Over 100 students attending a special-needs school in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital city, now receive their education in a more modern setting thanks to upgrades provided by St. John’s College students, Himanshu Thapa and Nano Liklikadze.
During a summer project, Thapa and Liklikadze used a $10,000 Projects for Peace grant to improve the Special Education and Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Children, and provide a renovated classroom, 2,000 books, an elliptical trainer, computers, vocational equipment, and a new physiotherapy and multimedia room, among other items.
“The project, for us, was very rewarding,” says Thapa, who hails from Kathmandu. “But what was even more rewarding was what we went through: trying to complete the project, making relationships with the teachers and the students. It’s an experience that’s difficult to forget.”
The seed for the project was planted during the summer of 2016, when Thapa returned home to teach as part of the Hodson Internship Program. He saw people with disabilities living on the streets, as well as a need for additional resources for children with disabilities. That fall, Thapa and Liklikadze developed a plan, applied for the grant, and found out in March that their project was one of 100 that would receive funding.
Work on the school took two months, and used a combination of grant funding and donated items, to complete. “We visited them afterward and saw how the things we gave them were being used,” Liklikadze says. “The most rewarding thing was the children were happy.”
St. John’s has a long history with Projects for Peace, with students completing projects nearly every year since the program began in 2007.