UAE mothers raise money to build school for Nepalese children

uae mothers raise money to build school for nepalese children UAE mothers raise money to build school for Nepalese childrenDubai, UAE: Caring expatriate mothers have united in an attempt to raise Dh100,000 for a new school and bring education to a remote corner of Nepal.

About 60 children aged 3 to 11 will enter the classrooms for the first time when the school building in Gandaki district is completed next month.

The group of 14 women from Dubai and Abu Dhabi responded to an online appeal for help from the Children of the Mountain charity.

It is a non-profit organisation supporting the poorest children in rural Nepal, providing rare educational opportunities.

Sue Edwards has been in Dubai for a decade and lives in Arabian Ranches. When she saw the Facebook appeal for help, she was prompted to act.

“The charity issued a clear message online, showing the four-stage process of building a new school from scratch to provide education in some remote areas for the first time,” she said.

“They were asking people to get a group of at least 10 friends together to raise Dh75,000, and then visit Nepal to lay a foundation stone of the school. I thought it was an amazing opportunity.”

As word spread, Ms Edwards’ friends joined her campaign, with each touched by the project. They have since soared past their financial target.

A sponsored swim raised Dh16,000 and a quiz at Dubai Offshore Sailing Club pulled in a further Dh20,000.

Louise Auckland, who lives in Dubai Marina, raised Dh600 after running the Dubai Marathon last month.

The school will comprise three rooms, with plans for an outdoor space to become a small sports area. A new nursery will also be built.

“The only way they get new schools built in many parts of the country is if they are funded by charities or private businesses,” said Emma Sharif, who lives in Umm Suqeim, Dubai.

“Education and the building of facilities like this do not seem high on the government’s agenda there. They are more focused on schooling older children.”

The women are heading to Nepal on March 11 to see how their money has been spent and to open the building. It is sure to be an emotional occasion.

Lyn Holt, who also lives in Arabian Ranches, said: “The school is particularly isolated, around eight hours from Kathmandu. There are no other schools there.

“It will be an emotional time. I’ll be crying leaving my own kids to go, and crying to leave the Nepalese kids when I come home.”

Their children are aged 7 to 33 and all support their mothers and help out with fundraising.

Mrs Sharif added: “As mums, we know how important education is.

“It is a particular issue for girls, as they don’t always have the same opportunities as boys in Nepal. We want this school to give them a chance in life.

“They get married at 14 and that is their life. An education will give them choices.”

The Children of the Mountain charity will guarantee to keep the school open with future funding once the money raised from the women had been spent. The families hope their children will continue to support the school in future, leaving a legacy for future generations.

“Our kids have all taken part in the fundraising,” Mrs Sharif said.

“I want them to take ownership of fundraising for the school in future.

“I will take them out to see the school next year so they can see how lucky they are.”

The women have raised in excess of what is required to build the school.

“That extra money will be spent on furnishing the building and training new teachers.

Mrs Edwards added: “We want this to be a long-term project. The school also needs toys and sports equipment. We will carry some items with us next month.

“There is just dirt at the moment but that will change.”

© The National

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