Nepal – The Future Village project

By Peter Hepenstall  (Oct 2010 team, Australian, Barclays Risk and Environment Management), Chairman of the Future Village Foundation

Have you ever awakened in the clouds and wondered if you were still in a dream? Have you opened your eyes and gazed upon mountains so beautiful that they literally take your breath away? Have you – just once in your life – ever heard the glorious tranquility that is the sound of silence? Have you tasted air so sweet that every gasp makes you feel more alive than you ever have before? Have you gazed up at a sky so clear and full of stars that are so bright that you would swear that they are diamonds? I have. Paradise found.

The Barclays FV  2010 Team & more blog stories……

I was privileged to spend the most wondrous five days of my life in a small remote village in Nepal. Although the sheer natural beauty of the surrounds amazed and delighted us with a spectacular back drop of the magnificent Annapurna ranges and the soaring 8000 metres peaks of Ganesh Himal-it was the people of Nepal that won our heart.

Last month (although it seems almost a lifetime ago now) I joined an intrepid band of Barclays Singapore volunteers to visit the Future Village in Nepal. The Future Village is a very basic two-storey cottage built in a local Nepalese style. It is perched on a hillock on the outskirts of the Katunge Village in the Dhading District, which is to the north of Nepal’s capital.

The Village was founded in mid 2004 by a group of visitors from Hong Kong, who raised the initial funds to build the cottage. There are two rooms for visitor accommodation on the upper storey and two rooms on the lower floors where local children come each day to go to school. Many of the children walk along steep mountain tracks for up to two hours – each way – for their daily lessons.

The village, the children and the local community captured our hearts and our minds and all of us that attended this magical place will be changed forever by the experience. We would like to thank the generosity of our fellow Barclays staff and our vendors who donated both funds and goods for this wonderful cause. Thanks to the munificence of our Singapore staff and Barclays vendors who included Canon, DHL, Burns Bridge Sweett, Adecco, DSCO, Commtech and EC Harris – we managed to raise well in excess of S$25,000 and received matched funding from Barclays of more than S$6000. This money allows us to build much needed toilets for the village, pay the salaries for the wonderful local teachers, provide books and stationery supplies for the future village and another local school for the next 12 months and to set up a scholarship fund where we can allow the best and brightest of the local children to attend University in Kathmandu. We intend also to install solar panels in the village school and are investigating how we can provide other clean and green power supplies to hopefully one day soon have computers in the school rooms and allow the children to be connected to the world.

The cliché that you need to get lost in order to find yourself absolutely applies in this place. The word wondrous is not an apt enough description. Nepal is India on Valium. It is Bhutan on methamphetamines. It is a place that will forever be in our hearts. The Future Village program is very special and we would like to invite our fellow colleagues to help us to continue and grow this program in perpetuity. Future trips and fund raising events are planned and there is a constant need for visitors – if only to spend time with the children and help them practice their English. I say without reservation that you will get as much from the experience as the locals do. Please let any of us know if you would like to assist us in this endeavour.

Thanks – The Barclays FV Team

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