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Blog 04.07.17

Siddhartha School takes shape

As part of our commitment to the global community, we’re currently helping to fund and build a school in Chiuribot, Nepal. Vigilance CEO Seb MacKenzie-Wilson has just returned from the area with this update.

Chiuribot is in the Himalayan foothills of Western Nepal, where many of our staff were born and later recruited into the British Army. This new school offers children a better education beyond primary school age, gives the community a new hub, and, we hope, can generate opportunities for villagers to stay – rather than seeking employment overseas

It’s a stunning area; remote, gravity-defying and if you’re on foot, the only way appears to be up! Rustic villages cling to craggy mountainsides that are cut with lush terraces of crops, perched above steep-sided river canyons. It’s breathtaking on so many levels. But while this all makes for a beautiful landscape, it presents some challenges when it comes to building a school.

Everyday items are carried by hand (or rather head) in a wicker basket called a Doko, which is hung from a woven strap that sits across the forehead. Heavier items are brought in by mule and you’ll rarely see a vehicle. For visitors, the altitude and constant uphill carrying is noticeably hard, while for locals it’s a fact of life.

To thrive, you need extraordinary local expertise, which we fortunately have in droves through our partner charity’s in-country specialist, the Gurkha Welfare Service (GWS). The GWS runs detailed feasibility studies before green-lighting any school project, while villagers help hugely in gathering local materials and clearing land. They are also given work opportunities during the build – without their help, nothing happens. It’s their home and their school.

I’m very proud to say that the initial building phase is almost at an end. The reaction has been joyous, generous and overwhelming in equal measure and now, our focus is on creating some outside space for the children, landscaping the area and on putting some tangible resources into the project; from power to communications equipment and learning materials. That said, we believe in the long haul, and in helping the schools and communities to evolve and meet new challenges. In that sense, we hope the project never ends and that it just renews and strengthens over time.

Thank you for your interest. If you’d like to contribute to this project by helping us to raise funds and develop awareness, or by donating your own skills and expertise, we’d love to hear from you at contactus@vigilanceprotects.com.

  

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