Swindon based children’s writer, lecturer and translator Dr Christine Tipper is strong believer in education as the means for children to open doors into their futures. She’s been supporting Glory School in Bhaktapur, Nepal, north of the capital Kathmandu, for over 4 years and has seen remarkable improvements.
Here she describes the school, the damage done by the recent earthquake and her efforts to help with the reconstruction.
The 250 children at Glory School desperately need your help. In Nepal education is strongly biased to favour boys but Glory bucks this trend by giving girls equal opportunities to flourish and shine.
Glory takes a holistic approach to education. The principal and staff understand that there is more to education than fact learning. Pupils are encouraged to express themselves through dance, song, music and sport. Teachers act as parents; in this school hugs, smiles, encouragement are the norm.
When in Nepal I run craft workshops. The kids in Glory discovered Blu-Tack for the first time and marvelled at its ability to help them build towers out of lollipop sticks and straws. We paint posters, cut and glue collages, make masks and have fun. Boys and girls work side by side forgetting that they normally sit on their own sides of the room.
Pupils sing along to English pop songs – James Blunt is popular as his lyrics are straightforward. I sing along to Nepali pop songs much to their amusement.
I teach them poems, we recite them and then they write their own which is published in ‘Writing for Glory,’ a book of pupils’ poems, texts and jokes. I also run teacher training workshops for the staff as the school can’t afford to pay for training.
All of my efforts have been to promote education and to give Nepalese children a voice and a future. But things have changed since the earthquakes. In Bhaktapur there were three big ones, not the two reported by the media here. The majority of Glory School pupils lived in those brick and mud houses you have seen reduced to mounds of rubble on the news. They have lost their homes, their clothes, their food. Some have lost family members and friends. Seena, aged 7, has lost all five members of her family.
The children are no longer carefree. I receive messages from them showing me the remains of what were their houses. They are afraid to go to sleep in case the earth moves again and they are crushed. They tremble in fear when a plane roars overhead or a phone vibrates – is the earth moving again? They sleep in the fields.
As many parents have lost their income, the school will struggle to collect fees and pay its teachers.
Can you help Glory School? Click on this Just Giving link to help to give hope to the children.
Christine has also published an e-book with anecdotes about her experiences in Nepal called ‘Nepalese Nuggets.’ which is available from Amazon. All proceeds will go directly to the school. In May she raised £290 at the Swindon Festival of Literature by selling ‘Writing for Glory.’ To purchase a copy email email@example.com
• Christine has also pioneered a children’s radio programme in Nepal based on her Sabina and Punte elephant books that I’ve had translated into bilingual English- Nepali which has been distributed free to schools throughout the country. The weekly programme reaches thousands of children, even in the most remote regions. The programme is a fun of way of showing them how to be resourceful, encourages them to be problem solvers, adventurers and to have high self-esteem.
Pictured top, Christine working with Year 10 students at Glory School. Below, happier times before the earthquake