Castleisland native, Conor Harnett found himself more recently a member of Ranalagh GAA Club in Dublin.
However, these days he’s living and working in Dubai.
Conor is a son of Frances and Richard Harnett from Baile Na hAbhann.
He and a couple of friends have embarked on a project in Nepal where they’re teaching the basics of Gaelic football to children in a remote region in a school with the ambitious title, Everest Academy.
Modern Computer Equipment
Probably more importantly they’re also equipping the room of a local youth centre there with modern computer equipment to give the locals an opportunity to catch up on what’s taken for granted elsewhere.
“We decided to do some volunteering in Nepal as it’s one of the poorest countries in the world. It’s still in recovery from the 2015 earthquake and access to parts of the country can only be achieved on foot,” said Conor in an email on Sunday.
“The infrastructure is very poor across the country. Power outages occur often during the day for up to four hours at times.
Living on $2 Per Day
“Despite these challenges the Nepali people are so warm and loving. They are wonderful and hardworking. Food is a necessity not a luxury. Up to 60% of the people live on less than $2 a day.
“We volunteered in a primary school called Everest Academy which is located in a very remote village called Padma Pokhari, Chitwan – a six hour drive from Kathmandu the capital.
Passionate GAA Man
Being a passionate GAA man I was very keen to teach the children some basic Gaelic Football skills.
“I donated a ball kindly sponsored by Jumeriah Gaels in Dubai where I’m currently living.
They loved Gaelic football and were overjoyed while learning the solo and kick pass.
While being in Chitwan we wanted to make a real difference where possible.
“Hence we set about raising money for a computer lab initiative for the local youth centre.
The aim was to give children and young adults the opportunity to enhance their education and help pursue their dreams.
“We successfully raised over $2,000, which was mainly thanks to Richard Harnett who collected and donated more than half the total amount.
“This allowed us to purchase four brand new Dell computers, desks and chairs and including internet for a year.
Young Adult Classes
“Now the Himshikahara Socio Cultural Society will begin running young adult classes each day. It will have a huge social impact on the community.
“The children of Nepal are full of happiness and innocence. It was remarkable to see them so playful, carefree with no smartphones or video games in sight.
Supporting the Community
“We lived with a local family and they treated us as if we were one of their own. Running water comes from an outside well while food is cooked outside in an open clay moulded stove.
“We have decided to keep supporting the community and help these children realise their careers to their full potential and we will continue fund raising and visiting Chitwan each year,” said Conor in conclusion.
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