The Yearley Trust
The Yearley Trust was formed in 2005 originally to support talented young Bulgarian musicians to complete their studies outside Bulgaria and particularly in the UK. However, in 2018 the Trustees realised that the considerable improvements in the Bulgarian economy and the effects of Brexit which will mean that EU students will no longer get student loans to pay their University fees, meant that such support was no longer necessary or viable.
Consequently, at the beginning of 2018 the Trustees turned their attention to the problems in rural Nepal and the area of Nalang in particular. It is a poor rural area where around 90% of the adult population is illiterate or very poorly educated and possibly as many as 60% live below the poverty line.
Article from The Guardian about the current situation in Nepal after the 2015 earthquake (https://amp.theguardian.com/cities/2018/dec/05/kathmandu-earthquake-debt-nepal? fbclid=IwAR2M2wpXFV_8aTMv44xB9QkGEe5s862w8JyFGLqnnFUFMLujuz5PrBA1iBI)
However, in spite of this the community built a community school to educate their children and also to ensure that girls received equal education to boys (rare in rural Nepal). When the school was partially destroyed by the massive earthquake of 2015 (which destroyed or badly damaged 90% of building in Nepal) the community, led by the school’s founder Ram Silwal, just got together and rebuilt the school.
Recently the Trust has been strengthened by Doriana Dimitrova and Tsvetelina Georgieva joining the board of Trustees for which the Chairman, John Yearley, is extremely grateful. Doriana will be producing a documentary on the school and the work of the Trust. Meanwhile she is providing considerable help and expertise with the web site and Facebook pages for the Trust and acting as the Trust’s representative in the UAE.
Already the Trust has funded,
- The purchase of land for a 56-bed hostel at the school
- The cost of building the hostel and its own toilet/shower block
- A new school kitchen building to cater for both the hostel and the school teachers and pupils
- The cost of building a new toilet block at the school with special provision for girls
- A fully equipped medical centre for the community and medical provision in the community.
- A large multipurpose room to be used both by the school and the community
- A 400,000 litre enclosed reservoir to store rainwater for use in the school toilets and shower
- Glazed windows to replace the 54 previously open windows so that classrooms are warmer and more comfortable in cold weather
- A stand by generator in case of power cuts and also solar panels to provide some of the school’s energy requirements
- A new fully equipped science lab at the school
- Provision of English Science text books for the school and interactive projector and whiteboard
- Provision of a TV and white board to show educational programmes in English
- New whiteboards for classrooms
- A pupil’s good attendance and behaviour scheme
- Computers, laptops, digital cameras etc for the school
The Trust currently has had three Nepali people working for it in Nepal since February 2019 and a fourth person since August 2019 and is expecting to expand that to six people in the next few months. As part of its policy of promoting girls and women’s rights all staff, except one, are women/girls. The Trust pays all women employees at least as well as, if not better than, Nepali men would expect.
Nalang Model Academy
The Academy is a community run school in rural Nepal. It was set up by the local community in 2008 to improve the standard of education in the area (the state run schools having a very poor reputation and are subject to political interference) and is run on English school lines. In Nepal 50% of pupils in the state system drop out of school altogether before they get to year 10 and in Nalang 90% of the adult population in was either illiterate or very poorly educated. It is a very poor community made up mainly of subsistence farmers. This makes the local community’s desire to set up the school even more remarkable. Nalang is a small town with 2,200 households. 11,000 people either live in Nalang or within 2 hours walk.
In 2014 the school started providing sporting activities and training and immediately found a dramatic improvement in school attendance and dropout rate (in state schools attendance of only 3 days a week is quite normal). Unfortunately, the school does not have any playing field facilities and all sporting activity takes place on the small area of land which serves as an outdoor assembly area. In spite of this the school has provided 5 former pupils for the National Under 19 Football Squad and 1 for the Under 19 cricket squad. There are currently no playing field facilities available within an accessible distance from Nalang although the Trust will soon be launching an appeal to raise the money to buy the land. The school firmly believes that sport helps to develop teamwork and is an essential adjunct to good all-round education
In 2015 the area was hit by a major earthquake which killed nearly 10,000 people and destroyed or severely damaged 90% of all buildings (including the school). Luckily the earthquake struck when most people were outdoors working in their field otherwise the death toll would have been considerably higher. Undaunted the community immediately acted to rebuild the school with minimum disruption to pupil’s education.
A small fee (under $80 per annum) is charged to parents of pupils but no pupil is turned away if they cannot afford the fees, a significant proportion of the pupils are provided with free education including all pupils with special needs. The school particularly encourages equal opportunities with special emphasis on the education of girls. This is in a country where traditionally girls were not educated and were married at a very early age.
Around 80 pupils are classified as “far pupils”. This means that they have a walk of around 2 hours to get to school across rough and hilly ground. During the monsoon season this means that due to unsafe ground conditions (flooding, landslip etc) up to 35% of pupils cannot get to school.
Before the earthquake the school had a hostel where these children could stay during the rainy season – thus no disruption to their education. However, the earthquake destroyed the hostel. Now The Yearley Trust has financed the purchase of land and financed the building of a 56 bed hostel for the school.
The Trust has also financed a new toilet block for the school, new school kitchen, glazed toughened glass windows for all the school windows, a 400,000 water reservoir to store water for the dry season and the building of a new second floor on an existing single storey building to create a Medical Centre for the community together with a large Multi-Purpose room for use by the school and the community after school hours. The Trust has also donated the equipment and furnishings for both the Medical Centre and the Multi-Purpose room
The school has also been keen to extend science education to years 11 and 12 (pupils could only study these subjects if they could afford to study in Kathmandu and pay for the costs of boarding there) The Yearley Trust has provided a fully equipped science laboratory to enable the school to provide the best possible science education and the first pupils studying science are due to complete their Year 12 exams in April 2020.
Nalang is a very rural community in the District of Dhading and although only 85km west from the capital Kathmandu it can take as much as 4 ½ hours travel time and during the monsoon months some times the roads are impassible.
The population of Nalang itself, and the immediate vicinity, is approximately 11,000 living in around 2,200 houses. Nalang is at an altitude of 1,500m which means that the climate is sub tropical. Like many such rural areas in Nepal approximately 90% of the adult population are either illiterate or very poorly educated which makes their efforts to improve educational facilities for their children particularly praiseworthy and is one of the reasons that The Yearley Trust is so happy to support and encourage their efforts. Another reason is that the community is keen to encourage education and equal opportunities for girls. Generally in Nepal girls are considered less important than boys. Their support for equal opportunities is a credit to the Community of Nalang.
The majority of the population are subsistence farmers and around 60% live below the poverty line. Generally the land is hilly which limits the type of crops that can be grown
The people of the district of Dhalang are primarily Bhramin and Chetri in the south and Tamang and Gurung in the north, with much of the centre Newari.
The mountain range “Ganesh” is the predominated mountain range located within the district of Dhading. All of the peaks are over 7,000 metres (23,000 ft) with some approaching 8,000 metres (26,000 ft). The 8,000-metre (26,000 ft) plus mountain “Manaslu” is clearly visible from much of Dhading
The school was built by the community in 2008 but was destroyed by the massive earthquake of 2015 which destroyed 600,000 buildings in Nepal and killed nearly 10,000 people. The epicentre for the earthquake was near Nalang and very many more people would have been killed except for the fact that most of them were outdoors tending their fields when the earthquake struck. It is estimated that the costs of the earthquake were equivalent to around 50% of Nepal’s GDP. (That is equivalent to £1.2 trillion for the UK)
Most of the building in Nalang that survived and still lived in are damaged. The community rebuilt the school with minimum disruption to the children but also needs help in repairing damaged housing.
Main crops grown are Rice, maize, millet on a large scale but not enough for the year. Also some vegetables, like Cauliflowers, cabbage, radish, potato, carrot, brinjal, bitter gourds local pears and some citrus fruits. Whilst for three months of the year the land is inundated by the monsoon rains the remaining months have very little rain so most of land is unused because of the lack of proper irrigation in the area. So Rain water harvesting may play vital roles for making irrigation in this land. If they have water supply for irrigation they could cultivate any crops easily and in many case get to crops a year from the land.
There are a few shops in the local area but have problems of supplies during the rainy season. There are some business people from the city who come to trade at the market The shops sell foods items, there is also a local hotel for the business people. There is a clothes shop, small veterinary, shop small electronic shop, and stationery shop.
There is no doctor in Nalang. The Trust is paying a qualified paramedic to provide emergency medical cover and it is hoped that the medical facilities for the community will be further improve soon. It is around 5 hours walk to the nearest hospital
The Yearley Trust is an English Charity No 1136219