Three new school buildings for over 150 local primary school-aged children broke ground on a freshly prepared site last November. The project build is being managed by Vigilance's UK charity partner's in-country delivery specialist the Gurkha Welfare Service (GWS).
Following a 24-month fundraising effort, a team including Vigilance CEO Seb MacKenzie-Wilson, and COO Ed Mills travelled to the stunningly scenic rural west of Nepal to visit the new school build. This was a last chance to review progress before the monsoon, when landslides and torrential rain make routes into this remote region virtually impassable, and travel extremely hazardous.
During the two-day visit the team were keen to identify any ongoing local sustainability needs still to be met, as well as consider how Vigilance might help. A late arrival into the village did nothing to dampen an overwhelming local welcome, lead by school chairman and Vigilance host Mr Tam Pun. A Nepali curry feast washed down with liberal toasts of 'pani raksi', locally brewed rice wine, soothed travel weary visitors and added general merriment.
During the school visit the team were greeted by the whole faculty, with staff, pupils and an enthusiastic traditional brass band contributing to a stunning welcoming ceremony. A traditional Nepali cultural programme included dancing by schoolchildren, and mandatory audience participation from the Vigilance guests! The immense pride and commitment to educating local children that this community of limited resources has was all too clear; tears were shed, and loyalties pledged.
The new school is built on a previously unstable, shale-strewn mountainside and in a modular range of buildings. The earthquake resistant construction with its reinforced concrete ring beams and cement mortar promises a pleasingly aesthetic solidity and safety but reflecting local design. By comparison, the unstable mud mortar structures being replaced looked distinctly perilous and the team delighted in viewing first hand the spacious new learning environment being raised. Construction is on schedule for completion on 14th May.
On behalf of Vigilance and its supporters CEO Seb MacKenzie-Wilson said:
"It is an honour and privilege to stand here before you after such a hospitable welcome for which we are hugely grateful. We would also like to thank our partner the GWS for its extraordinarily professional efforts in raising this beautiful new school from the ground.
"There is nothing more important for any of us than the education of our children, and Vigilance looks forward to working with the wonderful people of Chiuribot long into the future to achieve this special goal. Namaste and dhanyavad!"
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