The Malagiri School


Visit to Nepal

In October 2017 a small group travelled to Nepal in a self-funded trip to visit the school and to commemorate the life of Kevin Fossey. Here’s their story:

For a number of years, the School of Education has supported a small school in a rural village in Nepal. Kevin Fossey, a senior lecturer and former head teacher, who sadly passed away in 2016, initiated the project. As friends and colleagues we wanted to take the opportunity to see the school but to also make a fitting tribute for Kevin.

We spent the first few days in Kathmandu. The city is difficult to describe –it is vibrant, polluted, overcrowded, busy, spiritual and exceptionally interesting.

We went shopping with the outgoing head teacher and her colleague to purchase the following items for the school:

  • Miscellaneous arts, crafts, stationery and other class resources/games
  • Books
  • Teachers aprons
  • Material for children’s aprons
  • Speaker/PA system

The speaker/PA system was a specific request from the acting head and we felt it appropriate to honour his request as an alternative to our planned purchase of musical instruments.

The long journey to the school allowed us to experience the stark contrasts within this small country. Just over 80% of the population lives in rural settings.  They are highly dependent upon subsistence farming and live from hand to mouth.

Cultivated land can be easily identified by the terraces – farming is undertaken mainly by women and without any mechanisation. The terrain is incredibly steep and unforgiving.

On arrival at the school, we were met with the most wonderful welcome. We were presented with flags and garlands of marigolds. Many of the villagers waited to welcome us and stayed to watch the events throughout the day. It is clear that the school is such an important part of the entire community.

The children sang to us – they began with the Nepalese national anthem and went on to sing songs in English and Nepalese.

Next, the children acted out their interpretation of’ ‘Diwali’ – The children assumed the roles of brothers and sisters – the sister is performing a ceremony where she wishes her brother long life and prosperity. She anoints the forehead with coloured dye.

We then went on a tour of the classrooms. The teachers make excellent use of the learning environment and each classroom is interesting, colorful and celebrates the children’s work and achievements.

The following day, we visited the children in their classrooms. They were keen to introduce themselves to us – each child stood, spoke in English and told us their name and their age – one young boy said that he was very happy in school and thanked us for our support.

The adult in view is a young assistant teacher from the village who is proving to be a great asset to the school as well as a role model for the children.

Some members of this class volunteered to sing to us – those sitting and watching were supportive and generous, often mouthing the words, joining in quietly or clapping along.

We also had the opportunity to visit a villager’s home. The buildings shown here, originally used as the family home, were damaged in the earthquake. Like many of the houses in the village that were damaged, they are still being used for storage and shelter for animals until new buildings are competed.

There is no electricity and although water can be used for washing, like everywhere in Nepal, it is not safe to drink.

Kevin’s vision, to build a school in Nepal was realised in 2011 when the school was opened. His commitment to the project and his determination to continue to provide an education for the villagers was recognised in a fitting ceremony where he was adorned with a Khata (scarf of goodwill) and several garlands of marigolds.

We want to continue to support Kevin’s vision so that future generations of Malagiri children have the opportunity to attend school.

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Kerry Burnett • November 24, 2017

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  1. Lynne Wise August 1, 2018 - 11:50 am Reply

    What a fantastic achievement, I am so pleased that the project is thriving. I visited the school in 2015 and maybe will be able to visit again one day. All credit to Kevin Fossey and the team of enthusiasts following on with his vision.
    Lynne Wise

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