At the end of 2011 several members of CIMG made a donation to a school near Lumbini. As a frequent meditator at Panditarama Lumbini, I had been aware of the disparity between the conditions of the lives of the local people and our own. This project offered a small way of addressing the inequality.
Moti Lal, the founder and principal of the school, took me to see it. This meant I had a great ride on the back of his motorbike (driven very sedately and smoothly) through the village of Lumbini to the even smaller village of Laxmipur, just a few kilometres from Lumbini. You can see some of the country in the school photos. The road was windy and narrow and passed close to the mud-brick thatched houses that most people live in.
The Lumbini Gyan Prabha School is registered with the Nepali government but the delivery of funds from the government is slow and erratic in the ongoing political chaos in Nepal. As you will see from the photos below, the school has enormous needs. I told Moti Lal that I was happy for the school committee to decide on how to use the money. It is enough to pay two teachers’ salaries for a year.
This poster hangs outside Moti Lal’s room and itemises the costs to develop the school.
Two classrooms are being built.
The children wear uniform which surprised me at first, but when I reflected on how children in Nepal had been abducted from their schools at the height of the Maoist insurgency, a bit of structure seemed no bad thing. They all seemed very relaxed and happy, curious about me but not unduly impressed. They greeted Moti Lal as we rode in with “Good Morning, Sir!” and seemed happy to see him. The school takes children from all religious groups. There was some Buddhist chanting at the time we arrived at the beginning of the school day. The school buys uniforms and books for the children whose families can’t afford them, but there are no fees. The school is free to all children in a number of villages around its location.