THE founder of a school in Nepal for disadvantaged children travelled from Gresford for the tenth anniversary celebration of the Nepal Help Association (NHA) and the Brick Children School (BCS).
David Phoenix, an education adviser with Denbighshire and Wrexham county councils, was accompanied by ex-head teacher Phil Miller, a trustee of the charity, and his wife Sue.
He first had the idea of building a school 10 years ago, after visiting a brickworks in the Kathmandu Valley.
He was told children worked there for about £1 a day and received no education whatsoever, but thanks to his vision and the help he received from people back home in North Wales, that situation has now changed.
There are now not one, but two ‘Brick Children’ schools, serving more than 1400 children, and there are high hopes a third will be added in the not-too-distant future.
Mr Phoenix, who lives in Gresford, said: “On April 3 we attended a special celebration, organised by the NHA. It was held, not at the BCS but in the playground of a nearby school.
“It was a very hot afternoon, and the 300 or so people who attended sat underneath a colourful canvas roof erected especially for the occasion. Phil and I joined NHA members and two education official guests on a raised stage.
“The three-hour event was hosted by Devendra Pradhan as president of the NHA.
He listed the achievements over 10 years of the BCS, saying more than 1400 children had been educated there, and 400 women had taken part in education, health care and sewing programmes.”
Mr Phoenix spoke on behalf of the BCS charity trustees in Wrexham, praising the work of the NHA, teachers at the school and thanking them for their hard work.
He stressed how important he believed it was that all children should have access to education, no matter what country they live in.
He also confessed how pleased the trustees were that, with the help of the NHA, they were able to open a second school 12 months ago.
He said: “The joint owner, Mr Ram Kazi, who owns a brick making business in the Kathmandu Valley, was present at the ceremony. I mentioned that with his influence, we hope to add a third school some time in the near future.
“I thanked all the parents who were there for giving up their precious time and wages on a work day to attend. I could see from the stage how proud they were every time their children performed on stage.
“Finally, I read a message sent by trustees Edgar and Janet Lewis who were unable to attend.”
Pupils from the BCS sang and danced in between speeches throughout the event.
Some of them were dressed in brightly coloured, traditional costumes whilst others wore their school uniforms adorned with home-made decorations.
“They had clearly rehearsed very hard for this special occasion and both Phil and I were very moved by their performances,” he continued.
“Phil and I were presented with framed letters of appreciation from the NHA and were given more to take back to the other members of the charity back in Wales.
We reciprocated by presenting brass and mahogany plaques, formally thanking NHA and BCS teachers.
“We also presented certificates to all of the teachers who wore new, turquoise saris which the charity gave them as a special token of appreciation for ten years of dedication.
“Finally, we surprised head teacher Anita Shrestha with a new laptop, for her and her staff to record pupils’ achievements and to send regular information and stories to the charity to use in newsletters and on its website.”
See full story in the Leader