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Village Primary School AidCamp

Nepal - November 2009

This AidCamp was held in conjunction with our partner Rural Community Development Programme (RCDP) in Debauli, a small village in the Chitwan Valley area of Nepal.

This project financed two new classrooms in a school with approximately 400 children and only 6 rooms to teach them in. The following report was written by Roger, one of the volunteers:

RCDP was an organisation that had been set up some five years ago. While it had worked with other charities, its relationship with AidCamps International was regarded as unique in that the latter was the only organisation that not only provided funding through charitable contributions but arranged for volunteers to come to Nepal to work directly on the building projects.

While in the South of Nepal, we were staying in a little village called Sauraha on the edge of the Chitwan National Park and about half an hour's jeep ride from the school in Debauli. Sauraha is situated on the Rapti River and on the first evening we walked down to the river to sit and watch the sunset and so beautiful was the view that we made this a regular event.

Working days followed a pattern of working from 8a.m. to midday and then either afternoon visits or cultural evening talks as well as some welcome free time. The afternoon trips were sometimes to schools or orphanages where there had been previous AidCamps/RCDP projects and it was both interesting and pleasing to see the good that had come from these projects and the happy faces of the children were a wonderful reward in themselves.

At the weekends, there were a number of activities laid on. The first weekend we stayed in the nearest ‘big' town, Narayanghat, and visited the nearby holy site of Devghat. The second weekend, we stayed in Sauraha but had trips to the local Elephant breeding centre, jungle treks on foot and on elephants, and many others. For most of us, this weekend was one of the highlights of the trip – it's not every day you come face to face with a rhinoceros or see a crocodile at close quarters.

All this should not distract, however, from the focus of the trip which was the building of the school rooms which we completed on time and to budget as all good projects should. But the things I will treasure most are the experiences of meeting and working alongside the wonderful Nepalese people who are so welcoming at times it was almost overwhelming. Both on our arrival and at the opening ceremony for the new classrooms, we were made to feel as honoured guests.

The children were always so excited to see us and to watch these strange people work at their school and my happiest memory was the afternoon we returned to the school to play with the children with the balls, frisbees, etc. we'd brought with us. The grown-ups were no less enthusiastic and more often than not the headmaster and some of the teachers would come and work alongside us in a way that you could not imagine happening in the western world.

I know everyone on the project team, (drawn mostly from the UK but also including two Australians who were great fun and brought a different dimension to the team), came away thinking that it had been a wonderful and inspiring experience that brought together people of different ages (between 25 and 70) and different backgrounds who managed to achieve a worthwhile common goal.

When we were leaving Debauli at the end of the project, the headmaster made a plea that we should never forget them and I'm quite certain we never shall.


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