Tilden House and Volunteer Housing Scheme
In October 2010 we started to raise funds to build a Tilden House in the village – see our ‘Tilden House’ video on youTube for full details. Having raised £17,000 for this project, we were unable to identify any suitable government or public land in the village as a site for this facility.
Not wanting to lose sight of the underlying aims contained in our plan to build the house, we have set up a Volunteer Hosting Scheme in Aruchour with the potential for villagers to take out loans in order for them to provide accommodation for visiting volunteers. This would provide a little extra earning ability and could become a basis for future eco-tourism facilities.
Our aim is that any loan would be repayable via the income generated by the volunteer programme. Whilst interested in providing accommodation and earning a little extra money, there has at first been understandable caution about taking on even the smallest loan. Fortunately a key member of our committee has come forward with a plan to convert an existing cattle shed, assisted by a TPN loan. Work is due to start on this building in November 2013; it will not only provide us with bedrooms for 3 visitors, but also a downstairs room which can be used for TPN activities and can be equipped for use as an IT and communication centre.
In the meantime our Trustee Alan Cesarano, on his last visit to Aruchour, found 3 potential ‘host’ families willing and able to provide accommodation and board for any volunteers we send to the area. If loans are required to improve facilities, they will be made by TPN, all repayments will be covered by rental and lodging income.
English Conversation Scheme
We are also in the process of introducing an English Conversation in Schools Scheme: sending volunteers to Aruchour to have conversation sessions with both teachers of English and students themselves. A trial of this scheme is due to commence in November 2013 and run through to the end of March 2014.
Communication And IT Centre
As Chairperson of TPN I have now made 5 visits to Aruchour and have witnessed gradual improvements with provision of electricity and widespread use of mobile phones. Deepak Poudel, our executive chairman in Nepal, has the most sophisticated IT setup in the village with the laptop provided from the UK with a Ncell mobile internet dongle to provide access to the internet.
Our ambition is to expand this provision, enabling local people to have access to internet and communication systems and, more importantly, providing resources which will enable villagers to acquire IT skills at even a basic level, thus improving their potential to keep abreast of developments in Pokhara and Kathmandu. Now we have suitable accommodation in view, we will be seeking assistance either from IT companies or funding to enable us to purchase what is needed for the Tilden Communication and IT Project.
This is a severely disadvantaged society and we believe provision of a community IT and communications facility could assist widely in enabling greater prospects and life chances for the people of Aruchour.