Kirriemuir Rotarians are continuing their mission to support Nepalese communities after working closely with Gurkha counterparts on a vital project in the earthquake-ravaged nation.
A contingent from the Angus club, led by Kirrie Rotary president George Aitken, were guests of honour at the official opening of a rebuilt school in the remote hill village of Kusum Bhanjyang in the region of Manakamana.
Following the 2015 earthquake, the Kirriemuir group pledged to help the Rotary Club of the Himalayan Gurkhas and with generous local support as well as grants from the the Rotary District and Rotary Donation Trust were able to fund the rebuilding of classrooms destroyed in the devastating quake.
Rotarians previously visited the country to see progress on the Shree Jiwan Jyoti secondary school project, and for the latest self-funded trip Mr Aitken was joined by club colleagues Barbara Lovegrove, James Arnott, Malcolm Taylor and Jim Grant, together with Kirrie Inner Wheel member Shona Wallace and Sheana Fraser of Lochaber Rotary Club.
The school caters for more than 550 pupils, ranging from nursery-age to the equivalent of Higher grade, with some youngsters having to walk for three hours up and down steep hillsides on their daily trek to the classroom.
Work started after last year’s monsoon season and the Angus contingent received what they described as “an amazing welcome” for the opening ceremony.
“The official school opening was a happy occasion,” said Mr Aitken. “All the local dignitaries, including two government officials, the parents and villagers were assembled together with the children for our arrival.
“We were garlanded with fresh flowers, scarves and hats for the men. 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.”
The traditional cracking of a coconut, was followed my musical performances from children and villagers and the Nepalese Rotarians praised the generosity of their Scottish counterparts in delivering what amounted to two million rupees for the reconstruction project.
Mr Aitken added: “The support we as a local club have received in fund raising has been amazing.
“The result is that not only have we been able to fund the school project but whilst in Nepal we were able to identify two further projects and we have now sent a further £11000 to our colleagues there to install a communal water supply in another remote village and to build water and sanitation facilities in another school in a different remote village that at present has none.”