Project reports December 2016
2016 was indeed a better year for Nepal, although there is still a great deal for the government to do in reconstructing houses for families who were so badly affected by the 2015 earthquake, the border dispute with India was finally settled and life began to return to normal.
The Palpa Trust was further involved in reconstruction work for two Palpa householders and one school otherwise the major objectives of meeting the needs of the seven schools was met and in addition one water project is taking place which will be completed in 2017.
In July 2016 there were severe floods in Palpa leaving many people destitute and homeless. Through the Trust donations of food and clothing was distributed.
This village, although not far distant from our base is actually very remote. It is situated along a high ridge and the dirt road giving access is steep, muddy in monsoon and hand hewn, quite a challenge for a jeep or even a motorbike.
For several years we have been trying to find a way of bringing drinking water to the 42 households who would be the beneficaries. At last an affordable estimate has been agreed upon and the Rotary Club of Cupar plus a Trust donor are funding this enterprise. The project will reach completion in the spring of 2017.
Additionally in Maulathar there is a primary school where the classroom building was badly damaged in the 2015 earthquake. The building is traditionally built of stone and mud therefore irreparable. In conjunction with government funding the building is now reconstructed so that the children and teachers have a dry, safe place to be. There are still refinements needed but the Palpa Trust has agreed to support a volunteer teacher from within the village to bring the number of teachers to four teaching five classes.
The decision to make 2016 the last year in which the Trust provides money for this school was made. The school has received funding and general help for several years and if a link with a primary school here in Scotland can be successful with an exchange of culture, music etc some fund raising by the school may replace the Palpa Trust funding.
The Palpa Trust will continue to monitor their progress.
All other Schools
The remaining six schools which receive our support have quietly got on with educating children from the remote areas and successfully fulfilling their standards of education. The Trust has not undertaken any major developments in these schools but has maintained the allocation promised.
A new venture has seen oral health education brought to two schools. A St Andrews, Fife, dentist has raised money for this purpose which was very well received by students and parents alike. In addition to the tubes of toothpaste and toothbrushes dispensed this programme will run in more schools during 2017. Changed diets and eating habits are resulting in increasing amounts of tooth decay so hopefully this programme will be beneficial in highlighting basic dental care.
The Palpa Trust has made considerable funding available to patients who needed transport to hospital for medical attention and for individuals needing medical care.
As usual second hand clothes were taken out to distribute, some from schools resulting in children wearing some uniform from Scotland's schools.
Project reports December 2015
2015 was a terrible year for Nepal. Firstly there was the devastating earthquake on April 25th centred on Gorkha followed by the massive aftershock on May 12th centred a little to the east of Kathmandu. Fortunately Palpa was spared the worst of these quakes but these disasters affected every Nepali.
Later in the year a new government introduced a new constitution which met with protests from some of the ethnic groups who live near the border with India. As a result the border became closed which prevented the import into Nepal of all fuel products, medicines and many other commodities which until the end of the year was making life very difficult. Government talks always end inconclusively but hopefully in 2016 there will be a settlement and the new seven federal states will be properly implemented, also that the predicted severe earthquake in the west of the country does not materialise.
The Palpa Trust became involved sending relief to Barpak, a village in Gorkha which was very close to the epicentre. In Palpa there is the need to rebuild two rural farm houses and many repairs to be made to damaged houses. This took a toll on the Trust budget but there were some added funds made available which enabled the Trust to meet all other project allocations.
The small number of young children in the smaller school resulted in closing this class until the numbers rise again making it viable. The children are able to attend the larger of the schools with at the most a half hour walk. Building on last year's development of classrooms a further fourth room has been part completed. In 2016 this will be finished with plaster, flooring, a whiteboard and furniture. The academic year begins in April so the room will be ready to receive a new class and already a third teacher has been added to the staff. Local labour has improved the stony area in front of the building which enables some play and a formal morning assembly area.
In 2015 the school received very good results with 15 students gaining their School Leaver's Certificate. Some of the annual budget has been used to develop a separate building to give the headmaster and accountant their own room, a room for the computers which have been provided by the District Education Authority and additional classroom space. This project is not yet complete and requires more funding. After 2014's extra funding which was made available to water proof the roof the Trust's provision was the usual amount to top up salaries for teachers.
The current headmaster has passed an examination which enables him to teach Higher Secondary classes so because Karnadhar is a Lower Secondary School it means that he will move to another post. This may happen in April/May so is a shame for the school when development is resulting in an increase in numbers under the present leadership.
This small school is currently not running classes due to a drop in children of the appropriate age. This will likely change in 2016.
Bescun Dahaara School
The allocated funding for this school has continued to provide for further fencing in and enclosing the compound with gates.
This school is truly appreciative of the help from the Palpa Trust to fund it's own volunteer teachers. This is another school creating a compound and about one third has so far been achieved. A one day visit from a volunteer was hugely successful, the children are eager to meet westerners and always make them very welcome.
After a big input of funding from the Trust in 2014 their allocation met the top up of salaries for 2015. The school continues to make excellent progress with enthusiastic teachers bringing a high standard of education to the children.
The numbers attending class in this small school are increasing, however the one teacher is coping well and the Trust has ensured that her salary is covered.
Aaru Kharak Hostel
This hostel was damaged in the earthquake so the entire entourage have moved to a temporary hostel in the district town of Tansen, some 15 kilometres away. The intention is for them to be moved back to a new residence so that the children can continue with their education in the local school they know. They are being funded independently of the Palpa Trust.
Rahbas Water Project
This project funded by the Rotary Club of Cupar is being implemented by the people of the village themselves. At present it is being worked on and hopefully will be in operation by March 2016.
As usual the Trust provides funding for health but in this past year the demands have been considerably less than in 2014.
A local Fife primary school gave many items of school uniform which had accumulated in the left locker. This was welcomed by Karnadhar School for their poorer children and there will be further contributions in 2016.
Other clothing was donated and given to needy families.
Project reports December 2014
Both schools in Rahbas have developed considerably in 2014. The smaller of the two Sisu classes continues with a teacher funded by the Trust and the larger school now is teaching one more class - Class 4. This school building has three very servicable classrooms, they are fully plastered inside and out with new window frames and shutters which keep the rooms dry and windproof. With the extra space and the extra class it has been decided to fund a third teacher in 2015. The number of children attending is growing, all attend in their nice uniform and are making good progress. The long term view is to build one more classroom and increase the provision to Class 5 after which time the District Education Authority will provide government salary for at least one teacher.
As a gesture to the Community funds were used to keep the access road open after a serious landslide. This road is very much a lifeline for the people but these incidents may become a regular problem due to the nature of the ground.
It should be mentioned that the labour for these tasks is provided by the villagers themselves.
Ths school has a new, young headmaster who is very go ahead and determined to see this school progress. Since he started as head the discipline in the school has improved immensely, not just amongst the students but also the staff.
The educational successes speak for themselves, from 20 candidates taking the School Leaver's Certificate 15 have passed. The other classes have increased in number with 42 new enrollments in the year bringing the total roll to 217.
The problems with the roof were finally solved but took a considerable amount of money. A wooden structure (wood supplied from school source) covered by new corrugated iron sheets which carry the rain water clear of the walls was funded by the local Village Development budget, the Education authority and some funding from the Palpa Trust. It was a good decision to take thse steps as ongoing water penetration would ultimately result in much greater costs.
There was still some funding available for topping up teacher's salaries and there will also be an allocation for 2015
Lack of permanent teacher appointments still makes attracting teachers difficult because it is a remote location and all temporary teachers are seeking permanent placements whenever they become available.
Visits to Aarkhala are always a delight and to learn that their water supply runs uninterrupted is equally satisfying. The Rotary Club of Cupar continue with their support for both the water project and the school which is starting very young children off with the discipline of daily attendance and prepares them for their first days at primary school.
Bescun Dhaara School
This school has at last got one of the two gates it requires. In 2015 with more amalamated funds the second one which will enclose their compound should be completed. As usual some funding has been allocated from the Palpa Trust.
Ecklai Buur School
It is truly satisfying to see the way this school has been transformed from a purely community run school to it's present day staffing and roll of enthusiastic children. In spite of the amount of government funding there are still requirements for topping up volunteer salaries and for one ex teacher who was made redundant by the introduction of a qualified teacher and who struggles financially. This care of ex staff typifies the way this school is run. Therefore the Trust will allocate the usual funding for 2015.
In March/April a volunteer teacher from Scotland spent some days in the school, this was hugely appreciated by both parties.
In 2014 Mamara School has created a separate room for pre-school children, alongside a play area and built a toilet facility. The finance for these developments came from money raised by the community as well as Village Development Committee budget and the Trust. The teachers who get salaries from the community and the Trust had to forego some of these monies to enable all these improvements. However now they are well established and the allocated funds for 2015 can go to the volunteer teachers.
In 2014 the teacher continued to receive her salary from the Trust, in addition funding was made available for the building of a toilet. The sand required for this venture took four days of breaking and crushing rock! The small school building of just one room has also been plastered inside and out so big strides were taken here.
River Valley English Seconddary Boarding School
Boarding schools are really only fee paying schools and usually they are self sufficient in terms of funding etc. However in October/November a volunteer teacher from Dundee, Scotland, spent 6 weeks in the school teaching students from primary to those in their final year, Class 10. This was a very successful venture as the teacher was able to give a huge amount to the pupils as well as the exisitng staff, she also went home with new perspectives.
Aaru Kharak Hostel
This Hostel houses about 30 residents all of whom are physically or visually disabled in some way. There are adults and children who go to the local government school. They endeavour to be self contained and sell the handicrafts they make. Their packaging for their hand rolled incense sticks had run out and therefore to continue to get an income from these they needed to replace the packaging. The Palpa Trust stepped in and provided enough funding for them to keep going and also provided a "rice pudding" picnic for all of them.
Kolang Water Project
With funding from The Rotary Club of Cupar water has been brought to 32 households in this scattered community. After collecting a few rupees per month for themselves for 27 years they now have constant water at standpipes near their homes. A very successful outcome.
The Trust received some extra funding especially for health related matters. The demands on these funds is large and although the Trust funds only ameliorate some of the difficulties it is very valuable. As always it is impossible to allocate funding accurately but in 2014 there were many beneficiaries, young children, old people who live in remote areas, workers who have difficulties whilst working abroard as well as those in the local jail.
As many clothes as possible have been taken out to Palpa and distributed to those who are in greatest need. A package of toothpaste and toothbrushes was eventually delivered by post from St Andrews, Scotland and then distributed to schools with the proviso that teachers educate their children about dental care.
Projects report December 2013
The Palpa Trust received some funding with the request to find a specific community to begin a new development project. After visiting the beautiful village of Rahbas by negotiating it's new, extremely rough road we decided in the first instance to help them get a pre-school class (Sisu class) running for the children in their Ward. Nepali districts are divided into Wards (there are 9 in Rahbas) and a nearby Ward also asked for help to run their Sisu class as well as Class 1. After considerable consultation with the community from both Wards it was agreed that we would run two Sisu classes then feed the second school with all the pupils for Class1. It seemed the best way to benefit from the funding and if the larger of the two schools became the focal point for development we could improve the building and compound.
Thus far both schools have brand new toilet facilities, floor covering for the children to sit on, plaster on interior and exterior walls, a new corrugated iron roof, salaries for three teachers plus educational materials. In the next few years it is hoped to extend the provision to Classes 2 and 3 and if these are successful the District Education Authority may step in with some further funding.
Our immediate concern for 2014 is to guarantee salaries for the teachers and maintain educational supplies. However additionally we see it is important to improve that new road which with better communications benefits the whole community and especially enables easier access to hospital and medical centres. To achieve this improvement the labour is provided by the village as is the labour to achieve the physical improvements at the school sites.
This school continues to provide a good education and has had an acceptable pass rate for it's students taking the School Leaver's Certificate. On the retirement of the headmaster in January 2013 a new appointment was made but in June 2014 there will be another change. The Palpa Trust has provided the usual allocation of funding to top up and balance teachers' salaries for which the school committee is very grateful.
It is now seven years since we installed the solar powerd water supply which works very well and is well maintained by the village. The Cupar Rotary Club continue with their valuable contribution for this as well as the small school which is attended by young children who would otherwise have to walk a long distance to the nearest primary school.
Bescun Dhaara School
This school has received some allocated funding which it is investing for the provision of gates which are still in the future (see report for for 2012). Things happen slowly in Nepal and until they have amalgamated sufficient money from various sources the gates must wait.
Ecklai Buur School
This school continues to develop year by year. It now runs Class 5 and has five teachers. The school roll is increasing and it's dependence on The Palpa Trust for salaries is less because now as a result of it's success the District Education Authority provides some funding. However there are improvements on the compound needed and with help from us these can be achieved more quickly.
With a new headnmaster in place and the school working well we have resumed our allocation of funds for teachers' salaries, especially the volunteer teachers who rely on the community for their salary.
This a new school for 2014 but in 2013 we learned that the teacher who teaches about 17 children at Sisu level had not received any salary for 36 months. The community raised money but it was used to build a wee one room school meaning the teacher had to wait; she does live nearby and has children of her own in the school. We made a contribution to her and have promised to help in the coming year.
Picnic for Blind Students
We organised a picnic for the blind students and their teachers from a nearby Higher Secondary School. This was hugely successful, the blind students and the local village people who volunteered to help us thoroughly enjoyed the feast of goat meat and assorted curries.
It is impossible to accurately assign finances to this area of our work. In 2013 we have helped a lady whose house burned down and everything within it destroyed, a young girl with a kidney transplant (it was successful), the jail when those who need treatment cannot fund it themselves, provide transport to medical centres or hospital and other incidents which cannot be planned for.
More donated clothes have been distributed as have many tubes of toothpaste and toothbrushes donated by a dentist from St Andrews. For the recipients in rural areas this is a real treat as their dental care relies on fibrous twigs which is the traditional method.
Palpa Trust project report September/December 2012
Completion of roof repair. Due to poor previous work (some cheating on cement/plaster, even soil in the mix) the roof became uneven creating areas where water could pool and cause a breakdown of plaster and therefore allow water through to rooms below. Also the structure was deemed to be considerably weakened therefore a repair became essential. The building committee of the school should have supervised the original construction of the roof but failed to do so.
This work has been a very difficult job especially for Ravi in terms of the time of year (monsoon) making transport at times impossible and also due to obtaining workers, all of whom were busy with farming needs. As a result it has taken many weeks to complete and many, many journeys by Ravi to and from the school and Butwal to source materials and workers.
Ravi has been helping and advising about this project. Now rain water collection from the roof is in place and two catchment tanks have been installed. These tanks were half paid for out of the Rotary funding. At the moment the water collected services brand new toilets but of course this is only seasonal. A year round supply is needed and the water source is some 3.5 kms away in what is typical Nepal hill country which makes pipe laying no mean undertaking. This work has now been completed and the water officially turned on by Jackie and Ravi at a special programme arranged by the school. This project was funded by The Rotary Club of Cupar.
The original school building, constructed by the community using traditional rock and mud method, is in a poor state externally and internally.
The outside wall has been plastered and they have used the local method to shore up the interior of the classrooms using a mixture of mud and water. This is not a permanent solution and is in some way masking what lies beneath but the visual effect is remarkable.
The village has received the money allocated to them from The Rotary Club of Cupar.
The community certainly appreciates this fund and need it mostly for the teacher and text books for their small school but also to start a community health fund which they want; they will raise money for this themselves.
Bescun Dhaara School
Bescun Dhaara still requires and would like gates for their compound but the price for these is more than the fund can afford.
After a visit to the school in Nov. (now possible on a new “road”) we have decided to get an estimate of the cost of these gates and then decide how to finance them. Ravi will take someone from a local welding shop to assess the situation.
The previously installed water pump is working well and supplies the eleven houses who contribute to the scheme plus the school. They are delighted with the water and have installed a tap on a wall near the office. They are also putting the electrical supply to good use as they now have a small computer and a part trained student to teach computing skills from Class 6 to Class 8.
Ecklai Buur School
Owing to the progress of this school the District Education Committee is providing Government money to the school for three teachers and the Village Development Committee have pledged some funding for a fence to be made around the compound. This leaves the community to fund two teachers and this is where The Palpa Trust will help. The school provides for low caste and poor children so is a worthwhile recipient of Trust money and the school committee is very active in working for the funding from other sources. The teachers here also are very loyal and the head teacher has been looking after these children ever since we first became involved, she acts as a mother to them which is very nice to see.
Although we still want to contribute a small sum to top up teachers' salaries the school has had a new headmaster and we intend to wait and see how things settle down before committing more funds. The school has some extended property and so a development is due to take place but as always in Nepal the question of when is in the lap of the Gods.
Quite a lot of the funding set aside for health has been used. Some of it to aid a local extremely poor lady who has actually been re-housed on a piece of village land.
Money has also been contributed to the jail where no services are provided by the authorities for medical care or operations.
All the donated clothes so far bought to Sarai have been distributed and now clothes and toothpaste bought out this trip have been given to various children and families at most of the above locations. Some items have been set aside for Ravi to take to the jail where there are some children of women in jail and some young boys who are there for no confirmed criminal charge.