… An Update
The Senior School has had a fantastic start to the academic year within Community Service. Mrs Bourner has selected a new team of Community Service Captains, after having received over 70 applications, and planning has already started for the many upcoming events. The Service Captain team are very excited for the beginning of a busy year of Community Service at St Chris!
Mrs Bourner has recently been in touch with the UWS to find out how things are going at the new school in Gurase, Nepal that was opened back in May thanks to the funds raised at St Christopher’s Senior School last year. The past year has been pretty extraordinary for UWS Nepal and the communities they work with. May marked the one-year anniversary of the devastating Nepal earthquakes, so the opening of Gurase soon after was a real symbol of hope for the region. As the second UWS school to open in Nepal, Gurase has also been a model for the four UWS schools which have followed, and the past few months have focussed on resource development and teacher capacity building. As the monsoon comes to an end, the teams are focussing on making the classrooms brighter and more engaging spaces for learning.
The start of the monsoon season in July marked the start of the rice planting season in Nepal, meaning that many of the children who usually attend school every day are needed to help their parents in the rice fields. Rural communities such as Gurase have also been celebrating the Nepali festival of Ropai, during which villagers head to the fields singing traditional folk songs to herald a good harvest over the coming months. Nevertheless, UWS Gurase has remained open throughout this period, and more and more children are starting to attend.
Emma Tierney, Development Associate at the UWS, wrote to us and said “Of course, it’s thanks to St Christopher’s School that UWS Gurase continues to develop.” We have recently received a wonderful certificate from the UWS that recognises the support we have given to the work in Nepal.
Mrs Bourner has also received the story of Pasang, a local boy attending the school. He is 8 years old and before the opening of the school, he spent his days helping his grandmother and working with his parents in the fields. Like the rest of his family, Pasang thought he would become a rice farmer as there were few other opportunities available to him. Since attending school, Pasang’s daily routine and prospects have been greatly changed. He now gets up early to help his parents, yet he always arrives on time for school! Pasang particularly enjoys reading story books and learning English songs. For Pasang, having a place to learn skills – like reading, writing and counting – is something that he, or his parents, never thought a possibility. He now has hopes of becoming a teacher and passing on his enjoyment of learning. Nevertheless, the arrival of UWS has not brought disruption to the traditional ways of life in the village. Over the summer months, Pasang and many of his classmates have spent time with friends and family in the fields, working throughout the busy rice planting season. Rice being the main source of income and staple diet of agricultural communities like these, it is an important part of the year. During this time, the village community celebrated Ropai festival – which heralds the beginning of the monsoon – and enjoyed dancing and feasting. As the monsoon draws to an end, Pasang is looking forward to focussing on his studies.