A Shoalhaven resident recently unveiled her experiences working in the second poorest country in the world – Nepal.
Alicia Isles shared her work with Nowra Rotarians at their recent meeting.
Ms Isles lived at Shoalhaven Heads in her early childhood and attended Bomaderry High School with a number of the children of her audience.
After finishing school she said she was faced with the choice of going to university or fulfilling her deep-seeded humanitarian calling.
Ms Isles, who was always assisting in fundraising for organisations like Red Cross and Yurana House, chose the latter and at 19-years-old, she joined World Youth International (WYI).
She choose to go on a three-month WYI project in Nepal and was billeted with a large family. The four sisters in that family were running a school called Angels World International Academy. It wasn’t part of Ms Isles’ WYI program.
However, whilst working on the WYI projects of building toilet blocks, making wooden beds and playgrounds for orphanages, Alicia spent her spare time at the school bonding with the sisters and helping them.
Ms Isles said it was often a heartbreaking experience.
“The most confronting and mentally exhausting aspect of my earlier experiences in Nepal was that children were also engaged in hard domestic work to earn money for their poor families,” she said.
“Children would be playing one minute, then carrying loads doing hard domestic work the next.”
Ms Isles said the situation is changing in Nepal as more children are being given the opportunity to go to school. She has been travelling back and forth to Nepal for 14 years supporting the school. She has done so without the help of any humanitarian organisation.
Her family has sponsored children and she has raised funds through her GoFundMe page established following the recent earthquakes.The $7,500 raised has been used to rebuild classrooms.
Whilst they rely on school fees for the school’s operation the four sisters use their own money to ensure children from the poorest families are kept in school. Ms Isles now wants to set up a not-for-profit service organisation.
Donate to the project at Ms Isles’ GoFundMe page, Help Rebuild our School in Nepal. Contact Rotary Nowra via rotarynowra.org.au.