Post-Earthquake Montessori Help for Children in Nepal

A Forgotten People

Forgotten Children of the Himalaya
Because I worked  with these children in Nepal a few years ago I have had many requests from Montessorians around the world on how their school children can help, especially fellow Montessori children, with the earthquake situation. Even though it is no longer on the news today, the need for help remains. I have heard from several schools outside of Nepal who have sponsored fundraisers and sent money to help SMD. This is a video slide show that explains who are the children attending SMD (Shree Mangal Dvip) school in Kathmandu where I consulted. It was created before the earthquake as you will see.

Click here, a YouTube video: SMD School


Learning to manage a Montessori dressing frame
The bi-nomial cube

I was invited to help the school because one of the heads of the school had read an earlier version of Child of the World, Montessori, Global Education for Age 3-12+ which is now published. I spent a week attending classes and living with the students and teachers and at the end gave suggestions now found in the final version of this book.


Montessori Teacher Training – with help
Here are two of the Montessori children at the school. Several years ago (after my visit) a Montessori school administrator in Vancouver and her husband donated scholarships for two Nepali Women to train as Montessori teachers at the AMI training center, The Navadisha Montessori Foundation, in Chennai, India. Their school in Vancouver then donated materials.

CLICK: Navadisha

5 Ani Thinley Chokyi

Ani (“nun”) Thinley Chokyi, who earned her diploma in Chennai, has just left the school to help her parents whose home was destroyed by the earthquake. But she has done a lot to spread the Montessori wisdom throughout the school. From the school, “She enriched our Junior Section with her knowledge and her expertise. Our Nursery Class teacher, Sonam Dolma and our LKG teacher Bimala learned a lot from Ani TC and use it in their classrooms.”And with our help the Montessori work will continue.

6 thank you

CLICK: Thank you! Letter to Montessori Schools (PDF)

To see information on  earlier work with the SMD school:

This book tells more about SMD and our Montessori work there. some of these pictures are found in the book.

CLICK: Aid to Life

8 washing

This may look like primitive conditions to many of us: very crowded bedrooms and one shower (and clothes-washing) room shared by 300 students—which means one shower a week. But compared to their village life SMD daily life and the opportunity to attend school are luxurious.

When I visited the school I spent a week living and eating with the children, discussing Montessori with the heads of the school, attending classes, visiting the medical unit and interviewing newly-arrived refugees at the Tibetan Reception Center with two of the older students, and going through the “Child of the World” 3-12 Michael Olaf catalogue teaching text (now incorporated into the book: Child of the World: Montessori, Global Wisdom for Age 3-12+) with the director, pulling together information that could benefit the school. At the end of the week (It was on my birthday, October 29th. I remember because as a surprise they sang to me!) I gave a presentation to the teachers on Montessori ideas to improve the daily life and education of the children. It inspired a desire for more information on Montessori.

9 guitar lesson
Susan’s guitar lesson to students
10 tungna
And they try to teach me to play the tungna!

No matter where in the world I work, it is as interesting to learn, as it is to teach. There is always wisdom and traditional practices of value. It is not helpful to go into a country with a “colonial” attitude that we are a superior culture (or even a superior “Montessori” educational system).

Here I have learned that humility is the most important trait for anyone sharing Montessori with others. In these two pictures I am giving guitar lessons to high school students and a young monk, and they are teaching me to play the Nepalese lute, the “Tungna.” When the boys saw my respect for and interest in their music, they were far more interested in learning about mine. It was a clear lesson and the joy of equals teaching equals which was one of the main elements of Montessori that I shared with the school administration.

There is a good book that tells about a Canadian couple coming to Nepal and getting connected to the school. The title is The Story of Karma: Finding Love and Truth in the Lost Valley of the Himalaya

CLICK: Susan’s Home Page

One thought on “Post-Earthquake Montessori Help for Children in Nepal

  1. Anonymous March 3, 2023 / 3:43 pm

    So beautiful, Susan. The light coming in the bedroom and the mops carefully hung up on the wall of the shower room delightful. Hungry to feel hopeful after recent earthquakes, this is a nourishing story of love made visible. Thanks.

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