Central 6th Graders Help Students Half a World Away
From Central Middle School in Edgewater to the Mikey Medium English School in Nepal, there is a distance of about 9,000 miles. When Davidsonville resident Barbara Church travels to the Nepali school, she flies into India, then travels by train and/or bus and/or taxi and/or motorcycle and/or pedicab. Total travel time is about 24 hours.
All of that effort is worth it when Church visits the Mikey Medium English School.
Church’s son Mike helped to found the school after a trip to Nepal in 2005. Read the story about Mike Church’s journey at the Grassroots Education Nepal website.
What is interesting about the school is the connection it has to Anne Arundel County schools and students. A great majority of the funds raised for the school come from south county.
“That is the grassroots,” Church said.
At the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year, Mike Church visited sixth graders at Central Middle School in Edgewater. He showed the students photos of the Nepali children and talked to Central students about helping the villagers get an education. He encouraged them to learn about Nepal and raise money for the school.
Over the course of the school year, sixth grade math teacher Carly Waple incorporated the student’s fundraising efforts into classwork. Students kept a checkbook register and logged collection efforts.
One of the students, Tristan Eusantos, said that he was interested in the students and how they live. He and a neighborhood friend, Grace, went door to door to collect for the school. He also learned about Nepal at school.
“We learned about their country in social studies, and we wrote letters to the students,” Tristan said.
Tristan liked learning about what the contributions could help buy for the students. He learned that it costs about $200 a year for a student to attend the Mikey Medium School. Contrast that to the per pupil cost of a student in the United States, about $10,000 a year.
In all, the students in the sixth grade class raised over $2,200. The check was given to Church during the last weeks of school.
Barbara, along with her husband John, have taken on much of the administrative tasks surrounding the fundraising efforts. They try to visit the school once a year, when they can bring additional supplies. Mike Church is still involved, but he has married and moved to Montana with his wife.
Barbara said that most of the Nepali parents are excited about the opportunities for their children to learn, but most are illiterate. She said that the parents really wanted to have a permanent school building for the students. Church said that it wasn’t something that Grassroots Education Nepal could provide.
“So the parents raised the money on their own,” Church said.
Church said that Grassroots Education Nepal pays for teachers and supplies. In total, there are 92 students at the school.
If you would like to learn more about the school, visit the website, where you can also contribute through PayPal. The organization is a 501(c)3 registered charity.
Enjoy these photos from the Grassroots Education Nepal website and blog: