Writing Around the World Project:
Annapolis Rotarians Review Essays of Nepalese School Children
Six volunteers from the Rotary Club of Annapolis joined forces with Anne Arundel Community Collage writing professor Susan Moger to review writing pieces submitted by twelve middle school aged boys and girls from the Mikey Medium English School, located in the small village of Bauniya, in Far Western Nepal.
Mikey Medium English School believes that education gives people hope for the future and is the way to better the world. Founded in 2008, the school’s serendipitous name was given by the founders, Ujjwal and Balraj Bhat, in honor of Mike Church, who created a steady stream of funding for the school after meeting the Bhats while on a world-wide bicycle trek.
The partnership led to the creation of Grassroots Education Nepal (GEN) to provide student scholarships, professional development for teachers, and the framework for self-sustainability. Since GENs founding, the school has expanded from 48 students, to 300. Of these, 50% are girls, and 50% of all students are desperately poor with no other educational alternatives. Today this nonprofit is led locally by Mike’s father John and his wife Barbara, who taught in the Anne Arundel County School system for thirty years.
Rotarians were asked to read four student English essays each, written by the 12–14-year-old students, and then comment on their writing, content, and grammar. Their topic was “Their most memorable Holiday.” The essays were delightful, heartfelt, and at times, emotional. They discussed their family’s celebration of religious holidays such as Deshain and Tihar, and secular holidays such as the colorful festival of Holi. Some students wrote about family vacations, trips to temples, or school hiking and camping adventures. Each essay conveyed their deep connections to family and friendship.
Rotary prides itself in building understanding of our global community, both at home and abroad, and in this spirit, reviewers of these essays enjoyed researching about the temples, celebrations, and other topics introduced by students through their writing.
The culmination of the project was a ZOOM meeting on February 7, with Rotarians, students, their teachers, and the school principal. Each student read their essay, heard from their respective reviewers, and answered a few questions. The experience was delightful and rewarding for all participants.