How it all began with Shara Preshool

During their 2005 tour of Ladakh, World Horizons Matthew Swait introduced Cranbrook to members of a local NGO called SEWA (Shara Education & Welfare Association). This group of men all came from a small hamlet of three villages, 2 hours drive from Leh, that for years had been economically isolated because of its unfortunate position on the fringes of the Leh District. Very little government assistance was reaching the area and education standards were suffering. Their dream was to build a preschool to help deal with this problem and lay a real foundation for their children’s future education.

On returning to Australia parents from the trip decided to help SEWA achieve their dream and established CETOP (Cranbrook Explores & Travellers Overseas Partnerships), developed a core set of values, goals and objectives and set about raising the money to build the school.

In June 2006 CETOP and Cranbrook were back in Ladakh with World Horizons to start building the school in partnership with SEWA. Along with assistance from the World Horizons team in India, construction was underway by March 2007. By the end of September the school was finished and on the 1st of October, thirty seven members of CETOP and the Cranbrook Community where there for the grand opening!

One of the crucial elements in the success of this project was the level of involvement by the local Shara Community and SEWA who worked tirelessly and committed many hours of labour to build the school. Since the schools construction CETOP & SEWA have created a forward plan to ensure the schools viability for the long term, purchased a school bus, employed and trained teachers and much more.

The school to this day continues to provide the children of this region with a wonderful foundation to their ongoing education and has become a major focal point for this small subsistence based community.

Since the building of Shara Preschool CETOP has continued to grow and with assistance from World Horizons is supporting other projects in Ladakh and Nepal. In the six years since its inception CETOP has grown to become one of Cranbrook’s most successful and rewarding initiatives.

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