The mission of Front Range Community College is “we enrich lives through learning.” This mission now has a long reach – all the way to Nepal.
The Sri Kausika Primary School in the village of Mulghat in the district of Dhankuta caters to village children and those from surrounding villages. Its student body includes 11 deaf students (10 boys and 1 girl) who board at the school. The Rotary Club of Kasthamandap, Nepal, has long supported the school with supplies and funds for minor improvements.
PTK Honor Society Members Raised Money
I am a native of Nepal. Harmony Fox and Emily Thomas, honor students in my Principles of Economics class, were members of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the international honor society for community colleges. Under my guidance, Harmony and Emily, together with the PTK chapter at the Larimer Campus, developed a plan to raise funds for Sri Kausika. They were instrumental in launching and, though graduated from FRCC, continuing the project.
PTK’s first efforts raised $1,133 on campus. That’s when the Rotary Club of Fort Collins came in. The club matched the amount, as did a Rotary District 5440 Governor’s Grant. So $1,133 became $3,399.
Nepal School Needed Major Repair
The school found funds to fix a leaky dormitory roof and to replace decrepit wooden lockers – targets of rats – with metal ones. But the school had no funds to provide clean restrooms designated by gender. The school reported that girls were not enrolling because of a lack of privacy.
Our dollars were applied to construct a separate restroom for girls and to complete a water pipeline to carry water from an existing collection tank to the school. This eliminated the need for the children to haul water. It also provided additional water that could be sold to the local village, which will provide an ongoing revenue stream to benefit the school.
Increase in Enrollment
Enrollment at the school has increased to 166 from 122 since the initial involvement, with 30 of 44 additional students being girls. Enrollments are expected to continue to increase, and the school eventually hopes to expand to the 12th grade.
Local and Global Community Involvement
Phyllis Abt, a member of the Rotary Club of Fort Collins, drafted the Rotary grant proposal in collaboration with the faculty and members of Phi Theta Kappa. She also serves as the liaison with the Rotary Club of Kasthamandap.
The Rotary Club of Kasthamandap hosted FRCC faculty and students who visited the school in Nepal. It also provides oversight for the project at Sri Kausika.
Members of the Rotary Club of Fort Collins provided books, markers, crayons, stickers, Pla-Doh and other art supplies. Barbara Patterson, Jennifer Lee, both faculty at the Larimer Campus, and their trekking group last summer provided donations, which were used to provide first-aid kits to the school. These materials were delivered to the school by the FRCC team in June of 2013.
More Donations for Further Repairs
PTK raised another $4,405 over two years. Rotary Club of Fort Collins contributed $5,595, and a District 5440 grant contributed another $5,000, for a total of $15,000. The first phase of construction with these funds has been completed:
- An existing retaining wall which protects the classrooms from monsoonal flooding was extended by 10-12 meters on each end to improve flood mitigation and reinforce the existing retaining wall to stabilize the outdoor play area and prevent runoff from entering the classrooms.
- Plaster in the buildings that had been damaged in previous flooding was repaired.
- The exterior of the buildings and some of the classroom were painted to protect them from the elements and to improve the appearance of the school.
- Iron doors and locks were installed for the classrooms used by grades 1 through 5.
The second phase is underway:
- Repairing the tin roof of the building that houses the teacher office and first grade.
- Creating a library by partitioning off a portion of the sixth grade classroom.
- Providing 40 metal combo desks/benches.
- Providing a metal storage locker for the deaf students.
What is in store for the future?
PTK has decided to do a fund-raising effort again this academic year. Members hope to raise enough money to qualify for the Rotary’s Global Grant of about $35,000, which will allow for some major improvements at the school. If you would like to help, please contact PTK at the Larimer Campus.
This project has become much bigger than any one of us ever imagined, especially when Harmony and I were having a conversation on global poverty and development economics. That conversation was a catalyst to help the education of students, particularly girls, in a rural part of Nepal. It is also important to remember that many individuals and agencies from the local and the global community have worked together to make these improvements a reality – a true community effort, which embodies what we do here at Front Range Community College. We enrich lives through learning.