Last year I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Nepal on work experience with my father, who was working with maths teachers in the area. Just days before leaving, I was trying to find out if there were any charities I could visit near Kathmandu, so I visited The Humanitarian Centre in Cambridge to make some enquiries. I was amazed to discover that The Mountain Trust, which has its base in Great Shelford (where I live!) had projects in Nepal.
During my visit, I arranged to spend some time with The Mountain Trust in Pokhara, a city nestled at the base of the Annapurna mountain range. Visiting the schools, and The Riverbed Community, opened my eyes to the amazing work of this charity.
We were invited to visit the Riverdale, and Bal Mandir Primary and Secondary schools, where I spent some time with the younger classes during their English lessons, while my father taught in the upper school. The classrooms were windowless, hot and crowded and lacked the hi-tech equipment that we take for granted in our own schools. However, I was immediately struck by the many colours and beautiful hand-painted quotations on the walls of their classrooms and of course, the eagerness of the children to learn and their focused attention on their work. As education is a gift in such remote areas, these children relished their school lives and the atmosphere was full of joy and excitement.
I am presently Chair of The International Forum at my school (Sawston Village College), and this experience prompted me to think of ways in which we might be able to support The Mountain Trust. This has led to the start of a five-year project, sponsoring three primary school students throughout their education. It is wonderful to be able to send money to Nepal knowing exactly how and where the money will be spent, and how even the smallest donation goes such a long way to changing these children’s lives. Many children are pulled out of school as their families need them to work on the land during the tougher months, so our support will help the children living precarious lives to remain in full-time education throughout their adolescence.
During my first term as Chair of The International Forum it has been great to build up a connection with a local charity that is doing such valuable work abroad. At the end of last term the Forum organised an International Evening which raised money for the Trust, and the retiring collection at the end of the Christmas Carol concert has been added to this. Ben Britton has visited us at Sawston and has already been able to tell us about the three children that our money is able to support. It has been wonderful to know that our contributions are making an instant impact.