First computer class: official opening

Finally, the dream we had a few years ago was coming so close. I was very excited to go back to Dhunkharka, after an hour drive through rivers and muddy roads, for the final installation of our first computer class. Despite the heavy rains, the monsoon was still very active, and with some doubts in my mind driving my small motorbike in the rain, I had an additional challenge. We arrived in the school with a delay of two hours. Life often gets stuck in Nepal as the monsoon period kicks off in the mountains.

As we arrived, the daily tasks at school stopped. Hundreds of students were out of their classrooms. They were ready to welcome us with white Tibetan shawls, garlands and a bunch of local flowers. It took almost 30 minutes to cross the queues of students encircled all over the school’s courtyard. I was thrilled to see the sense of delight in the faces of these students; their nice smiles were clearly sending a message about how they were longing for computer education. They had been waiting perhaps too long for this moment. Seeing this warm and overwhelming reception, I was literally swollen with pride. On the other hand, I was missing so much my team from Belgium, all those volunteers, big hearted donors and well wishers who have given us some tremendous support throughout the years. They deserved to witness these moments with the children and the proud school management. Without those hands, our dream for Dhunkharka wouldn’t have been realized today.

Further, the school had finally decided to invite me as a chief guest to the opening of the computer class. I was told the day before that they rather wanted to offer this honour to me as there were some last minute changes with the initial chief guest, the former minister of development and education, who was somehow not allowed by the election code of conduct to engage in any activities at the school. It is an ages old custom to make a public event for any new initiatives such as the establishment of a computer class at a school, the construction of something or anything. Subesh and his team were all ready with the final round of installation of some PC’s which were hit hard by the thunder two days before.

After the majestic welcome reception and long speeches during the official program organized by the school management committee, we had some ‘serious business’ to do. The computer class has been realized by HANDnepal, and we are convinced that, for the sustainability of the project, there has to be an official document that confirms a mutual understanding between HANDnepal and the school. Therefore we have drafted a‘memorandum of understanding’ where both parties have to share the responsibilities to ensure that computers are being used for teaching computer education, and efficiently and effectively managed during the coming years. By signing this memorandum, all parties have also agreed that our partner in Nepal, ILBS Nepal, and the school representatives will have regular evaluation meetings and stay in close contact with each other. ILBS Nepal will keep a close eye on the progress of the project.

By the time I am writing this short report, I had a chance to chat live with the school. I was not so sure that internet would reach the village by this year. Subesh and his team have made an excellent effort to waive the wireless internet in the village, so that the school has WIFI, much faster than expected. Joepieee!

I am now looking forward to chat with the students of the school and get their feedback. This way we can monitor the progress of our project from Antwerpen.