Table of contents

Message from the Founder .............................................................. 3 Message from the Chairperson ........................................................ 4 Our Mission ........................................................................................ 5 Our Project Areas .............................................................................. 6 Executive Summary .......................................................................... 7 School Construction and Renovation ............................................... 8 A Clean Slate .................................................................................... 13 Teacher Training .............................................................................. 14 Volunteers from Around the World ................................................ 19 Volunteers from Nepal .................................................................... 20 Shree Shanti Primary School .......................................................... 21 2012 Highlights ................................................................................ 22 Ongoing Projects ............................................................................. 24 Profiles ............................................................................................. 26 Financial Summary .......................................................................... 31 Our Team .......................................................................................... 33


Message from the F ounder

Remember your first grade teacher? Or maybe you can recall a favorite teacher, either from your early days at school when you were learning to read “See Jack Run” or later, when you were learning long division or the periodic table. Many of us had a teacher whom we still remember, someone who believed in us, inspired us, and introduced us to something new that has stayed with us throughout the years. There’s no question that going to school for the first time is a formative moment in our lives, no matter where or when it may take place. In our corner of rural Nepal, Santi School is trying to create as many new dynamic, inspiring teachers as we possibly can. We want to help make classrooms safe, exciting places to learn, and give teachers the right tools, training and support to carry out a progressive approach to early childhood development. What do we mean by exciting places to learn? Colorful classroom decorated with student artwork. Children singing, dancing, and laughing. Shelves filled with games, puzzles, and dolls. Toys handmade from local materials. Teachers engaged with their students. These changes don’t just happen overnight, however. Often, classrooms in rural Nepal are so bare they look like cells: unfinished stone walls and floors, a shaft of dim light peeking through a singlewindow. A library is usually a small bookcase enclosed in glass and locked with a key. Teachers dictate from the front of the room, requiring their students to memorize and repeat.

The drab atmosphere at one of our schools was one of the first things our volunteer, American Seanie Civale, noticed about Gupteshwor Secondary School: “Having benefited deeply from the arts in my own academic life, I hoped to bring that experience to the classroom. I have been teaching songs to help students with English pronunciation, using acting games to help them feel comfortable thinking and speaking independently and creatively, and helping my students make projects that involve art and color to be hung up on the walls.” We need more people like Seanie on our side, but we’re making progress. I’m proud to say that 2012 was the year that we really started to make changes in more than 40 schools in Lalitpur district in central Nepal, where the dropout rate is the highest in the country. What started as a project to build a single school has grown into an organization that has made a real impact. At this time five years ago, in April 2008, our first school opened in Ramche with an inaugural class of 60 kindergarten and first graders. Since then, we’ve trained more than 200 teachers, renovated 6 additional schools, and provided quality education for more than 5,000 students. Chances are you helped make our success possible. I hope all of our supporters feel a personal connection to our work, like I do, and can share the sense of accomplishment that I feel, because this is a group effort in so many ways. Thank you.

Christopher Heun
Founder Santi School Project


Message from the Chairperson
Dear Shanti friends, Namaste! It gives me immense pleasure to share the activities of Shanti Education Initiative Nepal (SEI Nepal) with everyone. The year 2012 has been a busy one for us. It has also been a year of achievements for us. We have been able to expand our donor base that helped us to expand our programs and the project areas. Christopher Heun, founder of the Santi School Project, successfully raised US $45,000 for our endowment fund to help us partially bear our overhead costs from its interest. We also won a grant from Better World Books worth US $15,000 to expand our teachers training and local volunteer mobilization programs. Annual NepalFest at the Muttekopfhutte in Imst, Austria, is gradually evolving into a platform among Nepalese and friends of Nepal in and around Imst. This year’s NepalFest was attended by over 500 people and helped raise € 5,000. This year, we renovated six additional schools and trained 154 teachers from 44 community schools in Lalitpur District. We focus with an integrated investment approach and three pillar philosophy: infrastructure development, teacher training, and volunteer mobilization to serve the community in the long run. Working in tandem with the local stakeholders, government agencies, and the school management committees has been instrumental in implementing the programs effectively with a great sense of ownership within the local communities. Mabindra Regmi, one of the founder members (SEI Nepal) and chief trainer of the teacher training program, has been awarded the Chancellor’s Gold Medal from Kathmandu University for his outstanding performance in Master Level by the Chancellor and the Rt. Honorable Prime Minister of Nepal.

Rosy Lama, the first principal of the Shanti Primary School, Ramche has been using her skills as an early childhood education trainer. She has also joined her post graduate diploma in early childhood education from Kathmandu University. Shanti Education Initiative Nepal strictly emphasizes local participation and transparency from the initial phase. The financial status is reviewed by a third party before submitting to the concerned government agencies. We are planning to introduce volunteer programs for the youth and college students as a continual component of our integrated program cycle which is equally beneficial to the volunteers. We have had a fruitful experience with some of the volunteers. We hope to recruit as many international volunteers as possible in the near. Introduction of placing fresh high school graduates from prestigious schools in Kathmandu in the project schools in rural areas have also given us and the students involved, a new dimension of sharing many life experiences. On behalf of SEI Nepal, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Christopher Heun, SSP, USA, Andreas Riml, Markus Welzl, Marisa Raggautz, Austria for their invaluable support. Bijaya and Sita have done a wonderful job overseeing everyday running of our Office. I also would like to thank all my board members for their support. We hope to work more comprehensibly in the future. We hope to receive your continual support in every way possible. Thank you all for making 2012 a wonderful year!

Rabindra Maharjan
Chairperson Shanti Education Initiative Nepal


Our Mission

We promote quality education in rural Nepal for girls and ethnic minorities, who are often excluded from school. We build and repair primary schools and provide specialized early childhood teacher training, because government-sponsored training is limited.


Our Project Areas
We've worked with 48 schools in central Nepal

training renovation both training and renovation our office


Executive Summary
The highlight of 2012 was our teacher training program
In five years The Santi School Project has grown from a single school with an inaugural class of 60 kindergarteners and first graders into an organization that has helped 48 schools, trained more than 150 teachers, renovated six additional schools, and provided quality education for more than 5,000 students. Much of that growth came in 2012, when a grant from Better World Books enabled us to scale up our teacher training program and broaden our reach to 45 schools throughout central Nepal, an area surrounding the capital, Kathmandu, and yet plagued by the highest dropout rate in the entire country. We’re proud of our teacher training program, not just because so many of the principals and teachers participating have praised it, but because of two elements that are truly unique. The first is the incentives we pay to high-performing teachers that maximizes our limited funds and rewards future leaders. The second is Shanti Education Fellows, an innovative program for Nepal, which lacks a strong tradition of volunteerism, to encourage young high school graduates from an urban background to serve at our schools in the countryside. The response from one of our principals, Madhav Chand, of Sringery Secondary School, which has four of its teachers enrolled in the training program, is typical: “After the training, I have seen changes in our teachers. I attended your observation visits, and I believe that our teachers are teaching better than they used to.” In addition to our training program, we continue to provide funds for renovation work. Overall, we’ve built new classrooms at four schools, and replaced roofs, fixed toilets, and installed new furniture and drinking water systems at seven schools. Three more projects got under way in the winter of 2012-13. Our approach is to address the needs of an individual school, whether they may be capital improvements, higher quality of instruction, or classroom materials. In many cases, it’s all of the above. We reached an important milestone in 2012 in the village of Ramche, the site of our first project, Shanti Primary School, which officially became self sufficient in April. The school management committee (an organization similar to a parent-teacher association) chose to merge it with another primary school and also took in the students up to grade 4 from a nearby secondary school. Now, Shanti Primary School has around 150 students in kindergarten through 4th grade, with seven teachers all paid by the government. At the same time, on the other side of the world, we worked harder than ever at fund-raising and enjoyed our best year yet. We took our first steps toward our goal of establishing a separate fund to finance all of our administrative costs in Nepal, so that every dollar and every rupee we raise goes toward our schools, our teachers, and our students. Thank you for your support. Many of you have been with Santi School since the beginning more than five years ago, and we wouldn’t have made it this far without you.

48 schools supported in 5 years


School Construction and Renovation
In a single district of Nepal, 30 schools need help
Santi School to bridge the funding gap; meanwhile, realizing its mistake, the Education Department has increased its contribution to future projects but not to those already under way. Santi School has stepped in to help three schools in Lalitpur complete renovations, with two more projects scheduled for completion by Spring 2013. There are plans for more as soon as we can get to them. Dozens of schools in Lalitpur district, which already rely on government support to pay teacher salaries, simply do not have the resources to meet the needs of their children. To ensure that our reconstruction projects all have sufficient community support, we require each school management committee to contribute at least 25% of the total cost in labor, materials, and cash. The three schools we worked with in 2012 needed our help to finish new classrooms designed to alleviate overcrowding or replace buildings that had fallen into disrepair.

The foothills of the Himalayas in rural Nepal may be beautiful, but they’re a terrible place to go to school. Classrooms are falling apart, book shelves are empty, and teachers are poorly trained because of inadequate government support. We believe the best way to attract children to school and make learning fun is to address all three areas simultaneously—by rebuilding facilities as well as training teachers and providing books and classroom materials. When it comes to renovation work, there is plenty to do. In a single district of Nepal—Lalitpur, just outside of Kathmandu, where we have been working for 2 years—more than 30 schools need help completing new classrooms, because the government funds they received were insufficient to complete the work or simply not enough to even get started. The government approved the construction projects under its “cost sharing” program that forced communities to bear 75 percent of the estimated costs. Schools turned to local government agencies and groups like

4 school renovations in 2012


School Construction and Renovation
Vishwamitra Ganesh Secondary School

The new building helped the school shift some existing classrooms from a dark and congested room in a private building that was ready to be demolished to a well furnished, spacious room with sufficient natural light. The funds for this project were raised at the annual NepalFest at the Muttekopfhutte, in Imst, Austria, in the Austrian Alps. The event was coordinated by Rabindra Maharjan, chairman of Shanti Education Initiative Nepal. The Austrian Mountaineering Association, also based in Imst, contributed to this effort.

Built Location Students Teachers Project Cost Completed

1982 15 km from Kathmandu 400+ up to Grade 10 28 Complete ground floor of a new building $6,500: $4,000 in 2012; $2,500 in 2011 June 2012

13 of the 28 teachers at Vishwamitra have received training from Santi School


School Construction and Renovation
Gupteshwor Secondary School

The school expanded with a four-room building, but government funds were insufficient to complete construction beyond the external walls and the roof. Consequently, the ground floor flooded when it rained and four different classes had been conducted in the corners of a single open room. We helped the school by hanging doors; putting shutters on the windows; plastering the interior walls, floor and ceiling; creating a partition inside the building to divide it into classrooms; covering the stairway to prevent flooding; and installing a drinking water system. The majority of the students at Gupteshwor are members of the indigenous Tamang ethnic minority.

Built Location Students Teachers Project Cost Completed

1960 35 km from Kathmandu 250+ up to Grade 10 15 Complete ground floor of a new building; install drinking water system $ 5,000 April 2012

25% of the total project cost was provided by the Nepali government


School Construction and Renovation
Devi Lower Secondary School

With just six classrooms to teach 219 students in kindergarten through 8th grade, the school had been forced to conduct some classes outside. The government provided funds for a new building but it wasn’t enough to complete construction. We helped finish the job. The new construction created external walls, partitioned the building into classrooms, fixed doors and windows, and finished it off with fresh coats of plaster and paint. The school also expanded and leveled its playground.

Built Location Students Teachers Project Cost Completed

1960 30 km from Kathmandu 200+ up to Grade 8 12 A new 4-room classroom building; install drinking water system $6,000 August 2012

1,100 concrete blocks were used in construction at Devi Lower Secondary School


School Construction and Renovation
Kali Devi Secondary School Building Construction:

Kali Devi Lower Secondary School in Lamatar, in Lalitpur district, asked us to build a retention wall and drainage gully inside the school premises to help protect a newly constructed building from flooding during the rainy season. The school also leveled its playground at the same time we built the wall. The project was financially supported by the Austrian Mountaineering Association in Imst, Oberland.

Built Location Students Teachers Project Cost Completed

1960 30 km from Kathmandu 200+ up to Grade 10 12 A retention wall and drainage gully $1,000 August 2012

300 cubic feet of stone were used to build the retention wall


A Clean Slate
Several schools asked us for help improving their classrooms a different way–by replacing chalk and blackboards with markers and white boards.

Jana Jagriti Higher Secondary School Built Location Students Teachers Project Cost Completed 1978 50 km from Kathmandu 250+ up to Grade 12 16 14 white boards and markers $500 December 2012 Built

Prasiddha Secondary School 1978 50 km from Kathmandu 260+ up to Grade 10 12 10 white boards and markers $350 May 2012

Location Students Teachers Project Cost Completed

24 white boards were provided to the two schools


Teacher Training
Making classrooms child-friendly
We created a teacher training curriculum that addresses the two biggest deficiencies of public school teachers in Nepal: a lack of knowledge about how to implement child-friendly teaching practices in the classroom, and poor English-language skills. The government has introduced early childhood development classes for teachers, but the approach is not very progressive—treating early childhood education as more like a day care center. In addition, teachers rarely incorporate the lessons from the training into their classrooms because of a lack of monitoring and supervision after the sessions. The medium of instruction in most public schools is Nepali, whereas more prestigious private schools teach in English. To keep pace, and satisfy parents, the government recently introduced policies to encourage public schools to switch to teaching some subjects in English, but without providing any means to improve the language skills of the teachers, in many classrooms the new policy amounts to little more than wishful thinking. In 2012, we trained more than 150 teachers from 44 schools in Lalitpur district, just outside of Kathmandu. The nine-month program was funded by a $15,000 Literacy and Education in Action Program grant from Better World Books. We also conducted separate training sessions for another 21 teachers from 5 schools in Lalitpur with € 2,000 from the Austrian Youth Red Cross.

154 teachers trained in 2012


Teacher Training
A combination of early childhood development & English skills
• A series of 2-day sessions followed by classroom observations of each teacher implementing the training in real classroom situations. The trainers provide feedback to individual teachers and share their observations with the entire group of trainees. • This cycle is repeated six times: a total of 12 days of intensive instruction and 6 separate classroom evaluations. • Training content is divided between early childhood development (for teachers up to third grade) and English skills (for teachers up to 5th grade).

We specifically designed the training to bring concepts of child development and child-friendly classroom strategies to public schools in rural Nepal. In addition to the classroom instruction, the trainers visit each trainee in their respective school and provide feedback to the teachers. Our innovative volunteer program places urban high school graduates in rural schools. English-speaking volunteers in every school: To supplement the instruction, a Nepali volunteer who speaks fluent English (usually a recent high school graduate from Kathmandu) from our Santi Education Fellows program, helps out in the classrooms of teachers participating in the program. Incentives for teachers: Motivating public school teachers is one of the biggest challenges of the education system in Nepal. The top three performers from each training group receive a small cash award, based on classroom observations.

44 schools participated in the training


Teacher Training
Teachers and principals praise the training
“I have observed some training sessions. Based on the observations that I have made during the training and its implementation in the classroom, I believe this training is effective.“ – Satish Kumar Jha, Principal, Sisnery Higher Secondary School, Lamatar, Lalitpur “I have seen several other training programs conducted by various organizations and agencies. I think this training is better than others. I have also received positive feedback about the training from participating teachers and the principals sending teachers from their schools.” – Him Bahadur Thapa, government field-level supervisor, Lubhu, Lalitpur “I learned about nursery rhymes, developing educational materials, and using them and learning about the psychology of the students and teaching them accordingly.” – Lalita Bista, Teacher, Mahalaxmi Higher Secondary School

“After the training, I was completely changed inside the classroom. When I implemented the training lessons in the classroom, the students participated very enthusiastically.”
– Arjun Prasad Ghimire, Teacher, Kaleshwori Lower Secondary School

6: Number of classroom observations each teacher received


Teacher Training
Motivating top teachers with cash incentives
One of the biggest challenges of the education system in Nepal is motivating public school teachers; in rural areas, their monthly salary can be as low as just two or three dollars a day. In the past, we have provided funds to increase the salaries of a few teachers whose government salaries were too low. Having determined that the greatest impact can be to reward the highest-performing teachers, we have included small cash awards in our training program as an incentive for them to implement what they have learned in the training. The incentives are based on classroom observations and are provided only to top performers, about 15 of the 150 teachers taking the training. We also contributed $500 to Vishwamitra Ganesh Secondary School as a reward for a single teacher, Sumana Bishankhe, who was chosen as the best among all the teachers from her school participating in a training program we organized in 2011-12. We did subsidize some teacher salaries in 2012. We provided about $1,800 for three teachers and a helper at our first school, Shanti Primary School, in Ramche, for the first three months of the year. Since then, following a merger with a nearby school, it has operated independently, with all teacher salaries provided by the government. Also in 2012, for the second consecutive year, we provided $400 to the Mahakali Lower Secondary School, to supplement government stipends for teacher salaries.

• 1 in 5 primary school teachers in Nepal do not have any training, according to the World Bank • The student dropout rate at primary schools is 38%. • These rates are even higher in rural areas where we work. In fact, the central region of Nepal, where all our project sites are located, has the worst enrollment indicators in the whole country. • Only 39% of girls in Nepal can read and write. • Well-trained teachers make learning fun, attract children to school, and improve the quality of the classroom experience

• Repeated classroom observations of the teachers by the trainers. • A standardized test of students in 1st grade and 3rd grade, whose teachers are enrolled in the training program, before and after the training. A control group of students, whose teachers are not participating, also take the exam.

$1,300 of incentives were provided to 20 teachers


Teacher Training
Meet our trainers
principal at Shanti Primary School in Ramche and was instrumental in the early success of the school. She moved back to Kathmandu to complete her masters degree and has been teaching at a private school in the city. She’s never really left us, because she’s been involved in our other training programs.

ROSY LAMA: We’re excited to have Rosy Lama as one of our seven teacher trainers. Rosy is a former

completed post graduation in early childhood development from Kathmandu University. She has been engaged with different schools to help them in their school management system, and offered training on using recycled goods and low cost materials. She has worked as a pre-school coordinator, grade teacher and pre-school teacher for various schools.

ELSA JHA: Elsa is earning a master’s in educational management from Kathmandu University. She has

University after completing a one-year primary teachers training program from Rato Bangala. She has participated in a month-long teacher training organized in Israel and has also attended workshops facilitated by international trainers in educational fields in different subject matters. She teaches at Rato Bangla School, Lalitpur, and has been assisting in training programs organized by the school.

SHILPA RIMAL: Shilpa has completed her post-graduate diploma in education from Kathmandu

University. She has completed a post graduate diploma in education from the same university. She has also completed a master’s in humanities and social sciences from Tribhuwan University. She was trained as a pre-school teacher for a year.

LAXMI BYANJANKAR: Laxmi is earning a master’s in educational management from Kathmandu

University in 2012. She is also undertaking her master’s degree in major English from Ratna Rajya College in Kathmandu. She has been involved in teaching field for around 13 years and started working as a trainer in 2012. She has trained both pre-primary level teachers and primary level teachers.

ANJU DAHAL TRIPATHI: Anju has completed her post graduate diploma in education from Kathmandu

University. She has completed her bachelor’s from MCM College in Chandigarh, India. She has taught in St. Xaviers School in Kathmandu for three years and is currently working on teacher development programs at various schools.

PRITY S. RAJBHANDARY: Prity is earning a master’s in educational management from Kathmandu

University in 2012. She has been involved in teaching for two years and started working as a trainer in early 2012. She has trained both pre- primary level teachers and primary level teachers around Nepal.

AMRITA SHRESTHA: Amrita completed her post-graduate diploma in education from Kathmandu

7 teacher trainers implemented our curriculum


Volunteers from around the world
“One of the best experiences of my life“
Few things get our students as excited as a volunteer living in their community and spending time with them at school singing, playing and practicing English. We’re fortunate to have volunteers from all over the world share their lives with our students and teachers while living with a local family. They even bring a little income to the village, since the minimal fee they pay for food and lodging is split between the host family and Santi School.

“Volunteering has been one of the best experiences of my life. ... The students have entered my heart with their love for life, their joy, their smiles, their passion, their dreams. I will never forget how every morning when I went to school they would hold my hands.”
—Geraldine Ding, Singapore

”If you are thinking of volunteering I would highly recommend it. It’s a wonderful experience. … As a volunteer you will be a teacher’s assistant … integrating creativity, games, songs, nursery rhymes—really effective ways of helping to teach English. … The people of Nepal are some of the friendliest I have met. The children are adorable and sweet and you’ll have a lot of fun working with them in the schools.”
—Morgan Batty, New Zealand

$350 per month is the amount we ask volunteers to contribute to their school and host family


Volunteers from Nepal
Shanti Education Fellows
Besides welcoming foreign volunteers, we have also begun an innovative program to encourage young Nepalis to fulfill acts of service within their own country. We created Shanti Education Fellows to increase interactions between rural and urban youth in Nepal, and to provide extracurricular activities (like guitar lessons and after-school movies) at our schools that we would not otherwise be able to offer. High school graduates are eligible to become fellows, who stay with a host family for about a month while they serve at one of our schools, which we have previously provided with repairs and teacher training, or both. Recently, we have placed fellows in classrooms of teachers receiving our training, as a way to increase English-language instruction. So far, feedback from the schools, the fellows and the community has all been positive. However, because Nepal lacks a strong tradition of volunteering, convincing young people and their parents to participate can be difficult.

5 fellows volunteered for a month in our schools


Shree Shanti Primary School
Our first school is now self sufficient
We’ve always had a special relationship with Shanti Primary School in the village of Ramche, because it was our first project, and we built the school from scratch. That was a learning experience in many ways—beginning with managing the actual construction, followed by the diplomatic task of building a firm base of support within the community and from the government. Our goal was always to make the school self-sufficient. Initially, the government paid for the salary of one of our four teachers, and we provided the rest. In April 2012, the school management committee (an organization similar to a parent-teacher association) chose to merge it with another primary school and also took in the students up to grade 4 from a nearby secondary school. Now, Shanti Primary School has around 150 students in kindergarten through 4th grade, with seven teachers all paid by the government. The merger allowed the school to take advantage of existing government funding, with the local community in charge of its operations.

150 students are now enrolled at Shree Shanti Primary School


2012 Highlights
NepalFest gets bigger and better
More than 500 people came out for meat dumplings and news about Santi School at the annual NepalFest in the Austrian Alps. The Muttekopf Hütte lodge hosts the event and Rabindra Maharjan, Chairman of Shanti Education Initiative Nepal, handles all the details. This year it raised more than € 5,000.

500 people attended NepalFest in the Austrian Alps


2012 Highlights
Promoting art in our schools
To promote art at a dozen government-run rural schools in the Kathmandu Valley, we asked students in grades 1-10 to submit their best drawings. More than 100 children submitted work. They gave us vibrant glimpses of rural life that emphasize Nepal’s spiritual and natural beauty. The winners—for grades 1-3, 4-6 and 7-10—received a prize during a ceremony in Nepal. Then all of the drawings were sent to New York, where we chose our favorites for our 2013 calendar, the Colors of Nepal. Special thanks to Uli Loskot, for her photographs of our children, and to Deepika Ross and Jeff Durocher of H4B Chelsea, in New York City, for helping design the calendar.

We were a proud sponsor of the ‘Tour de Lumbini’ cycle rally organized by the World Cyclist Foundation, an organization founded by a renowned cyclist and Mt. Everest summiter from Nepal, Pushkar Shah. The three-day rally kicked off at the Swayambunath temple in Kathmandu May 4 and ended 190 miles and two days later, on Buddha’s birthday, in Lumbini, his birthplace. Seventy riders participated, including Baburaja Shrestha, 12, a 7th grader from a boarding school in Kathmandu.

302 kilometers (about 180 miles): total distance of the Tour de Lumbini


Ongoing Projects

Narayani Higher Secondary School Built Location Students Teachers Project Cost Started 1963 60 km from Kathmandu 400+ up to Grade 12 16 Provision of 12 white boards. Installing a drinking water system $650 December 2012

Thakursthan Lower Secondary School Built Location Students Teachers Project Cost Started 1996 75 km from Kathmandu 160+ up to Grade 8 8 Completion of new 3 rooms building. Installing a drinking water system $8,000 December 2012

9 windows in Thakursthan School


Ongoing Projects

Manikhel Lower Secondary School Built Location Students Teachers Project Cost Completed 1980 50 km from Kathmandu 170+ up to Grade 8 7 Completion of a 4 room building. Installing a drinking water system. $9,000 December 2012 Built

Kali Devi Secondary School 1962 50 km from Kathmandu 360+ up to Grade 12 20 Completion of new 4 room building. $15,000 December 2012

Location Students Teachers Project Cost Completed

3,300 concrete blocks used for construction at Kali Devi


that he managed to do this while completing his master’s degree in English language teaching from Kathmandu University last year. And he didn’t just skate by; he received the Chancellor’s Award for the highest gradepoint average across six disciplines at the graduate level at the university. Mabindra has devoted his life to education, serving as a teacher and administrator at various levels since 1994. Currently, he is a visiting faculty at Kathmandu University where he teaches study skills and academic writing at the graduate level. He is also the academic coordinator for A-levels program at Modern Indian School in Kathmandu and also teaches general paper, an Englishlanguage comprehension, expression and critical thinking course. If there is a workshop or a texbook about teaching English, Mabindra has likely had a hand in it. He has co-presented a radio program commissioned by the British Council about teaching English and co-authored textbooks for public schools, including an English textbook series titled Step by Step. He is a member of the Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association and International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language.

Teacher training curriculum designer

Mabindra is the force behind our teacher training program. Single-handedly, he designed our Englishlanguage teaching curriculum and then led a pilot program to test it for a year at Vishwamitra Ganesh Secondary School in Lalitpur district in 2011 and 2012. He gave up his weekends for months at a time to travel back and forth from Kathmandu to the school to lead training sessions, make classroom observations, and meet with teachers. Now, he serves as an advisor to our trainers. What makes his contribution even more impressive is

12 teachers supervised by Mabindra during the pilot phase of our training program



Program Director

Bijaya has been with Santi School since the beginning. He played a key role in overseeing all aspects of our initial project in Ramche; along with Rabindra Maharjan, our chairman, he dedicated countless weekends to hiking up the mountain to check on the construction—and that was when they weren’t busy monitoring our finances and negotiating with local community leaders. After serving as a volunteer for nearly five years, Bijaya became a paid staff member in January 2012. His previous experience includes overseeing the establishment and operation of a mobile library in Barabise and Mahendranagar for the Nationwide Scholarship Program, funded by the World Bank. He’s also taught A-level students and worked in the private sector, launching a travel portal about Nepal. One of the reasons Bijaya is involved in charity work is because of his own good fortune. He grew up in a rural area, around 150 kilometers away from Kathmandu, and he considers himself lucky to have received scholarships to study at the prestigious Budhanilkantha School in Kathmandu. He loves trekking around Nepal, following global politics and news, and watching sports, especially football, on TV.

We don’t know where we would be without Bijaya. More than anyone else, he is responsible for our accomplishments in Nepal. He would never say that himself, though; he’s too modest for that. His job title simply isn’t accurate; he’s really an executive director, handling all the details both large and small that keep our operations running smoothly. Whether it’s filing reports to our grant funder, Better World Books, about our teacher training program, meeting with principals and local school officials to select future project sites, or coordinating with foreign volunteers, Bijaya is always at the center of the action, representing us with dignity.

Bijaya volunteered 5 years with Santi School before becoming program director


Volunteer from the United States I’m planning an Art Week for my last week at Gupteshwor School. I’ll be organizing all kinds of educational art projects for the children to work on that will allow them to get creative and can then be used to make the classrooms spaces more conducive to learning. It’s a volunteer cliche, but this has been a learning experience for me just as much as it has been a teaching experience, and I am so grateful for that. The people of Nallu and my students at Gupteshwor have offered me all the warmth and love that they would family, and I hope to remain involved with this school long after I have left Nepal.

Seanie grew up in Los Angeles, the daughter of an elementary school teacher. Recently, she decided to take a break from studying English literature at Dartmouth College to share her love of the arts with some of our students. Seanie has this to say about her experience: For the past two months, I have been living in Nallu, Lalitpur and teaching at Gupteshwor Secondary School through SEI Nepal. This has been the most challenging, happy, and inspiring experience of my life, hands down. I see much potential in so many of my students, and searching for ways that I, as a volunteer for just a few months, can help them realize that potential is as exciting as it is challenging. One of the first things I noticed about Gupteshwor School is that it is lacking color and resources in the classrooms, and that many of the students are not used to thinking creatively, although I know they have the capacity to do so. Having benefited deeply from the arts in my own academic life, I hoped to bring that experience to the classroom. I have been teaching songs to help students with English pronunciation, using acting games to help them feel comfortable thinking and speaking independently and creatively, and helping my students make projects that involve art and color to be hung up on the walls.

Seanie spent 8 weeks at Gupteshwor Secondary School


Teacher, Sringery Secondary School


Fortunately, Pramila’s new family, particularly her fatherin-law, supported her efforts to continue her education. Every day, a family member would accompany her to the nearby college so that she could attend classes early in the morning. It was quite unorthodox, in a rural setting like Lamatar, for women in her position to go to college. In some ways, it was a truly revolutionary act, at a time when an armed struggle waged throughout Nepal “to eliminate discrimination of all sorts.” It’s hard to question Pramila’s dedication or her love for her students. Although she has been a teacher at Sringery Community Secondary School in Lamatar since it was founded in 1997, for several years she was not paid. Even today, the government does not provide enough funds to cover the salaries of all the teachers at the school, and they could always use more teaching materials for their classrooms. She completed both components of our teacher training and believes it has helped her and the other faculty improve, particularly their English skills. That’s important because Sringery School is the first community school in its district to begin conducting some classes in English. Today, Pramila dreams of finishing college.

Pramila dreamed of becoming a teacher ever since she was a girl. Her father was a teacher, and he resolved to provide her a formal education even though her elder sisters did not go to school. Pramila completed high school and was married at the age of 17. For most young women in Nepal, that would have been the end of her dream. The custom in Nepali society is for married couples to live with the husband’s family; in some cases, especially in rural areas like Lamatar, this prevents young women from receiving an education or working independently outside the home.

Many girls in Nepal, including Pramila, get married at age 17


provide little oversight. Many of our schools, nestled in hilly regions and only reachable on foot, were unaccustomed to classroom observations of teachers until our training program. Because she grew up in an area of Lalitpur not far from some schools we work with, Sita is well acquainted with the daily life of our students. Most of them are the children of poor farmers. She knows firsthand the difference Santi School can make by improving the quality of education that is available to them.   And, of course, the fact that she is a woman representing Santi School is an important symbol, as we fight for the rights of girls to get equal opportunities at school. Research has found that schools that lack female teachers have lower enrollments of girls and poorer performance by girls. In addition, girls are often appreciated by their teachers for behaving well, rather than for their academic performance. Finally, Sita also has a master’s degree in education, which makes her a valuable resource during our teacher training sessions and the extensive planning with school management committees beforehand.

Project Coordinator

 Sita understands what it’s like to teach in poor, remote areas of Nepal, because she has done it herself. Her experience in a primary school classroom before she became our project coordinator has been a tremendous asset for our teacher training program.   She has made an effort to encourage teachers and help them feel more confident in the classroom, and she has also made a point to try to create links between different schools, so that teachers can share what’s working—and what’s not—after the training sessions have ended. Creating relationships like this are important to build morale among rural teachers, who are frequently neglected by the government. Not only do their schools lack basic resources like books and classroom materials, but education officials

Sita has a master's degree in education


Financial Summary
Source Santi School Project Better World Books Austrian Youth Red Cross Other Interest Total Nepali Rupees 2,133,875 1,305,000 222,446 167,987 84,392 3,913,700 US$ 24,527 15,000 2,557 1,931 970 44,985

Source Fixed fund at NCC Bank Bank Balance at NCC Bank Total US$1 = 87 Nepali Rupees Nepali Rupees 1,500,000 345,614 1,845,614 US$ 17,241 3,973 21,214




Santi School Project Better World Books



Austrian Youth Red Cross Other Interest

Our pledge to you:
More than 95% of your donations go directly to our programs in Nepal. Everyone involved in our work in the U.S. is a volunteer. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax-deductible.


Financial Summary
Expense Construction Devi School construction Gupteshwor School Construction Kali Devi School construction Manikhel School Construction Vishwamitra School Construction Thakuresthan School Construction Kali Devi school retention wall Jana Jagriti School white board Prasiddha School white board Teacher Training Training Program Vishwamitra School teacher incentives Salary Staff Salary Shanti Primary School teachers Mahakali School teachers
Office Rent Rent for office in Kathmandu Other Student Art competition Volunteers expenses 203,400 2,338

Breakdown of 2012 Expenses
Nepali Rupees 519,882 430,492 400,000 300,000 273,000 193,572 80,000 31,800 20,700 484,456 40,000 US$ 5,976 4,948 4,598 3,448 3,138 2,225 920 366 238 5,568 460
School Construction

5% 6%

Teacher Training


Staff Salary Office Rent



Teacher Salary Other Administrative Expenses Equipment Other Program Expenses

266,485 135,708 25,000

3,063 1,560 287

25,775 59,000

296 678

Total expenses
US$1 = 87 Nepali Rupees



Administrative Expenses totaled 11% in 2012
Administrative costs include office rent, Internet and other communications expenses, utilities, transportation expenses, printing, and other items. Staff salary is not included because our staff members work on all of our projects; we do not have separate staff members for individual projects. Therefore, on the advice of our auditors in Kathmandu, they are counted as program costs rather than administrative costs.


Our Team

We’re run entirely by two teams of dedicated volunteers, in Nepal and the United States. The Santi School Project is registered in Nepal as Shanti Education Initiative Nepal. Both groups have separate boards of directors.

Christopher Heun Jenifer Hunter Mahesh Dahal Robert Gruber Jennifer Kelleher Aaron Koos Jackie Lesh Michael McNamara Laura E. Parkhurst President & Treasurer Secretary Director Director Director Director Director Director Director

Rabindra Maharjan Vidhan Rana Bijaya Babu Shiwakoti Rosy Lama Ishan Pokharel Lhakpa Sherpa Sita Devi Neupane Chairperson Vice Chairperson Treasurer Member Member Member Member Secretary (Project Coordinator)




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