Sikles School, Nepal
Wed 22nd June 2016 at 12.15 - 14.15
Unfortunately, Head Teacher Phillipa Summers could not be with us due to an unexpected late school commitment but we were pleased that her colleague, Abi Johnson, had agreed to come in her place. Abi, was part of the team that went to the Sickles School in Nepal so is just as qualified to give us an update.
The children of Grange Primary School sponser the Sickles School in Nepal and have sent some pencils and an i-pad to which our club made a substantial contribution so this was a most interesting update.
Abi gave a most interesting and thought provoking explanation of what schooling is like for the children at Sikles School, Nepal and believe me, it is nothing like the education that our young people receive here in the U.K. just getting to the school is a challenge for most of them as the terrain is steep, stony and sometimes non existent as the party found out for themselves whilst approaching the village. Classrooms are primitive to say the least but one organisation is a trying to improve things in some schools adding essentials like a roof! Lessons are strictly planned by the government and set out in books which have to be adhered to with no deviation, but interestingly Abi was impressed on the stress put on grammar especially as the children are being educated in a third language English as they speak two local languages first. Looking at the photographs of the children it seemed that they were very well dressed in their blue uniforms which was puzzling, but apparently they are all in hand me downs, however they seemed bright and attentive especially at the early morning assembly standing to attention in neat rows.
The welcome that Phillipa and Abi received was warm and enthusiastic as they shared in local life during the visit and left a lasting impression so much so that Abi hopes one day to return to this remote and fascinating part of the world.
Helen M. Frain-Kaye,
Imediate Past President,
This is Abi's synopsis of their trip for which I thank her together with the photographs.
• On Wednesday 17th February, 2016 Phillipa and I left for our trip to Sikles. Our first stop was in Kathmandu. Here we visited many of the tourist locations such as the Monkey Temple, funeral Ghats (Pashupathinath) and Patan. It surprised us how much damage was still around from the earthquake nearly a year ago.
• We then took a flight to Pokhara. It was very much a tourist town and split into two sections. We travelled around the tourist area of Lakeside. Here we visited the lake (Phewa) and took a boat ride across the lake and then a few hours walk up to the Peace Pagoda.
• Whilst in Pokhara we also visited the Women’s Skills shop as we buy these products for school and sell them at events. Unfortunately we were not able to visit the actual factory and ram Kali (founder of business) but we did see the products in their original shop.
• We went to visit old Town and looked around the traditional shops and Ghurkha museum which was very interesting.
• Finally we had a jeep ride to Sikles. On our way up the narrow, winding track we stopped at several other schools (Chachowk, Taprang and Kilang). This was our first experience of schools in Nepal. They were surprising as they were all decorated in the same way due to the funding they had received for the decorations. The teachers were all very welcoming and encouraged us into their classrooms.
• After passing a JCB clearing a landslide we eventually reached Sikles as the sun was setting. We were welcomed by children from the secondary school and the village mother group – who dressed us in the Lungis we had bought in Pokhara Old Town.
• We spent five days in Sikles looking around the village and the two schools. In the schools we saw lessons in action as well a being the opportunity to deliver a lesson each (Myself in Y5 and Phillipa lead songs in the day care Centre). There was no power in the classrooms of the school and no internet in the whole school. This made technology difficult to incorporate in the classroom. The infant classes were well decorated and resourced but you could see the funding had run out or not been supplied for the higher classes. Children worked from textbooks and supplied their own exercise books, quite often borrowed from their siblings.
• In Sikles we were invited to people’s homes, the local guest houses for social events from the school and even a wedding! The village is a steep village and we were often reminded to bistory bistory (not sure about the spelling!) which in Gurung means slowly slowly as the steps were so steep and constant.
• It was a thoroughly wonderful trip which I am so grateful to have the opportunity to have experienced. I’m sure I’ll be back soon.