Category Archives: Sikles

Supporting autonomous development  …. Learning from Nepal 

Again for those of you who know me you will know of my passion and support for working with people in Nepal to improve the quality of education.  I based my PhD on Actionaids literacy programme REFLECT in the Sikles sector of the ACAP and the impact that this had on the women and men there who attended evening classes.  The classes unlike traditional literacy classes were based on discussions and learning together rather than being taught to read and write from a set text.  The centres provided a space whereby the participants, mainly women, could talk about whatever issues they wanted.  This led to their confidence growing in public speaking, problems being discussed and solutions identified and implemented. I was inspired by the impact that this had and the changes took place at the local level.  I learnt so much from the experiences that these women shared with me. This then led on to the Sikles photography project and publication of the coffee tables book ‘Our Village Our Life’ – again the funds raised by this were put to good use at the local level by local people – reaffirming my commitment to autonomous development.

Whilst I edited the booked all of the images in the book we taken by local people.

The book and exhibitions that resulted from this project have helped celebrate life in Sikles and show what life in a rural village in Nepal is like through the eyes of local people.
What more than amazes me though is that this project started in 2008 with a workshop in Pokhara and  a matrix of needs and dreams being drawn up (see image below). This included wanting a new school to be built, a new health post to be built and a youth group to be established as well as increasing tourism and improving the day care cantre.  Now only 8 years on all of these projects have been implemented – with the support of Government, Non Goverment and local people dashing funds and donating their labour.

I have a full prezi talk on this project available here

All of these projects which have been completed are down to the hard work of local people.  I am in awe of all that has been achieved.  The health post has been funded by Government funds, the secondary school rebuilt with the support of the Pahar Trust and youth club is almost complete with funds for the Sikles diaspora and contributions from local people of both land and labour. ACAP, Sikles Development Group, the Women’s Group and Youth Group have all worked together to help implement development projects initiated and developed by and with local people – the very essence of autonomous development.

So when people say to me I have done so much for Sikles I really have to disagree as Sikles, Parche and the surrounding villages have done so much for themselves.  We can all learn from their example. Recently friendship links have been developed by schools in Nepal and the UK, supported by the Pahar Trust Again through these links so much can be learnt from one another, gifts shared across the continents and a deeper understanding of the wealth in Nepal as well as some of the challenges remote villages face.

You will always recieve a warm welcome when visiting friendship linked schools in Nepal.

Sharing stories between Nepal and England helps children here learn about Nepal – here teachers from Sikles are visiting St Michaels in the Hamlet in Liverpool.

If you want to know more about how to develop a friendship link with a Nepal that please get in touch via

Nepal is here to change you not for you to change it !

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Filed under education, nepal, Sikles, teaching, Uncategorized

Leuven or Sikles !!!

What an amazing day I had in Leuven – started off by meeting lotte who works from UNDP and having a really good chat about development, governance and lots of interesting things especially good to catch up with her and exchange ideas about the aleevee8 concept ( and talk about the importance of business ideas to help development in Nepal.

And then on to the most wonderful Sikles Parche welcoming part for me and my two students who are here with me in Belgium. It was quite emotional in many ways as I have been meaning to come here and visit them for so long but with work, research, family and nepal commitments it has been hard to find the time and funds to do this – so I make the most of my opportunity of being in Belgium and came to see the sikeshi community here in Leuven. As oh my life Leuven is a beautiful place to be – though not as nice as Sikles maybe…


So many familiar faces and people who I had taught all the way back in 1992 now living and working here and all wanting to share ideas and think about how best to support their family and friends who still live in Sikles and surrounding villages. It’s probably worth saying here when I talk about Sikles I am also talking about Parche as well as I said yesterday – Sikles Parche ustei ustei same same not different ! And in many ways it also includes other villages that are the same in so many ways like Khilang, Taprang, Thak, Sonda, Tanting – the thing that makes these places special is the heart of the people that live their and their love of their own homes communities and cultures even when they are living overseas they remain a tight community and celebrate their background and heritage. Lauren and Selina really enjoyed meeting so many wonderful people and appreciated everyone sharing their thoughts and ideas with them – and especially they loved the beautiful children who were so playful and cute they were made to feel very welcome !


I had taken with me some old photos and the book of course – that goes without saying – but I also found a survey I had done in the school with every child from class 6 to 10 on their family structures icon during who was in their family where they lived what they did what they liked and didn’t like at school and even how many animals they had as well as what they wanted to do and where they wanted to live in the future. Sharing this information with the people who had come to the event and hearing all their amazing lives connections and stories made me relative I need to come back and do some properly reach on this and link it to how best to suport the people who live in your birth place !


I was welcomed by everyone, and was happy to meet Yuba Rajs elder brother and sad to not see Yuba who I haven’t seen since 1998 😦 Seeing so many faces made me miss Sikles , remember all the time I have spent there and especially made me miss and say a prayer for grandma and Bir Kumari – I’m sure they were with us in spirit yesterday.


Sharing ideas and being welcomed by so many people was lovely – and I have a new name – Dr Sara Gurung – thank you Om Raj ha ha – hope my husband doesn’t mind too much ! Anyway that’s all I’ve got time for now and a big thank you to the owner of the restaurant for the snacks and drinks and the food was amazing – Dheri Dheri dhanyabad mero Siklesko saathlai – Sikles mero maiti Ho !! And now Leuven can be my third home maybe – pheri betaunla are ramro sangha bonus – Sara didi (nani)

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Filed under Brussels, field trip, nepal, Sikles, sociology, Uncategorized