Classrooms in the Clouds

Classrooms in the Clouds (CITC) was established in August 2007, registered as a charity with the Scottish Charity Commission. Although UK based, CITC has supporters from many countries and the first CITC project was completed in the village of Lukla, a town in the Khumbu area of the Solu Khumbu District, Nepal in November 2009. In 2014, CITC became registered as an NGO in Nepal.

A grant of £32, 780 from the Soroptimist International President’s Appeal 2015-2017 will facilitate the CITC ‘Inspire Programme’, with intensive and focused training for at least 10 CITC sponsored teachers and more than 1200 girls. As well as intensive teacher training and mentoring, CITC will be able to provide follow up support through 2 Educational Support Workers working in the classroom, alongside CITC teachers in schools in the remote regions of Nepal. Developing child centred learning approaches using the ‘Train the Trainer’ model, CITC will also be supporting first aid and menstrual health training to benefit women and girls. Involving the whole school community, CITC’s ‘Inspire programme’ will support gender equality in schools and develop strong female role models through CITC’s female teachers and CITC partners in the school and village communities.

This project supports the goals and objectives of Soroptimist International by assisting girls in rebuilding their lives following the earthquakes, increasing the leadership opportunities for women teachers, empowering them with new skills. The ‘Inspire Programme’ seeks to improve the educational experience for girls, increase attendance and improve the health of girls allowing them to complete their education.

Image: Women being introduced to the Menstrual Kits

CITC Trustee Sarah Hagen says: “We are delighted to be working with Soroptimist International and can report that we have begun work on setting up women in the villages where we work, who will be trained and equipped to make reusable Menstrual Kits. Thanks to the Educate to Lead: Nepal grant, we have now employed a peripatetic female teacher as an education support worker called Mingma, and she is now in the field travelling between schools and working with our teachers supporting and mentoring them. We will be recruiting a second peripatetic female teacher to develop more tailormade training programmes and strategies to monitor and evaluate the impact of our work in the field.

Our initiatives are currently focused on the early years areas of the curriculum and with the support of training and teaching materials, we will be able to develop better facilities for the youngest children in the schools. This in turn will encourage more families to send their young children to school and provide much needed support for the young mothers who often work in the fields whilst their youngest children are playing at their feet.

The menstrual health training will start in September and this, to begin with, will provide support and menstrual resources to over 150 girls and women. It is great that through the support of Soroptimist International, CITC can build and develop stronger, sustainable networks for the young women in the communities where we work. We are looking forward to being able to report back to you and tell some interesting stories”.

Image: CITC Trustee, Sarah Hagen, Head of Science at The Bishops’ Blue Coat School, Chester, Dr Lynne Hooper, Nepalese Trustee, Dawa Gelgen Sherpa, and President SI Chester, Susan Haywood

SI Chester members are delighted to be working with Classrooms in the Clouds (CITC) on this exciting project very much down to some lateral thinking on their part! Programme Action Officer SI Chester, Anne MacDonald explains: “Each year in January the club considers the projects that it would like to support during the forthcoming club year, in addition to the SI President’s Appeal and SIGBI projects that we may already be supporting. A member suggested Classrooms in the Clouds as she had recently read an article in the local press about Cheshire Fire Cadets going out to rebuild schools in Nepal.  Another member had the brilliant idea that if we encouraged CITC to bid for Educate to Lead: Nepal funding, that this would do more to support the charity than we could as a club on our own. I then phoned Sarah Hagen to discuss them working with us – we met her for coffee in Chester and the rest is history!”

One of the clubs’ local schools, The Bishops’ Blue Coat School, has expressed an interest in supporting CITC and members recently facilitated a visit to the school for Sarah Hagen and Nepalese Trustee, Dawa Gelgen Sherpa, who was the original inspiration for the Charity. Head of Science, Dr Lynne Hooper, hosted the visit, along with Club President, Susan Haywood, who is a teacher at the school. Lynne is now looking at ways in which the pupils in her department could collaborate with a school in Nepal.

Keep an eye on the SI website for updates and news from this project.

Lead image: Support worker Mingma and Dawa Yangee.

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