The foundation for the school was laid by Krishna Shrestha. Krishna was born and raised in Sailung, in the Dolakha district, Nepal. Krishna studied in Kathmandu and obtained his master's degree in social work there. During his studies he helped children with their homework in the hostel where he lived. After graduation, he worked for various organizations that help people and children with disabilities access education and build a better future. Krishna gained teaching experience and discovered his passion and mission for improving education.
Based on this belief, Krishna started a home school in 2016 in his hometown of Sailung, teaching 20 students. Krishna's wife Shanti also helped teach. Shanti is from the same district and after studying mathematics in Kathmandu worked in several public and private schools. Krishna's home education catches the eye of many parents from the region and they advise him to open his own school. At that time there are a number of primary schools in Sailung, which are financed by the government. Krishna hears many complaints from parents and children about this teaching. Little seems to be learned in school. Krishna decides to research education in the region and comes to the conclusion that children in this region deserve better education.
Krishna decides to establish a community school. For this he receives support from the local community, various political parties, the other schools in the Sailung region and a number of Dutch donors. Krishna calls the school 'Kids Learning English School' (KLES) and builds the school on his own land in his native village. Although there are public schools in the region where one can go to school for free, many people choose the KLES because of proven quality in recent years compared to the public schools. There are even children who walk an hour to the school while the public school is 5 minutes from their home.
KLES opens on April 2, 2017, it is the first non-profit, public primary school in Sailung where poor, rich and all faiths and backgrounds come together.
The thoughts of building a real school are starting to take shape. At the end of 2017 it is clear that Marcel and Ton will go on a walking tour in Nepal and will visit Krishna in Sailung afterwards to discuss the plans of the new school building.
It all went differently than expected. When Krishna learned that Ton had crashed in the mountains, he drove to Kathmandu on the back of Makar's motorcycle in record time to assist Marcel where possible.
In the weeks that followed the school board, as a tribute to Ton, complemented the name of the school with: In the Memory of Ton van den Brink.
The current school consists of 5 classrooms and is made up of tree trunks and corrugated iron without windows. The floor consists of tamped clay soil. There is no heating and the wind blows in through the cracks. The sanitary facilities consist of a ramshackle structure containing two squat toilets for children, which drain to a hole dug behind the building.
In winter it is very cold in the school and the snow blows in. In the summer it is very hot. There is a need for more classrooms, better sanitary facilities, a kitchenette, more teachers and a teachers' residence. The latter because of the distance to and the difficult journey to and from the city.
At the moment (spring 2021) 70 children are enrolled in the Ton Memorial School. The children are divided into five groups and three teachers. Most classes are taught in the English language. The school prepares the children for further education. The number of students is expected to grow to about 120 students in 2024.
The planned capacity of the new school:
- 120-150 students
- 5 teachers
- 3 toddler groups
- 6 higher elementary school groups
- 1 kitchen
- 1 computer / internet locally
- 1 teachers' room
- A total of 12 spaces of 4 by 5.5 meters divided over two floors
2 years later in 2020, there is a business plan for the school with an accompanying building plan for a new proper school building with 12 classrooms to be built in the period 2020-2024. We can only achieve this together with the help of all donations.
School location: 27 ° 34'19.81N 85 ° 59'55.0 ″ E Lat / Long 27.572200, 85.998600