Closed Access to quality basic education in west Nepal
Two years have brought about a lot of change in Palpa district, west Nepal. It was around this time of the year, two years ago, that we launched Project Nepal in partnership with Manisha Child Welfare Foundation and Manisha UK, starting with three schools in Palpa. We faced several challenges along the way, challenges that were far greater than we had anticipated and challenges that left us disappointed many a time. However, there was something way bigger and way more significant than those challenges that helped us surmount them – the conviction that we were standing shoulder to shoulder with the community in Palpa to give the best possible opportunity for education to its children.
Two years on, we know that there is no looking back. The project which started in Palpa is now steadily growing beyond the district. It has addressed several dimensions of quality education in an area where there is tremendous enthusiasm for education but a dire lack of resources. First things first, we had to make sure that children needed secure school buildings, secure classrooms where they wouldn’t have to worry about the next landslide sweeping their school down the precipice. We needed to make sure that after having walked miles to school every morning, braving the elements (and sometimes leopards, not joking!) the children had something for lunch in the afternoon (most of them don’t have any breakfast).
We needed to make sure that there was clean drinking water, clean toilets and some first aid available; things that we pretty much take for granted but things that don’t exist for millions of children. Much has happened in these two years. At least three school buildings are secure now. We and our partner organisation Manisha UK are working hard to raise more funds to refurbish more schools. Trained teachers have been recruited and are being retained in the first three schools. Partnerships between schools in Nepal and UK have grown over the years and are expected to double by next year. Manisha UK have put together a great volunteering programme through which Johnny, an NQT from Worcester University has recently gone to Nepal for 10 months to learn, to help teachers with their English skills and to coordinate our twinned schools programme from Nepal. Follow Johnny’s blog to stay tuned with his progress and the progress of our school partnership programme.
Our priority in the next couple of years will be making sure that teachers in the area have plenty of training and development opportunities and that children complete eight years of basic education. However, we will continually strive to improve the infrastructure and resources in schools. Write to us if you would like to support this project, partner with a school in Nepal or volunteer. Find out more on www.stevesinnottfoundation.org.uk