Kirriemuir Rotary Club attend the official opening of Nepalese school

The Rotary president hands over gifts from Angus to pupils at the school.
The Rotary president hands over gifts from Angus to pupils at the school.

Kirriemuir Rotarians have returned from a trip to Nepal to open a new school, funded by donations from the Rotary and the Kirrie community.

Five members from the club took part - President George Aitken, Barbara Lovegrove, who organised the trip, James Arnott, Malcolm Taylor and Jim Grant.

They were joined by Shona Wallace from the Inner Wheel and Lochaber Rotarian Sheana Fraser.

The group departed on March 9, and President Aitken was given the honour of officially opening the school on March 15.

The links between Kirrie and Nepal started following the earthquake in 2015. The club pledged to help the Rotary Club of the Himalayan Gurkhas (RCHG) by raising funds to repair some of the earthquake damage.

Barbara Lovegrove explained: “With the help of a grant from our Rotary District and also from the Rotary Donation Trust, support from other Rotary clubs but most of all from the local community we were able to fund the rebuilding of classrooms that had been destroyed in the earthquake and also to fund the building of water and sanitation facilities at a remote hill village called Kusum Bhanjyang in the region of Manakamana.

The damage done by the earthquake

The damage done by the earthquake

“The school has 561 pupils from nursery to higher grade equivalent. The money raised was sent last year and after the monsoon season, work commenced.

“We are delighted the school project we agreed to fund has now been completed and was officially opened by our president during the visit.”

The group left Pokhara at 8am to travel to the Shree Jiwan Jyoti Secondary School, which is in a remote hill village. Arriving at lunchtime, the journey involved travelling on a single track road hewn out of the hillside.

Barbara continued: “The official school opening was a happy occasion. All the local dignitaries, including two government officials, the parents and villagers were assembled together with the children for our arrival. There were many speeches of welcome and thanks and we were garlanded with fresh flowers, scarves and hats for the men.

The group gifted a Quaich to the school. The headteacher is pictured with it

The group gifted a Quaich to the school. The headteacher is pictured with it

“We exchanged gifts and presented the school with a message from the provost of Angus and a quaich to be presented to the child who makes most progress in school. Our president cut the tartan ribbon and cracked the coconut in true Nepalese style.”

Kirrie Rotary received such great support in their fundraising, that they have been able to not only fund the school project, but have identified two further projects.

Barbara added: “We have now sent a further £11,000 to our colleagues in Nepal to install a communal water supply in another remote village and to build water and sanitation facilities in a separate school in a different remote village that at present has none.”

The club will work with RCHG for another a year and have a number of fundraising events planned in the coming weeks. A duck race will be held at noon on Easter Sunday (April 16) in Kirriemuir Den, with a treasure hunt and Easter bonnet competitions for the children, and live music by DD8. On Saturday, April 29, a coffee morning will be held in the Old Parish Church Hall at 10am and a quiz night will be held on Saturday, May 6, at 7pm in Northmuir Hall.

Sunset in Nepal

Sunset in Nepal

Barbara added: “Nepal is a beautiful country with many problems. While there we met some hard working resilient people. We had the honour of a guided tour round the Gurkha Museum by retired Major Yam, a member of the RCHG, and in Kathmandu we were able to hoist the Kirriemuir banner!”