Greetings one and all,
The length between each Nagarmail seems to grow with time. I hope that means I’ve been too busy to get around to it. It also means a monster long mail in store! Its early December in Nepal, just coming into the winter season, as I’m sure it is back home.
We have had a busy 18 months or so since I last mailed, where to start? Nagarhope Basic School started running classes for Class 3 in April 2019, there are 80 children across 7 classes and now 11 full time staff attending to the day to day running of the school. The local Municipality gave us full permission to run up to primary level this year and we have signed a 5 year agreement with them. Since 2018, the Government of Nepal had put a hold on allowing new Private Schools to be registered, so we have in fact been registered as a community school with the Municipality.
There are pros and cons to this. They have provided us just recently with a government appointed teacher, where it has been hard for us to find qualified local teachers due to us being in a rural setting. The Municipality will also provide 1 set uniform to all 80 of our kids as well as daily lunch stipend for the younger classes, that we will have to use to provide lunch to them.
We will know better as each year passes, and based on how many teachers they provide us each year, it would affect the situation and employment of our current teachers. It’s important that we visit the municipality regularly and keep ourselves updated on rules and regulations that upcoming changes to the education system that we may be unaware of.
In April 2019, 5 of our teachers attended a weeklong teachers training program in Bhaktapur, mainly focused on the pre-school level, how to deal with students and parents and also involved lots of art and craft.
As each year passes, our committed budget to Nagarhope Basic School (NBS) increases significantly. In 2017, 25% of our total spending was for salaries and running costs, that increased to 35% in 2018. Our 2019-20 budget for NBS has increased again to 50% of Nagarhope’s total workload. As the amount of money we need to run the school and pay the salaries increases, we have slowly been cutting back on other programs and projects, we just simply cannot help continue both full on. NBS has taken priority over some of the other work.
Our education centre in Teku which had run for 8 years closed down in April of this year. Not only was the land sold and a house since built where our centre stood, but our teacher Rupa left on maternity leave (has since had a baby boy). The students who attended the centre are still going to the same schools, though we do not have the day to day interactions and classes with them, nor the close contact with their parents that we had all along. Nagarhope, and myself personally would like to thank Rupa, our teacher, and Menuka, the sidekick, for putting in all those hours of time and effort to make the centre such a ray of light in a rough and dirty part of a mean city.
Nagarhope at present still sponsors 160 children in private (30) and government (130) schools in the Nagarkot area, Bhaktapur, and Teku, Kathmandu. As well as this we assist roughly 15 college going students annually, usually at admission time.
Our sponsors back in Ireland were asked last year if they would mind that we discontinue the actual sponsor to student interaction that provided sponsors with results and photos every few months. All but a few agreed and most still pay the monthly / annual fee that they had all along without getting any information on the child they had sponsored. I’d like to thank all those sponsors who did kindly take up the offer. Really, since the earthquakes, school rebuilding and government school assistance programs took most of my time, the results hadn’t been sent anyway. Our own school, the day to day running of it, the problems that need to be solved when they arise, dealing with staff, children and parents really is a full time job in itself, and it has taken time from other areas of Nagarhope’s work. To the few who still want a child’s face, and the accompanying results, don’t think I have forgotten, have it on the short finger, so to speak.
Over the last year, our ex-full time painter Saroj took time out to assist us in painting educational art in two schools – Brahmayini Primary School in Bhaktapur and Mahanakali Secondary School in Nagarkot. Thanks Saroj, lovely work, as usual!
Last November and again this February, the SWC (Social Welfare Council of Nepal) came with us on 2 monitoring trips. The SWC are the government entity that regulate NGOs (Non Governmental Organisations), essentially what we call charities. The trips were part of monitoring back to work we did outside Kathmandu valley since the earthquakes need-assisting government schools (85 in total) with projects such as rebuilding toilets, drinking water projects, donations of furniture, school bags, uniforms and computers. They have given us a few suggestions on office management, suggestions about our school and a few implementations we need to make with regard to employment, financial & scholarship selection criteria policies (since written).
Our 10th annual women’s picnic was held, as ever on March 8th 2019, International Women’s Day. This year 60 or so over 50’s were transported to Nilbarahi Temple in Bode, Thimi, Bhaktapur for a fun day of music, dancing and fun games. Thanks a bunch to all helpers and supporters for bring sunshine to the faces of the women. And as always a massive thanks to Dhurba Bhujel, Nagarhope Nepal founder and the committee for planning the day flawlessly. Here’s to women’s picnic 2020!
In April 2019, Nagarhope Nepal’s 10th AGM was held at our premises in Nagarhope Basic School and was attended by 25 or so committee and general members. Our acting chairperson Badri Shahi Thakuri was officially elected chairperson, Udhab Dhakal has taken over as secretary and Mangali Tamang was elected Treasurere for a three year stint. Congrats to all new members and office bearers, I hope the immediate and short term future of our NGO is in safe and capable hands! And thanks to those committee members who left for various reasons for the work ye have put in over the years.
In early 2011, and again in early 2012, The Smile Project spearheaded by Pat Power, came to Nepal and performed 2 weeks of 2 shows a day in schools, hospitals and orphanages in and around the Kathmandu valley. The show consisted of magicians, clowns and jugglers and brought smiles and laughter to thousand of faces each year. This event is on the cards again for 2010, originally planned for January / February 2020 but now postponed to a later date due to ill health of the leader and the groups’ unwillingness to make the trip with the main SMILE. Thanks to Pat, Aiden, Con, Keith and Kim for staying on board and making the time to raise half of the expected funds needed for the trip. The show must go on, and will, hopefully mid to late 2020.
Phew, that’s all folks. I hope this mail finds you all well and in good health. A massive thanks to all supporters, sponsors and donors, well wishers and volunteers, now, and over the years. May ye all have a happy and healthy Christmas and a prosperous new year. I am as ever humbled by the support you give me and Nagarhope, and though I do not see you all as often as I would like, know that deep down I am eternally grateful to each and every one of you. Were it not for you all, myself and the committees would not be able to continue on our path of helping those most needy. Go raibh mile maith agaibh go leir. Nollaig Shona and Namaste!
Mise le meas
Fachtna ‘Doc’ Clandillon
Isteach sa teach
December 8th 2019