While structurally sound (apart from a dodgy toilet that’s now been fixed!), a lack of funds meant for the six months prior to our arrival the teacher was unable to be paid and classes had ceased. Our first step was to kickstart daily classes. On the first day, 19 children from 4 years to 10 came along to learn! This was incredibly encouraging. Next was to ensure materials were updated: books, pens, pencils and posters. Before
Once this was done, then came the makeover! We wanted to create a place where children would want to come learn. The grey cement inside and out was transformed into bright whites, red, yellow, blues and greens - the brightest building in the village! The smiles, enthusiasm and intrigue on the faces from those who live in Chainpur - from parents, to children, to the elderly whose families had been there for centuries - gave us the motivation to get up early and walk up (and then back down) a 1-hour high hill 8 times in 11 days. The final step now is to ensure the centre continues to run. We decided to keep the project community-based and reached out to our closest friends and family for support. The centre is currently under a 6-month pilot project of which all parties - Dhurba and the Chainpur Development Committee and we - have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to achieve a list of goals over this period. Thanks to the support of our wonderful friends and family, the teacher’s salary is guaranteed for these 6-months as are funds for additional learning materials and any structural maintenance for the building.
The centre now runs 2-hour lessons Sunday to Friday covering basic reading and writing (in Nepali and English), as well as mathematics and creative activities such as drawing and painting. Attendance has been great and steady since the reopening, and the community response has been incredible. Most importantly, classes are delivered free-of-charge, 6-days a week, by an educated teacher, to every Chainpur child who wants to learn. For us, that’s the first step.
FRIENDS OF BRIGHTON SECONDARY SCHOOL NEWSLETTER
I ISSUE 19