Shree Dhanubas Kalika Secondary School is located in a small village that lies in the Madi Rural Municipality, Kaski district, in the mid region of Nepal. Its closest metropolitan city is Pokhara, a forty-minute trip by bus, or a 2.5 hour’s walk.
For many tourists, the Kaski district is known for the Annapurna mountain range, as well as beautiful lakes, gorges, natural caves and rivers it offers. It is also home to over 18,000 people of all caste groups, with agriculture and livestock management being the main occupation for many villagers.
In 1999, PTN funded the construction of a new, 6-room, 2-storey, school building at Chhachok to establish a new secondary school in the village. The new school was built to provide a safe and improved learning environment for Grades 6 to 10 supporting the surrounding four primary schools. The school was funded by the people of the Isle of Man through a wide variety of individual fundraising activities, many undertaken by children, on the island. The school was the fourth PTN school funded by the people of IOM.
Since its inception, this school has been able to bring excellent results in regard to SEE and Secondary Learning Certificates - equivalent to GCSEs and A Levels in the UK - and has been recognised as one of the best schools in the District. At present, the school has over 100 students, supported by 7 teachers, 1 administrative staff member and 1 caretaker.
With the continued support of Pahar Trust Nepal, the school now has additional facilities including a computer suite, science lab, Early Childhood Development classroom (below), a community library and clean drinking water. Because of these facilities, the school is able to offer both practical and theoretical education to the students.
Supporting students to succeed
One former student who benefitted from the school and its excellent facilities is Bimal Gurung. After completing his SLC exam in 2005, Bimal has gone on to a master’s degree in English and Political Science. Now, along with completing his MPhil, Bimal has returned to the school to teach year3 students as part of a Government-provided temporary position.
Other students who have also studied at the school have been able to go on to jobs in a range of areas, including Governmental organisations, businesses, agriculture, farming, and politics.
There is more work to be done still, as labour migration is still a significant issue for theNepali Government. Even at Shree Dhanubas Kalika Secondary School, overseas employment is still the most common route for students after leaving education.
However, we have been told that parents in the local community are so inspired by the successes of former students that they are encouraging their children to continue with their studies in order to see them have the same future successes and opportunities.
Through the dedication of the Principle, Mr Gopal Sapkota, along with the students, parents and local community, the school’s performance continues to go from strength to strength. In 2018, it was ranked in the top four of all Government funded schools in the country, with Mr Sapkota being voted the best head teacher in the Kaski district.
Our latest building project in Chhachok
Finally, from working with Chhachok’s community for over 20 years and building strong friendships with many of the villagers and students, we became aware that healthcare within the village was poor. In 2020, with funding from UK and Australian supporters, we undertook a joint-funded project with the local RuralMunicipality to build a new, purpose-built community health centre, to provide valuable primary care.
This new building means that villagers and school children can receive medical care without having to walk 2.5 hours to Pokhara city.