LIHI GAUN – School and Health Post

Close to the Tibetan border lies the village of Lihi Gaun and some of CAN’s most remote projects.

At Lihi CAN have assisted the local community by building a new school, which has proved so popular that the villagers have already requested an extension to the school! Generous funding from many sources made the initial building of the school possible, including funds from the Zurich Trust and ICTOPUS. However the success of the school in attracting children from the surrounding valleys means it now needs to be bigger! During 2012 generous funding and support from the Rothchild Foundation and the Style Group has made this possible.

New School Extension

This recent funding has enabled local carpenters, under the supervision of CAN’s Buildings Overseer Gobinda Sharma, to construct a second floor to the school and this work is now well under way. The photos in the gallery above show the work taking place. Special thanks go to CAN supporters Julian and Emmy Freeman-Attwood for supporting the application to the Rothchild Foundation on CAN’s behalf.

The Style group, through the wonderful efforts of Jodi Tweed, have also been instrumental to the success of the school extension. Jodi and the Style Group supports the salaries of two Tibetan speaking teachers (who work along side a teacher provided by the government), have provided furniture and bookshelves and have attracted more children to the school from villages beyond Lihi by making free school lunches available. Not afraid of hard work themselves, the Style team have also offered practical help by varnishing the inside wood work on a recent visit!

Looking to the future the Style Group hope to build a school hostel, which CAN will oversee, to enable children from outlying villages to sleep over at the school. The long term goal is too share the running of the school with the Style Group – CAN managing the school buildings themselves and the Style Group managing the day to day running and staffing of the school. This will mirror the way our Porter Rescue shelters operate, where CAN organises the build and the International Porter Protection Group staffs and manages the shelters.

The second floor is constructed using timber rather than stone. This is because, like much of Nepal, it is possible that earthquakes may strike this area. Following advice from Oxford University Himalayan geologist Prof. Mike Searle, the timber construction should cause less damage and danger in the event of an earthquake occurring. If possible CAN restricts its buildings to ground level only to minimise earthquake dangers – however the limited availability of ground in Lihi means that building upwards was our only option to increase the size of the school.

Lihi School is now more popular than ever 10 years on. 

It’s amazing to now look back at the school ten years ago, when CAN first started work in the village. In 2002 the school had just two rooms. The only thing in one room was a floor made of earth with grass growing from it and in the other room was a single blackboard. The teacher hadn’t been seen for eight months!

Contrast that to today when we are building five new school rooms. Now both local families and those from surrounding villages want their children to be educated at the school – with its good facilities and dedicated teachers. The school is now at the heart of the community and helping to sustain LiHi as a vibrant village. The photo gallery above shows the building taking place during 2009/10.

Re-aforestation Project  

With the assistance of funding from the Rothchild Foundation CAN has begun a project to replant forest near the health post. The deforestation of steep mountain slopes leaves them vulnerable to landslides and  soil loss.  Timber is of course a valuable fuel and building material so the sustainable management of the local forest is a vital project.

Forests on the steep slopes close to Lihi

Forests on the steep slopes close to Lihi

Many thanks are due to CAN supporter and forestry enthusiast Julian Freeman – Attwood who helped with the financial funding application.

Below are a  selection of photos showing the local community tree planting and CAN’s Technical Officer Gobinda Sharma visiting the project.

Please click images to view them full size

 

LiHi Guan Health Post

The CAN health post now offers a completely new and innovative service to the local population, by offering medicines, acupuncture and traditional Tibetan herbal remedies, provided by the monks from the nearby monastery. This ‘multiple treatment’ approach has seen patient numbers increase.

The two CAN nurses provide health education, a worming programme, first aid training to the Mothers’ Group and the existing school community.

Health Post opening ceremony  2008

The photo gallery below features the wonderful Health Post opening ceremony at Lihi Guan in 2008 attended by the local Buddhist monks and members of the de Meuron family from Switzerland.

A number of organisations have generously funded the Health Post, including its initial construction and meeting the running costs.

Amongst them our special  thanks go to the Irish Himalayan Trust for help constructing the buildings and in particular the support of the Sandoz Family Foundation who have funded construction and continue to fund the day to day running costs.

The kindness of the late Mme Monique de Meuron from the the Sandoz Family Foundation is very much appreciated by the Lihi community and CAN. Sadly Mme de Meuron passed away shortly before the Health Post was officially opened, but the Foundation, via her son (Jean – Leonard) and daughter (Sophie), are continuing her support of the Lihi community.

The Sandoz Family Foundation was established in 1964 by the sculptor and painter Edouard-Marcel Sandoz, the son of the founder of Sandoz SA of Basel (now Novartis SA).

 

CAN has also funded a telephone service based in the health post. Finance generated from this facility will provide a percentage of the profit towards the up keep of the Health Post. The photo gallery below shows the opening ceremony for the satellite telephone system.

An income generation scheme in which CAN provided a fruit cultivation programme and ‘lead farmer’ training is also helping village sustainability.

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