The Nepal School Project

In May of 2014, I travelled through the poverty-stricken Indian state of Bihar and arrived in Birgunj City, Nepal. After a chance meeting with some teachers at a poor school, I was inspired to raise funds for plumbing upgrades and school supplies. The original goal was to raise $250 CAD.

Thanks to an amazing group of friends and yoga students, the project raised $1344 in less than three weeks. So far, hundreds of children at four schools have benefitted from the donors' generosity. All schools received pumps and pipes and holding tanks to bring water for hygiene and drinking, as well as school supplies. The project is ongoing, and I plan to visit Nepal to help some more schools in early 2018.

To donate online:
   · Visit
   · Enter my phone number, 250-886-9642
   · Select "Family and Friends" to avoid extra fees.

To donate in person:
   · In Victoria BC Canada, contact me.
   · In Taichung City, Taiwan, contact Surya.

Current Total:   $264 / $5000 CAD

The photos below show the work we've done in Birgunj, and in the village of Narikot. I hope this inspires anyone at all to help improve the lives of others, in whatever way they can.

Call for Donors

Sri Maisthan, Birgunj

Sri Panchase, Narikot

The Original Call for Donors

This is Sri Maisthan Bal Vidhya Mandir Indu Lakhe Lower Secondary School ("Sri School") in Birgunj, Nepal. It's a small public school with about 200 K-8 students from low-income families, and in urban Nepal, that means things are pretty rough.

The classrooms are all like this: 4 walls with wooden benches, narrow tables and a blackboard at the front. Families with enough means will send their kids to private schools, so this school has a lot of kids from the untouchable caste. And since more money and hope is invested in boy children, Sri School's students are mostly young girls.

Of course, the kids are very curious and love to play. The teachers do their best to help them learn, hoping to provide a way out of the grinding poverty that's so common around here.

Students will spend a total of nine years within the school, and any improvement in their conditions will go a long way.

All the water for the school comes from this mechanical pump. It takes some strength to operate and depending on weather conditions, it sometimes goes dry.

The students use squat toilets typical for the region. There is no plumbing to bring water for cleaning the room, wiping i.e. washing, or flushing things down. Students can bring a full bucket from the hand pump, or (more likely, especially for the small ones) just stand up and go back to class. As you can see, this isn't hygienic, nor is it just yucky; it's a health hazard that can and does make the kids sick.

When I came to this school, these two teachers presented me with a plan. They want to purchase a gas-driven 1HP pump, which could bring water from the hand pump to the roof you see behind them. There it'll fill up a 1000L cistern, which could bring water by gravity to the bathrooms to keep things clean. It'll also provide drinking water when the rain slows down and the well runs dry. The total cost of this system, the teachers say, is about 20 000 Nepali rupees or $250 USD.

I'm new to this kind of work, though I've learned a bit from Crystle at the India Village Fund. I've seen a lot of poverty around this area, especially away from tourist areas, and I don't expect to be able to fix everything. But I think I've found a really worthy way to help, and I'd love to help make this place cleaner and better for these kids. If I can raise $250 within the next three weeks, I can personally deliver the money to the school. I've already confirmed the prices with a Nepali plumber, and if any teacher is tempted to pocket some cash, the others will bring him right back. I'll personally start the fund with $50 USD. If the total reaches $350, we can double the size of the holding tank.

If you'd like to help with this project, any amount is very welcome. You can give online through PayPal, using my phone number 250-886-9642 and selecting "Family and Friends" to avoid extra fees. For more details you can contact me here or through our Facebook page. On behalf of myself, the teachers and the kids and teachers at Sri School, thank you very much!

- Eric

Sri Maisthan School in Birgunj

Birgunj is an India/Nepal border city, and it's not a popular tourist spot. All imperfections aside, it's an interesting place for an early morning stroll.

When I returned to Sri Maisthan School after fundraising, everyone was away on holiday. But I tracked down Teacher Umesh (in the plaid) to bring a plumber back to the school.

I explained the plan, and they surveyed the school from bottom to top.

We made a list and checked it twice, making sure it would use the money well.

Next came the plumbing shop, where we negotiated across the language barrier to ensure a fair price.

We also got some school supplies; dictionaries, a handball or two, wall posters for Umesh's biology class, and a few more things.

Here's Umesh with all his treasure. I had to leave Nepal the next day, and I didn't hear back from the school for months! I was worried they'd returned the goodies and kept the money, which was something I'd been warned about.

I was really happy to finally see these photos. Here's an unknown man setting up the pipes to take water from the hand pump.

This motorized 1HP pump moves water up through the pipes to the rooftop.

Pipes go all the way across the school...

...and up to the second floor.

I love the composition in this photo! I don't think it was planned.

Here's the cistern on the roof. It's not just a water source for toilet-flushing, it's also a drinking water reserve for dry times of year.

Here are some of Sri Maisthan's senior students. Too all our supporters, on behalf of Sri Maisthan's students and staff and all our people at Full Lotus: thank you very much!

Sri Panchase School in Narikot

Narikot is a remote village in the hills near the city of Pokhara. It's a very peaceful place, where farming and animal husbandry are still more important than technology.

Working here would have been impossible without Ashok (left), who works at Adam Travel. His mother (right) served us dal bhat with fresh buffalo milk, cooked on the fireplace inside her clay home. It was one of the best meals I've ever had.

Sri Panchase school in Narikot serves about 150 elementary students. Since water is scarce in these hills and rationed by the village, the school had no water source of its own during the day. The toilets were dirty and students would have to walk to nearby houses to ask for a drink.

We began by surveying the village's water system. It collected water through a few pits and pipes up on the hill, and brought it to the central holding tank on the bottom right. We planned a few well-placed improvements, to improve the village's holding capacity and give easier access to the school.

Before the work started, the school organized a full assembly to celebrate and say thanks. Many of the villagers came to join in.

The man on the left is the school prinicipal. The girls' papers spell "Thank you Ally", to recognize a single donor who gave enough to fund this school's work.

I was showered with blessings, and weighed down with flowers. It was especially touching to feel the heartfelt thanks of an old Nepali lady whose grandchildren go to the school.

We gathered all the teachers together in a meeting to flesh out the plans. The school would gain a new holding tank to supply water during the day, and work within the existing rationing system by filling it during the evening.

A tap would be installed for the washrooms, and a new water source was identified to increase the village's overall supply.

Ashok and I brought a teacher back to Pokhara to buy all the necessary goods.

This store has never sold this much soap - I can guarantee that!

Here are all the supplies, including flush buckets and pipelines and cement, ready to be loaded onto the Narikot bus.

A happy teacher, ready for a long bumpy ride.

The villagers all pitched in to complete the work without pay. It was beautiful to see how mutually supportive and community-oriented everyone was.

Here's the biggest part of the finished work - an accessible water source for the children to wash with and drink.

To all our donors, on behalf of the students and villagers of Narikot, Nepal: thank you very much!