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In June 2013, Positive Real Estate employees Lara Haines and David Neradil ventured to Nepal. Positive Real Estate funded the construction of a primary school in the Dhading district in Kathmandu Valley with the help of Room To Read. Lara and David took time out from their holiday to check it out, and have shared their inspiring experience.
Shree Indrayani Lower Secondary School Pinda-1 educates children from kindergarten through to year eight. The school consists of two main areas, dividing the school into ‘primary’ and ‘junior’. 261 students from surrounding districts attend the school, many of them having to walk long distances from their homes. Sometimes it takes as long as an hour each way.
The school borders Kathmandu, which is a farming region. Many of the children’s parents never had the opportunity to be educated, and as a result cannot read at all. These families are poor and live very simple lives.
“We had a beautiful drive from the city on the rough and windy highway, admiring the terraced mountains and new crops being planted.” Lara said. “When I first saw the school I was surprised at how small it was. The colourful new building sponsored by Room to Read really stood out in comparison to the old mud-brick classrooms that were around it. The school was built on top of a huge hill. From their playground we had an amazing view of the district and surrounding farms. I can only imagine how beautiful it must be in September when all the fields are green, the flowers are in bloom and the crops are ready for harvesting!”
Before Room to Read’s assistance, the children had to learn in mud-brick structures, often with fifty students in each room. The structures had metal roofs and very poor ventilation. Unlike schools in Australia, these buildings would overheat in the summer and could fall below 0°C in the winter.
Nepali government schools are still experiencing these difficulties. Thanks to Room to Read, the new building allows the children to sit in comfort while they receive their lessons. It is bright, sunny and, unlike the previous building, has a lot of space for them to move around. The students truly enjoy their learning experience now.
In Nepal, it is common for children to be taught English and never learn to read their own language. By the time they are adults much of the Nepali language and culture is forgotten. The Shree Indrayani Lower Secondary School is different as it has an extensive library with hundreds of books that are in the students’ native language. They books are beautifully illustrated and there are a variety for children of all reading levels.
“We were given the opportunity to look at the register. I saw thousands of entries by children borrowing the books, increasing year by year.” Lara told us. “The children are so excited! They flock to the library to these borrow books.”
If Room to Read had not become involved, these children wouldn’t be able to receive quality schooling. Many would not have been able to attend school altogether due to the serious over-crowding of the classrooms. However, these children are now experiencing an education that will empower them to choose their own destiny, and find work improving both their community and their country. Without this school, these children wouldn’t have a choice in their future.
However, it’s not this that has impacted Lara the most.
“The humility and warmth of the people had the biggest impact on me.” Lara shares. “It was amazing how people could survive on so little, and yet be so happy. They showed huge appreciation for even the smallest thing – just our visit to the school made them beam with joy! It made me realise how much we take for granted, and how many choices we have here.”
Lara explains, “Resources are limited. They don’t have computer or technology classes. They also don’t have subjects like art, dance, drama and music. Those were some of my favourite classes when I was at school! Even though we have achieved so much for these children, we still have a long way to go.”
At Positive Real Estate, we are so proud of the difference our contributions make. By donating just a little of your money and time, you can make a massive difference in the lives of young children and their families. We are convinced that the answer to poverty lies in education.
While donations go along way, if you can take five minutes to tell one person a day about Room to Read’s cause, and motivate others to get involved, we will be working together to get real and long-lasting results.