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Shree Seeta Ram Sanskrit Secondary School

Devghat, Nepal - Feb/March 2018

This project was a corporate AidCamp for AkzoNobel and its Building A Future For Asia (BAFFA) initiative. 

13 volunteers embarked on a three-week project to complete the construction of six new classrooms at the Shree Seeta Ram Sanskrit Secondary School, Devghat, Chitwan, Nepal. 

The project helped improve the facilities on offer at the school and also provided the opportunity to increase overall pupil numbers by delivering more classes at 11 and 12th Standard.  

This is a personal account of the project, and the fundraising journey that preceded it, from Louise, a #BAFFA2018 volunteer:

"The road to Devghat was both emotionally and physically long, and that's not including the 10 hour extremely bumpy bus journey causing even the burliest of men to feel queasy. Our journey as a team started back in February 2017 when we launched our fundraising campaigns, together raising an impressive £64.909 which was almost £10k above target. Every single penny donated went directly to the build and the children of Shree Seeta Ram Sanskrit secondary school in Devghat. The new school building which stands proudly in the village would not have been possible without the amazing support from AkzoNobel, AidCamps, our fellow colleagues, business connections, friends and family. For this the #BAFFA2018 team and the people of Devghat, will be eternally grateful.

We are all now back safely and settling into daily life but the experience is one never forgotten and never too far from our thoughts. One of our AkzoNobel commitments is to ‘Positively colour communities and actively support the next generation', this is not a simple bullet point on a presentation but an ethos the company lives and breathes. As a BAFFA member you get the chance to experience this first hand and actively contribute to the next generation in communities which need it the most. Each day is spent interacting with some of the most amazing people and kids who don't have shoes but do have the biggest smiles you have ever seen.

During our three weeks in Nepal we were part of transforming a shell of a building and construction site into a bright and colourful beacon of education. Together the #BAFFA2018 team built 6 classrooms, instantly giving 350 kids a better chance of education today and over the years impacting 1000's more.
 
For anyone out there that is thinking of applying for a future project it is important to acknowledge the less exotic elements of the trip. An AidCamp is a working project and you must be prepared for three weeks of challenging manual labour. Team work is critical in ensuring the project is delivered on time, people are not overworked or doing activities beyond their capability. Common tasks on site include painting, plastering, lots of heavy lifting and many, many chain gangs to transport materials from one end of the site to another. Project life is not a life of luxury, think sleeping on a hard table rather than a memory foam mattress, squat toilets, limited privacy, working alongside huge spiders, sharing your lunch with the local monkeys and your bedroom with lizards and bugs? Every single one of us would encourage you to go for it – the challenges soon seem relatively minor when measured against the overall life changing experience.

Each day brings a different interaction with the local kids, from dancing in the playground to getting beaten at football by kids half your age wearing flip flops but with skills to rival Messi. Each connection is one to be treasured and the little moments like blowing bubbles or sharing balloons at the local orphanage and bringing so much happiness to the kids are memories never forgotten.

On reflection it feels impossible how many unforgettable moments we experienced in such a short space of time. In Kathmandu we were immersed in the heritage and culture of this beautiful and colourful city. We visited some of the ancient temples that represent the two main religions, Hinduism and Buddhism, and witnessed how they add strength to the people without any conflict. We visited Chitwan National Park where we went on an Elephant safari, saw the endangered One-Horned Rhinoceros and took canoe rides just metres away from 15ft crocodiles basking in the sun. Even on our final day we took advantage of our late flight to organise a fly-by of Mount Everest, an awe-inspiring event to look down on the world's highest mountain.

The #BAFFA2018 team all came from different sectors of the business, ends of the country and backgrounds, uniting under the ‘we are one' banner in pursuit of positively impacting the children of Devghat."


Louise Murphy
Specifier Development Manager




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