As teachers, we choose to work with children because we love working with them. We choose this work because we believe that we can make a positive impact on their lives, which—we hope—will extend far beyond our time with them.
This can be a tough thing to teach. Often we just have to hope and wait to see if they put to use what we say and do. But Project Nepal offers an exception; here we have the phenomenal opportunity to not only serve the greater good, but to watch our children applying what we’ve taught them where it really counts.
I have the unparalleled privilege of coordinating Project Nepal, a service project with a simple goal: two communities helping each other. Our ACS Egham International School community raised awareness and funds for nearly a year to support Shree Mahendra Upper Primary School in Bhaktapur, which is just outside Central Kathmandu.
Just three weeks ago, we took a group of open-minded, enthusiastic high school students from nearly twenty different countries to Nepal—and it was love at first sight. Despite no access to power tools, we completed three classrooms and prepared them for immediate use. Our students painted murals, taught lessons and learned traditional songs. More importantly, they made new Nepali friends who have touched us to our cores and taught us more than we could ever sum up. The students understood that the more heart they put in, the more love they would get out, and the more time they put in, the longer our memories would last once it was all over. And last they will. Certainly, all 40 of us are more empathetic, more aware and more motivated to continue to serve as a direct result of these relationships.
Beginning early the day of the earthquake, countless people showed deep concern for our dear Nepali friends, and that concern has only grown. We are deeply relieved to know that our dear friend and guide, Nar Bahadur Gautam, is safe, along with his family. Information about Shree Mahendra School continues to trickle through, we are glad to hear that community members are well and that the basic structure of the school are, we understand, still sound. We continue to be filled hope about the condition of the Shree Mahendra, but even more so about the students and staff that stole our hearts as we worked together to support their school.
Now we have the opportunity to put our affection, appreciation and empathy into action. Project Nepal has donated 85% of our remaining fundraised money to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which is the organization the Red Cross UK has pointed us towards and coordinates relief efforts across the country. Gift Aid applies, which is a government scheme that allows charities to claim the basic rate tax on every pound donated (£100 becomes £125 or more). Additionally, we will be sending funds directly to Shree Mahendra School.
Our fund raising efforts are extensive, and the students are leading the way putting their ideas into action, which will include an event featuring a traditional Nepali games the students learned on their trip. Our donations will be made via ‘Just Giving’ to the DEC, we now have a Project Nepal ‘Just Giving’ page and any donations are appreciated.
The link is https://www.justgiving.com/ACS-EGHAM-International-School
Prior to the expedition, we encouraged our students to recognize that the community of Shree Mahendra has as much to offer us as we have to offer them. With a doubt, this notion proved itself time and time again. Nepal changed each of us that had the phenomenal privilege of visiting. We have many reasons to be thankful for Nepal, and even more reasons to help.