Tiger Tops Swiss Air School

Education

A joint project between Tiger Tops and Swissair Staff Fund for Children in Need

The Tiger Tops Swissair Pre-School was inaugurated on 10 December 1996 as a free head start development programme for young children from poor families near Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge. The students are carefully selected from different ethnic communities (Mushahar, Bote, Tharu, Kammi, Damai, Gurung, Kamal etc) on the basis of financial and nutritional need, the objective being to prepare them for primary education in Government schools, and to give them the skills and confidence they will need to carry on with their schooling.

The programme is funded jointly by Tiger Tops and Swissair (Staff Foundation for Children’s Relief – which continues its funding in spite of Swissair’s bankruptcy) and is also assisted by donations from guests and friends. In addition to schooling, the project also covers meals, uniforms, books, school supplies, immunizations, health care, and any special needs.A portion of the funding is also put aside in trust for the children’s continued education at Government schools, once they leave TTSA.

In addition to a headmaster and 4 trained teachers who instruct the School’s 65 students in Nepali, maths, social studies, health & hygiene, wildlife & environment, arts & crafts and English, the school has a doctor who looks after their health, plans school menus and monitors the students’ growth. Since 1998, a total of 189 students have graduated from the Tiger Tops Swiss Air Pre-School and have been enrolled in Government school. The onward education of all graduates is also being funded and carefully monitored.

Over the years, the school has expanded its programme to include 2nd grade and now has four classrooms and a library. The library, which is open to all village children on the weekends for reading and special programmes, is a way of reaching out to many more children.

The School does not charge any fees, but in exchange for their schooling, students’ parents are asked to work in the school vegetable gardens for several hours a month. The gardens are organically grown and are being developed with the aim of becoming self-sufficient in seasonal vegetables for school meals. The school buffalo provides milk for the children as well as fuel for the bio-gas unit for cooking the children’s meals. With funds donated by the International Trust for Nature Conservation, students have also planted a tree nursery, which provides an income for the school as well as a positive conservation experience for the children.