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International Mud Day – A Connection to Nepal

photoBy Brooke Schneider (Maia, Koby and Sage)

Mud Day has an extra special meaning for a number of us at Bold Park Community School.  Several of our children were in the class that helped initiate the beginnings of Mud Day. After watching our kids share this experience across the globe with the boys’ home in Panchkhal, Nepal for several years; a group of us decided in 2013 to make a trip over and celebrate together!

While there, we learnt that from the age of 16 the boys no longer receive board or education as the orphanage cannot financially sustain them. They then must leave with the hope of finding work to support themselves.

Realising how important education is to anyone’s future, a group of Bold Park families decided to set up a charity group, Families Building Bold Futures (FBBF), to support these boys in finishing their final two years of secondary education and the opportunity to sit their higher education board exam. During the past 2 years, FBBF have sponsored 7 boys.  The cost of education, food and board for each child is $2500 per year. With further fundraising in the past 12 months, we have been able to also sponsor 2 girls.

In April 2015 a group of 4 children from Bold Park, along with 9 family members and volunteers came together for a second trip to visit the Panchkhal home for boys. Leading up to this we held fundraising events for sustainable community projects to support the orphanage. We also collected 400kg of donated items to take over with us!

Maia, Koby and Sage have reflected on the four days they spent at the orphanage….

When we arrived at the orphanage, all the boys embraced us with smiles. 

7 boys from the orphanage are in year 11 and 12 and are going to graduate with the help of FBBF donations so they can get a job in tourism or hotel management to earn the money they need to live a good life. We visited their school and noticed in the classrooms they have lots of quotes from famous people in their country, and lots of ‘helpful tips’ and ‘golden rules’ for students in the classroom.  Maia used the Zentangle kits Gill sent for the boys to lead a Zentangle session for everyone. 

Our work included painting the buildings with the local painter, installation of large and effective solar panels and a hot water system. All the boys were really enthusiastic about helping us paint. An electrician and his crew from Kathmandu came and put in some solar panels with Daniel and 2 volunteer electricians, who travelled with us from Perth. The boys were so pleased that throughout the night they had electricity, and their first hot showers!  

We also went out with some of the local girls and bought Nepalese watermelon chewing gum and doughnuts. 

After lunch we put sport items, including cricket sets and soccer balls that had been donated for the boys on a big table.They were all very appreciative. We played a great game of cricket, and a very competitive game of “Australia vs Nepal” soccer, now tied at 1 all over our 2 visits.                                                                                                    

Two years ago when we visited the orphanage we planted fruit trees and they were named after ourselves. This year we planted a further 51 trees to extend the orchard so the boys can live sustainably off the land.           

On our last day we were all feeling sad that we had to leave. We all exchanged contact details and gave each other cards and drawings. The girls were also given some educational gifts for school. We sang songs together, and taught them an Australian song, “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gumtree”. Carla sang “Amazing Grace” to Armitab who is the oldest man at the home at the age of 54. It then came time to say our emotional goodbyes. As our small van left the orphanage the boys chased the van out to the main road….

The Nepalese people are so generous and kind, and as our kids reflected, despite not having much they are still so happy.

Two weeks after the group returned from their trip, the devastating earthquake hit Nepal. We were relieved to hear that our friends in Nepal were safe. They are; however, all affected in some way by the devastation. We have recently learnt the dormitory the boys reside in has been deemed unsafe by their government and must be rebuilt. It was so hard to hear the wonderful Nepalese people, who already have so little, now have this huge challenge to deal with also.

We are hoping to make another trip to Nepal in 2017. Very exciting!

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“One of the things that has been wonderful about the Bold Park Community School is its opportunity to respond to the needs that are specific to the child ... it is reassuring when a school can deliver at a pace and style that is respectful of the individual's differences and needs AND to demonstrate the relevance of curriculum issues into the application for real life and living.”

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