OUR PROJECTS IN NEPAL
District 9830 Tasmania has a strong relationship with the Rotary Club of Hetauda in Nepal and each year visiting teams of Tasmanian Rotarians monitor the progress of these projects.
Our involvement with Nepal began in 2011 when a group of six from Tasmania participated in the first eye camp funded by our District. The project was organised by PDG Kevin Shadbolt and since then a total of thirteen camps have been funded, resulting in 1928 local people having sight restored.
Nepalese and Tasmanian Rotarians have worked together over a seven year period to successfully implement a number of projects to improve the lives of many needy local people in Nepal.
In February 2017 Winston Quaile from Rotary Club of Launceston West was the Team Leader for the Nepal visit. Rotarians and partners visited the Hetauda region of Nepal to observe our various District funded projects. These included Gift of Sight Eye Camps, the now completed Baljyoti School, the Handikhola Water Project, Micro Loan projects and information both at Hetauda and the earthquake-damaged area of Bhaktapur.
GIFT OF SIGHT NEPAL EYE CAMPS
” They came – most partially blind, some totally blind – but with hardly an exception they departed with vision restored.”
This was our first Nepal project and provided cataract surgery that is having a positive impact on the lives of many of the poorest people in a very poor country.
In 2011, our District welcomed the opportunity to provide the necessary funding for the Rotary Club of Hetauda to conduct these camps in November and February each year.
Rotary District 9830 continues to fund two camps per year, a total of 13 camps to date. Over 11,000 people have been screened, many treated for eye infections and 1,928 have had their sight restored.
Contributions to this project have been received from over half of all Rotary clubs in the District, District Grants, Kingston Fitballers and private donor Yaxley Holdings.
The surgeons involved are local doctors trained in Kathmandu and working under the Outreach Program of the Tilganga Hospital, a very large eye hospital in Kathmandu established some years ago with assistance from Fred Hollows.
The Rotary Club of Hetauda works tirelessly to arrange each eye camp. Screening sites are established in a number of remote rural areas. Patients often walk up to five hours to reach one of these sites. Those unable to walk the distance are sometimes carried by family members.
Medical officers from the Hetauda Community Eye Hospital examine each patient. Those with eye infections are treated on site while others requiring cataract surgery are transported to the hospital where the trained surgeons operate. Usually two surgeons are present and each perform up to sixty operations per day.
The patients with carers are usually required to spend two nights at the hospital. Transport, accommodation, meals and bedding, plus hospital costs and lenses are all funded by our District. The total cost of each camp is approximately $10,000.
After receiving instructions on how to care for their eye the patients and carer are transported back to their village, returning to Hetauda two weeks later for a final check. The success rate is almost 100%. Very rarely does the treated eye become infected.
Without this project many people in remote areas of the Makwanpur District of Nepal would to lose their sight from cataracts. Blindness presents a major problem for the family and the community as permanent care is required. Travelling to the eye hospital for surgery is not an option because they cannot afford the operation and transport is not usually available.
This project has brought a new life to many poor people in Nepal. With restored sight
they can again play an active role in the family and community.
This project clearly demonstrates the Rotary spirit of Service above Self.
Laser Retina System for Hetauda Community Eye Hospital
The laser system funded by a grant of US$59,980 was installed in the Hetauda Community Eye Hospital in February 2014.
Laser equipment for the eye hospital will provide retina treatment locally, instead of requiring a seven hour trip to Kathmandu, which some people refuse to undertake.
The lives of 1250 people have been assisted in a positive way – clean water, much improved sanitation and no longer do women need to walk three hours each day to obtain clean water.
The project was formulated in 2012 when PDG Kevin and Anne were invited to attend a meeting of the Handikhola Women’s Committee. The women expressed their frustration at having to walk up to three hours each day for seven months of the year to access clean water.
Members of the Rotary Club of Hetauda left the meeting to plan a water project for the village. They engaged water engineers from RADO (Rural Awareness Development Organisation) who did an excellent job in drawing up the scheme and monitoring the work.
District 9830 applied for a Global Grant to fund the project. Several clubs in Tasmania contributed and following a Friendship Exchange with District 7820 a number of clubs in Nova Scotia also gave support.
The Rotary Club of Hetauda had significant input into the management of the project and the Handikhola community provided most of the physical labour including digging the 3km trench by hand. They also provided all fittings, tap and water meter for their home.
Health and Hygiene was a feature of the project. Each house was required to have a toilet and each person was required to undergo hygiene training.
To ensure sustainability the scheme will be monitored by engineers from RADO on a regular basis. The Rotary Club of Hetauda will also monitor the project and the homes to ensure the scheme and toilets are being maintained.
A small fee charged for water use will fund two trained maintenance people to check the chlorine levels, filters and day to day maintenance of the scheme and also to read the meters.
Each of the 250 homes in the area is now connected to the scheme and all have a
toilet. Also connected is a school of 700 students, a community centre and the health post.
BALJYOTI PRIMARY SCHOOL
This is a school of 85 students that our Rotary group visited while attending a ‘Gift of Sight’ eye camp. The building had no walls and as a result children were often sent home because it became too cold to stay in the classroom. There was no running water and there were no toilets.
The families living in this area were moved from their jungle home when a national
park was declared a few years ago.
The Rotary Club of Hetauda had plans drawn for a new school – total cost AUD$30,000. Local labour helped reduce the cost significantly.
This project was funded by eleven Rotary clubs and Central Coast Rotaract. Four of these
clubs received District Grants. Rotary Club of Kingston funded desks and internal fittings for which they received a District Grant. The toilet was funded by Devonport business firm Yaxley Holdings.
With great excitement by local people the school and toilet block were officially
opened in 2016.
The Hetauda club has a proven record of effective project management and our district has worked closely with them for a number of years.
This is a district project that has been developed with the Rotary Club of Kopundol under our relationship agreement with District 3292.
Our District was successful in gaining funding of US$18,264 from the Rotary Foundation under the old Matching Grant scheme to help provide screening camps, publicity, transportation, surgeries and medical equipment for women suffering from uterine prolapse in the western part of Nepal.
1200 women in the far western region were screened and over 10% required surgery and on-going treatment. This is a major problem in Nepal where it is estimated that 600,000 women suffer this condition.
Inspired by a member of Rotary Club of Latrobe whose family chose to help others in lieu of Christmas presents, a scholarship has been established to encourage several talented students from very poor families to study at tertiary level. A number of Rotarians have contributed to this fund. The money will be invested and the interest used each year. The fund will be administered by the Rotary Club of Hetauda and the first students were selected in May 2013.
Shrijana Primary School
The Rotary Club of Hetauda in Nepal has for some time supported a small primary school in a very poor area of their city. Many of the people living in the area are victims of the Maoist uprisings of several years ago. Classes currently range from preschool to grade four.
Visiting Rotarians from District 9830 received a request to consider funding an additional two classrooms and an office and store to enable students to complete their primary education and
then hopefully go on to secondary school.
Thanks to a number of clubs in Tasmania, District 9830, in particular Hobart and Deloraine, our district has been able to provide the $27,000 needed to complete this project. The school was officially opened by PP Irene Gray in 2014.
Drinking Water Fountain
In 2012 a visiting group from Tasmania District 9830 noticed a small boy drinking water from a hose in a muddy corner of the school ground. On further enquiry it was found that this was the only water supply for the 1200 students attending the school.
When the photo was shown at the Rotary Club of Devonport they decided to provide funds for the installation of a drinking fountain at the school. The Hetauda club had plans drawn and the work was completed by the time a group visited the following year.
Water is now pumped to the tanks when electricity is available.
Nepal Earthquake Appeal
An agreement was reached with the Rotary Club of Hetauda, Nepal, to rebuild three schools in the area. These severely earthquake damaged schools are Sarikhet, Saraswati and Bhrikuti.
An appeal launched by our district following the 2015 earthquake raised $225,000, sufficient to rebuild three schools. Work began in 2016 and it is expected that the schools will be completed late 2017.
It is hoped that Rotary International President Ian Riseley will be available to officially
open the Sarikhet School in December 2017.
PDG Kevin Shadbolt
Nepal Project Manager
KS:RT 7 Oct 2017