Throughout the school year, the Harriton and Lower Merion buildOn Trek Teams worked tirelessly in an effort to raise roughly $180,000 to fund a pair of schools and supplementary adult literacy programs in rural, impoverished villages in Nepal. After surpassing their fundraising goals, the Aces and Rams flew together from Philadelphia to Doha, Qatar, and then from Doha to Kathmandu, before heading their separate ways to their respective villages where the students were fully immersed in Nepalese culture as they lived with host families and worked side-by-side with local community members on the construction site. buildOn's holistic approach ensures that schools are built with a community rather than for a community, involving villagers as true partners and not as recipients of aid.
Discrimination based on gender and the caste system have kept far too many children and adults in Nepal from ever attending school. That's why buildOn's School Construction and Adult Literacy Programs are working to give children and adults denied the right to education access to classroom learning. With primary schools that are gender-equal and Adult Literacy courses that cover health, literacy and community development, buildOn schools are creating a better future for students and their entire villages. Although Nepal's rankings on the UN's Human Development Index have steadily improved in recent decades, nearly half of the Nepalese population remains below the poverty line of US $1.25 per day.
Beginning in late October, the Harriton and Lower Merion Trekkies began planning and organizing an intensive fundraising schedule, which included a wide variety of activities and initiatives from car washes, letter-writing campaigns and a Halloween party for elementary and middle school students, to bowling nights, a Linvilla Orchards pie sale and potluck dinners, just to name a few. Another fundraiser incorporated by the students was the sale of Breaking Grounds Free Trade Nicaraguan Coffee, which also raises money for Nicaraguan farmers and their families.
During their trips, the students made genuine cultural connections with the villagers of Balbhadrapur and Thapapur as they lived and ate meals with host families, toiled under the hot sun on the worksite with community members, explored various aspects of Nepalese culture through daily workshops and learned about the lives and experiences of community members through powerful chat circles. Along with lots of time spent playing with the children of their respective villages, students also enjoyed quiet time each day to journal and reflect on their experience.
Over the past nine years, the District's Trek programs have raised more than $900,000 while working with buildOn to help break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through education and service. Congratulations to all of the Harriton and Lower Merion Trekkies on a successful trip!
Harriton Trek Team: Todd Curyto, Sophie Brown, Rachel Brown, Mikaela Curyto, Sarah Cook, Adelle Wilkin, Alexander Magder, Samuel Eaddy, Ku'uipo Brennan, Audrey Moriaty, Ty Nagvajara, Aidan Fleming, Emly Glazer, Megan McDermott, Olivia Kim, Jamie Nemec, Charlotte Gordon, Ella Braunfeld
Lower Merion Trek Team: Siobhan Brannigan, Ella Catt, Maya Kraidy, Jess Polsky, Lilly McClendon, Aviva Kosto, Alexis Duong, Jackie Munis, Teresa Cato, Sophia Bumbera, Jason Castello, Sydney Pelletier, Lena Rutzel, Jon Goldstein, Tom Reed, Taryn Stevens, Dan Capkin, Carla Rehak