Anne Majumdar

The official launch of U by Uniworld maybe next month, but the new cruise operator has still made time to help build a new school in Nepal.

The completion of Nibaugan School in the Sindhupalchok district of Nepal was announced by the cruise line’s Guardian Angel”, model Petra Nemcova who co-founded charity All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response.

The organisation has been working to help the community recover from the devastating 7.3-magnitude earthquake of 2015.

A selfie that Petra took in the classroom with the kids

A selfie that Petra took in the classroom with the kids

“Today, during the school re-opening ceremony, we could feel the power of meaningful connections which has resulted into the creation of a new disaster resilient school and also new beginnings for the whole community,” Nemcova said.

“When our volunteers,  staff, committee members and our supporters come together, far away dreams can be made into reality. Living youthfully, fully and connecting with others in a meaningful way, for me, is the essence of U by Uniworld too – we have so much in common, and now also this purposeful partnership.”

U by Uniworld donated US$50,000 to support Nemcova’s charity when she was revealed as its “Guardian Angel” last year.

Over an 11-week period, two of the school’s buildings have been refitted providing the students aged four to 11 with four “disaster resilient” classrooms, four toilets, water filtration and a playground.

Uniworld president and chief executive Ellen Bettridge said Nemcova embodies the cruise operator’s values.


Uniworld president and chief executive Ellen Bettridge

To be partnered with her organisation that’s making a difference in the world by giving back to communities, and helping thousands of children by bringing education and joy back into their lives – truly makes her an ‘angel’ to many,” she said.

Members of the community greeted Nemcova and other guests, giving them a red tika (dot) on their forehead as a symbol of good luck to mark the celebration.

Then a fire was lit to signify new beginnings and a bright future for the many generations to come.

Petra, Principal, kids_UbyU1

Students treated guests to a traditional dance and recited a poem they wrote themselves – “Svagata (welcome) to our school, thanks for helping us and being part of our community…”

They were each gifted Ma-Powered solar lights to help them continue their education at home and read at night.

Check out this exclusive video of the event, shot with GoPro:

Nemcova co-founded All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response with David Campbell after her own experience during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

The non-profit has helped rebuild over 200 schools in 13 countries around the world, assisting over 100,000 students in getting back to school following natural disasters.

READ: Dalton: Why we lifted the age limit on U by Uniworld

READ: Petra Nemcova: Making a beautiful difference as U by Uniworld’s Guardian Angel 

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