Community Meeting at the School

In the previous days Mon and I had discussed many things about the content of the talk with the community, and had prepared a plan. So we were up early on the morning of the 15th and made our way to the village, and again we had company. This time just one person, a Nepali girl from Bandipur came with us, Pipila. She was a student in my computer class when I was volunteering with GVI, she herself is a Bhujel and seemed really interested in what we are doing, so asked if she could come with us, and of course we said yes.

Again we walked, with no complaints from Pipila, and once we arrived at the school she got straight in and befriended some of the students, as you can see in the first 3 images. Afterwards she said how much she enjoyed the day and wants to go again and maybe help in anyway she can. For me this is one of the most important aspects of the project, involving and inspiring Nepali people, especially the younger generations, as they are the future Nepal. If this project can inspire and empower only a few that’s enough to make a difference, and especially if they are female. Things are changing here in Nepal (mainly because of the West’s influence) and we can do our best to support it.

In true Nepali fashion, we waited around for about an hour until as many members of the community arrived, and in Images 4-6 you can see I got a good chance to take some nice photographs. Then before the meeting started they had planned some formailities for us, first the children were all put into lines (Image 7) and under the instruction of the new teacher Kissan Bhujel, they sung their national anthem (see video, far right). Following that we sat on the porch of the main building and child after child came past and put Mallas (necklaces of flowers) around our necks, as a traditional sign of gratitude. Then shortly after midday we all went into the pre-school room in the main building and the meeting began.

Mon first talked about the need to set up a committee within the village, an important topic, because having a committee made up from people within the community gives them the power and responsibility that is needed if The Aandhimul Project has any chance of success. Also, because the village is split by a river and valley it is almost like there are 2 seperate villages and in the past both sides have had dissagreements on certain issues. So we felt it only necessary that the committee should be made up of 4 people from one side, and 4 from the other and there should be at least one woman representative from both sides of the village. A vote was to take place at the end of the meeting.

The second topic of conversation was in reference to the school’s renovation. We outlayed our intentions and ask the community to respond with questions, which they did. They were happy with the plans, though some brought up the issue of water supply to the school. Currently there isn’t any, they have to carry it up in urns from the bottom of the hill, a time consuming and tiring process. Also, other issues with water in the village were raised and many discussions took place. To conclude them, Mon and I asked the community to vote on which issues were most important, and to be started first.

The school renovation came first, with the water issue for the school a close second, and our hope is to find organisations who maybe able to help us solve the issue with water not just in the school but with the community’s drinking water and land irrigation too. We will keep you updated with the progress in future blogs.

Other topics were briefly discussed, such as providing training to the teachers and giving talks to the communtiy about health, sanitation and family planning. One company that can help is Early Childhood Education Centre (ECEC). When I go to Kathmandu a week Wednesday to renew my visa, I will visit ECEC who will hopefully provide training for the teachers and talks with the parents on health and sanitation.

I met them in March and they were very interested in helping, and if any of you are interested in reading about what they do, please visit their website www.earlychildhoodnepal.org, and if you have any feedback don’t hesitate to email me.

At the end of the meeting the community voted and chose the representatives for the committee. We then decided to arrange another meeting for Monday 20th October, because Mon and I wanted to create specific rolls and responsibilities for the members and print the information to give to them, and then in the meeting they can choose/vote which person will take which role. Such as Chairperson, Secretary etc.

Finally, it turned out to be quite a productive day, but we still have much work to get the Project going, it is still early days, but things look positive and the community show enthusiasm and co-operation, we have to keep it like that. I hope you enjoy the pictures and the videos, there will be more coming!

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