Our principals in Nepal say thank you
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, Santi School would like to express our gratitude to all of you reading this – our supporters who help make all of our work possible. And, we'd like to extend some words of thanks from the principals we work with in Nepal.
Here's some news from the field that we'd like to pass along:
A new drinking water system
Saat Kanya Primary School: Bhattedanda village development committee, Lalitpur district
Saat Kanya Primary School in the Lalitpur district of central Nepal did not have running water for six months, during the dry season, from December to May. Students needed to bring water from home every day. The school asked for our help to set up a drinking water system that would supply the school year round; we agreed to do so by investing $1,100 out of the total estimated cost of $1,500.
Now the school has drinking water for the whole year. We have also set up drinking water points that are accessible to all the students ages 4 to 10 who are studying at the school.
Mitha, the school principal, was grateful for our support. She said, “We are very thankful for Santi School for the help it provided us. We had approached various organizations but none of them came forward to help us. Your organization helped us to provide the basic necessity for our school children. The whole community is very thankful and would like to thank you from bottom of their hearts. They have promised to thank you on personally when we organize a program to hand over the water system that has been set up.”
Completing the first floor of a new school building
Jana Jagriti Higher Secondary School: Ikudole village development committee, Lalitpur district
Jana Jagriti Higher Secondary School in Laltipur district of central Nepal did not have enough classroom space. We helped them complete four rooms of a first-floor building that was partially constructed.
The school administration organized a ceremony to inaugurate the new school building. The principal, Hari, thanked us and said, “With the support of your organization, we have been able to complete the construction of the first floor of our building. This has really helped us conduct our classes in spacious rooms with sufficient sunlight. We remain indebted to you.”
During that ceremony, we were very touched by the efforts the students made to thank us. Almost all the students, around 150, brought a garland each from their homes and put it around our neck during the ceremony. A person who was garlanded along with us did not take it off until the evening–even after we attended another program after that handover ceremony. (That's the photo above).
Completing the second floor of an existing school building
Vishwamitra Ganesh Secondary School: Lalitpur district
We have been involved with Vishwamitra Ganesh Secondary School in Lalitpur district in central Nepal since 2011, helping them with construction projects and teacher training programs. In 2013, the school was selected as one of 100 schools in Nepal to pilot the implementation of technical education in secondary level (grades nine and ten). Next year, they are upgrading that to grades 11 and 12.
However, the school does not have enough classrooms to add the additional grades. We are helping them add two rooms to their existing school building. After signing our agreement, the school principal, Thakur, thanked us and said, “With the support of your organization in completing the construction of classrooms, we were able to start the technical education in grade nine and ten. And this current support in completing the construction of two more classrooms will help us upgrade technical education to grade 11 and 12. The students and the community have benefitted from the introduction of the technical education and we are thankful to you for being a part of starting this journey.”
A special thanks to our volunteers
Volunteers have always been a critical part of our program. We appreciate all the effort they give to living in the communities where they help teach. Volunteers live with a host family, which means they must learn a new culture and a new language, eat food they are unaccustomed to, and adjust to an entirely different way of life – all while getting to know the children and teachers at their school. And communicating with their friends and family back home can be pretty difficult at times, too.
Despite all these inconveniences and difficulties, we have received quite a number of volunteers from Nepal and abroad who want to work at our partner schools in Nepal. We are so thankful that are willing to broaden the horizons of our students, teachers and the community. We are pleased that they have formed relationships with the school where they have worked, in some cases writing to their host families and visiting them on their own, once they've finished officially working as a volunteer with us.
We've been following up with the teachers who've completed our training program in central Nepal.
Since 2011, Santi School has trained more than 200 teachers from more than 70 schools in the Lalitpur district of central Nepal. This year, we've been following up with them to see how we can make the most of the training and continue to support our teachers in the future.
Our teacher training consists of two components: early childhood development and teaching English. During the training, we conduct classroom sessions for the teachers, observe them with their students, and award cash incentives to the top three performers in each training center.
After conducting the training on a large scale for about two years, we wanted to find out how the teachers were implementing what they had learned. We also wanted to evaluate how effective our training programs have been in changing teaching practices inside the classroom.
This year, we are implementing a follow-up program in four out of eight centers where we had conducted our training program. This follow-up is expected to benefit more than 120 teachers who had completed our training.
We have recently completed the follow-up in seven schools in the Lubhu and Lamatar village development committees in Lalitpur district.
Teacher Training Program Expands to Kathmandu
Earlier this summer, we expanded our teacher training program to a school in Kathmandu. Previously, it was concentrated in southern parts of Lalitpur that are more remote.
This training session was special because Santi School board member and teacher training expert Beth Norford was on hand Nepal in mid August to conduct a five-day session for the 12 primary teachers of Jana Sewa Higher Secondary School in Kiripur, Kathmandu district.
Beth observed each of the teachers in their classrooms and then conducted the training, followed by another observation afterward. All the teachers, the school administration, and school management participated enthusiastically.
The principal of Jana Sewa, the school management committee chairperson, and the board members of Santi School in Nepal were all impressed with the training. We look forward to working with more needy schools in Kathmandu, as well as continuing our work in rural areas.
Spring in Nepal means the beginning of a new academic year. The 2014-15 session began in mid April, and we have focused our attention on implementing our health and sanitation program as well as providing classroom materials.
These efforts entail setting up pipes to deliver safe drinking water and provide water for toilets, as well as replacing chalkboards with dry and erase boards and markers. In addition to eliminating chalk dust, the new boards are an important classroom resource and status symbol for public schools in rural areas competing with private schools nearby.
Schools typically face two problems when it comes to water access: they may only have it during the morning and evening, when school is closed, and the taps are usually installed at a height appropriate for adults. To solve these problems, we provide collection tanks and install child-friendly taps.
Over the past three months in central Nepal the Santi School Project has:
Health and Sanitation Program
We’ve worked with the following schools in recent months:
Bal Manorama Lower Secondary School, in Ashrang village development committee (VDC) of Lalitpur district
Bal Jyoti Lower Secondary School, Nanglebhare VDC, Kathmandu district
Gumrang Lower Secondary School, Thula Durlung VDC, Lalitpur district
Guru Lower Secondary School, Bukhel VDC, Lalitpur district
Banaspati Primary School, Chaughare VDC, Lalitpur district
Kankali Primary School, Makwanpur district
These projects have been completed with support by donors like you and organizations such as Avionte Software and Rising Tide, which are both based in the United States and have operations in Nepal.
Two More Projects Under Way:
In Nawalpur VDC, Sindhupalchowk district, 70 kilometers from Kathmandu, we are helping two schools, Nawalpur Secondary School and Siddhartha Primary School, implement our health and sanitation program.
At Nawalpur School, we’re installing a water system, including toilets. We’re also fixing shutters on doors and windows for four rooms of the building.
We’re also setting up a water system at Siddhartha School, where we’ve already delivered dry erase boards and markers to replace chalkboards in classes from nursery to grade 5.
Both of these projects are expected to be completed by mid June. We are implementing the projects through donations raised by Adam Martin of Chicago, who visited Nawalpur during the winter of 2013, wanted to help, and asked his friends to support these projects.