Newsletter 21 – August 2015
Best wishes to all our supporters in Britain and Nepal. Previous editions can be read on www.fishtailfund.com/newsletters.
Thank you to all our supporters – especially for your patience.
Fifty of you – individuals and organisations – have been waiting for your annual student update. Unfortunately this year, things have been a lot different.
May we explain?
Life in Pokhara will never be quite the same again for our students and their teachers. The April 2015 earthquakes disrupted family and school life. Some Fishtail Fund students lost family members: Kiran Tamang and Sanju Thapa lost their grandmothers, Suchana Khadka lost her mother. Schools were closed for several weeks. When they reopened many were unsafe. As a result lessons took place outdoors, or crammed into classrooms two or three classes to a room. Water supplies were severed in some places.
Even after schools reopened, the usual pattern was disrupted. Exams took place late, and the SLC exam (the same as our GCSEs) in particular. Even the scripts were marked very late. So it’s only now, in August, that the results and reports are filtering through to us in the UK, and on to you.
For our Rotary Club friends in Pokhara, their personal lives came under pressure. They are all in full-time, demanding jobs, but moved immediately onto rescue and repair work after the earthquake (we have already sent and spent six thousand pounds of dedicated earthquake money in support, raised through the Dronfield Earthquake Appeal). Fishtail student support continued, though a little more spasmodically. In the middle of all this:
… a faction of Maoists called a general strike against the preliminary draft of new constitution and an agreement between India and China on Lipulekh, a chunk of land in Nepali bordering to China and India in far west. Both countries (China and India) did an agreement for road/trade without permission/witness of Nepal. Both the countries showed big brother attitude this time again. Everything is closed here. No way to go anywhere. Until now Pokhara is completely closed and calm but it has been reported that few vehicles are vandalized and put fire in Kathmandu and other part of the country.
However things are gradually coming together. We have received and forwarded reports on 20 of our 51 students. Most of the SLC results are finally here. Some students have led disrupted lives: one, Buddhi, left school, did not report in, but surprised us with a SLC result of first division marks! Generally, grades are a little down, not surprisingly with the loss of lessons and the fear of the earthquakes.
The students who passed SLC have all got places in different schools or colleges. They have started their next year without end-of-year results. They have sat the tests, but don’t yet have results. So once again, we must try not to impose our European values on what is a very different system and exceptional circumstances. Patience please …The trustees in Pokhara are collecting details and, if satisfied, are providing scholarships. You will get letters, results and other details soon. However just today (Friday 14th August) we heard this:
On Saturday. I wanted to meet all SLC passt students and also provide them scholarships for grade 11 on Sunday. However, I just came to know that few political parties have called general strike on Sunday and Monday, which may result no vehicle movements on the road, market/schools remain closed. Still, we will see if some students near Pokhara can walk!
So when Chris Burke asks you to commit to another year of support, please trust the recommendations of our Pokhara friends. We will eventually bring you up to date, of course. Patience please …!
We have changed our bank to the Charities Aid Foundation which offers good systems for us. It should be easier and quicker to transfer funds. Chris will provide details when he contacts you about renewal.
In October, we hope to welcome some of our Nepali Trustees to Dronfield, and in November a group will be going over to Pokhara at their own expense. This will be an opportunity to send your student a letter, photographs and a small gift, as before. We will contact you later about the details.
With best wishes
On behalf of trustees in Dronfield and Pokhara