Christine Stone, an educator who devoted her life to uplift the quality of schools in Nepal, died last month in a care home in Scotland. She was 77.
Stone first came to Nepal in 1982 to join United Missions Nepal’s schools in Makaisingh and Namjung of Gorkha district. She then moved to Pokhara where she made Gandaki Boarding School well known for its best-performing students. Realising that raising the quality of education in Nepal needed teachers to be better trained and motivated, she worked with the government on curriculum development and rewrote many text books that Nepali children study to this day.
She also wrote children’s books for Room To Read, among them the now famous characters Tommy Tempo, Rishi Rickshaw and Birke Bagh. She was awarded an OBE from the British government in recognition of her work with education in Nepal.
Stone was easily identifiable till recently crossing Bagmati Bridge on her bicycle with her pet Collie, Nirmaya, riding on a basket behind her. In the Kopundole neighbourhood where she lived, she was known as the “lady riding a bicycle with a dog”. She was interested in everything from astronomy to anthropology, but never owned a television or a smart phone, keeping up to date with the news on BBC World Service.
Stone grew up in Hong Kong before World War II. As the Japanese advanced she and her mother were shipped off to Australia. He father was captured by the Japanese in Singapore and pressed into the POW gangs that built the bridge over the River Kwai, but survived. After school, Stone’s spirit of adventure took her to Ethiopia and a tiny volcanic island in the South Atlantic to volunteer as a teacher.
She returned to Fort Williams in Scotland in 2015 with Nirmaya.
A memorial service for Stone will be held at the UMN office on 6 May.