Front Range professor forms a connection with a school in Nepal

A group of Fort Collins residents have some funon Poon Hill in Nepal while on a trip of education and exploration.

 A group of Fort Collins residents have some funon Poon Hill in Nepal while on a trip of education and exploration.
  Courtesy of Barb Patterson

Most people come to Nepal the first time for the mountains; they come back the second time for the people.A wonderful partnership developed between Front Range Community College (FRCC), the Rotary Club of Fort Collins, Rotary District 5440, a school in Nepal and students, teachers, and friends. In 2010, an economics professor at FRCC, Niroj Bhattarai, proposed the campus become involved with a primary school in Nepal. The Phi Theta Kappa Chapter (PTK), an international two-year college honor society, took Niroj’s ideas and ran with it.

Sri Kausika Primary School is located in rural Mulghat, Dhankuta, Nepal. It is unique because it provides a free education to the children of the local villagers and a residential program for deaf students. Some families would not be able to afford sending their sons and daughters to a private school or a school farther away if Sri Kausika did not exist.

In 2012, Niroj asked me (FRCC forestry teacher) to teach a workshop for teachers in Kathmandu as a way to help improve the educational system. The project for the Sri Kausika Primary School and the teacher workshop provided an opportunity for this adventure to the beautiful country of Nepal.

A group of five science teachers, two biologists and two students left for Kathmandu on May 20. After 36 hours of travel we arrived in Nepal and were met by Komal Aryal, or Mr. K, our guide for the trip and Niroj’s cousin.

The first day, we visited Swayambhu Stupa, commonly called the Monkey Temple. Monkeys were introduced there many years ago and now have the run of the place. We then went to Boudha Stupa and learned more about Buddhist and Hindu traditions. The history of the country and its people further unfolded at the world heritage center in Patan Durbar Square, one of the oldest known Buddhist cities and a marvel of Newa architecture.

On May 24, the monsoon season (scheduled for June 1) began at 3 p.m. with a torrential downpour flooding streets and stopping traffic in Kathmandu. While half the group was visiting a Newari Artisan village, five of us were going to Thames International University to present a workshop for teachers.


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