A school is a student’s second home, and this could not be more true for Kopila Valley School. Opened in 2019 under the nonprofit foundation BlinkNow, it is a sustainably-constructed sanctuary for youth in western Nepal. Children here are not only educated about the information that spills out of textbooks, but they also learn by tending to a closed-loop ecosystem. As their mission lined up with our Food Equity Program, Random Acts fully funded their Food and Farming project. We have previously worked with the organization through their 2019 Dashain Camp, which is a 10-day camp during the school break for children who may not have a place of shelter.
History Down in a Riverbed
Maggie Doyne was a recent high school graduate experiencing her gap year when she came across a six-year-old girl in a Nepali village in 2007. The girl, named Hima, was breaking river stones to sell with the hope of having enough profit to keep her family fed. Maggie was so moved, she would go on to pay the young one’s tuition, uniform, and books. Kindness, however, tends to spread. Helping one girl inevitably turned into BlinkNow. “Historically, they just tried to put so much good into the world,” Random Acts Executive Director Rachel Miner said. Rachel brought this project into Random Acts. “Every program that I’ve seen them do works holistically and works on so many fronts for the children, the community and the environment.”
Growth of a Seedling
Kopila Valley School serves 400 hot meals daily. Healthy, organic fruits and vegetables make up the special of the day, though the kids are fond of rice and lentils. The staff members’ shopping trips are pleasantly limited, as the ingredients are often found on nearby farms, which leans into their Food and Farming project. The project, funded by Random Acts, also trains women-led local farmers in organic farming practices.
“This program was particularly wonderful because it so perfectly aligned with our 2021 Food Equity Program. ” Rachel said. Blink Now added, about the program, “Food and Farming contributes to a more vibrant, sustainable, and economically viable local food system that supports people in the local Kopila Valley community. The project is also a step towards reaching 5 Sustainable Development Goals: zero poverty, zero hunger, quality education, gender equality, and sustainable communities and cities.”
The BlinkNow website states: We don’t just want to create a green school—we want to empower our students to be sustainability leaders for years to come!
As part of the project, the faculty members teach their students agricultural skills by having an aquaponics system concurrently nurturing fish and plants. Teachers have workplace training, including a lesson plan about the area’s ecosystem. “Getting to see the results so quickly and see the people impacted positively, through pictures and storytelling, lifts my spirit to be a part of that,” Rachel said.
A Green Recess?
If you would like to donate to BlinkNow you can do so through their website. Or have you been one of the many to see the adorable TikTok trend of creatively-done school lunchboxes? If you have a similar healthy idea, our Regional Representatives are always willing to help you through the kindness act application process.