The Global Schools Project was born from the idea of putting something back into the villages and schools that we travel through whilst on expedition. Working closely with the local communities we aim to improve the teaching and education within remote schools around the globe by linking them with other schools via the internet and Skype. Not only does this aid teaching and training but also directly improves the education and lives of the children and helps give students a better understanding of their own planet.
Starting in the Himalayan mountains, on route to Mount Everest base camp we set up a meeting with local villagers, Sherpas, guides and lodge owners to see how we could support the schools within the Khumbu region.
With such a mammoth task ahead of us, we needed to think of long term solutions and not just a quick fix or one-off injections of money. The first step was to improve the stability and availability of the electricity supply in order to provide a stable Internet connection for local schools, allowing for better communication not only between different countries around the world but also, vitally within the Khumbu region itself.
As the basis for what we plan as a truly sustainable, long-term project, our initial efforts were focused on just one school – Monjo School – allowing us to make an immediate impact at the same time as acting as a blueprint for the wider project.
Monjo village sits at 3200 metres along the route to Mount Everest Base Camp and is a popular stop for our teams. Monjo School has over sixty five children and eight teachers and is one of the poorest in the Khumbu region.
Upon visiting the first time, our team found a group of children living and learning children should be – happy, cheeky, inquisitive and eager to learn. However, we recognised immediately that there were many ways that we could help to improve their education.
Support was given by the local people of the region coupled with support and vision provided by organisations such as Skype, Climate Change Solutions, Nemesis (Ipadio), Sporting Equals, the International Gateway for Gifted Youth (IGGY) and of course the many schools around the globe, we have been able to quickly the progress the project in a relatively short period of time.
In just two years we have fitted solar panels to Monjo School, along with computers, printers, projectors and screens. In addition to Information Technology equipment, we have also been able to provide educational and sports equipment. New school uniforms and warm clothing for the winter periods has been purchased and provided for every child.
The school is now on the internet doing the things that we take for granted such as using Google earth, surfing the web and connecting to others via Skype. Using technology, the children have connected with other schools, played educational films and much more.
achers understand how to use the equipment and learn how to get the most out of the internet for children’s education.
We aim to give teachers these opportunities every year and to aid the project we have helped setup an internet cafe within the village. Thousands of people from all over the world trek the historic route through Monjo village every year en route to Everest and the surrounding peaks and by using technology there was an opportunity for the village to offer this service to trekkers and make enough money to sustain the costs of running the satellite-based Internet connection within the schools.
Our teams who trekked to Mount Everest Base Camp this year helped to paint the school inside and out with the help of the local communities and the children of Monjo School itself. For us, activities such as this are perfect chances to bring together trekkers and locals and to really enforce the idea that the Global Schools Project is truly a team effort.
With our assistance over the coming years, the people of the Khumbu region hope to maintain an excellent level of teacher training, improving the education of students throughout the local schools.
Currently, local teachers in the Khumbu region must travel to Kathmandu to receive training – an expensive endeavour that puts a financial and social strain on both their families and the wider communities back home. Addressing this, we are already liaising with local communities in planning the building a centralised teacher training area within the mountains where international teachers would be invited to spend time and assist the training of the local teachers.
The Monjo School blueprint project is also being continued with other schools in the area. We have over fifteen computers waiting to be installed and are always looking for more! The future looks bright and we are delighted to be working alongside SKYPE to establish an educational project benefiting not only the local Nepalese students but also students from all around the world.