A request to help educate teachers at a newly built school in Nepal has turned into a passion for Mary Brell OAM who lives by the Rotary motto, "serve above self".
For the past 10 years Ms Brell has regularly visit people in a remote area of the developing country, and in 2018 was awarded the Order of Australia for her volunteer efforts.
Ms Brell, now a grandmother of two, grew up in Gilgandra but moved to Cumnock in 1973 where she raised her three children, and she worked as a science teacher at Yeoval.
Her adult children Matthew Eakin, Katlyn Martin and Danielle Bonnington new live in Sydney, the Gold Coast and Gilgrandra.
Ms Brell, lives with husband Murray Paterson, and has lived in Orange in 1996 and in 2000 she started her own business, Keys to Success.
The business helps adults who want to improve in business and the workplace, and she has travelled to conferences in China, Europe, England and across Australia.
"I just love teaching and that's what I still do in this business," she said.
"If they understand each other more we can create more harmonious teams and more harmonious workplaces."
When members of the Rotary Club of Wahroonga found out about her work they asked Ms Brell to train teachers at a new school the club had built in a remote village in Nepal.
Ms Brell, who has been a Rotarian for about 25 years and is currently a member of the Rotary Club of Orange Daybreak returned to Nepal the following year after her translator Prakash Aryal asked her to do the same thing in his village, Maidi.
"I came back to Australia and put together some teachers," she said.
Since then Ms Brell, has returned to the same region to bring nurses and physiotherapists among other experts to help.
"Then of course there was an earthquake in 2015, after that I took some builders from Orange over to help rebuild this village," she said.
"They helped people to learn how to build earthquake proof buildings."
As well as teaching the communities Ms Brell, her supporters and Rotary have raised about $150,000 to help support building projects.
"Then we started schoolies four years ago, I thought lets take some students over there at the end of the school year," she said.
As a result about 100 students have since visited the area to help at the school.
"They help teach English, they play with the kids," Ms Brell said.
Ms Brell is now also taking over small groups of tourists so she can show them the real Nepal and meet the people she knows.
"The people coming with me they see the real Nepal, they don't see the touristy Nepal," she said.
"The [Nepali] people are just the softest gentlest people and they are very poor, they've got nothing but they are prepared to share with us."
Ms Brell said a number of Rotary Clubs also suport a women's health program and make reusable sanitary pads.
"I would have distributed at least 1000 hygience pads to the schools and young women," she said.
"When we show the girls how to use their hygiene kits we have the boys with them.
"I've really noticed a difference [in attitude] in the years we've been doing it."
Ms Brell said if she had any males on the trips she got them to do the presentations to further breakdown the gender boundaries.
Her most recent focus is on improving agricultural opportunities and nutrition in the villages, which depend on subsistence agriculture.
"The nutrition levels are really poor in these villages," Ms Brell said.
"Because they rely on the rainfall from the monsoons, they grow rice and millet and maize. It's all they can grow.
"We are looking at how can they improve their agricultural techniques so they grow different crops [and] how can they provide water in the dry season."
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