Monday, February 28, 2011

2011 Trip to Mikey Medium English School

In February 2011, Barbara and John Church returned from a month of working at the Mikey Medium English School in Bauniyan, Far Western Nepal. Although the weather was unseasonably cold, the hospitality and enthusiastic greetings were heartwarming.

We were able to visit with Lexi Suberi, our South River High School 2010 graduate, who has been teaching at the Mikey Medium English School since October. She is thriving and the children love her. Lexi will return to Maryland in June and continue her education at the University of Maryland in the fall.

The biggest news is that the school has grown to 82 students. We have hired three new teachers and now have a teaching assistant for the youngest students. We are still serving the underprivileged and underclass within the Bauniyan Community. There are now four classrooms filled with students who are eager to learn. At this time we are not expecting to grow larger because we want to maintain small class sizes. This creates a unique learning environment within the community. To assist with this effort, we will have the preschoolers begin half day sessions during the next school year. Additionally, we expect to order high quality reading, math, social studies and science textbooks in English which should increase student engagement and learning. We have initiated a focus on additional teacher planning and training for our staff as part of our effort to not only provide for basic education but to assure a level of quality.

During our visit, Barbara was able to do several art projects with the students. They preformed in English an original play: "The Roti Man" - which is a take off of the Gingerbread Man story. The older children painted and decorated masks of animals native to Nepal. The Roti Man was chased through the jungle by the "little old woman", "little old man", a lion, a cheeta, a giraffe, an elephant, a zebra and eventually by the tiger - who ultimately gobbled him up. It was a great experience for the actors and spectators alike.

A Crofton Girl Scout Troop made sock puppets (that only speak in English) which were delivered to the children. The younger students particularly enjoyed using the puppets and acting out the local farm animals when we sang "Old Mac Donald." For children that have no toys or books, these items are a really big treat.

We will be meeting with our Board of Directors on March 22, 2011 to share information, finalize our budget, consider fund raising initiatives and refine the School Improvement Plan. We expect to have our approval of Non Profit Status by that meeting. (It was submitted in August 2010.)

Do not hesitate to contact us with ideas for supporting the Mikey Medium English School in the future. We can use your help!

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