Nepal – April 2011
The Jimmy Robert’s Memorial Fund (JRMF) was established in 1998 to protect the rich environment of the beautiful Seti River Valley, near Pokhara in West Nepal. Jimmy’s concept was to reduce game wardens and invest in stimulating the young about the importance of conservation through education by increasing teachers’ numbers in local schools. His concept continues to thrive on two counts; environmental deterioration has been halted, whilst educational standards increased significantly. Now 1,400 pupils attend the 7 primary and 3 secondary schools in the Seti River Valley, creating an urgent need to establish a 10+2 School (Sixth Form School), to enable the rising numbers of those who are intellectually competent the opportunity of a university education. This pressure has been significantly increased by the commitment of a large group of 10+2 students, willing to leaving home at 5 a.m. daily, to attend lessons from 6 to 10 a.m. in a Secondary School, which is available outside normal school hours. The mission of Nepal 2011 is to establish a 10+2 school with a capacity for 100 co-educational students. It will be two stories and have four classrooms, a library/computer facility and a toilet block.
JOA grants do not usually become available until late January and in May the monsoon season starts. The period for building was therefore be restricted and because of this, there was be much to be accomplished and the tasks were many and varied.
Sukla Gandaki Village
Sukla Gandaki Village is situated in the lower region of the Seti River Valley and has an elevation of between 3,000 to 4,000 feet. Pokhara, the principal town, is one hour’s walk plus 30 minutes by bus and will not be accessible by members of the team on a daily basis. Kathmandu is approximately 200 km, or a day’s drive from Pokhara. Sukla Gandaki has no western cultural attractions, boasts a couple of local shops and a cafe. Subsistence agriculture is virtually the only employment in the area and is family managed. Money is scarce and bartering is common amongst the locals. Trekking is popular and the countryside is beautiful, exhilarating and interesting. Temperatures range between 34c by day and falling to 20c at night. The sun rises at about 6 a.m. and sets at 6 p.m. Because of the high altitude, persons with heart defects must consult their GP before applying. The lack of transport and hilly terrain are deterrents to non-walkers and the isolation of the village will be unattractive to persons unable to detach themselves from a western culture for more than a couple of days.