A charity with long standing connections to the Isle of Man is marking 30 years since it funded and built its first school with a major fundraising campaign.
Pahar Trust Nepal (PTN) builds educational and health facilities in remote areas of Nepal. It was established in 1993 by two ex-servicemen of the Queen’s Gurkha Engineers, Tom Langridge MBE and Chandra Bahadur Gurung. Soon afterwards, Howard Green MBE, who lives in the Isle of Man, became a Trustee and in 2005 took over the position of Chair – a post which he held for many years before becoming President in 2019. He continues to have an active role in supporting and promoting the Trust today.
Since the Trust was founded, over 34 projects have been funded exclusively from the Isle of Man – through a combination of donations from Isle of Man residents, including businesses, churches, schools, Rotary clubs and individuals and grants for several projects awarded by the Island’s Council of Ministers’ International Development Committee. Most of the projects were schools, with two currently under construction, helping to give children and young people in Nepal the opportunity of an education that many take for granted.
The year-long campaign – ’30 For 30’ – will help 30 schools improve their teaching provision for pre-primary school children aged one to five years old. Some of the schools it is supporting will require a complete refurbishment of the classroom, whilst others have the basics but are lacking in critical resources such as stationery and educational toys and books. The fundraising target is £50,000 which would make significant improvements in all 30 schools.
Since it was founded, PTN has delivered 248 projects, building and renovating 159 schools, 51 libraries and 38 other essential facilities such as health centres and toilets. Over 40,000 students have benefited from its work.
Executive Director Alan Sweetman explained the rationale for the 30 For 30 focus: “Supporting education at this early stage in a child’s life is critical. Brain development in early years is rapid and quality pre-primary education has wide reaching positive impacts on children’s attainment and development. Children who attend pre-primary education are more likely to stay in school and achieve at least the expected minimum reading and mathematics competencies.
“It also supports community development and economic growth as it enables mothers and other caregivers the opportunity to work and increase earnings while the children are in school.
“Nepal, like the rest of the world, has been hit hard by the pandemic. Thankfully, we have been able to keep most of our projects on track due to the hard work of our in-country team. As with the rest of the world, Nepal has required lockdowns to control the spread of the virus and, although schools have begun to re-open in recent months many students have missed out on valuable education.”
The ’30 For 30’ campaign has attracted a number of high profile ambassadors, including anatomist, author and broadcaster Professor Alice Roberts who is now Professor of Public Engagement at the University of Birmingham, and the best-selling author, photographer and producer Levison Wood, who has worked and travelled in over 100 countries, including Nepal.
While people are being encouraged to fundraise all year round, the campaign will be running three key activities, kicking off with Freestyle February where supporters can complete 30 things throughout the month, from walks round the park to baking and selling 30 cakes. One supporter is running 30 half marathons in 30 weeks Later in the year there will be a ‘Nepali Night In’ with specially created Nepalese recipes, and a Tiffin Day, based on the simple tiffin lunches children take to school in Nepal.
For an idea of how donations could help:
£20 can provide a bag and educational materials for a student
£100 could repaint a classroom
£500 could provide critical resources such as stationery, books and educational toys
£1,200 could provide new flooring, furniture and a whiteboard
£3,000 could provide the complete refurbishment of an existing room