PROJECT FOR A NEW SCHOOL IN GOLI (SOLUKHUMBU-NEPAL)
ACCESS: To access the village is not easy. First one has to take a bus to Jiri. And has to spend a night there and start walking at 6 in the morning. Easily it can take from 2-3 days walking paths with a steep slope and also with the help of a guide.
SCHOOL: So far there was no school in the village. Nearby there are two primary schools and one high school. The children are forced to walk two to three hours every day each route.
GOVERNMENT: There is no VDC/Municipality. There is a Mayor for a set of nine small villages. He is elected by the people of the area among them, who is considered best qualified to hold the office. For situations what can affect directly the people, can set up commissions, turn by turn.
ECONOMY: It is based on subsistence agriculture. Who has land, consumes what obtains from that. People who don’t have own home, works in the land of the house where he lives and pays a part of the products. Some people have to work in the land very far. Families can have a cow and chickens for milk and eggs. When it is possible, they do the exchange of products. The years when weather is bad there is no good harvest, then no food, no sell or no exchange of things. Both men and women work very hard in the field, only some families have oxen to plough.
NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE
ENERGY: Because of the geographical difficulties and the fact is that if the government does not invest, the village will not have electricity. Existing possibilities to solve the issue are solar energy and hydropower. In both cases the families of the village are not prepared financially to the necessary investment and maintenance costs. "Peeky Hill Social Organization" has installed a solar energy plate in the main temple of the village. This implies the possibilities of charging the battery of the mobile phones to communicate, in addition to the light in the temple and at home of Lama, essential person in a village of Sherpa culture. The rest of the village does not have electricity or the possibility to acquire in short-term.
WATER: By making reference to water, the nearest river of village is situated in a distance of 45 minutes walking. The state created a basic infrastructure to supply water for village in some specific points. To supply in one part of the village, it needs to cut the water to the other part.
HYGIENE: hygiene is an important topic to work for the good development of the people, as much physical level, for the prevention of intestinal diseases or infections or such as environmental level. Realizing that the families do not always have water, its temperature and the weather in the mountains, merely a taking shower means great difficulty. In the houses cooking over a wood fire, a fact that also warms the space and gives light. On the other hand the smoke makes very dirty air and walls, eventually everything is full of charcoal.
The environment and due to the arrival of plastic, is really dirty. There is no any kind of environmental consciousness. A consequence of this, is normal to throw anything that is not necessary. Previously everything they had in the village came from nature, everything was organic and hadn’t problem. Currently there are many papers and plastics that reach everywhere and do not realize the visual and environmental problems. There is no dust bin or dust collection point in the village.
HEALTH: Another basic needs of the people is a health. There is no doctor or qualified person in the village. There is no one who has knowledge of first aid. For any serious problem one has to load the patient and carry walking for three hours. There is no free health system in Nepal, it means that each family has to manage the budget to pay for a specialized person. In most cases the patient is at home waiting for an improvement, in case of contrary, he dies.
One of the most common problems in children of the village is breathing due to the smoke from the fire. The houses do not have chimneys. The construction of these types is a inaccessible budget for most of the families.
The lack of output of smoke provoke respiratory problems and dirtiness.
The cough and runny nose are of great consideration among the smallest. The physical activities such as running and jumping can be even dangerous.
EDUCATION: the need for education is also of great consideration, that is why the foundation has found it necessary to start with this project, the construction of schools, primarily to address this lack.
The nearest primary school of village is situated about an hour and thirty minutes and two hours walking to the next one. Children, after working at home, with animals or go to the forest to find food for them, they have to take the way to go to school. These schools belong to the government, so they are free, but they need to buy uniform.
Families who can afford, they send their children to secondary school, having passed primary school, roughly at 12 years. This is in a village four hours to walk. Normally they are the children who have this privilege. Girls usually stay at home and help with housework. In the end, when the time comes to marry and become part of the husband's family, taking care of him, the children and the house. They don´t believe that to be well educated is essential. Those who willing and able to go to university must leave village to live in Jiri or Kathmandu.
What we have seen in rural schools in the area is that education is entirely authoritarian. Everything is based on repetition, boys and girls…
Because of the great difficulty of finding teachers for rural schools, the necessary training and what they receive is very, very basic. They also repeat what they saw and experienced in school. Generally they do not have a vocation in their work. For them it is the way to have a permanent job and of course, a salary. The punctuality or give an example for education is not a principle to be taken into account. Usually they arrive late and often do not appear, thus leaving students unattended.
The spaces are precarious. The government invests in the building but no worries about maintenance. The classrooms are very cold, stone and with a window. They are small spaces and have tables, benches and blackboard. This only allows the child is sat, listening and writing, without any autonomy or freedom. The little material that arrives at school, such as maps, sheet with the alphabet or flags is in the teachers' lounge.
The exterior patios and spaces are only used for online training, when the national anthem is sung. The students are distributed in rows, from highest to lowest and separated by sex. The correct position is achieved based on pushes and orders by teachers.
While most girls and boys learn, through these years, to read and write in Nepali and a little English, it never helps them develop skills such as creativity, imagination, relationship or critical thinking.
THE NEW SCHOOL
One of the difficulties has been the transportation of necessary materials for the construction of school: stone, clay and wood. Taking into account that the families cannot make financial contributions, they provided physical assistance, free of charge, for a period of collecting stones.
The school is divided into 5 classes, one intended for teachers and the other 4 for classes. The capacity is 60 children from age three, four and five years for the first class.
The repercussion of school will go beyond the same village and that will have capacity of boys and girls of nearby villages.
The faculty will consist of four teachers, in the beginning, two women and two men, one of them is the lama of the village, responsible for teaching the language and culture of Sherpa and Tibetan.
It is necessary to be aware that the village needs a major development to improve. Although the school is a very important point, especially for the future, it is not enough. They are the people of village who have to continue towards improving their rights.
What is hiding behind the beautiful smile of a boy or a girl Sherpa? Or what can learn those children, the University is not taught about the life anymore? They were particular issues called our attention. We observe, quickly, that they were people with great potential but have difficulty being able to fully exploit therefore we decided to teach, based on our training, some of the basic ideas for teachers saw another way to school. The idea was not to see immediate results for the practical classes, but if you give teachers some educational alternatives, practically, and in education, only knew what they had lived in rural schools.
Our basic points are based on a significant and comprehensive education. An education where the boy and girl study, we wanted them to be the most important figure of the school. We wanted students to learn with fun and have fun with learning. Where the education not to be so authoritarian and if more communicative, we wanted kids to be critic and to make questions. Also wanted the play, songs, stories and small groups to be the base of learning.
Where the teacher be worked for the development of the various dimensions of the child, physical, mental, emotional and social. Where the teacher be the vehicle of learning and not an all-powerful being who knows and transmits knowledge as we could observe in other rural schools. Where make them educated so that children could work for the good development of the village. That the respect and partnership be the key to the future of these children. A school where be worked about environment is surrounding them, personal hygiene and health.
Where Sherpa and Nepalese culture be studied and be understood alike, where children be able to learn other languages. We seek creative individuals who can fully develop all their abilities and skills and seek that to understand it, but do not forget the reality where they live and need to know how to mix two things. Teachers must enjoy teaching and learn about the children.
This is enough work to achieve in a month, but for something have to start together with the people of the foundation, we think that giving these bases would be a good way. Aware that this is a slow change, but full of illusion and ideas and impregnated with the illusion that emerges from the organization, any step seems affordable. Even so, obviously, this kind of education requires some aspects that are not easy to see or to find in rural schools in Nepal.
- Qualified teachers are needed. A month of training is not enough to assimilate so much information. We need more practical classes and theoretical information that is difficult to achieve but is that any of the teachers go to the capital.
- It requires decent facilities, where children have to learn a suitable space and a suitable material for them to play and study, to learn, to think and enjoy.
- We need to have a good relationship between families and school. The families must understand the functioning of the school and that the school must be an educational and social point for the people. Perhaps literacy courses, or hygiene and health.
And above all it is needed illusion and faith in the project, that all must believe that is doing something good for the Sherpa community, but not to change their culture and their roots, but to try to help their development from base of society, understanding and education, in order to build together a better Nepal.
• ENERGY: There are two possibilities to get energy: hydroelectric and solar power. Hydroelectric power can be obtained from two relatively nearby rivers. As for solar energy, there is the possibility of buying individual solar panels for each house (some already have) that allows them to have light in some rooms, and perhaps could heat water. Another possibility is to mount a general structure of panels and then distribute energy. The choice of solar panel per family is much easy, each home depends on their own consumption and not having to make complicated installation and connection in the village. It is necessary a technical study to check that possibility is more reasonable.
• WATER: At this time the water reaches to the village. The quantity is not a problem, the supply is guaranteed for the moment because of the snows and rains. The problem is distribution, there are only a few points of collection and distribution, so that when distributed in an area the another part is dry. Many families, even if they are close to one of these points, cannot afford the cost of hoses to have running water in the house, and therefore have to carry the water or wait until the water flow to the area. Could conceivably afford hoses to solve this problem.
• HYGIENE: In large part, the problem of personal hygiene could be solved with the arrival of running water to houses. If we add this with the arrival of energy, with the hot water would increase for sure the habit of hygiene. But that is not enough. Must create an educational program in the school to inform and advice on this topic. The availability of light inside the houses predisposes to maintain the houses very clean, and therefore their people much healthy.
• HEALTH: It is necessary that to be trained in first aid someone in the village. It could reach an agreement with a foundation or a local hospital. It is also very necessary to create a zone of attention to sick or wounded people, as well as a kit and the possibility of having a day. The construction of chimneys in houses would be an improvement to major level of health, since many respiratory problems suffered much of the people would be solved.
• ENVIRONMENT: It is necessary to educate from school about environmental problems since there is no consciousness about it. This education should reach also to the families. But education is not enough, also need to create a system of waste collection and treatment area.
• EDUCATION: With the construction of the school has taken a big step, but not enough. It is necessary that teachers receive training in the capital, and the possibility that will be recycled and meeting new educational systems, while material is needed to work with children in a meaningful way and to the integral development of children just as implants the foundation.
• ECONOMICS: There is no economic system created in community of the village. It might be possible to do a study on creating a cooperative to sell the products which produce families. On the other hand tourism is increasing. It is necessary to provide for the possible growth of the people so that impact on the whole and not just those who can attend directly to the tourists.