Rotary reaches out to children on the roof of the world

Some of the trekkers and the village children.
Some of the trekkers and the village children.

Children in Nepal have been helped by generous Rotarians across the Lancaster district.

Youngsters at a school in a remote village in the Everest region have been helped out to the tune of more than £20,000.

This will pay for new toilets, a clean water supply, classroom equipment, text books, building materials and hygiene kits among other necessary items.

The fundraising began in 2011 when Duncan Hamlett became the chairman of the international committee of the Rotary Club of Lunesdale.

Previously, Duncan had sponsored Lilian Barton, from Kirkby Lonsdale, when she climbed Helvellyn and crossed notorious Striding Edge in 2010.

The sponsorship money went to help Lhakpa Sherpa, who lives for part of the year with his English wife in Barbon, to raise money for a school in the village of Khiraule, Nepal, where he was born.

Duncan recognised an opportunity for a Rotary matching grant application, whereby local ties could make a connection with a remote Sherpa village in the foothills of the Himalayas.

It was to be Duncan’s first international project.

Time passed and Lilian made a trip to Nepal in March 2011 and trekked to Khiraule to see the school she was raising money for.

After the trip, in May 2011, she did another sponsored climb with several other people up Snowdon.

By this time Lhakpa had made presentations to Rotary clubs, which had generated interest in helping his cause.

Four other Rotary clubs, Kendal, Kendal South Westmorland, Grange-over-Sands and Church and Oswaldtwistle, together with Lunesdale, were prepared to commit money to the project.

The consensus was to apply for the matching grant application and it was agreed that Kendal would be the lead Rotary club and the nominated international partner.

Philip Hoyle, then international chairman of Kendal Rotary Club, agreed to compile the application, apply for and manage all that the application involved.

His first priority was to establish with Lhakpa and his wife what they were striving to achieve for the school and the education of the children in the village.

There is a school committee in the village which has considerable input into ascertaining what is required for the school.

Peter was required to maintain contact with Rotary International in Evanston, USA, and with the Rotary Club of Dulikhel (host partner in Kathmandu).

Dulikhel Rotary Club agreed to administer and oversee all aspects of the project and maintain contacts when, where and how required as dictated in the terms of the matching grant application.

At last all Philip’s hard work wasn rewarded, and last month Philip was informed that the application has been accepted with an

award of $24,706 – more than £16,000.

In addition to the application, £5,000 was raised by the five Rotary clubs.

There is now to be discussion between the clubs to decide how this additional money may be used to best serve the needs of the school as required.

The combined sum of money ranslates into a huge number of rupees to benefit the school and the lives of the village children.

These benefits include the provision of a reliable water source ensuring good quality water, new toilets, ground levelling the playground and providing a retaining wall and enclosure walls, classroom equipment such as display boards, office furniture, text books plus health and hygiene education for all the children and staff plus basic hygiene kits.

In addition the grant will fund the purchase and transport of essential, non-local building materials, furniture, text books and local labour costs.

Philip hopes to trek to Khiruale to see the project for himself at some time in the future.