On April 25th 2015 a huge earthquake struck Nepal, devastating the country. Schools and buildings were destroyed across the country, which are slowly being replaced. In a town called Dhulikhel, twenty miles east of Kathmandu, the hostel for the blind attached to Sanjiwani School, home for up to 26 blind children who have to board far from their families, lost one of its two buildings. What remains is not safe and all of the children are squeezed into one building. These children cannot go home to see their families as this government school is the only one for several days’ travel that will educate them.
Even before the earthquake, the hostel was in a poor condition but now the site itself is dangerous, with three metre drops surrounding the building where the foundations of the old building were destroyed. Temporary safety balcony fences are loose within the hostel and access around the school is very hazardous for those with visual impairments. In the hostel building itself, there are no study desks, dilapidated kitchen facilities and little in the way of entertainment for the children who live permanently on site for ten months a year. Despite this, the children are incredibly friendly, optimistic and the most welcoming people you could meet.
Our project’s sole aim is to make life better for these children and, working with them and the local community, the Juniper Trust has agreed to help fund a complete renovation of the hostel before the monsoon rains come again next spring. Building is starting imminently thanks to a donation of £5000 from the Trust but we now need to fundraise as we go to raise the remaining £10,000 and we desperately need your help. Money goes further in Nepal than in the UK, and every penny donated will make a difference.
In addition to the building work and essential living equipment, we have asked the children for a wish list of simple things that would improve their quality of life, to add to the USB players and headphones already donated and much-used. They have asked for several traditional musical instruments to play which will and help integrate them into the community – music and singing are such an important part of the Nepali way of life. Any help you are able to give is incredibly gratefully received. Thank you for your time in reading this - we hope it has moved you to contribute and make these children’s lives better.
Please visit http://junipertrust.co.uk/projects/sanjiwani-hostel-for-blind-students for more information and regular updates.
John Davis first visited Dhulikhel School back in 1999 on a Ullswater Community College expedition to Nepal as a pupil. He returned for the third time in summer 2016 as a qualified and experienced teacher to volunteer in schools in Dhulikhel with his wife, Paula. Many evenings were spent at the blind hostel with the children. On their return to the UK John and Paula gave a talk at the George Hotel, Penrith, which was attended by the Juniper Trust and Glenn Rowley, director of KE Adventure Travel with whom John first travelled to Nepal on his first visit. Glenn has since made several visits to the hostel while in Kathmandu. He was accompanying a KE fundraising trek to 10 new schools that have been built by the Juniper Trust as part of their wider Nepal Earthquake appeal. Following these visits, both KE and the Juniper Trust have agreed to help with the renovation of Sanjiwani blind hostel. The Juniper Trust has a proven track record of cost-effective achievement in making projects happen. With the help of their partners at KE Adventure Travel, they have changed thousands of lives across the world.
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