This autumn we will start a new fundraising and school linking partnership with Hong Kong's German Swiss International School (GSIS). Over the next few years, students and teachers will travel from Hong Kong to Nepal to spend a week in Solukhumbu at the Deusa Agro Forestry Resource Centre. The first cohort are due to arrive in Kathmandu in mid October.
The partnership has come about as a result of a connection we made with the former headteacher of GSIS, Mary Peart. Mary has traveled to Nepal many times and visited Deusa with TGT and EcoHimal team last November. Now retired, Mary lives in Scotland, but returned to Hong Kong at the beginning of June to see old friends and visit GSIS. While she was there she caught up with the students and teachers who will be coming to Nepal.
Mary reported back to us:
On 4 June I met with the 12 students and two teachers from my former school, the German Swiss International School (GSIS), Hong Kong, who will be travelling to Deusa in October to visit the AFRC. Despite the challenging journey and very basic conditions I described to them, the students are excited at the unique opportunity they will have to see the work of the AFRC as well as to engage with the local community. The group will stay at the AFRC and will be actively involved in seasonal work there as well as constructing bio-intensive plots and learning a variety of local skills.
The students are fortunate to have this opportunity as a result of the partnership agreed between GSIS and The Glacier Trust. In the first of what we hope will be a successful fund-raising model, the students will raise funds for TGT for a minimum of two years and in return, in addition to the trip, TGT will keep the school up-dated on the project and provide case-study and other teaching materials.
We are preparing the visit very carefully to ensure that both the GSIS students and their counterparts in Deusa, get a fresh perspective on how life is lived around the world. Both rural Nepal and urban Hong Kong have challenges and opportunities for young people. These are vastly different environments where the lives people live are extremely different. Bringing students together in this way is a fantastic chance to explore previously held assumptions, challenge stereotypes and develop solidarity. The contrasts between life in Hong Kong and life in Deusa will be stark.
Firstly, the schools look quite different:
Then there are the roads, this is a particularly bad stretch on the track from Salleri to Deusa and the sort of highway that runs through the centre of Hong Kong:
Finally, here is what being 'down by the water' means in Deusa and Hong Kong:
Mary is raising funds for The Glacier Trust as part of this linking partnership. She is aiming 'bag' six Munro's in Torridon, Scotland. You can sponsor Mary via her fundraising page.
Meanwhile, stay tuned for more news on this partnership and please get in touch if your school might be interested in organising a similar link with a school in Nepal.