Monday, May 24, 2010

What We Learned and Where We Are Going

We felt very positive and optimistic about the time we spent in Bauniyan and at our school. We went to learn what was happening and what was needed and we returned home with a real sense of direction and mission. We worked really hard with Ujjwal to produce the documents needed to register the school and also to apply for grants with NGO's both here and in Nepal. Our 10 day trip to Kathmandu was a mixture of great sight seeing and “cold calling” a number of international agencies. We were determined to tell them about the school and find out what is available to help us. Everyone that we spoke to admitted that Kailali District is one of the poorest in the country with minimal services to families. As a result of our efforts we hope to get support from Room to Read, The Woman's Foundation of Nepal, Save the Children, USAID and Nepal Children's Education Fund.

The Rotary Club of Kathmandu (at the Radisson Hotel) warmly welcomed us and asked us to develop a proposal for a Media Center, since there is an incredible lack of learning materials in the Bauniyan. We had discussed this idea with the Parent Advisory Committee of our school before we left. Our families wanted to be able to share any media materials with members of the Bauniyan community. Since there are no libraries for any of the area schools, this endeavor could have far reaching effects. The good news is that we have an appropriate space in the lower level of Ujjwal's house to establish our Media Center. There is electricity and security. In addition to acquiring English and Nepali texts and resource materials, we would like to obtain computers.

Any of these activities necessitates us forming a 501 3C – and obtaining non-profit status. On May 4, 2010, our Grassroots Education Nepal Board met and authorized John to work with Mary and Pat Morris on the documents needed to file with the IRS. Pat, who is a retired lawyer, had graciously offered his assistance in this endeavor.

Barbara has continued to speaks to school groups about our trip and our school efforts. Sharing the wonderful pictures of our Nepali students using the materials provided by local school donations has been exciting and heart warming. Davidsonville Elementary, Central Middle, South River High and the Independence School (Wilmington, Delaware) have all held fund raisers to support the Mikey Medium English School. Without their help we would not be able to keep the school in operation.

Organizations throughout Anne Arundel County continue to show interest and support for our school. John has shared photos and tales of Nepali life with the Rotary Clubs of Parole and Towsontowne Center. The Bike Doctorand the Annapolis Bicycle Racing Team continue their support. It is pretty amazing how our local community is so willing to share their resources with a tiny village in Far Western Nepal.

(Barbara and John Church and Matt Hill visited the Mikey Medium English School in Far Western Nepal for 5 weeks in Feb. and March.)

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