A Bridge to Nepal

A Bridge to Nepal

This year my class, along with my school, united and raised money for the British International School of Kathmandu in Nepal that was affected by earthquakes shortly after my 24 hour Skype-a-thon ( #PVSkype24 ) in March. It was very rewarding and successful due to the connection the students had while learning and sharing with the Nepalese students during our Skype session. The kids and I were very grateful to be able to help out and give back to a school that does charity work in surrounding villages.

Beckham Nickelsnickelsfinal

At the same time, in the back of my mind, I was always thinking about how to help Govinda Panthy, another teacher in Nepal whom I had come to know through my PLN. Govinda has a passion for bringing the world to his students through Skype. I wanted to be able to help Govinda and his school, but knew I couldn’t do both.

During the time my kids and I were fundraising for Nepal, I was delighted and honored to learn that Microsoft was sending me to ISTE! I could hardly wait to meet, connect with, learn from and share with other educators from around the world.

Skip ahead three months. It is just 8 days before the start of ISTE.  I’m chatting with Govinda over Skype, and it hits me like a cannonball. Why can’t I Skype with him at ISTE? I am going to be sharing the benefits of Skype with other educators. What better way to demonstrate the power of making connections and how Skype brings the world to students than by bringing my friend Govinda, 8,000 miles away to them?

The sudden realization that Skyping with Govinda would be a wonderful way to not only demonstrate the power of global connections via Skype, but perhaps get Govinda some much needed support feels like only the latest step in a wonderful journey I’ve been taking as an educator. I feel as if I have a path and purpose, and I am blessed to be able to use my skills and talents to help those who are less fortunate than I.

A Global Call to Nepal from ISTE

So if you’re in the in the Exhibit Hall near the Microsoft/Skype Booth around 9:30 on Wednesday stop by to speak to Govinda and ask him how he uses Skype in the Classroom to connect his students to the world. Ask him how Skype has changed his class and his school, and what you can do to help. To learn more about Govinda, his remarkable school and how you can help, visit: https://www.pledgecents.com/cause/lltkrs/bridge2nepal

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Nickels for Nepal

“No Act of Kindness, No Matter How Small, Is Ever Wasted.” ~ Aesop

#Nickels4Nepal

Have you ever watched one of those commercials where you are asked to donate to help for children in poverty stricken areas or aid with abused animals? Those commercials have new meaning to me since working on Nickels for Nepal. During our 24 hour Skype-a-thon we had the opportunity to learn from a class in Kathmandu, Nepal. It was an extraordinary 30 minutes that I will never forget.

During our skype session they taught us many things showing us some Napelise rupees and even took us on a tour of their school;  all of this through Skype.

The class during our 24 hour Skype-a-thon

A few weeks later they were hit with an 7.8 earthquake that forever changed the feelings of stability of it’s people as well as the physical destruction of the landscapes. Many historical structures and building that have been standing for hundreds of years were left in rubbles. Homes and lives destroyed leaving only memories of what once was a vital part of their lives.

The week following the quake led to many conversations of concern for our new found friends in Nepal all coming back to the same question, “What can we do?”.  It was out of these discussions and questions that “Nickels for Nepal” was started. We wanted to do our part now matter how small to help rebuild and aid our friends whose school was being used as a shelter and food distribution site.

On Thursday, my class discussed the plan and came up with a goal of $200.00 and our school goal was $1,000 during the month of May. To my surprise the following morning, students walked in with bags of money to contribute before the coin drive had even started; mostly savings from Christmas, birthdays, chores and piggy banks. It was rewarding and exciting to see how the students connected to their friends in Nepal. Although a brief 30 minutes of connection on Skype, the friendships and connections are forever in our children’s minds and hearts.  This was a true example of what a global classroom can do! I was so proud of my 2nd graders for thinking of others before themselves.

The first week my class raised $152.24 and the school raised $676.00. The outpouring of generosity and support from students was so tremendous. Students and families of Pine Valley held all kinds of unique projects from bake sales, collections at church, to love donations to help our cause. It was truly humbling to see.

The second week we were more motivated than ever after hearing that Nepal had once again been hit by another major earthquake. Through conversations with my friend, Sunny at the British International School in Kathmandu, we learned that Nepal does not have running water like we do in the USA. The water in Nepal is government rationed in major cities and limited to wells and waterfalls in out lying areas. We ended the week with a bang with #FillItFriday. The students created posters to hold during car drop off and car pickup on Friday as our amazing parent volunteers helped collect coins. With the help of media promoting our project, we collected over $700 from our morning drop off. Our total at the end of week two was 1,875.20.

By our third week, we were so appreciative of everything the students and the community of Pine Valley had done , we believed that any more money collected was just an added bonus.  And the end of the week three we had a grand total of $2,294.45. That afternoon some students took the opportunity to find out how much milk, cheese and water after converting dollars into Nepalese Rupees. It was a great learning opportunity for them to see the value of objects from another country on the opposite side of the world. Throughout the last week news of our project continued spread through social media and we even received a donation from California to add to our total.

As I stood at the bank for the last time, I remembered all those faces each morning as they willingly and lovingly made their contribution for their new found friends in Nepal. They sacrificed ice cream money, piggy banks and allowances all for the greater good. What a wonderful life lesson… The entire offering at the end of May was $2,405.26, which surpassed any goal I could have imagined possible.

This project shows how a school, of any size or demographic make up, can come together to make a difference. Nickels for Nepal demonstrates how even the smallest ripple can make a difference to create waves in our great big pond.