In the journal extract below, First Steps Himalaya supporter Carmel Hutchinson from Hong Kong talks about her experience visiting one of our new project schools in Nuwakot District.
Carmel spent a week in rural Nepal visiting First Steps Himalaya projects with Director, Durga Aran.
Finally arrived at Nuwakot! The area surrounding this school is absolutely stunning. It was definitely worth the rugged journey to see this area.
The school we visited today, Ajingare Secondary School, had a pupil free day in preparation for exams. It is a pre K to Yr 10 school. I’m not sure why the primary kids weren’t in school, but sadly we could not see the kids and teachers in action. It’s interesting to see they shut the entire school and little kids miss out in exam time.
With local leader Dal behind the quest, this school wants to be taken on by FSH. It was heavily damaged in the earthquake with most of the school left either completely demolished or unstable. Apart from the appalling ablutions block and some shed like structures, it has since been rebuilt.
There is a building at the entry to the school that was gutted in the earthquake and is still partially standing, with no plans for complete demolition. I’m not sure why, but I don’t think it belongs to the school, so it will probably stay like that, potential hazard that it is.
There are two buildings, both two-storey. There are quite nice and very practical. The Early Child Development room was a decent space but there was not a trace of anything in it that would appeal to children! It was basically an empty concrete room, half the floor slightly raised by a low platform, presumably to protect little bottoms from the cold concrete in winter.
We were then taken to two other rooms, which have been earmarked to be the new ECD rooms. Again, just concrete rooms, but much lighter, so more welcoming spaces. Durga, Dal and the staff from that school spent a long time discussing how best to fit out the rooms.
The aim for FSH is to train the teachers how to create a vibrant, stimulating, engaging and welcome environment, with a good play based teaching programme to go with it. I am sure it will only be a few years until this school could be at a similar standard to some of the other schools under FSH’s umbrella.
It would be exciting for the kids and teachers to have a better learning environment in the future. I’d be interested to go back in a couple of years to compare.
Text and photos courtesy of Carmel Hutchinson.