Stay At School works with poor mountain communities in Nepal to create brighter futures through better education. By building and supporting boarding houses at schools in remote, marginalised areas of Nepal, Stay At School enables children to access and maintain the education that is key to their future and the development of their communities. The charity is founded by Peter Chittick, the former owner of the luxury hotel, Crillon le Brave in Provence.
“For me, 2017 was a transitional year. Less hotels, more Nepal. Having spent a decade involved with a community in Nepal supporting local education projects, I decided it was time to develop something more significant to meet the challenges faced by children at schools in mountain communities”, comments Peter Chittick. “So Stay At School was born. We work with families and communities to find a solution to keep students in school, allowing them to receive a good education so they can achieve their full potential”.
“Perhaps it was not surprising that after a long work life in luxury hotels, my solution to the problem of educational attendance and attainment would be to work with local people to build and operate inspiring accommodation facilities. I understand how people can be happy and flourish in the right environment, and how it is not always the bricks and mortar that matter most. Our ambition is to have a meaningful impact on the lives of at least 1,000 children over the next three years by helping them to ‘stay at school’ and make the most out of their talents – lifting themselves out of poverty and building a more prosperous future”.
How does Stay at School work?
- Stay At School identifies communities where children face immense challenges in getting to school
In the poorest mountain regions, most children start school but more than three quarters do not complete their education. The drop-out rate is high because Nepali children face huge challenges in getting to school and staying at school. Many spend up to 4 hours walking to and from school each day. Others are kept at home to help with household chores and miss out entirely on the opportunities an education brings.
- Stay At School provides safe, secure accommodation at schools
Children who do continue their education are often forced to live in temporary accommodation, miles away from their family and home so that they can be nearer their school. The conditions are poor, with children as young as 12 living in single rooms and having to cook for themselves on an open fire. Parents are concerned about their safety, particularly young girls who can face a threat from child traffickers. Stay At School provides a safe, secure place to sleep at school with regular meals prepared for the children.
- Stay At School delivers sustainable solutions to local communities
Stay At School works in some of the world’s poorest and most remote communities. Sustainability is paramount – the charity only works where they can achieve buy-in from the local community because they recognise that without this their projects are unlikely to succeed in the long-term.
- Stay At School creates opportunity and builds ambition
Schools in poor, rural mountain areas perform very poorly with less than 20 per cent of children achieving their School Leaving Certificate. Education is the key to creating economic growth and raising living standards in communities.
Stay At School currently has two projects underway in Nepal: Junbesi and Bhakanje. The Junbesi Stay At School will be completed later this year and features two boarding houses – one for 20 boys and the other for 20 girls, both with their own sanitation facilities, a teacher accommodation block and a communal dining and study hall.
Later this year, the charity’s second project will get underway in a village called Bhakanje which suffered badly during the 2015 earthquakes. Generous donors have enabled a full boarding solution for the school, helping around 40 students from around the valley to maintain and further their education, almost doubling their learning time while saving them from daily walks to school of up to 4 hours. The project is expected to take a year to complete. Parents from across the region have given their passionate support for the boarding facilities, with many pledging help in the form of labour, materials and cash.
Stay At School is also running an internship programme for UK students to visit and work in Nepal assisting in the delivery of the charity’s projects.
For further information on Stay At School, please visit www.stayatschool.org.