Donation to The Shree Himalaya Primary School, Namche Bazaar

This donation was made during our Xtreme Everest 2 trip in 2013

It's so exciting, I cannot decide what to do!
It's so exciting, I cannot decide what to do!

Namche has a primary school, a ‘respectable’ primary school, as that is what ‘Shree’ means. The Shree Himalaya primary school was built in 1957.

In the comfortably warm spring sun, we walk up the hill to get to the school-grounds. As we approach the headmaster’s office, a helicopter flies into the valley, overwhelming the high- pitched sounds of children’s voices coming out of the classrooms.

We are enthusiastically welcomed by Mr. Bikumar Bk, who has been headmaster for 17 years. When he started his career, there were 25 children attending school. Ever since, the view on education of the parents has gradually changed, and general improving wealth of the local community has enabled more parents to pay the 400 to 600 Rupees (£ 3.20 to £ 4.75) per month fees. Children whose parents do not have an income are funded by the Government. Recent figures count 136 pupils, from the age of three-and-a-half up till 11 years old. They come from all directions; the furthest away is Pangboche, a 5 hour walk. For those living more than 2 hours away, there is the ‘home away from home’. Most of them will go home on Saturdays, the only day off. Others will not see their parents for months.

The school was founded with support from the New Zealand Himalayan Trust and governmental money. Of the 8 teachers, 3 are paid by the government, the remaining are paid out of private income. For 8 years, lessons have been given in English. It enables the children to get into secondary school more easily in Kathmandu, once finishing their grade 5 here. Whilst the headmaster explains about the 8 different subjects being taught, and the extra activities provided on Friday afternoons (Nepali music & dance, literature, games), the oldest pupil walks out of his classroom to ring the bell: 40 minutes have passed since the start of the first lesson at 9.30 am. It is time for the teachers to move to the next classroom.

The headmaster takes us around on a tour to meet all the children and teachers. In every class we are welcomed with a perfect “good morning, Namaste”. Every classroom is beautifully decorated with handmade materials from the children, or educational images painted on the walls. All children are dressed in school uniforms; the little ones have their colorful handkerchiefs pinned onto their jumpers so that runny noses can be dealt with straight away. Most of them also wear a woolly hat. The school is closed in winter-time (January and February), but without any heating facilities, it is still very cold in March and April. The children are then dressed up in down jackets and write their schoolwork whilst wearing gloves.

Although an extra classroom or an additional teacher would be most welcome, the headmaster is very grateful for all stationary, stools, and other materials that Xtreme Everest 2 is able to donate to the school. Furthermore, there will be 9 different flags; soon, these children will know where all Namche laboratory investigators come from, all over the world!

Written by Jildou van der Kaaij (Namche Laboratory Medical Officer)

Namche Primary School

Created : 5th May 2013
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