A 40 year love affair with Nepal bears fruit

Former IEU Rep and Organiser Michael Davis’ 40 year love affair with Nepal is bearing fruit for that country, as he raises funds to rebuild a school destroyed by the 2015 earthquake.

At IEU Council on 18 March it was agreed the Union would support the cause to the tune of $1000 from Executive, with more raised by passing around the hat.

Michael first visited Nepal in 1974 as a traveller.

“I’d been living in Africa for two years then I travelled to Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and eventually Nepal,” Michael said.

“Entering Nepal was like going into a medieval society. Yet it had incredible charm and the people were just wonderful. I promised myself then I would go back.”

It was 20 years before Michael was able to return to Nepal in 1995 but since then he has been a regular visitor.

He and his wife Carol sponsored two Nepalese orphans through to adulthood – one is now becoming a motor mechanic and the other is about to qualify as a nurse.

Michael also has strong connections with SOS Nepal, which provides housing and education for the country’s orphans.

He formed a close friendship with Shankar Paudel, the principal of Hermann Gmeiner School for orphans in the Kathmandu valley, and in 2006 he arranged for Shankar to visit his school Newington College, and other high schools.

“Shankar has been a principal for more than 30 years and is a man of integrity, helping the children in his country who have lost a parent for various reasons.”

The money raised by the IEU will go towards the rebuilding of Chisapani village school.

Chisapani school is primary, with about 100 students, many walking an hour or more from their homes and other villages to reach it. Michael met Chisapani guide Pratap Gurung when he trekked in the Everest region in 2016. Using contacts with wealthy Nepalis in the Kathmandu area, Pratap raised enough money to rebuild half of the school – four classrooms.

The villagers donate their labour through a Himalayan tradition called ‘jana saram dan’. Each of the 60 village households is expected to provide one worker for any community project. To rebuild the first four classrooms the villagers put in a total of 800 working days. But the building material and transport costs are expensive. The first four classrooms, for example, required 180 kilos of cement.

The contribution from the IEU will help with the construction of the final four classrooms needed to complete the school.

If you would like to support Michael’s work in Nepal contact him at michaelodavis@hotmail.com.