The work of the Simigaon Village Fund has been continuing through the summer, and the amount raised is now, October 2015, is over £25,000 - representing a fabulous response from all who have heard our story. We are delighted to have reached such a wonderful total.
Such is the economy of Nepal that this sum is sufficient to build the structure of the new school! However, the Fund will continue its work to make sure there is enough money to furnish and equip the new school when it is built, and maybe then help out with the new Gompa as well.
The logistics of getting the funds to the village have been sorted out, a village committee has been formed to look after the building, and they know the money is coming. They have started to build their new school! The budget provides for villagers to be paid to carry the required materials to the village, and for local craftsmen to be paid to do the work: this means the money gives double value - providing the building, and much-needed income for the villagers.
This has been achieved by direct contact with villagers, and by working with the Juniper Trust which is based in Keswick and has existing connections in Kathmandu. They have the logistics on the ground to help oversee the build, as well as the mechanisms to transfer funds easily - making staged payments as work gets completed. Neither the Juniper Trust nor their contacts in Kathmandu charge for their efforts: they are, like us, act entirely voluntarily - ensuring every penny raised gets to its intended destination. The project can now be viewed at Simigaon Secondary School Rebuild, Rolwaling and updates will be posted there when available.
As to our own return to the village, we will be dividing our efforts. Mike Ritson will be back in Simigaon during November, and I will return there in the spring. In that way, we will be able to see the early and late stages of the build, and assess what further help may be needed.