The importance of literacy Yesterday, 8 September, was International Literacy Day. The Trust joined organisations around the world to raise awareness of the importance of literacy and the ability of education to transform lives. In Nepal literacy rates remain low but are rapidly improving. Only 67.9% of the population are literate, with men having higher rates than women. Literacy rates among young people tend to be higher; however, in the rural areas where the Trust works they are below the national average. The Trust has a long-standing School Programme in Nepal. To date, it has built 125 new schools and is planning to construct a further two this year. It has also undertaken repairs and improvements to over 1,500 schools and will be supporting another 75 this year. Prakash Higher Secondary School is one school to benefit from our support. Originally built in 1949, it educates over 1,000 pupils aged 3 - 18 years and is the main school in the district of Myagdi. By 2002, the school building was on the verge of collapse with staff and students afraid for their safety. When our team in Nepal was approached, it was quickly realised that the school was so dilapidated that there was no option but to tear down the whole school and build a complete replacement. With gifts from our supporters in 2002, we were able to replace it with a safe, furnished school consisting of eight classrooms. A drinking water system was added for the students. Since then, the Trust has provided funding to build and equip computer and science labs. The school is happy and successful, with an impressive 83% of students passing the School Leaving Certificate. This accomplishment is all the more pleasing given that so many of Prakash's pupils come from disadvantaged, rural backgrounds. Nearly 550,000 children in Nepal have benefitted from our Schools Programme This year we will spend £515,000 improving the education and life chances of children in Nepal. We could not do this without your wonderful support. Thank you. If you would like to support one of our School Projects, please contact Piers on 01722 343 102 or firstname.lastname@example.org.