More than just a school: KISC's 25 years in Nepal
“No money, no building, not enough teachers” – it’s remarkable that a BMS-supported mission school in Nepal even got off the ground. Yet, last week the Kathmandu International Study Centre (KISC) proudly celebrated its 25th anniversary.
It’s hard to place a true value on the impact of KISC.
Over the last quarter of a century, this school has enabled dozens of mission workers to make a difference in impoverished communities across Nepal by providing quality, faith-based education for their children.
And through its Equip project, it is now also training Nepali teachers and schools to positively impact their local neighbourhoods.
In Kathmandu last week, more than 200 people celebrated KISC’s 25 years in style, with several BMS workers in attendance.
Trees and time capsules
A jam-packed three days began on Thursday evening (9 August) when KISC’s founder, Alan McIlhenny, shared stories of humble beginnings.
In assembly the next morning, each class filled a time capsule with photos, a Coke bottle, music on a USB stick and a test tube filled with strands of students’ hair (right). It will be opened at the 50th anniversary.
Every class also brought forward a tree, which will be planted on the school’s planned permanent site. The trees link with KISC’s theme of staff and students being like “oaks of righteousness” from Isaiah 61.
A formal programme on Friday afternoon welcomed guests including government officials, heads of the British Council and the British School, plus leaders of other partner organisations in Nepal.
It was announced that a new agreement has been signed with the Nepali government for KISC to continue to function in Nepal for the next five years.
BMS worker Dan Parnell, who is KISC’s vice principal, says, “This is a great answer to prayer after a lot of work with the government from our board.”
A talent show on Friday evening and a Saturday spent at a hotel in the hills swimming, playing games (left) and eating an anniversary dinner concluded the celebrations.
Dan, who’s married to Becky and has two children, says, “We have so enjoyed being a part of the KISC community for the past four years. KISC performs a great role in enabling mission work in all its forms to happen.
“KISC is more than just a school, it is a close-knit community that seeks to glorify God through the way we do education, and improve the quality of education across Nepal through our teacher training branch.”
Martin and Katrina Butterworth are BMS workers in Nepal – but they can only be enabled to do this because their two daughters, Ruth and Esther, are educated at KISC.
“KISC provides a uniquely supportive education for the girls,” says Martin. “As a community it’s amazing and uplifting.
“After Ruth’s knee operation earlier this year, she couldn't handle stairs for a few weeks, so KISC moved her whole class of 20 from the second floor to a ground floor room for all the lessons that didn’t need special equipment.
“Most days the girls actually want to go to school – a blessing indeed! Then they don't want to come home.”
Founders Alan and Margaret McIlhenny unveil a painting of KISC's history
Martin says that, against all the odds and in spite of challenges, KISC is flourishing.
“The objectives of a school of (to quote the current vision statement) ‘being living witnesses of Christ’s love through excellent education’ were there right at the beginning.
“So were the challenges of ‘no money, no building, not enough teachers’ and pressure from public figures to admit their children for free.
“KISC is an openly Christian school in a sometimes hostile country which needs government permission and teaching visas just to exist.“
Pictured above: Students dance at the talent evening
Martin continue: “Then it needs to rent somewhere for almost 200 children to be taught, and find teachers willing to live here as mission volunteers to teach them.
“If the future plans are even half realised its impact on Nepal could be huge and very positive, and openly inspired by our Christian faith.”
Photo credit: KISC