I met a man who was playing a type of table top hockey. He asked me to go and visit his school. Inside, the children were attending their lessons. The school was a project of ‘Room to Read’, the local community and the Nepali government. Architecturally the building looked good and with a nice paint job on the outside at least.
The teacher took me onto the roof and said ‘we don’t have equipment for our school - no tables, books, and no money to buy them’. I replied ‘it’s not a school without materials, it’s just a concrete shell’. ‘A foreigner, a German came last year and donated 50,000 rupees and we were able to build the roof’ he told me. I got the impression that they were relying on another beneficiary to turn up out of the blue and make a considerable donation.
I had a small amount of money and spent 150 rupees to buy 33 pens. A pitiful donation, but I was only carrying 650 rupees. I was left feeling frustrated that perhaps they were not being proactive enough to generate funds. Why did the organisation ‘Room to Read’ (I saw the HQ next to the UN HQ in Patan side of Kathmandu) leave the school so under-equipped?
I had met an American guy in Varanasi who had to come to India to volunteer and had devoted three months to help in a ‘microfinance’ company in Tamil Nadu. Couldn’t this school do more to make contact with people who wanted to volunteer?
A foreigner who wanted an experience from his travel would be gladly accepted and taken in. A native English speaker, person with high school or graduate qualification would probably be better placed than the teachers there to teach English or any subject. The English teacher couldn’t really speak English. I took the address and if anyone wanted to make a trip to Nepal to volunteer in the school there, I can provide the contact.