A group of Duke of Edinburgh students from LVS Ascot recently visited Nepal for three weeks. The trip included a canoe ride to a crocodile farm, elephant feeding, teaching at a Nepalese school, providing the children with new shoes and battling monsoon rains and leeches on a six-day hike in the mountains.
The amazing adventure for the 15 students and two teachers began with a flight to Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, from where they travelled to the world heritage site Chitwan National Park. The year 11 and year 13 students met members of the Tharu tribe and joined in with a tribal stick dance outside their huts made of elephant grass, mud and manure. The following day a safari provided the opportunity to see one-horned rhinos, wild boars and Asian elephants, which they were able to feed and bathe, as well as a trek through the jungle and travelling by canoe to a crocodile farm.
The varied itinerary next saw a valuable contribution from the students to a community project in Bhaktapur, an eye-opening experience at Vidyarthi Niketan secondary school which had been badly affected by an earthquake in 2015. For five days the LVS Ascot students helped teach subjects including English at the school to children aged seven to 14, and also spent time painting and decorating a nursery there.
Head of Outdoor Pursuits Laura Turner said: “The Nepalese children were so happy to have our students teaching them, you could hear the fun and laughter from the classrooms around the site. One of our students, Callum, turned 18 whilst we were there and was sung to by all the Nepalese children – what a great birthday!”
With one of LVS Ascot’s goals being to develop caring, confident citizens for the future, the most amazing and rewarding part of the trip for the students was buying and then presenting new school shoes to the Nepalese school children. This provided a great way to help the school, with a direct benefit to the children who were delighted to receive them as many had basic flip flops as their only footwear.
The final part of the LVS Ascot Nepal trip saw students take on a six-day trek in the Annapurna mountain range. They battled heat and humidity walking eight hours a day and on one day ascended over 1,500 metres by climbing up 7,000 steps. Having reached the summit of Poon Hill at 3,210 metres, the trek continued for several days through monsoon rains which brought out the leeches, something all students experienced, to bring to a close an amazing three weeks that provided students with many tales to tell and a different outlook on life.
Principal of LVS Ascot Christine Cunniffe said: “Our trip to Nepal was exhilarating, varied, educational and inspiring – everything we deliver in an LVS Ascot education but in a setting our students have never experienced before! This trip of a lifetime is just one of the opportunities we provide students with to help them flourish and grow, and I am delighted they were such excellent ambassadors for the school and took so much from the trip”.