The building and ongoing support of the Baleygon Village School, in the remote mountains of Northern Pakistan, has been our biggest and most challenging project to date, spanning over 10 years.
With government funding often not forthcoming, hamlets, villages and entire regions can have little in the way of educational facilities, denying children of even a basic level of tuition.
This was the case in the isolated Hushe Valley village of Baleygon, where stood a dilapidated two-roomed building with 10 broken desks and around 100 students (most of whom had to sit on a hard concrete floor even in mid-winter to learn), one teacher in charge of all students from 4 to14-year-olds, and very little else in the way of equipment.
Recognising the needs of the village and the students, the Wild Frontiers Foundation’s first major project was initiated in 2010.
With ambitious plans, requiring substantial funds, Wild Frontiers embarked on its first charity trek with founder, Jonny Bealby, and a hardy group of eight trekking up to the ‘Throne Room of the Mountain Gods’ for a view of the second highest and most dangerous mountain on earth, K2.
This challenge, fittingly in the same region as the Hushe Valley, raised £20,000 and work began.
It was a long process, but the funds raised led to huge developments at the school, including land purchase, three new classrooms and a new teacher. In 2012 there was an official opening of the new school extension amid much celebration in the village.
With continued funding and invaluable support from Wild Frontiers clients, work continued with the building of a new toilet block, which was essential in giving the girls of the village the equal opportunity to attend school, paying teachers’ wages and providing educational materials.
However, without the ability to closely and continuously monitor the management of the school from the UK, it became increasingly difficult to ensure the quality of the student’s education, attendance and upkeep.
In 2019 we began talks with the Felix Foundation Baltistan, a locally based non-profit organisation working for the development of the people of the Hushe Valley. The Felix Foundation supports and manages schools in the valley, catering for approximately 1500 students from infants to secondary school.
With its progressive strategies for education in the valley, the Wild Frontiers Foundation’s board of trustees made the decision to transfer the management of the school to the Felix Foundation.
With the blessing of the community, the school management was officially transferred in February 2020, making The Wild Frontiers Foundation sponsored school the tenth in the cluster being run by the Felix Foundation.
With more recent progress and a government school now also established in the village for junior students, up to Grade 4, the Wild Frontiers Foundation School now accommodates and educates approx. 95 students from Grade 5 to Grade 8, offering more focused learning for the age groups.
After graduating the students will have the opportunity to attend secondary school in a nearby village.
As guardians of the school, the Wild Frontiers Foundation has committed to funding the school until 2025. This funding will pay teachers’ wages, provide teaching aids, including white boards, science equipment and laptops, and contribute to general maintenance and upkeep.
Together the Wild Frontiers Foundation and Felix Foundation Baltistan will help ensure the future education of the children of Baleygon and surrounding villages.
Our clients travelling his region of Northern Pakistan, have the opportunity to visit the school to meet the students and teachers.