Nepal 2016 will mark the ten years since the first Lewisham Scouts expedition to Nepal. This expedition will once again see Scouts as young as 13 years of age go to Nepal for three weeks where they will have the experience of a lifetime! So far the expeditions since 2006 have seen more than 170 people go to Nepal from Lewisham North Scout groups. The expedition in April 2016 will take that total to over 200!
Organising and leading the expeditions has been hard work & challenging, but most of all highly rewarding for me. I've always had a great leadership team working with me who have been amazing! The Scouts and Explorers have been inspiring and, impressively, many of them have raised their own funds to enable them to be part of the expedition.
It is worth mentioning that previous expedition members have formed great friendships with each other and also with the Nepalese people who have been part of our expeditions. It seems fitting that we are returning a year after the UK and Nepal celebrate 200 years of friendship.
I am very excited to be returning to the Annapurna region of Nepal. This area of the Himalayas is truly stunning and also challenging. After the trekking it will be very rewarding when we stay in the lake side city of Pokhara. Then there is the white water rafting and elephant safari which are always just as incredible in their own right.
I for one can't wait to visit the NGO - Education, Protect and Help for Children (EPHC). When the first expedition attended the school in 2006 they didn't even have their own school or even their own land to build a school! Since then the charity have not only purchased land in Kathmandu, but have also built a three story school building. The school provides a fantastic level of care for the poorest, most vulnerable children and women of Kathmandu and the surrounding area.
I am very proud of the difference the Lewisham Scout expeditions have made to the school and the children that use it. Our expeditions have provided hundreds of children's books, toys and items of clothing. We have also provided £1000's of pounds through the ‘Penny for a Brick’ appeal for the building work. The money raised on the lead up to the 2014 expedition has been spent on building a kitchen so that the school can at provide their children with at least one proper meal a day. There are also 30 to 40 children who have their education sponsored directly through people connected to the Lewisham Scout expeditions.
So to 2016! I am just as excited about this expedition as I have been the last ones. We have a great leadership team in place. The teams of Scouts and Explorers are a great group of individuals and there is loads of support from all of the parents.