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Volunteers with ‘Classrooms in the Clouds’ awarded by Prime Minister

The following Press Release was published on 1st August 2015

A couple from Merseyside who have dedicated over 7 years between them to advancing the education of rural Nepalese children have today been named Points of Light by Prime Minister David Cameron.

In 2008, Mike and Sarah Hagen, age 57 and 59, were inspired to improve the education of children in Nepal after they trekked in the region. Soon after they visited, they became Trustees of the charity ‘Classroom in the Clouds’ which was established in 2007 dedicated to supporting education in the remote areas of Nepal.  Mike and Sarah have been part of a small group of volunteers inspired by fellow Nepalese Trustee, Dawa Geljen Sherpa, who support education through the building of schools, the sponsoring of teachers and the development of educational standards. Mike is currently the Chair of Trustees and Sarah the Secretary and education advisor.

Mike, a former Deputy Chief Fire Officer and Sarah a former early years trained teacher, are the latest recipients of a Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.

Mike and Sarah are part of the Classroom in the Clouds team, a charity that has built 28 classrooms in four different rural locations across Nepal and sponsor 7 local teachers to work in them. The classrooms are built wherever possible with local materials sourced from the local community and the charity asks for a 20% local investment to give the community a sense of ownership and responsibility towards maintaining the school. There is a particular emphasis on promoting more women role models as, traditionally, girls are more likely to fall out of education.

Mike and Sarah value the local customs and traditions of rural Nepalese communities and seek to preserve them through education, helping to stem the flow of pupils to the capital, Kathmandu, where they are often sent to complete their education.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

Mike and Sarah are the  PoL 302 and  PoL 303 winners of the Points of Light award which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA and was first established by President George H. W. Bush. Over 5,000 US Points of Light have been awarded and both President George H. W. Bush and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK which honours shining examples of volunteering across the country.

Regardless of whether it’s a doctor restoring local monuments in her free time, a father teaching young people life skills, or a local musician giving a voice to lonely people, the Point of Light award honours shining examples of volunteering across the UK.

Sarah said: My regular visits to schools in Nepal has shown me how much local people in Nepal value education and want better opportunities for their children. The support from Classrooms in the Clouds means that more children can enjoy education in their local community and build their own futures.

Mike said: Nepal is a beautiful country but a very poor country that is still recovering from the recent tragic earthquakes.  So many people both here in the UK and further afield provide generous support to Classrooms in the Clouds enabling the charity to make a real difference in rural Nepal.  Supporters can be reassured that their donations are spent wisely and our overseen by our friends in Nepal through our registered NGO.