Pupils from two Bristol schools are celebrating the completion of a new school kitchen and dining room - 4,500 miles away in Nepal.
Students from Westbury-on-Trym Primary School and Bristol Free School, together with a group of local supporters, raised more than £10,000 last year to fund the new addition to Shree Himalaya School in Singdi.
Westbury-on-Trym has had a friendship link with the nine room Singdi school for 21 years since local GP and now Chair of Pahar Trust Nepal (PTN) Dr Tim Mitchell led a group of students, including his own son, and parents to visit the school, which was originally funded by another donor.
Last year, Dr Mitchell and current students and parents returned to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the school link and pledged to upgrade the existing kitchen, which was just a tin roofed shack with a single stove to a modern, warm and dry place for students to enjoy their lunch.
As a result of Covid-19, construction was delayed due to challenges getting materials to site but the hard-working team made great progress despite this and the monsoon season, and the project was completed only a little behind schedule.
The kitchen and dining room is just the latest project supported by Westbury-on-Trym - since the friendship link was established, around £36,000 has been raised, which has enabled the development of vital new learning spaces in Singdi, such as a library, computer suite, sixth form block, library, IT room and science laboratory. With additional funding from Rotary Club of Bristol, a cardamom plantation has been established that will provide ongoing financial support to the school.
Westbury-on-Trym Primary also helped the community carry out vital repairs and re-building work to the whole of the first floor of the school, which had been badly damaged in the major earthquake of 2015.
Alan Sweetman, Executive Director of PTN, said: “It’s great to experience such a long-standing relationship between these two schools. It has brought both schools so much: raising awareness and a better understanding of different cultures, education systems, climates and traditions for staff, children, parents and carers within the two communities.
“We are obviously sad that we can’t visitNepal at the moment to celebrate this latest development, but we have been staying in touch through technology as best as we can and Singdi has been sending us and the schools regular updates and photographs. We’re all together inspirit.”
Amanda Pritchard, head ofWestbury-on-Trym Primary, said: “Pupils and teachers have gained so much from this twinning with Singdi. We are just pleased that we can continue to support the school’s journey and allow it to offer more and better facilities to its pupils that perhaps we take for granted in the UK.”