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Our school, our stories – Building a school in Nepal, part 1

As most of the world’ borders are still closed and the healthcare situation has not stabilized in many countries, we miss our school building trips a lot. Construction processes in some of our schools were put on hold, others are simply not safe enough to travel to. While we try to support the communities remotely with the help of local partnering NGOs on the ground, our volunteers who have participated in the last school construction trek in Nepal shared their memories and emotions.

Jonathan’s story

Hi, I’m Jonathan McCarrick, the Global Head of Evangelism at Acronis.

When I first heard about the opportunity to come to Nepal I wasn’t sure if I wanted to or not. In the end I decided to come because I have a lot of children at home and I wanted to set a good example for them about how life can be and what is available out there in the world. To bring home a taste of how other people live elsewhere in the world, how good my kids have it, and how much more respect they should have for what they have.

When we came, we were met by our host family who has been incredibly gracious to us. They gave us space in their home, provided food, they were nothing but generous with their time. I was fortunate that our family speaks a bit of English, that made our communication very easy. We had been practicing our Nepali but having some English around was very good. And because of it, we learned a lot more about the Nepali people, some of the things they had gone through, and the necessity of building a school.

There are three school buildings there in the village but they’re all built out of brick and mud. Since that is an earthquake-prone area, the community needs to have a school properly constructed out of cement and steel, which they can have for a long period of time.

I had the honor of speaking at the opening ceremony and I told the children that this is their school and they should love it. I also told them about my up-bringing. I come out of a modest family. My parents were very young when I was born and we didn’t have a lot. I was the first person out of my school to go to a university and we worked very hard to make that happen. I wanted to make sure these children know it’s possible. It’s possible! If you work hard, you can have it. The other thing I told them was that my daughter Jemma (who is eleven-years-old) had sent her love. She actually asked me to give one of the children her age a hug on behalf of America, letting them know that America loves Nepal.

This has been an amazing life-changing experience, despite the challenges that these folks might have. They work incredibly hard. We have seen nothing but the highest level of effort, love, and compassion from Nepali people. If you do ever have a chance to join an Acronis Cyber Foundation trek along with buildOn, I would highly recommend that you do it. It’s something that you take with you for the rest of your days. It’s not just sightseeing. It’s going and making a difference and coming away knowing that everything you did will matter long-term. This school we started building is very likely to be there for another 100-150 years. Acronis is making a permanent impact on that community. If you get a chance to do it, you should do it as well.

Cassandra’s story

I am Cassandra Wagner, I work as a Senior Recruiting Lead at Acronis.

Coming to Nepal, I didn’t have many expectations but even if I had, all of them were completely blown away. The people were very friendly, super hospitable, arms-wide-open. The culture is like nothing I could have imagined.

We were invited into a host home with a few kids and their mom. The food was great, we played games, they speak English and taught us Nepali. It was so interesting to see how we are worlds away but we are all the same at heart and playing with kids there in Nepal is like playing with kids anywhere. We are all people and we all have a connection even if we can’t speak the same language.

The kids there are very smart, some of them have to walk pretty far for school. It seems that they have pretty decent well-rounded studies in the schools there. But it’s great that we’ll be able to have a school for them in their village that will continue their education and, hopefully, make it better than it is.

Watch our short video on what went on during the construction trek in the small village of Rajipur Chaumala, Nepal! 

Read Part Two here

More information about this school initiative project can be found here.

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