Yvonne Pederson – Loveland Rotary Club of Colorado: 90 SchoolBags for Shree Sunkoshi School in Nepal.
“‘Hi Luke, this is Yvonne Pederson from the Loveland Rotary Club in Colorado who is visiting the UK on a Rotary Exchange” ….said Frank Spurr, treasurer of the Rotary Club of Yeovil as I was banging in wooden stakes marking out the main avenue on the Home Farm Fest site in 2019. With dirty hands (and not my smartest attire), we were introduced and shared a brief conversation about the work of School in a Bag in amongst radio messages and the tele handler scooting back and forth. Yvonne’s exchange trip coincided with our busiest week of the year and fortunately, not put off by my appearance, she was keen to learn more.
“If you could come to the farm at 07.30 on Tuesday morning, I can tell you the what, why, where, when and how we work patter” was our parting exchange.
Sometimes when you meet people you get a sense that they are orchestrators and as I told Yvonne about our work, I could already see that the cogs were ticking. Yvonne left primed with knowledge, resources and I sensed an appetite to want to spread the word in Colorado to her club members and those neighbouring. We followed up by sending her our presentation and speaker pack so that she could present to the club more formally and she convinced the clubs’ movers and shakers to support her. With strong Rotary connections through Sudip Koirala in Nepal, a school was identified, a target of SchoolBags to fund was formalised and a district grant was submitted. Our brilliant in country partner Jimmy Lama in Nepal was briefed so that when the district grant was approved, and sent to Nepal we were up and running. A time frame and logistics were falling in to place and Yvonne and some club members were excited at the prospect of heading out to Nepal for the distribution of the SchoolBags they helped fund.
And then, in early 2020 news of a spreading virus from China into Europe started to gain media attention and in a sad telephone conversation with Yvonne at the end of January, she let me know that they would not be heading out to Nepal in March given the country’s proximity to China.
And we know what followed…
However, in late July, the Nepalese government announced that they were easing the lockdown prompting Jimmy and Sudip to spring in to action. We were all delighted that on August 5th the children at Shree Sunkoshi School received their SchoolBags on a hot, humid day in the middle of the rainy season! And it wasn’t only the children who were happy:
How wonderful! I am SO looking forward to pictures I can share with lots of smiling faces… I am so happy it went well and you were able to sneak it in before another city closure. THANKS SO MUCH JIMMY and SUDIP! – Yvonne