SOW THE SEED OF HOPE
Vision, Mission and Values Statement
is a community where all children have access to quality elementary education in English literacy as a foundation for future opportunity in Nepal.
is to make this vision a reality by providing scholarships to socially marginalized boys and girls (grades kindergarten through fifth grade) and their teachers (for continuing professional development) who live in the vicinity of Bauniyan, Far Western Nepal.
and beliefs guide all our decisions and actions to accomplish our mission. These values are:
- We believe that an investment in the education of children and their teachers is an investment on a better future for all.
- We believe that literacy in English is a foundation for greater education and economic opportunities for children and their families in Nepal.
- We respect the culture of the region in which we work.
Mikey's Story - How MMES started
This letter was written by Mike to friends and family in April 2007
In January 2005 Greg Grimm, Cam Moore and I entered Nepal on the day the King dissolved the government and declared martial law. In response, the Maoist Rebels declared a strike across the country. This forbade businesses to open or vehicles to travel on the open roads. An interesting backdrop to begin a journey.
We cycled from the border, eastward across the Mahendra Highway, through the Terai, a belt of grassland, marsh and forests at the base of the Himalaya range. We found the gladed forests and quaint villages enchanting.
Riding along we overtook a pair of brothers rambling along in their single speed bicycles. Very soon we were all gliding down well beaten trails through the forest toward their village. This is how I met Ujjwal and his brother.
Cam, Greg and I spent a few leisurely days with their family. The brothers were enthusiastic to discuss Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea, which they had read in English. We talked late into the night about their country’s future. They often talked about education.
Before we left the brothers put a proposition to us. Why must we go? Why not stay in the village and in exchange for teaching English to the local children, the family would provide food and lodging. After all, what deadline required us to keep moving.
This possibility has been lodged in my mind ever since. Why did I not spend a few months in a subtropical Eden helping out those disadvantaged children who could so desperately use my help?
Over the intervening years I have stayed in contact with Ujjwal. He likes to call my parents in the middle of the night. Following the Hindu reverence for age, he first inquires about “mother” and “father’s” well being. He then inquires about my whereabouts. Recently I have managed to get Ujjwal to begin using email, which has improved our communication dramatically.
Now Ujjwal is taking steps to fulfill his dream of opening a school in his village. To this end he has asked me for financial help.
I am a firm believer in the parable, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The benefits of basic education need not be reiterated here. They are plentiful and convincing. Never the less, here is a refresher. Girls who are educated are better able to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS, marry later in life, have healthier children and have work opportunities beyond the home. Boys who are educated may be able to break a family cycle of hard labor and typically earn more than their non-educated counterparts.
I believe that Ujjwal’s project to establish a school has a high likelihood of success. Unintentionally, this project is reminiscent of Greg Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute in that it is a locally initiated project, unlike many non-profit projects that impose foreign ideas to local situations. Because local people are the impetus for change, the community has a vested interest in the outcome. Community participation is a key to long-term success. Additionally, there is no overhead in this project. Every penny donated will be directly transferred to the project.
If you agree with the philosophy of this project, please be generous and contribute.
Thanks on behalf of Ujjwal and the kids who will benefit.
(NOTE The Rest of the Story: Ali Sharp and Mike Church were married on May 3, 2008. They asked guests to make donations to several non-profit organizations including Ujjwal’s school as an alternative to giving wedding gifts. Mike and Ali were able to send about $2500 and the Mikey Medium English School in Bauniyan, Kailali was able to open it’s doors to 40 students – 20 of which were girls.)
Mikey Medium English School
The Mikey Medium English School vision began with a late night discussion between Mike Church, of Davidsonville, MD and two Nepalese brothers in January 2005. Bol and Ujjwal Bhat, the brothers, lived with their families in Far Western Nepal – a rural and impoverished area. Bol and Ujjwal wanted to open a school for the poorest children and also for girls. With continued contact and tenacity on the part of the brothers, the school was ready to open in April 2008. They had 42 students and a three room school house.
Today in 2013 Mikey Medium English School has 100 students (Kindergarten through grade 5) , five teachers, an active School Management Committee and a 6 room mud and thatched building of it’s own. Fifty percent of the students are girls and fifty percent of the students are desperately poor. Class sizes do not exceed 20 students – which is unheard of in most Nepali school settings. English is the language of instruction for Science, Math, Social Studies and Language Arts. The students also have a class daily in Nepali language.
The school year begins in April and runs 6 days a week all year long – except for Nepali holidays or when the summer monsoon rains make it impossible for the children to get to school.
Code of Student Conduct
Students will Be Safe By:
- Keeping school and play area neat and tidy.
- Keeping hands and feet to self.
- Using the toilet.
Students will Be Respectful By:
- Using kind words and actions.
- Being on time.
- Being in uniform.
- Being clean and tidy.
- Following directions the first time.
- Doing homework.
- Doing their best everyday.
Parents of students in the Mikey Medium English School will help their children be ready to learn by:
- Having their children attend school daily.
- Having their children at school on time.
- Helping their children to be in their uniform.
- Helping their children to be clean and tidy.
- Being sure their children do their homework.
- Attending Parent Meetings.
Teachers at the Mikey Medium English School will be good role models by:
- Using positive language and actions.
- Participating in ongoing teacher training opportunities.
- Being at school before school begins.
- Having lesson plans prepared.
- Helping keep the school neat and tidy.
*The Mikey Medium English School Code of Student Conduct was established jointly by MMES and GEN directors during a site visit in February 2010.