Christmas came early to a school in south Nepal

Written by Philip Holmes on Thursday 23rd December 2021

The Big Give 2021 - our best Christmas appeal ever!

On the 30th November we launched our annual Big Give Christmas appeal, this year's cause being our empowerment of women and girls in Nepal programme for 2022. This programme supports the marginalised and vulnerable women who will be in training and employment at the Lily's Leaves social enterprise in Kathmandu and helps the education of girls at the poorest schools in Province 2, southeast Nepal. The principal amongst these latter is the school at Bhatighadi, Dhanusha District, that serves the children of marginalised people who belong to the local Community Forest Users' Group that we have been funding for the past two years with such notable success. As explained in a previous post, there have been 142 children attending the school on a regular basis but most eligible children don't since the school is so dilapidated, unloved and under-resourced. Pipal Tree is working with our NGO partner, The Mithila Wildlife Trust, and the school committee to change that and we have a plan as to how go about it. See below.

Returning to the Big Give, we had set an appeal target of £100,000 with the funds to be allocated as follows:

  • £40,000 towards the operation of Lily's Leaves training centre, workshop and women's hostel.
  • £30,000 towards awarding contracts to Lily's Leaves to produce items for our other programmes - e.g. school rucksacks
  • £10,000 towards the education and training of marginalised girls and women within Province 2, southeast Nepal.
  • £10,000 towards an emergency relief fund, a reserve to be held for immediate use in the event of a natural disaster (e.g. flood or earthquake) or another COVID lockdown.
  • £10,000 towards UK support costs - this is broadly in line with our very impressive track record of 90% of donations going towards our Nepal projects.

Appeal week launched with a small dinner night for new supporters at the exclusive Victory Services Club in London, kindly sponsored by our corporate supporter, Victus Ltd. This allowed us to get the appeal off to a strong start with some sizeable initial donations. After that, we were reliant on the strength of our communications to convey the high quality of our work and future needs, these delivered by email and social media. The appeal went right to the wire, with a remarkable final large donation made five minutes before the deadline of noon on the 7th December, this doubling up automatically to allow us to reach our target. It is incredible and touching that we should have achieved this success given how tough these times are financially. Indeed, we have never had a result like this in any previous Christmas appeal - last year we raised a total of £39,600 from 99 donations. This year, we had 237 donations!

A Christmas to remember at Bhatighadi School

We plan to boost the attendance and quality of education at Bhatighadi school through a number of measures. The school is attended mainly by girls because if families can afford it they will prioritise the education of their sons and send them to private schools. We want to ensure that the girls enjoy just as good an education as boys and our measures include a range of capital and revenue investments. Following grant funding by Guy's Trust, we have been able to build a computer room that is nearing completion and that should be fully operational in January 2022. We have also appointed Ms Jina Tamang as a support teacher and community liaison officer and next year we will be introducing an agriculture-based income generation programme that will offer a new, invaluable, long-term income stream for the school.

These initiatives could be termed "development", but now and again there is a place for charity - making donations that help ease the tough lives of the poorest people and their children. That's why on 21st December we delivered a consignment of woolly hats, scarves, pullovers, socks and shoes to the 150 children who have been regular attenders at the school this year.  It's getting very cold on Nepal's southern plains just now and we felt that it wouldn't cost much to benefit children who were having to attend school in bare feet or, at best, wearing flip-flops. This delivery was on the advice of Jina Tamang (see film below), who said that this gesture would go a long way towards incentivising non-attenders to join school next year. For clarity, on the day before the visit we called a parents-teachers meeting (the first in the school's history!) to explain our plan and to inform the community that we would be repeating the issue to new regular attendees this time next year.

The delivery of these items caused quite a stir and a huge amount of excitement amongst the children. Most of them had never owned shoes before. See the pictures below to get a flavour of the atmosphere on a magical day. There will be even more excitement in January when we make a second delivery, this time of school rucksacks that we have ordered through Lily's Leaves, one of the contracts that the Big Give has allowed us to fund. The women at Lily's Leaves will be kept busy making 928 rucksacks for delivery to Bhatighadi school and to two other nearby schools where once again most of the students are girls.

A last chance to donate and double

Finally, at the time of writing we still have some late matching pledges available totalling £4,740 that are due to finally lapse on the 29th December. If you're able to make a last minute gift, this will automatically double in value. That would be the icing on the Christmas cake for us and we can put that towards more good use in Nepal. Just use the button below:

Thanks so much and have a great Christmas.

Share this page:

Similar Articles

A new Trustee for Pipal Tree
A new Trustee for Pipal Tree

We are very pleased to welcome Mrs Rayner Rees as our sixth Trustee, bringing a wealth of experience in education and philanthropy to our Board.

9 Nov 2021

Our girls' refuge in Janakpur, southeast Nepal
Our girls' refuge in Janakpur, southeast Nepal

Since March 2021, in partnership with Our Sansar, we have been operating a girls' refuge in Janakpur, southeast Nepal. It is the only one of its kind in a region where gender-based violence is endemic.

28 Oct 2021

Tuition support to children at a leper colony in southeast Nepal
Tuition support to children at a leper colony in southeast Nepal

Pipal Tree is now funding educational support to children at a leper colony in southeast Nepal.

20 Oct 2021

Our award-winning reforestation project work in Nepal
Our award-winning reforestation project work in Nepal

Our colleagues at the Bhatighadi Community Forest Users' Group (CFUG) have been awarded the prestigious Ganeshman Singh Outstanding Forestry Award for 2020/2021

18 Oct 2021

The Pipal Tree Annual Dinner
The Pipal Tree Annual Dinner

Pipal Tree will be holding its annual charity dinner at the prestigious Victory Services Club on 30th November to coincide with the launch of our Big Give Christmas Appeal week.

6 Oct 2021

The Holy Island Marathon 2022
The Holy Island Marathon 2022

Pipal Tree is delighted to be able to offer two guaranteed places in the exclusive 2022 Holy Island Marathon - you can be one out of just 25 runners in return for raising (at least) £1,000 in sponsorship towards our Nepal projects.

5 Oct 2021

The Dhanushadham Bird Park
The Dhanushadham Bird Park

The Dhanushadham Bird Park is a new joint initiative by Pipal Tree and The Mithila Wildlife Trust through which we will merge art, education and the rapid-growth reforestation "Miyawaki Method" to create a forest that will provide a focus for birdlife, ecotourism - and inspiration for the next generation.

19 Sep 2021

Philip's Pennine Way Challenge
Philip's Pennine Way Challenge

Philip Holmes is inviting you to join him for a leg or more of his Pennine Way challenge in September 2022

17 Sep 2021

Using eco-brick technology in Nepal
Using eco-brick technology in Nepal

In our school capital development project in southeast Nepal, we are using eco-bricks to protect the environment, construct stronger and cooler buildings and reduce building costs.

31 Aug 2021

August 2021 update on our community reforestation projects in Nepal
August 2021 update on our community reforestation projects in Nepal

This is an update on our reforestation project that has become a highly successful model for engagement with the local community and the Department of Forestry in Nepal.

1 Aug 2021

A visit to Sarlahi, southeast Nepal
A visit to Sarlahi, southeast Nepal

Lily's Leaves' co-Founder, Lily Katuwal, visits Sarlahi District in July 2021 to assess needs and support vulnerable girls and young women.

28 Jul 2021

The 2021 Big Give Christmas Challenge
The 2021 Big Give Christmas Challenge

Pipal Tree is taking part in The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2021 - it's your opportunity to double or even quadruple the value of your gift in support of our Big plans in Nepal for 2022 and beyond.

18 Jul 2021

Pooling resources and combining fundraising efforts to get the job done in Nepal
Pooling resources and combining fundraising efforts to get the job done in Nepal

Pipal Tree has joined forces with Our Sansar and Guy's Trust to ensure that we met the needs of the poorest people during the latest COVID lockdown in Nepal

23 Jun 2021

Ready, steady, Offa we go.....
Ready, steady, Offa we go.....

My personal summer challenge to raise funds for Lily's Leaves in Nepal

18 Jun 2021

The summer 2021 Big Give appeal for Nepal
The summer 2021 Big Give appeal for Nepal

Pipal Tree offers you a chance to donate to either Education or Women's Empowerment projects (or both!) in Nepal with the chance of your online donation doubling in value through matching pledges available in The Big Give.

24 May 2021

"Our Finest Year" - Pipal Tree releases its 2020 annual report and accounts
"Our Finest Year" - Pipal Tree releases its 2020 annual report and accounts

In spite of the operational restrictions and financial downturn that came with COVID, 2020 was in many respects Pipal Tree's "finest year".

23 May 2021

The Pipal Tree Big Give emergency appeal for COVID relief in Nepal
The Pipal Tree Big Give emergency appeal for COVID relief in Nepal

Today Pipal Tree launches a one-week Big Give emergency relief appeal in response to the COVID pandemic in Nepal

13 May 2021

Actress and Pipal Tree Ambassador Amrita Acharia appeals for gifts towards COVID emergency relief in Nepal
Actress and Pipal Tree Ambassador Amrita Acharia appeals for gifts towards COVID emergency relief in Nepal

The actress Amrita Acharia, who has Ukrainian-Nepalese roots, appeals for donations towards a Pipal Tree appeal for emergency COVID relief in Nepal. Through The Big Give, all online donations can automatically double in value.

12 May 2021

Reforestation in Nepal
Reforestation in Nepal

Pipal Tree is working in collaboration with the Gemma and Chris McGough Charitable Foundation, the Nepal Department of Forests and the Mithila Wildlife Trust to restore a community forest at Bhatighadi, Dhanusha District, southeast Nepal.

29 Apr 2021

Remembering Nepal in your will
Remembering Nepal in your will

When writing or updating your will, please remember Pipal Tree's work in Nepal that you can support as an enduring legacy.

28 Apr 2021

Supporting Lily's Leaves through The Big Give
Supporting Lily's Leaves through The Big Give

We are inviting your support through The Big Give to Lily's Leaves, our partner social enterprise in Nepal. A Kathmandu project, this wonderful new initiative is already making a difference to the lives of vulnerable young women - female empowerment in action!

22 Apr 2021

From Tragedy to Trustee
From Tragedy to Trustee

Teacher and teacher-trainer Caroline Milne joined our Board of Trustees in October 2020. She brings a wealth of experience within the education sector to the table, but also a compassion and commitment that has been forged and focussed through a tragedy in her own life.

18 Mar 2021

The Virgin London Marathon in the time of COVID
The Virgin London Marathon in the time of COVID

Pipal Tree's involvement in the 2021 London Marathon will be different for two major reasons.

10 Mar 2021

A three-legged stool
A three-legged stool

Our ambitious new school project in south Nepal blends three of our core interests into one harmonious plan

6 Mar 2021

Support to a Madrasa
Support to a Madrasa

I was very pleased to receive these pictures this morning of our school extension project underway, as implemented by our local partner NGO, the Mithila Wildlife Trust.

8 Feb 2021