Whilst the New Year is a time for looking forward it is also a time to look at achievements over the previous year
After the devasting effects of covid in 2021 which restricted the work of the Trust 2022 has proved to be a momentous year.
We have of course continued with our core objectives. In Education we have continued to support the salaries of teachers at the Nalang Model Academy and also continued to provide free medical support (including paying hospital fees where appropriate) to the whole community of Nalang. We are also proud that we have been supporting six young women and one young man from Nalang to study at university and are particularly proud that they have all chosen subjects that will be beneficial to their community when they return to Nalang.
During the year the number of Nepali staff employed by the Trust has increased to 18 either full or part time. As part of our commitment to women’s empowerment we are pleased to say that we are leading by example as the vast majority are women.
Our Sports Program Officers have especially distinguished themselves with Kopila Upreti becoming the oldest woman to every represent Nepal at the national sport volleyball, 18 years after she first competed for her country. An unbelievable achievement which has been recognised by her invitation to attend as a special guest at the world volleyball championships in the Netherlands. Our other Officer, Santoshi Shrestha is recognised as the “golden girl “ of Nepali and we are proud that through our efforts, including that of our Sports Program Advisor Peter Van Tarel, she is now managed by the world’s leading athletics agency and now shares the same Ethiopian coach as two world record holders. Both are showing what can be done and are an example to all young girls.
Our two English Teaching Ambassadors, Pooja Silwal and Manita Silwal, took advantage of the covid shutdown for two years online training by the professors of The International Centre for Accelerative Learning (Ical) in Atlanta, USA. At the start of 2022 they started visiting rural schools in poor areas to train teachers how to teach English to young children. During their training visits they left all teachers with a comprehensive training pack and also donated two work copy books, a pencil, sharpener and eraser to every pupil in the school. The feedback has been extremely positive, embarrassingly so as we now have a very long waiting list of schools wanting training in 2023.
The Block Making factory that we donated came into its own during the year with many people taking advantage of it to build new houses to replace their old ones that had been badly damaged in the catastrophic earthquake of 2015. It is a tribute to the whole community of Nalang that the first house built with the blocks was a small house for an elderly poor widow. Now she has a house of her own. A new Nalang is arising from the old and needless to say all the new houses are earthquake resistant.
When he arrived in February John Yearley opened John’s House. A building with four self-contained ensuite rooms donated by the Trust to provide accommodation for teachers from the city and VIP visitors. John and Doriana were the first people to stay in John’s House. There are plans to add a second floor sometime in the future. With several buildings in the area donated by the Trust the area is now called by the community ”Yearley Village”
2022 was a year for trips and visits. In February Trust Founder and Chairman John Yearley and Managing Director Doriana Dimitrova Warren and her husband visited to Nalang. The visit coincided with John Yearley’s 79th birthday and all the celebrations held by the whole community in his honour and two weeks later there was another big community celebration for Doriana’s 40th birthday when she was joined by her husband Phillip.
Shortly afterwards teachers from New Collage School Oxford and Hailsham Community College, two schools who the Trust had negotiated relationship with the NMA, came to visit Nalang and their visit further strengthened the relationship between the schools. The teachers were so impressed that they are intending to visit again in 2023 and also invited Rojina Silwal and Sujana Silwal to visit their schools in England. In March a two day “Married Women’s “trip was organised and at the insistence of the women John Yearley accompanied them. He was particular interested to learn that over half the women had never left Nalang so decided that a longer trip be organised for 2023. Later in the year the Trust assisted pupils of the NMA to have a three-day educational trip which included a visit to Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha.
In May Rojina and Sujana visited England and spent time at New College School and Hailsham Community College and in November and December Pooja Silwal came to England to give presentations about the Ical training and about life in rural Nepal to a large number of schools. During the year His Excellency Hana Goder, the Israeli Ambassador to Nepal visited Nalang and stayed in John’s House and later arranged for Yudith Rosenthal from Tel Aviv University to visit Nalang and give some advanced teacher training. Yudith’s visit was followed a group of 24 academics and students from Tel Aviv university who stayed several days.
In November and December our English Teaching Ambassador Pooja Silwal visited England and together with our chairman gave a series of very successful presentations about her work with Ical training and also about life in rural Nepal to pupils in a large number of English schools. Whilst in England Pooja and John Yearley met David Johnson OBE, the member of parliament for the area where the Trust is based in England, and updated him about our work.
We launched several new major projects during the course of the year. It had long been the dream of our Founder John Yearley for there to be a major sports ground at Nalang and he was delighted that the community shared his dream so at the end of 2021 he started secret negotiations (with the help of his secret Nepali negotiator) to personally purchase a total of 23 adjacent areas of land and was delighted after completion of the purchases to inaugurate John Yearley Park on April 8th. With no significant areas of flat land in Nalang the area requires a lot of work to level the area but towards the end of the year John Yearley Park was nearly completed. The park will have a sports ground capable of hosting football and cricket, separate dedicated agricultural market area to improve the local economy, and also a basic driving school to improve road safety. It has been a massive project with the highest point of the land being levelled equivalent to the height of a 13 storey building above the lowest. The sports part of the park will be 110m long by between 95m and 110m wide.
One way to empower women is to provide them with their own income so in 2022 in our other major new project we formed the Nalang Women’s Cooperative to provide opportunities for the women of Nalang to hand make products to be sold in Europe and the USA and to give them a level of economic independence. The back this up we decided to form a sister charity The Yearley Trust France to support this work and at the same time to enable us to access potential EU funding. We are looking forward to a great 2023 for the cooperative.
Thank you to all who took part in that amazing year! Looking forward to many more together