many points. The news on the injuries and death caused by the landslides all over the hilly region was constantly played by the radio. We could notice people transporting the sick people on stretcher and doko where no vehicles could move. The need of the Training was really highlighted by those scenes of the monsoon. And when the training team reached the training site, we could notice the building construction work going on, in the school ground. The construction work on the site exposed the children to the risk of accidents and injuries as the rocks, and debris from the work site were all over the ground. This reflected the need of proper orientation and training on better and safe school environment and the First Aid Training.
The Refresher training was focused on bringing back the key points from the previous training and revisiting the practical exercises on First Aid to ensure the participants were up to date and correct on the First Aid services and training they provided in their schools and communities. The trainees were learning the principle and practices of First Aid in-group and individual. They could revise the very necessary components of First Aid like, properly assessing the victims for injuries, dealing with unconscious patient, respiratory problems, choking, cuts, wounds and bleeding, treating head and spinal injuries, fractures and sprains and transporting patients. During the training, the participants demonstrated their abilities on above topics, the trainers corrected any error and mal-practices demonstrated by the trainees, and the trainees also had visual rounds to check their methods, learning and reapply the proper ways.
During the training the participants also reflected on how the training had contributed to them at personal and community level. The principal of Shree Bakhapalam reported that previously only one or two teacher could help students who were injured and required First Aid, it was difficult at times when there were cases of injuries and the responsible teacher was not present at school, but since the First Aid training, every teachers have the capacity to provide first aid service. Students have fast access to First Aid Service at school with the First Aid Material provided along with the training. Sometimes, even the community members approach the school for first aid service. Bimal Kumar Rai recalled his experience on how he could help one of the injured people in his village that had broken his leg, falling from the tree. The splinting technique he had learnt from the training had helped him provide better First Aid to the victim before he was taken to the hospital. Guna Raj Gautam, the principal from Sotang Lower Secondary shared his experience of organizing a class on First Aid to his students from senior grades.
Many of the participants reflected the training wass very important for the communities where the health-post and health services were difficult to access. The participants concluded that the training could be improved by including more participants from other schools; increase the training duration, as one day wasn’t enough to revisit all the topics. Some of the teachers shared their willingness to participate in the upcoming training could be boosted with stipend for their lunch and transportation as they had to pay their expenses for the participation on their own. The school principal’s did reflect that despite their willingness they had had very few opportunities to conduct the training among their students on regular basis, so they would look forward to train the students in child club and other responsible positions in school leadership board to make sure the knowledge was passed on to the children and their communities.
Overall, the training was well participated by the trainees. Excitingly, more schools than assumed number participated in the training. The participants could practice most of the contents in spite of the limited time. Most of the teachers had carried on their previous learning and demonstrated their skills. The female participants were showing their leadership to lead the demonstrations and encourage the male members to join them. The teachers had the excitement to carry on the proper First Aid practice in the school and community and possessed the zeal to learn more advanced First Aid Method and Topics in the upcoming trainings.
Samden Sherpa Education Development Officer
Women and men from the Village of Bung help with the preparation of the foundations during the monsoon rains
Mr Ang Gombu Sherpa, Treasurer Classrooms in the Clouds, Nepal, Report from Shree Sagarmatha Higher Secondary School
"....During my 6 days in Bung, not even a single day was a clear day and it was raining all day long. Still the construction team kept working and we managed to transport the building materials. The monsoon was supposed to be at end but we received cats and dogs even at the end of the season, it has made it tough to collect the building materials and also work on site......."
I’ll like to update few things from the Construction Site, Bung. I was at Bung for about a Week beginning from 6th September from Kathmandu and returned back on 19th September. The purpose of my visit was to transport around 300 kg worth construction materials that we had to buy in Kathmandu to proceed with the building works in Bung. Those stuffs were not available in Salleri, Bung, Sotang or the local market there. It was mostly the heavy iron knot bolt and nails, iron plain sheets, angle for the truss and more metals that were required for the building work. Cements and rods for the initial construction was available in Sotang so we have been buying it from there. I had to stay in Salleri for two nights to receive those materials. The monsoon rain was really challenging to transport the building materials to the work site.
The construction work at Bung is being led by the CitC Technician/Engineer, Sonam. I was at the Building site, I could observe how professionally the work was being done at the site. There are 16 full time labors on the site employed by Snoam/his company Khumbu Sherpa Construction. They were starting with digging the foundation when I was there. The site observation, construction designs and plans had already been acted by Sonam on the site. We have also managed the local contribution in proper and effective way this time.
We had a clear plans to record the School’s contribution, coordinate the purchase of building materials and appointment of local labors in the construction team to ensure participation of locals in the construction work. During my stay, the coordination for collection of local materials, and the external building materials for the foundation work was done. Now, Our site observer, Dandi Sherpa (CitCN Committee member) has been actively being involved in coordinating the SMC and Construction Committee to pull in the building materials and other local contribution. The construction work has been going on smoothly and we are almost to tying the DPC band for the classrooms.
During my 6 days in Bung, not even a single day was a clear day and it was raining all day long. Still the construction team kept working and we managed to transport the building materials. The monsoon was supposed to be at end but we received cats and dogs even at the end of the season, it has made it tough to collect the building materials and also work on site. Especially, the rain has obstructed the extraction of sand from the river and transportation of building materials like cement and rod due to the landslides on the way. The workers have used tarpaulins to cover the construction site and keep working in spite of the rain. Must appreciate the work they have been doing. We even thought of stopping the construction work and focusing on the collection of building materials but the positive response of the committee has built our confidence to carry on our work in spite of the challenges. So we’ll still be proceeding with the construction work.
4 New Classrooms and toilets, nearly completed, at Shree Sagarmatha Higher Secondary School, Bung
Click on image for more photos
Thanks to an International Global Grant partnered by North Wirral Rotary, UK and Dilli Bazar Rotary Kathmandu and grants from BFSS building work has now finished at Shree Sagarmatha Higher Secondary School, Bung. In partnership with Classrooms in the Clouds, the project provides 4 earthquake resistant classrooms and clean water and gender specific toilets. The opening ceremony for the new classrooms is on 14th April 2017. For report prepared for BFSS about the project please click here:
Shree Sagarmatha Higher Secondary School - Bung by Samden Sherpa, Education Development Officer, CITC
Basic Education and Literacy – Shree Sagarmatha Secondary School was established in 1954 AD. The school was named after Nepali name of the highest peak of the world, Everest. The school lies towards the South- East of Solukhumbu in a village called Bung. It serves the population of the village ward no: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, for the Secondary Education (grade 9 and 10) whereas as it mostly benefits the community of ward no 3,4,5,6 for Lower Secondary level (grade 1 to 8)
The school got formal recognition as a primary school from the Government of Nepal. Along with the recognition the government supported teachers and constructed 6-roomed school to improve the education facility of the school. The school remained as primary school for many years although there were enough students to start the Lower Secondary Grade. Many students who completed the primary level had to move out of the village to another school for their higher studies. Those students who were financially incapable had no option but to drop out school.
The condition remained same till multi-party democracy was introduced in the country and the political change led by the Public Revolution also brought transformation in the education system at Bung. The school was able to attain the Lower Secondary Status and most of the children were benefited with the introduction of the lower secondary grade teaching. It thus inspired the school to attain secondary status. Now the school has been running as a Secondary School and has been serving over 700 students. There are 21 teachers serving the school among which 14 are paid by government and 7 are paid a lesser salary through the fundraising efforts of the local community. The school runs English medium Classes from grade 1-5. Since the number of students per class exceeds 40, the classes have been divided into sections and now the school runs 16 classes. Despite the remoteness and rural setting the school also has the facilities of library, computer lab and science lab for the students.
The school is in a very poor state of repair. With the exception of 3 recently built classrooms, the remaining 18 are well below recommended Nepalese government standards. Before the earthquakes, they desperately needed replacing with suitable provision for a child’s education. The earthquake inflicted more damage on already unsuitable buildings. Along with that there is minimal toilet facilities with no specific provision for young girls. The water, as is the case in most areas of Nepal, is not clean and is responsible for disease and ill heath amongst children. The school has 21 teachers but only 14 are government funded with the local community funding a minimal salary for the rest. Since April last year, Classrooms in the Clouds, has sponsored 2 teachers still leaving the community to fund 5 others.
It is a measure of the commitment of the local community to education that they find money for the teachers from what is already a poverty existence. This commitment extends to the children many of whom travel long distances to school. The only way to travel is by foot and it is common that children travel between one and two hours in each direction between home and school. Children and grown-ups place a high value on education.
The school is located in the hilly region of eastern Nepal and is 1600 meter above the sea level. The school is located toward the south East of the Solukhumbu district, which is also the home to the highest mountain of the world, Mt. Everest. The school is almost 52 kms away from headquarter of the district and the nearest airport. The village shares its border with Sotang in the west, Gudel in the East, Cheskam in the North and Jubing in the South.
The school or the village is not connected to road transportation. The school is amidst the Hunga River in the East and Vhuwa River in the North. 88 KW of electricity has been generated from the Vhuwa River. The school area is also a trekking trail to Mera Peak for the trekkers from Dhankuta, Hile, Tumlingtar, Arun Valley.
The catchment area of the school is occupied by 90% of the Kulungs. They have their own language, customs, religion and tradition. The Kulung are Kirat by religion and celebrates occasions like Nagi Puja, Bhume Puja and other religious ceremonies. The major festivals of the Kulung are Chakchakur (New Year), Dashain, Tihar, Udhauli and Ubhauli. Besides the Kulung Rai, Nachhiring Rai, Kami, Damai, Sherpa and other ethnic groups also habilitate the area.
There are total of 982 households in the VDC. Most of the inhabitants are farmers by tradition and in modern days the villagers are attracted to the tourism sector. Many youths and teenagers even leave school for quick money in the tourism profession. Some of the people are skillful carpenter and mason.
Social Construction Chart
|Indigenous Population||Main Occupation||Religion||Major festival|
|Kulung Rai||Agriculture||Kirat||Chandi, Chakchakur|
|Nachhiring Rai||Agriculture||Kirat||Chandi, Chakchakur|
|Kami||Agriculture and metallurgy||Hindu||
Population of the School Catchment Area
|Village Ward No.||No. Of Household||Population||Male||Female|
Source: National Census 2068
School Catchment Area:
School Catchment Area refers to the areas from where the students come to study at the school. Students from all the wards of the V.D.C (Bung) come to study at the school. In Primary level, most students come from ward number: 3,4,5 and 6 whereas in secondary level students from all other wards including the neighboring village of Sotang and Cheskam. After the completion of their school studies, students go to the neighboring village for their higher studies and some even migrate to Kathmandu for their studies.
School Buildings – Classrooms in the Clouds are supporting a classroom building project. They plan to rebuild 4 classrooms as the first stage of a medium term project. Currently 14 of the 21 classrooms were built from mud and stone and were in need of replacement even before the earthquakes struck. Two thirds of its school buildings suffered major damage meaning that temporary learning shelters (tarpaulins and tents) have been erected to provide safer classrooms but these do not present a long term solution.
Samden Sherpa September 2015
Click on image to see photographs of Menstrual Health Training at Shree Bakhapalam
Samden Sherpa, Education Development Manager CitC's email to http://www.daysforgirls.org an International NGO making menstrual kits for women and girls in remote corners of the world.
Respected Usha Ji and all the Members of Days for Girls,
Click on image to see local village of Mirge and Opening of the newly reconstructed classrooms
The village of Mirge is North East of Kathmandu and South West of Lukla. It was very badly effected by the earthquakes last year. The pictures in the gallery above show the temporary buildings and destroyed homes of the local community. Friend of CitC, Charlie Bartlett, from Merseyside, UK, has been working with families in Mirge to provide temporary shelters for the village. With the usual resiliance and fortitude they continue to farm the land and keep their lives going as best they can.
Their local primary school, Shree Majhgaun, is now finished. Rebuilt by Classrooms in the Clouds it incorporates reinforced lintels and ties for earthquake resistance.
The opening of the rebuilt classrooms took place on 6th June 2016 and was attended by CItC Trustee Dawa Geljen Sherpa, CitC NGO committee members including Ang Ghombu Sherpa and CitC Education Development Manager, Samden Sherpa. We are proud to be able open a second project just 13 months after the second earthquake and look forward to following the progress of the students from the village and their teachers in the coming months.
Thank you to our donors, Kirfaid, US, New Hampshire Nepalese Community US and donations from so many people around the world to the CitC Earthquake Recovery Fund.
Click on the image below to see just some of our recent donors and volunteers.
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO SUPPORTS CITC
raising money and volunteering their time.
The tradition of Chhaupadi, popular in western-nepalese hindu communities, means that in some rural areas it is common for girls to be excluded from
interaction with the family for up to 6-10 days during their periods, childbirth can also result in a 10 day exclusion. Every month girls are separated from their
families, forbidden from looking at the sun, touching fruit and flowers and even staying in their own homes. During their periods girls are considered to
be ‘impure’ or ‘contaminated’.
It comes from a superstition of impurity, with the logic that if women touches things it will pass on that impurity and provide bad-luck or illness. Women are barred from consuming meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables through the fear that their menstruation will ruin the produce.
Instead they are forced to live off rice, salt and dry foods. This can be detrimental to girls' education, mental/physical health and role in the community. Chhaupadi was outlawed by the Supreme Court of Nepal in 2005, however it is still commonplace in rural communities.
Manisha, 14, says “I stayed at someone else’s house during my first period. I wasn’t allowed to go to school and, on top of that, I wasn’t allowed to even read a book. It was a wrong belief that we shouldn’t study during menstruation”
“The silence and stigma that surround menstruation impinges on girls’ everyday lives. Furthermore, when there are no safe, private toilets in schools, girls often skip school during their period, or drop out of school altogether once they reach adolescence. With nowhere hygienic to clean sanitary pads or wash, women and girls also risk infection. Being able to deal with periods in a hygienic and dignified way is crucial to women’s wellbeing. It helps women feel that they are able to play a full role in society, no matter what time of the month." - Barbara Frost, Water Aid
Thanks to the wonderful support of the organisation, Days for Girls , Classrooms in the Clouds were able to take out over 120 menstrual kits for Shree
Bakhapalam Lower Secondary School. We will be trialling the kits and meeting women and girls from the community to discuss the impact of menstruation on
day to day life. In addition to this, we have currently made a bid to the Hilden Trust for money to build gender specific toilets and provide clean water at the
school. In collaboration with John Moores University, Liverpool, CitC are collecting feedback and analysing the impact of improved facilities for girls at school
and how the barriers around the tradition of Chhaupadi can be broken down.
Shree Chandrodaya Primary School, Thulodhunga, Basa now has clean filtered water and separate boys' and girls' toilets thanks to a grant from the British Foreign Schools Society, BFSS . The work was completed at the end of May 2016. The filter system is a very simple arrangement perfected by an Engineer Sonam Sherpa from Lukla, Nepal. He has already created a larger filtration system that provides clean water to all the homes in Lukla. Sonam designed a smaller scheme for Classrooms in the Clouds and the design costs and training were supported by a donation from Andy and Anne Matson. This filtration scheme will form the basis for all the future filtered water systems for Classrooms in the Clouds schools. Sonam trained the Head Teacher from Shree Chandrodaya to fit the small tanks and gravel and sand which filters the water from the mountain spring just above the school. The water is then brought down to holding tanks just behind the school by a system of pipes, mostly buried in the ground. The water can then be open and shut from the holding tanks and excess water is piped down into the village. Bhim, the Head Teacher returned from his training in Lukla and was able to fit the tanks and pipes that now provide filtered water to the school. All future maintenance and repair work can now be done locally thanks to Bhim's training and knowledge.
Click on Image for Photo Gallery
12 Teachers from CitC partner schools attended the Spring 2016 training held at the Himalayan English Boarding School in Lukla. Many teachers came from all over the lower Solu Khumbu, walking for up to 2 days to reach Lukla over their weekend extended holiday. It was the second training for Classrooms in the Clouds sponsored teachers and they had plenty of opportunities to catch up and share the experiences and challenges of teaching in remote villages. Bringing with them "found items" such as bottle tops, sticks, plastic containers and shiny paper, we spent time looking at how to create interesting lessons using "found practical items".
Teaching materials are in very short supply and in many cases even text books are not always available. Using whiteboards made from laminated white paper, teachers learnt how to support children's learning through active participation and how whiteboards can be used as a quick and easy assessment tool.
Understanding of how meeting children's physical needs can help them to learn more easily, we explored Mazlow's hierarchy of needs using pictures of children to understand how fear, anxiety, hunger and lack of confidence makes learning more difficult for students.
We looked at how simple lesson plans help to organise lessons and ensure continuity of learning and how classrooms rules create a more positive and collaborative enviroment especially when they are discussed and agreed by teachers and students together.
Having the opportunity to look round Shree Lukla Lower Secondary School and spend time in their library and computer suite, enabled teachers to see a new learning environment and how different teaching settings can help the learning experience. Head Teacher, Bikram Kumar Rajbhandari showed teachers round the school and shared inspiring words of wisdom 'leave politics and personal anxieties outside the door of the classroom and focus on the education of your students'.
Facilitated by Samden Sherpa, Education Development Manager, and Sarah Hagen, Trustee and Education Adviser, ensured that the focus of the training matched closely to the needs of the teachers and their students.
Samden introduced the new job description for the teachers and linked it to the CitC appraisal system which will be implemented this year to address individual teacher needs and support teachers in their individual settings.
Thank you to all the CitC teacher team for making this a truly valuable and successful few days of training.
Feedback from the teachers has been very positive and they have been putting their new skills into practise in the classrooms.
Namaste mam. I m sorry for late post. Hear are some pc from class nursery b to class one. Children are very excited to write on white board. And from our training, starting alphabet writing start from c is one of the most achievable method. Thank you so much for those new skill for us.
Students are so excited to learning by using materials and they understand better then before. With love Mingma
after training useful teaching method applying in the library and classroom. Mani & Chhimi Thank you"
Click image for Photo Gallery
Click Image to view Spring 2016 Newsletter
Chris Jensen Burke and Phambi Rai click on image for more photos of Phambi
Phambi Rai is the most recent teacher to become a Classrooms in the Clouds Sponsored Teacher. She joined the CitC team in September 2015 and is sponsored by Chris Jensen Burke, an inspirational mountaineer and supporter of equality in education. In partnership with Timaru Girls High School in New Zealand and Chris, they have agreed an initial sponsorship of 3 years for Phambi. Phambi is 32 and has moved from Kathmandu where she taught in a Montessori School, to the remote village of Damku in Basa joining a team of 11 teachers at Padmakanya Lower Secondary School. It is hard for remote villages to recruit teachers because of the very isolated location and distance from Kathmandu. Phambi's young son Ayush is now a pupil at the school in Damku and enjoys seeing his mum everyday at school. Phambi's husband has moved back to the village too.
Phambi was educated at Shree Sagarmatha High School in Bung, where CITC sponsor 2 teachers and are building 4 new classrooms and providing clean water and gender specific toilets. She has a Batchelors degree in Health, Childhood Development and Social Studies. As well as being Montessori trained, Phambi is working hard to improve her English so that she can teacher the older children English in school. She teaches Science, Health and Mathematics. She is very happy to have moved back to rural Solukhumbu and is much nearer her family now.
Phambi teaching in the Montessori School in Kathmandu
The Story of a Library - Click on the image
Cathie Bremner, Student Progress Leader Y9 at St Lawrence Academy, Scunthorpe, has raised money for the new library at Shree Chandrodaya Primary School, Thulodhunga, Basa, Nepal. Getting up very early on Sunday mornings each week in all weathers, Cathie takes a car boot full of items donated to her from friends, family and neighbours to sell and raise money at Car Boot Sales for Classrooms in the Clouds. Cathie has raised money for other charities too including Help for Heros and Childreach. Following a trip to Nepal in 2014 to celebrate her 50th birthday, Cathie fell in love with Nepal and has been fundraising for Classrooms in the Clouds ever since. Raising over £4,000 Classrooms in the Clouds were able to provide books, book shelves, carpets and furniture for the library, training for teachers and have money to spare for another similar project.
Cathie travelled to Nepal during the February 2016 half term holiday. Walking for 2 days to Thulodhunga from Phaphlu airport with Samden Sherpa from CitC, they worked late into the evening for 2 days setting up the library and introducing the staff and students to library routines and book management. Cathie said: "We've had so much fun, didn't get finished most nights until 8 pm." Working by torchlight once the sun had gone down, Samden and Cathie were excited to see the reaction of the teachers and children to the new library resource.
Cathie is hoping to return to Nepal in May and spend more time in the village supporting the school. In the meantime, CitC will be conducting library training and literacy activities with CitC teachers and staff from Thulodhunga to help support the integration of libraries into day to day teaching and learning.
Click on Image to View Photo Gallery
Mirge is a region to the East of Kathmandu which can be reached by jeep on poor tracks which are almost impassable during the monsoon season. The local community live a simple life of subsistence farming relying on food stored from the summer crops to see them through the winter. So when the earthquakes devastated their village in the Spring of 2015 not only did they lose their homes and school, but many of the stored crops that would feed their families were lost too. The school that Classrooms in the Clouds built in 2013 was also destroyed.
Thanks to the amazing international response to the CitC Recovery Fund Appeal and the individual donations by Kirfaid the humanitarian organisation based in California, founded by Mark Kirwin in 2005, the New Hampshire Nepalese Community in USA, Subash Rai and individual donations from Jack Williamson from Australia, CitC are now in the process of rebuilding the classrooms at Shree Majhgaun Lower Secondary School with the support from the community. The local people have prepared the ground and salvaged and portered materials to the site in order that rebuilding work can begin.
Throughout Nepal, schools have provided the focus for the community to garner hope for the future. Schools have provided a daily continuity for families whose children have continued to attend their lessons many of which are being conducted under tents and tarpaulins following the destruction of classrooms.
"According to a UNICEF report, in the wake of a natural disaster, schools are essential to ensuring that education is not disrupted. Schools also provide protection from exploitation and abuse, and provide education on how to keep safe and healthy during a disaster. In crises in which they have worked, emBOLDen Alliances has noted that communities mark the day of schools reopening with joy and celebration and as a symbol of progress in recovery." (Emily Lawrence, M & E Specialist, Embolden Alliance)
The community plan to open the newly rebuilt classrooms in April 2016 and are working together to secure the future of their children's education in the local village.
Cheshire Fire Cadets in Partnership with CitC raise funds to Build a School In Nepal
Many buildings were destroyed in Nepal, in South Asia, during major earthquakes that happened in April and May of 2015.
People were left homeless and lots of children were unable to go to school.
A group of junior fire cadets in Cheshire raised money to support CitC build a school for one village that was hit. They went out to Nepal themselves to help complete it.
Here's their story. Click on image below.
The success of the Cheshire Fire Cadets' trip to Nepal can be measured in so many different ways both for the Cadets individually and personally and for the community of the village of Thulodhunga and the new school they fundraised to build. But the words of Dilkumar Rai a village elder expresses the feelings of the community in his Tribute letter: "People of Thulodhunga village of Basa VDC Solukhumbu Nepal are now speechless to express their extreme happiness regarding this incomparable financial and physical contribution with full of sympathetic devotions upon their eternal prosperity."
To read the full Tribute Letter please click on the image above.
Opening of Shree Chandrodaya Primary School
In the remote rural village of Thulodhunga, the latest 8 classroom CitC building project has been completed. The new classrooms replace a hopelessly inadequate 2 storey school built over 30 years ago
on land donated by one of the village Elders. During the 2nd of the earthquakes the children were in the old classrooms and had to flee just before the upper floor of the school collapsed. The new school was under construction at that point and was damaged but has been rebuilt incorporating improved
earthquake resistance measures supported by a generous grant from the British Foreign School Society (BFSS).
Supporting the building work during one of the most challenging years in Nepal's recent history involved a huge effort from the small village community. Their tireless efforts ensured that the school opened on schedule at the
end of October and children attended their first day in their new classrooms on 1 November.
The school has been built through a wonderful partnership with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service Fire Cadets. Over the last 2 years the Fire Cadets have raised money for the construction of the classrooms and the culmination of their efforts was to travel to the remote village of Thulodhunga for the Opening Ceremony of the new school. They were welcomed with an overwhelming programme of music, garlands and hospitality and treated to a cultural programme which included once in a lifetime opportunities to see and experience life in a remote rural village including ploughing with water buffalo and oxen and visiting the local homes, These wonderful insights into the simple lives of the subsistence farmer and a close knit rural community will stay with the inspirational young Fire Cadets for many years to come,
To put into perspective the efforts of the Fire Cadets and the local community; this is one of very few, if not the first, schools to be opened since the earthquakes – an amazing achievement. The Fire Cadets are wonderful ambassadors for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.
A special mention must go to the British Foreign School Society and its Director Imogen Wilde who not only provided earthquake resistance measures at a point where the earthquake had risked halting building work, but BFSS have also committed to supporting the provision of gender specific toilets, hygiene facilities and clean water.
Report from the Principal of Shree Majhgaun Lower Secondary School, Ramsaran Ghimire, following the earthquakes that caused devastating damage to both the school and village of Majhgaun.
Children helping to clear up after the earthquakes in April/May 2015. Click on image for more images of damaged school
" The recent earthquake of 25th April and 12th May caused a great harm to the country and it didn't leave our school either. Since our villages was quiet close to the epicenter of both the earthquake, more than 90% of the houses have collapsed completely. Even few of those standing are cracked and requires rebuilding except a very few recently built modern houses. Our school buildings were also badly damaged. Both the school block was damaged by the earthquake. The walls of the school had fallen down and the windows and doors had all be scattered around the school building. Engineers and government officials have declared that the building was safe to continue studies.
With support of few villagers and the teaching staffs we were able to built the Temporary Learning Shelters for the Students. Initially there wasn't any organization contributing to the school but later we received Tarpaulins from CitC, which we used to roof the TLS. Later after the inspection of the school by the CitC members, we were allowed to use the Tin Sheet from the old School roof to built the TLS and we did that. In the beginning days after the earthquake the school was closed for almost more than 15 days. Once we resumed the school, we were in no condition to start the school in midday due to the scorching sun. The TLS had not been divided into proper classrooms. The benches were positioned such that its arrangement divided the classrooms but there wasn't any walls or divisions to separate the class. So, the classes were very noisy and could be easily distracted. If one of the class didn't have a teacher the other class would find it difficult to study as the kids would just make noise and roam around the school ground. But eventually we had our TLS with tin roof sheet dividing the class.
After we had the TLS with TIN sheets separating the classrooms, now it at least looks like a room for the kids. Classes can be separated. Although we had the rooms divided, it is still not sound proof. Since its monsoon and we get lots of rain, teachers can rarely teach during heavy rain. The pattering sound of the rain on the tin roof wouldn't allow the student to listen to the teachers and the teachers to hear the students. In such times, the students go through their books and perform writing exercise.
Schools has been receiving aids from few organization as Earthquake Relief. We recently received aids from the District Education Office and the Constituent Relief Fund for the TLCs. Students have also received few aids. They have been provided with stationaries and scholarship supports by different organization. We have been receiving very limited fund but there isn't any organization except CitC who has clearly stated to contribute to the school reconstruction.We are not yet sure about the governments contribution for the school reconstruction. If our school is not build on time, our students and teachers will be compelled to study in the TLS.
Students are not happy with the present situation. Previously when our school building was standing, students had proper classrooms to study, They were safe from the rain and the sun. Students enjoyed coming to school. But now the students are traumatized by the earthquake. They don't like being inside the TLS for long time. The aftershock are still recurring so the kids don't come to school when there is an aftershock. The libraries and the students rooms have all been damaged so there isn't proper spot for them to read. Some kids like it at school because they have friends around and it keeps them away from the thought of the demolished buildings, aftershock and the pain they had from the earthquake. Even their study had been hampered a lot. Since the classes couldn't go regular during the earthquake, course have been left behind. They have thier first term exam from 10th of Bhadra this month but not everyone of them are mentally prepared for the exam "
The schools not in the capacity to protect its resources. Since both the building got destroyed, we fear about the teaching learning materials of school being stolen. Important document had been destroyed during the earthquake. We don't have any proper office for administrative work. We are teaching the students amidst the remains of the destroyed school building.
We have an urgent need of rebuilding the school. Thus, I would like to request all our donor friends to contribute to our school and help us rebuilt our school. Rebuilding the school can secure the educational rights of the children in the village and they will not have to dropout from the school. You are not just building a school, you are contributing to the future of the kids studying here. Your small support can help us assure the right of every children to get quality education."
Teaching In My View - by Indra Kulung Kumar Rai
"I feel proud when I become successful in making them understand the topics. I become very happy when at the end of the classes, I see the smiles at the lips of my children in the classroom. Good sleep I will be able to have at that night. "
A great job in teaching. Teach others, learn something by own self. Give and take activities/process really wonderful. Application of many approaches, techniques and methodologies, must be enjoyed by heart if a real teacher, hardworking teacher, creative teacher, diligent and self motivated, result oriented, energetic, smart plus dynamic teacher. A teacher should understand its children’s psychology and behave in the same manner. Any delinquencies occur should be handled without any kinds of torture if so, then, that is just a traditional act of teaching. Teachers are not the policemen. They are a guide, they are a counsellor, they are an advisor, they are a guardian and they are parents as well. Therefore, if the opportunity obtained to become a teacher he must enjoy with his talency, education, ability, character, honesty, efforts and reality in the school among the entire family of the school.
Yap, me Indra Kumar Rai, a teacher at Shree Sagarmatha Secondary School, Bung, Solukhumbu, a CitC teacher since the last year feel very proud to be a part of the school and the trust Classrooms in the Clouds. I have been here at the school as a Secondary level teacher for teaching 12 – 16 years of children the standard of eight, nine and ten. Sometimes I will have to take classes in the primary level/wing as well. Since I was at my school age I had enjoyed teaching to small kids at home, I chose teaching job and I really enjoy it. I never feel tired of teaching. I feel proud when I become successful in making them understand the topics. I become very happy when at the end of the classes, I see the smiles at the lips of my children in the classroom. Good sleep I will be able to have at that night. How much fast the course of one year slipped I could not feel. It was really a great time and moment to me and my job. We got chance to be in touch with our respected Trustees Mr. Mike and Sarah Hagen, plus Dawa Dai. It was my great opportunity to me and my school as well. I wish it would be again ever and forever. I have been able to pass out the students in SLC 100% this year 2072 from my school, in English subject. With the same spirit and effort, I am on my way to teach children of SLC candidates for 2072. We have started our supporting classes. It has been 12 days. We have the hope of running classes in the morning before school time for 2 months before Dashain vacation.
Life style at Bung is very poor. Students, they must manage everything by themselves. They are not able to enjoy their fundamental right of fooding, clothing and sheltering etc. No parents remain at home. They leave their children at home. Leaving them, parents stay at jungle and high kharkas taking their cattle. The children should manage everything like working in the field, managing fooding, clothing and schooling as well as involvement in community work etc. and so o. Parents of this community are uneducated. Rarely we can find literate parents so the teachers can’t get expected supports from the guardians and parents. Cooperation from parents is rare. If there is no relationship between home and school of the children, teachers and the parents, the wheels of progress cannot run well and sustainably towards its destination, I suppose.
However, going on well. School is running well. We at our school, there are altogether 20 teaching staff including six private quota teachers along with 695 students. We have sixteen classrooms for running classes as some classes are divided into sections.
Earthquakes on 12th and 29th of Baisak, couldn’t discriminate to our school and even my too. Four angles of house and a block of our school is also damaged. Luckily not as bas as of Sindhupalchok, Dhading and Barpak. Though those are not fully damaged, neither we take classes in the block nor my family been living in the house. We have been living in a bamboo made cottage. Temporary Learning Centre was made or managed by an organisation called G. Foundation, at our school, of 4 rooms. It’s been a very hard to have classes to both teachers and students, too noisy in the rain, too hot in the sunny weather. Realising that life is a challenge we are running our classes at school and going to school, coming back to home from school. The days of mine are passing by this way.
At last but not the least we have been running our classes in English medium up to Grade V. We realise that English language is key of being globalised in this world. We ought to have run class in English from Grade VI as well but we have had the problem of teachers. The teachers who are here are unable to handle the classes in English. By running up to Grade V English medium we have achieved to have the base English language for further studies. Facing this type of problems as well, we are here to do the best of ours. Situated and covered plus wrapped in the envelope of clouds, Himalayan region of Eastern part of Nepal’s is very remote area. Bung welcomes to all nature lovers and anthropologists for doing research as well. It’s a very beautiful village with the inhabitants of innocent people so, please let’s visit once. I love my village school and job too.
Indra Kulung 15th August 2015
Volunteers with ‘Classrooms in the Clouds’ awarded by Prime Minister
The following Press Release was published on 1st August 2015
A couple from Merseyside who have dedicated over 7 years between them to advancing the education of rural Nepalese children have today been named Points of Light by Prime Minister David Cameron.
In 2008, Mike and Sarah Hagen, age 57 and 59, were inspired to improve the education of children in Nepal after they trekked in the region. Soon after they visited, they became Trustees of the charity ‘Classroom in the Clouds’ which was established in 2007 dedicated to supporting education in the remote areas of Nepal. Mike and Sarah have been part of a small group of volunteers inspired by fellow Nepalese Trustee, Dawa Geljen Sherpa, who support education through the building of schools, the sponsoring of teachers and the development of educational standards. Mike is currently the Chair of Trustees and Sarah the Secretary and education advisor.
Mike, a former Deputy Chief Fire Officer and Sarah a former early years trained teacher, are the latest recipients of a Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.
Mike and Sarah are part of the Classroom in the Clouds team, a charity that has built 28 classrooms in four different rural locations across Nepal and sponsor 7 local teachers to work in them. The classrooms are built wherever possible with local materials sourced from the local community and the charity asks for a 20% local investment to give the community a sense of ownership and responsibility towards maintaining the school. There is a particular emphasis on promoting more women role models as, traditionally, girls are more likely to fall out of education.
Mike and Sarah value the local customs and traditions of rural Nepalese communities and seek to preserve them through education, helping to stem the flow of pupils to the capital, Kathmandu, where they are often sent to complete their education.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
Mike and Sarah are the PoL 302 and PoL 303 winners of the Points of Light award which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA and was first established by President George H. W. Bush. Over 5,000 US Points of Light have been awarded and both President George H. W. Bush and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK which honours shining examples of volunteering across the country.
Regardless of whether it’s a doctor restoring local monuments in her free time, a father teaching young people life skills, or a local musician giving a voice to lonely people, the Point of Light award honours shining examples of volunteering across the UK.
Sarah said: My regular visits to schools in Nepal has shown me how much local people in Nepal value education and want better opportunities for their children. The support from Classrooms in the Clouds means that more children can enjoy education in their local community and build their own futures.
Mike said: Nepal is a beautiful country but a very poor country that is still recovering from the recent tragic earthquakes. So many people both here in the UK and further afield provide generous support to Classrooms in the Clouds enabling the charity to make a real difference in rural Nepal. Supporters can be reassured that their donations are spent wisely and our overseen by our friends in Nepal through our registered NGO.
1st Earthquake Update 27th April 2015 - please click on image below
"It takes a whole village to raise a child" - African proverb
Developing partnership between Classrooms in the Clouds and Embolden
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Thank you to so many schools who are busy fundraising at the moment to support the children in Nepal. If your school would like to build a partnership with a school in Nepal contact us here:
We are pleased to announce the appointment, of Lawrie McLaren as a new Trustee for Classrooms. Lawrie, who was born in Scotland and lives in Brussels, was appointed at the CitC AGM held on Saturday 23rd May 2015. He brings to Classrooms in the Clouds a wide range of skills in Corporate communications, European public affiars and EU environmental policy. In addition to these professional skills, Lawrie is a keen cyclist. He completed the Pyrenean Raid in August 2013 with fellow Trustee Mike Hagen raising over £4,000/5,600Eu/$6,200 for Classrooms in the Clouds. Mike and Lawrie are planning an even more challenging cycle ride this August where they will attempt to cycle the 7 highest cols in Western Europe in 7 days! Watch out for the sponsorship page coming very soon. Welcome on board Lawrie!
In partnership with the Rotary Club of North Wirral and Dillibazar Kathmandu, Classrooms in the Clouds is coordinating an International Rotary Bid to help build new classrooms at Shree Sagarmatha School, Bung. Currently sponsorsing 2 teachers at the school, Classrooms in the Clouds have developed a strong relationship with the school over the past 4 years speaking with the Chair of the SMC, Head Teacher and staff regularly and visiting the school on a number of occasions. Shree Sagarmatha has over 700 students and the classrooms are very overcrowded, dark and in a very poor state of repair.
A successful bid through International Rotary would mean that every £1/$1/Euro raised is multipied by 3.5. With the governance of Classrooms in the Clouds ensuring that over 90% of all money raised goes directly to the communities in Nepal, this creates a fantastic opportunity to really make an impact.
The letter below was written to Classrooms in the Clouds on our last visit to the school in November 2014. It is from the Headteacher, Surendra Bastola and PTA Chairperson and SMC Chairperson.
Click on Image to Read Letter
Click on Image to Visit Classrooms in the Clouds' On Line Shop
BIG THANK YOU TO Max Grinberg and Nikita Nosov in Seattle who are arranging a fundraising event on 15th May 2015 in support of their room mate Katie Rose Fischer who is out in Nepal with Embolden http://www.emboldenalliances.org/nepal-earthquake-response…/.
Katie, Max and Nikita are working with Classrooms in the Clouds to provide support for the CitC Recovery Fund to support the school communities in the Solu Khumbu effected by the Earthquakes. Good Luck and thank you very much.
Update from 15th May 2015Katie Rose Fischer-Price:
"It has been a jumpy last few days. Every aftershock brings a new wave of wariness and the fear here is very palpable. However the sense of community, pride and reliance is so humbling. Yesterday we flew into Lukla with Dawa Geljen Sherpa. Many of the mountain homes are cracked and crumbled but the people have come together to support each other. Even in such trying times they were so welcoming and giving, opening their houses and hearts to us. I think I had tea 7 times yesterday with 7 different groups of people! It feels safer in the mountains. Everyone is taking care of each other. Smiles are everywhere. Nepali people don't need us to come in, take over and save the day, they know what to do! They just need the resources and funds to make it happen! We can help
We saw the schools that Classrooms in the Clouds has worked to build over the last decade and they are in need of a lot of help. It would be impossible and dangerous to run classes out of them right now. Many children are displaced and a few were injured in the quake. YOU can help these incredible people rebuild a sustainable future for their country!
For now we sit in limbo waiting for the clouds to clear so we can fly back to Kathmandu. This country is amazing I just can't say it enough!!!!!!!"
Classes as Usual - Lukla 13th May 2015
Classrooms in the Clouds would like to thank everyone for their support and constancy following the tragic events in Nepal over the past weeks. Out of disaster, glimmers of light are emerging from all around the world; the Nepalese are leading the way through their resilience and spirited determination to help one other. Thank you to all those who have 'liked' 'shared' 'commented' 'tweeted' 'retweeted' and 'donated'. I know that there are already people organising sponsored walks, abseils, fundraising events which will all go directly to helping rebuild the schools and communities worst effected by the earthquakes in the Solu Khumbu region. It has not been possible to send the personal 'thank you's' that we would normally like to write simply because we have been overwhelmed by your response. From all the communities and partners involved in Classrooms in the Clouds we say a massive THANK YOU.
Celebrating the birthday of Lord Buddha 4th May 2015 and the souls of all those who have died in the recent earthquake
Click on Image to Read Spring 2015 Newsletter
Hari Maya and Mingma from Shree Lukla School left their mountain village of Lukla on Friday 20th March 2015 to fly to the UK as part of a British Council Teacher Exchange, Connecting Classrooms. They arrived at Manchester airport after a long flight and received a wonderfully warm welcome from Woodchurch Road Primary School on the Wirral, Merseyside. Mingma said 'I can't believe that we are here'. Walking along the beach at West Kirby just a few metres above sea level they have not just travelled thousands of miles but are now nearly 3,000 metres below Lukla where they live and teach.
Mingma's sister who saw their photo on the beach said 'I thought you'd be in shorts and t shirts not boots and coats'. The lower you travel in Nepal the hotter it gets going from well below freezing as you reach Everest to over 30 degrees C in the lowest regions of the Terai in southern Nepal.
Click on the Photo to read the Article in Fire Magazine
Classrooms in the Clouds is continuing to facilitate partnerships between schools in both UK and Nepal. Global Awareness forms an important part of the school curriculum supporting understanding and awareness of the rich traditions and cultures amongst pupils throughout the world. In the Guardian article "Why Global Awareness Matters to Schools" research suggests:
"There are many other reasons why schools are taking up the global awareness agenda. Some use it to promote tolerance and an appreciation of different beliefs, cultures and backgrounds while others use it to give their pupils an understanding of emerging industries and opportunities for training potential future leaders." click on image above to read full article.
Many schools have supported Classrooms in the Clouds over the years through fundraising to build classrooms, provide teaching materials and sponsor teachers. Most recently, Birkenhead Prep School in Merseyside, UK, have donated money from Harvest Festival and Carol Service collections, Paradykes Primary School, in Loanhead, Scotland are sponsoring Chimmi Sherpa in Bakhapalam School, and The St Lawrence Academy in Scunthorpe, UK, have held bag packs, car washes and baked biscuits. 2015 has seen at least 3 more schools becoming involved in supporting Classrooms in the Clouds and developing strong links between schools in the UK and partner CitC schools in Nepal.
Kirkham Grammar Junior School, is an Independent co educational school near Preston, Lancashire, UK. Their Head Teacher Annette Roberts trekked to Poon Hill in the Annapurnas in April 2014. On her return she was inspired by her experiences to adopt Classrooms in the Clouds as the school's charity. Kirkham Grammar Junior School has over 250 pupils and they are all working hard to raise money to support education in Nepal. A visit to the school in January 2015 from Trustee Dawa Geljen Sherpa, helped the pupils learn about life in the mountains for children in Nepal and, how a lack of regular schooling encouraged Dawa to help improve the educational opportunities of young people in Nepal.
St. James's Church of England Primary School, Stourbridge, near Birmingham, UK has over 370 pupils and they have committed to supporting a teacher through the Classrooms in the Clouds' teacher sponsorship scheme. Their Head Teacher, Sally Sixsmith, trekked to Poon Hill in the Autumn of 2014 and returned motivated to support CitC and develop greater Global Awareness amongst the pupils of St. James's for their contemporaries living in the foothills of Everest.
Dawa visited the school in February 2015 and spoke of the differences between the school environment in Nepal and the UK. He noted that classrooms in UK schools were carpeted and the teachers were always polite and friendly towards the children. He liked the way the curriculum was made interesting and that there was an assembly hall where students and teachers were able to gather together. In Nepal the students and teachers assemble outside and there is no provision for students who have specific learning needs. When he started school at the age of 10 he started in the Nursery classroom and remembers that all his classmates were all younger and smaller than him.
Woodchurch Road Primary School in Merseyside, UK, are currently participating in the British Council Connecting Classrooms Programme. Lynn Short, Sarah Holleron and Head Teacher, Anne Maher travelled to Lukla Lower Secondary School in the foothills of Everest in February 2015 to find out more about education in Nepal and share in the teaching and learning in the classrooms of the CitC sponsored teachers, Hari Maya Tamang and Mingma Chhamji Sherpa. Hari Maya and Mingma will visit the UK in March 2015 to find out more about primary education and spend time with the teachers at Woodchurch Road Primary School.
Lynn described her experience in Lukla as 'awe inspiring'. They were hosted by Samden Sherpa a young Nepalese secondary teacher who speaks Sherpa, Nepali and excellent English. He was able to introduce the teachers to many of the traditional ways of life in the Sherpa town of Lukla and ensure that everyone could share their ideas effectively. The school made Lynn, Anne and Sarah extremely welcome and gave them a wonderful send off with the students performing cultural music and dance and blessing them with the traditional Buddhist khata, a white scarf presented as a sign of respect, gratitude and celebration.
Click on image left to read news article about visit
The young Cheshire Fire Cadets have now raised £50,000 towards the £60,000 target. With just a few months to go before their trip to Nepal they are within £10,000 of their target. Well done for the hard work. They are thinking up new initiatives all the time including approaching local restaurants to organise fundraising nights and Sky Diving. Pushing themselves to the limits they have achieved this fantastic result through hard work and determination. Well done!
They are raising the money to build 8 classrooms in the village of Thuldohunga in the Basa region of the Lower Solu Khumbu, Nepal. The Cadets are young adults who work in their local communities in a partnership with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, UK.
The first cadet unit started in Cheshire in 1992 with the first area office opening at Poynton Fire Station.
A cadet unit consists of up to 20 cadets and 4 leaders who are both fire service personnel and volunteers from the community. All time and effort is given on a voluntary basis.
A typical Cadet unit consists of 50:50 girls and boys. All uniform and personal protective equipment is provided free of charge, however it costs approximately £300 for an initial uniform for each Cadet so we do expect our Cadets to look after their personal issue.
The scheme provides young people aged 12 to 18 with an insight into working within a uniformed service, encouraging the young people to develop both personally and socially while promoting self discipline, team work and citizenship.
The scheme promotes physical, mental and emotional wellbeing by taking part in structured activities one night a week at a Fire Station local to the young person.
The Cadets make a positive contribution to the community through activities such as fitting smoke alarms for members of the public and by supporting local initiatives.
New Library at Shree Bakhapalam
Tihar cards made by students from Paradykes Primary School in Loanhead, Scotland / lots of Garlands
Children helping in the home
Children wearinghats knitted by Ladies from Liverpool / Chimmi Sherpa and her sister
Young Nursery Child from Bung and Lady from Patle
Young Dancer and Buddhist Monks from Lukla Monastery
Meeting with the School Building Committee at Thulodhunga
Celebrations at Thulodhunga
Nursery children at Patle / Onlookers
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Meet the new Classrooms in the Clouds' sponsored teachers from Shree Sagarmatha School in Bung which is a couple of hours walk from Shree Bakhapalam. Lhami Sherpa on is 24 years old and completed her School Leaving Certificate at Shree Sagarmatha School in 2006. She teaches the younger children and is studying for her Batchelor in Education Certificate.
Indra Kulung is 36 years old and speaks English, Nepali, Kulung and Hindi. Kulung is the local language of people living in the Bung and Sotang region of Eastern Nepal. Indra completed his Masters in Education, first class, in 2010. He teachers English to the older children in Shree Sagarmatha School.
Indra currently receives sponsorship from money raised through the Asia Book Room in Canberra, Australia and their 2014 Christmas Giving Tree Appeal. He is a teacher who grew up in the Bung region. His parents were too poor to send him to school regularly. However, he was sponsored by the Himalayan Trust and completed his education at Shree Sagamartha High School. They Himalayan Trust continued to sponsor his Further Education and on completing his Master In Education in 2010 Indra returned to Shree Sagamartha School as an English Teacher. Until receiving sponsorship from Classrooms in the Clouds, he received a very small income from the localcommunity as there were no funds available from the Government to pay him the standard salary for a Secondary Teacher.
Both teachers now receive the recommended Government salary for their grade of teaching.
Mingma Chammi Sherpa
Mingma is our longest serving sponsored teacher. She started working for Classrooms in the Clouds in April 2010. She teaches Mathematics at Social Studies at Shree Lukla Lower Secondary School. She works part time as part of the search and rescue helicopter rescue team at Lukla Airport and helps her mother out at the Tea Lodge they run near the airport. She has run the Everest Marathon a number of times and is training in First Aid and as a trekking guide. She is an inspiration to the students at the school. She has worked very hard in recent months to improve her English. Lukla now teaches in English Medium. She says that her greatest achievement is helping the children to understand their studies and that:
“Every day I feel I am very lucky and proud that I have many supporters who gave me my new life, as like a mother. I have many students as my children. Their smiles make me very happy. All villagers from Lukla are very thankful to me because their children are happy with me and improving their study, which is belonging to you all.”
The new library at Bakhapalam is now up and running following the visit of Trustees in November.
Mike and Sarah Hagen and Saila Sherpa, member of the NGO committee, helped staff and pupils organise the new books into subject areas, put up posters and arrange furniture in the new classroom. The room had been renovated by the community with money raised from donations. Shelves, new flooring and painted walls transformed the dilapidated room to a bright and cheerful room for the teachers and students to enjoy sharing books.
Mani Kumar Rai and Devi Basnet trained the students in using the library, teaching them where to find the books they needed and how to return them to the right shelves. The books, from Pilgrims Book Shop in Kathmandu, were bought from money raised in the Autumn Book Appeal 2014. Over 300 books in both Nepalese and English and fiction and non-fiction were flown to Phaphlu airport from Kathmandu and then carried by 3 porters to the school. The children liked the joke books in Nepalese best!
The existing school lies beneath the panorama of Mount Everest and is in a very poor state of repair. It is alongside the main, local trekking route and there is a constant flow of travellers and mules making their way to the local markets and en route to Namche. Dilapidated buildings and constant footfall in front of the school is a grave concern for the school and the parents of the students.
Two new classrooms built from funds donated by Ginninderra Rotary Club in Canberra, Australia, are now ready. The Year 9 and 10 children can now continue their schooling in Bakhapalam without having to struggle along the flooded paths to Shivitar during the monsoon. Click here to read report on school progress
“One morning a man was walking along a beach. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Off in the distance he could see a little girl going back and forth between the surf’s edge and the beach. Back and forth she went. As the man approached he could see that there were hundreds and thousands of starfish stranded on the sand, as a result of the natural action of the tide.
The man was struck by the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish and surely the vast majority would perish. He approached the little girl who continued, one by one, to throw them into the surf.
“You must be crazy” he said. “There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish; you can’t possible make a difference”.
The little girl looked at the man, stooped down and picked up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. She turned and replied “I sure made a difference to that one...”
A Lukla Family’s Story
As an example of the benefits of our work, we were told the following story shortly after the opening of our first classrooms in Lukla:
Two brothers, Suman Nepali and Simon Nepali are age eleven and ten respectively. Suman was in grade four and Simon in grade three.
Their Mother, Sita, is thirty five and their Father, Vim is in his early forties. It’s been a year since he left Lukla and the family have no idea where he is or when is he coming back.
Following our improvements to Shree Lukla Primary School in 2009, Sita decided to bring them back from boarding school in Kathmandu where they had been sent to try to ensure that they got a good education. At that time Sita felt Lukla School could not provide this. Each week for example, one class had to do without a teacher because there were insufficient teachers, as well as large class sizes. Now Classrooms in the Clouds sponsors 2 teachers at Lukla School.
Sita had to take out loans to pay for their school fees, and was struggling to keep up with payments. She is delighted to have them home now, where she feels the standard of education and the environment is much better. Both boys are showing a lot of talent in both their studies and extra curricular activities.
As well as the large fees she had to pay in Kathmandu, uniforms and stationery were also expensive. Sita says that her children are able to learn to use computers at Lukla School.
The brothers say that they are very glad to be back in Lukla, staying with their mother rather than living far away and having to eat, sleep and study under boarding school rules. They said that the teachers at Lukla School are loving and caring.