Grass Roots Education Nepal

By brad - Posted on 27 January 2010

The Annapolis Bicycle Racing Team is pleased to announce that it has adopted the “Mikey Medium English School” in Bauniyan, Kailali Nepal for its charitable funding in 2010. The school was founded by an Annapolis cyclist a few years ago and is totally funded by local organizations in the Annapolis area. The team has provided $1,000 to the yearly funding required to keep the school stocked with essential supplies, uniforms and teachers. The school serves as the only educational opportunity for the poor children of this rural Nepal village.

To read more about the Grassroots Education Nepal program please visit Grass Roots Education Nepal where you can read more about the School and how you can help.

How Our School Began - Mike Church's Story

Mike Church and three of his friends at St. Mary's College of Maryland dreamed of a year long biking adventure traveling off the beaten tracks of Europe and Asia. They wanted to experience the people and cultures of the world from four feet off the ground.

Ujjwall Bhat dreamed of starting a school for the children in his rural village in Southwestern Nepal. His family had sacrificed so that he and his brother could be educated and learn English. Now he wanted to return this gift to others.

By accident these two young men met in January 2005.

Mike and his friends planned to scuba dive in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of India when the Tsunami hit. They reconfigured their plans and headed north, deciding to explore Nepal and hike the Annapurna Trek. The King of Nepal and the Maoist Rebels were in open conflict the day the boys road their bikes into Nepal. As luck would have it, Mike and his friends met Ujjwal and his brother riding their bikes along the road. They quickly engaged in discussions in English and agreed to go to Ujjwal's village to spend a couple of days in "a subtropical Eden" and in safety. Late into the night they discussed classic English literature which both sets of young men had read. They discussed the hopes for the future of Nepal and Ujjwal shared his dream of a school for his village - then offered free room and board if Mike and his friends would stay to teach English to the children.

The Americans could not stay but Mike and Ujjwal did not forget their encounter - nor their dreams.

Ujjwal continued to stay in contact. He did the preliminary planning and provided Mike with proposals for his school.

In May 2008, Mike married Ali Sharp and they decided to ask their wedding guests to help build a school in Nepal, in place of sending gifts. From this small donation of $2,500, Ujjwal was able to begin the "Mikey Medium English School" with 20 boys and 20 girls. It is the only school for poor students in their village.

On a bare bones budget, Ujjwal built a two room school, obtained furniture, secured uniforms and hired two teachers. The school is open and running. Ujjwal takes no salary.

Elaine Boothby, Mike's English teacher from South River High School in Edgewater, MD has followed Mike's adventures. In 2009 she contacted Mike to find out how her students could support Mike's school as part of their Global Literacy Project. Since then South River students, other Anne Arundel County Public Schools and the Rotary Clubs in the area have joined in to support the school in Nepal. Because caring citizens wanted to know how to help, Grassroots Education Nepal began.

Mike' parents, Barbara and John Church of Davidsonville, MD continued to personally provide essential funds to the school during 2009. In February 2010 they are venturing to Bauniyan, Kailali Nepal to teach and determine ongoing needs for funding.

Through efforts from many parts of our community - collectively and individually - we are changing the lives of children in rural Nepal – BECAUSE TWO YOUNG MEN DARED TO DREAM.

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