WHILE most of their schoolmates stayed in the territory for their one-week community service project, 29 Hong Kong Island School students opted to leave their comfortable homes last week and carry additional baggage to Kathmandu, Nepal, to serve the under-privileged there. Fifteen-year-olds Katie Cameron, Lydia O'Donnell and Donna Gregory - who were responsible for appealing to students, staff and parents from all schools under the English Schools Foundation for cash and other donations - said they were particularly touched by the plight of people living in Third World countries and wanted to try and help them. Donations included clothing, toys, toiletries and stationery. Primary research done by the girls showed there was no running water in the target area and many children needed to scrounge for food from the rubbish dump. 'I always read about these kind of things in magazines or see poverty on TV and it doesn't seem real. I just want to go there and offer help myself,' Donna said before her departure. 'It is something that I think I must do. Life will certainly be more rewarding if you reach out and help,' Lydia said. The Year 11 student's chief supporter is her dentist father, who donated some 400 tubes of toothpaste, tooth brushes and other oral hygiene items for the people in Kathmandu. The students organised various activities to raise funds for their project. 'There was a two-hour beach cleaning operation at Repulse Bay at the end of September which helped raised $6,000,' Lydia said. The students also held a 'Big Breakfast' at the Mandarin Hotel, selling food donated by Dan Ryan's and Grappa's. That gave them another $3,500 to add to their kitty. Among the many students who made a tremendous fund-raising effort was Gemma Mather, 15, who single-handedly raised $4,000 for the project through a 100 mile walkathon in Scotland at the end of July. 'When I heard from Mrs [Kay] Church [the teacher who helped organise the project] about the community project in Kathmandu, I thought 'Yes, that is it. This is the thing that I must do',' Gemma said. She said the unbearable summer heat and the long distance almost prevented her from completing her walk. 'There were stages when I wanted to give up, but my determination to get the money for the people there kept me going.' The students planned to help out at a hospital run by the Sisters of Mother Teresa, visit an old age home and lend a hand at a local youth club project during their eight-day stay in Kathmandu. The group, led by five teachers, was given extra baggage allowance by the Royal Nepal Airline so they could transport the aid.