Consonant with its mission statement, “Do for others what you would like them to do for you”, Swan Urology supports a range of philanthropic work to promote global health and education.


In a country where 1 in 4 live below the national poverty line, a close friend of mine, Pastor Merrilyn Teague, fondly known to the locals as “Didi”, continues to brave extreme weather conditions and mountainous terrain to support the health and education of villagers and children there. Through the work she has faithfully carried out all over Nepal for 24 years, strong ties have been established between the two countries, not through large organisations, but personal one-to-one connections. Pastor Merrilyn spends several months every year working with the local teachers, workers and pastors, equipping them with skills, knowledge and materials to help the empower the local community. She has brought several groups of Australian and Singaporean doctors, dentists, optometrists and health care workers there regularly over the past 15 years to provide for their physical needs.

“Didi” introducing Nepalese school kids to a koala bear

Siraha District represented by a red pin

Pastor Merrilyn has shared many photographs, anecdotes and testimonies with me over the years about her work there. Recently she has visited a local community school in the Siraha District led by Principal Kanchen, her husband and 9 teachers. The school supports the education of 300 children who undertake classes in appalling conditions. Many travel miles by foot to gather in dark and dusty classrooms to study the national curriculum and learn English as a second language. The current school is built of bamboo walls with children crammed tightly in small rooms, elbow to elbow on rickety wooden desks and benches. During the monsoon season, the children are unprotected from strong winds and rain, which turns the sandy floors into swishy mud.

Children having lessons in classrooms with bamboo walls and sandy floors

The new Siraha school campus is located on spacious grounds enjoying the shade of a grove of mango trees but remains uninhabitable at present. The foundations have been laid for the new school, which has brick walls. When completed, each classroom will have windows, doors, overhead fans and a block of toilets. Due to financial constraints, further work on the school building has been suspended until more funding and support is available.

Unfinished school building in Siraha District, East Nepal

I was raised in a family where education was regarded as one of the highest priorities. My parents, both teachers, taught me to value education as it would open the doors to infinite possibilities. Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” The general public and community people of Nepal had no access to education until democracy was established in 1951. The literacy rate in Nepal improved from 20% in 1994 to 65% in 2015, but still lags far behind rates of 99% in developed countries like Australia. Remote districts, like the ones that Pastor Merrilyn visits, lack infrastructure and manpower to support education for school-aged children.

I strongly believe that education is a fundamental and indispensable constituent in our fight against global poverty, especially for the people of Nepal, where education has been slow to progress. I decided that Swan Urology would support education for the people of Nepal, by providing funds to complete the unfinished school building in Siraha District, East Nepal this year. I pray that this contribution will allow students to fully develop their potential and grow up to become innovators, visionaries and leaders in their community, so they can maximise their capabilities and multiply their resources to build a sustainable society and secure a better future for generations to come.