2018 Deaf Expedition to Nepal

We are very fortunate to have incredibly dedicated supporters and fundraisers who help us to achieve the work we do in Nepal. We are currently working with a group of 8 people who are raising money to provide a new hostel for Deaf children at a school in Lamjung. The current hostel is very run down and the new building will give the students a safe and comfortable space to relax and play outside of school hours.The group is being led by David Lawton who will be visiting Nepal with the group in November to meet with the children at the school, carry out refurbishments and provide equipment and resources. We asked David to tell us about how he got involved with the trust and his motivations so please enjoy his story.

What we found out

"My involvement with Pahar Trust Nepal started in 2014 following a chance meeting with a Deaf man in Warrington Deaf club. I was a member of the Deaf club and also Warrington BSL signing choir, I’d joined the choir as a way to help me improve my sign language vocabulary and signing skills. I’ve worked for a local housing association for 23 years as a plumber in the communities of Liverpool. About 15 years ago I attended a property to carry out a repair and the customer happened to be Deaf, I can’t recall if I’d ever met a Deaf person before, I love to have a chat with people but I felt really embarrassed and awkward about my communication skills, I left the property and made a promise to myself that this situation would never happen again and that if I ever met a Deaf person again I would at least have the basics to introduce myself. From here I enrolled on a level one Sign Language course and quickly became enthralled by the language and am now studying towards my NVQ level six in British sign language and been involved with the Deaf community ever since. This is how I ended up in Warrington Deaf club and the chance meeting with Greg Pierssene…

Greg was in leading a project to raise funds to build a new Hostel for Deaf children in Nepal and also to take a team of Deaf and hearing people out to visit Nepal in November 2015. As I was learning British sign language this was a perfect opportunity for me surround myself with native BSL users and immerse myself in sign language. A fundraising target was set for each member of the team and so started my journey which has had life changing implications.

I needed to raise some serious funds towards the project and didn’t have a clue where to start. I decided to take part in The Liverpool Half Marathon 2015 and see if I could persuade people to sponsor me. I’d never been into sports and I couldn’t even run for the bus let alone 13.1 miles!

It nearly killed me but I did it and managed to raise a good few pounds towards my target. This is what kick started me on a roller coaster journey that has seen me shed six stone in weight and go from a couch potato to and Ironman Triathlete. I’ve lost count and forgot some of the events but I’ll name a few:

  • 9 Full Marathons including London 2018
  • Ironman 70.3 Barcelona 2017
  • Ironman 70.3 Weymouth 2017
  • Ironman U.K. 2018
  • Numerous Olympic and sprint triathlons
  • Over 15 half Marathons
  • “FANDANCE” special forces mountain race
  • National 3 Peak challenge 3 times in one year
  • 400 mile cycle Calais-Amsterdam
  • 400 mile cycle Paris- Mont Blanc
  • Firewalk
  • Skydive

I’m now a group leader at a local run club in Liverpool called Dockside Runners, this keeps me motivated it’s given me so many more opportunities in life. I’m also a partner in another signing choir BSL For You signing choir with Helen Andrews, and it’s because of the work of the members we’ve been able to raise much needed funds towards the project by doing signing performances as well as raising the profile of the project.

Unfortunately, when it came for us to visit Nepal in 2015 Nepal has suffered terrible damage caused by a powerful earthquake meaning the delay of the Hostel being built. When we visited the school the hostel had not been started yet and so all we could do was to lay the foundation stone and a time capsule. The local community (Damauli) near Pokhara, treated us like royalty and made us feel special for our hard work we had done to raise almost £40,000 towards the project.

I had personally fundraised almost £5000 towards the total amount and wanted to go back when the building was complete. In April 2017 I was lucky enough to visit Nepal again and was there to witness the official opening of the Hostel as a guest of honour, before the visit I managed to raise another pot of money to help furnish the hostel and paid for bunk beds to be made locally, I also took school uniforms donated from a school in Warrington and with what was left from the funds I bought stationary and class room equipment for the school.

It was at this point I was handed the responsibility from the project leader to lead my own project of a similar nature and attempt to raise over £20,000 towards another hostel build for Deaf children in a remote area of Nepal.  The School Management Committee and local community will also contribute additional funding in the form of cash, labour and materials.

We currently have 5 members who are coming to Nepal with us in November and we also have a few more who are actively fundraising towards our project. We will visit and work in the school where our hostel is being built for a few days and be actively involved in the refurbishment and decorating of the school. As we are still actively fundraising the hostel will be unlikely to have started while we are there but are hopeful that we will have raised the funds by the end of the year.

Having seen the children I’m fundraising for and witnessed the conditions they live in and the problems they are faced with everyday this is something that I will continue to support for as long as possible. I’ve seen where the money goes, how it’s spent and the benefits the children receive as a result of our hard work.”