December 14, 2016

"Being a Global Youth Ambassador has been a great opportunity for me to learn. I have developed the courage to act and the confidence to work for a cause I believe in"

Nepalese children at a rural school several months after the earthquakes struck in 2014

Theirworld/Lauren Ciell

Sushant Rijal

Global Youth Ambassador from Nepal

Sushant was one of the earliest members of the Global Youth Ambassadors network when it began in 2014 and has played a central role in many of our campaigns. Now aged 30, his time in the network is coming to a close. He looks back on the experience and celebrates some of his achievements. 

I had already been teaching maths for six months, as a fellow teacher of Teach for Nepal, when I got the email from A World At School to tell me I’d been accepted into the Global Youth Ambassador (GYA) network. 

The excitement was elevating - however, replying to the e-mail was definitely difficult for me! It took three hours of walking through forests and two hours of travel by bus to get to my home to accept the offer. 

That day, when I got the email confirming my title of Global Youth Ambassador, I felt truly happy. 

My teaching experience in an underprivileged rural school had already made me aware of the problems many students face - and when I became a teacher I knew that a long list of difficulties lay ahead of me. 

Many students walked for several hours to get to school, the corporal punishment used in classrooms saddened them, dropout rates were high, school didn’t bring them any happiness, behavioural change wasn’t part of their education, skills development or promoting local skills wasn’t encouraged and achievement rates were very low. 

Sushant at the Paint for Education exhibition in Kathmandu

The dichotomy of Nepali education meant that the children from private school competed with global citizens while the children from public system struggled for basics. My students were the reflection of this dichotomy. 

Tough challenges were ahead of me so, instead of being overwhelmed, I tried to take one small action at a time. I got an opportunity to work with Bhawana Shrestha, a fellow Global Youth Ambassador and my friend.

We thought that the first thing we could do was to educate people about the problems in the education system in Nepal. 

So we started a protest called “Stand for Education” where we stood few hours in Basantapur Durbar, a historical site in Nepal, with slogans about the problems in Nepal. We also took it as an opportunity to condemn the malpractices that jeopardised the lives of Nigerian girls.

Excited by the support this protest received, we led another initiative called “Paint for Education”. We asked the students of rural schools to draw pictures using themes including "my daily life", "my future" and "the benefit of education". 

Public interaction with the drawings, which we exhibited in a school in Kathmandu, helped young people in urban areas become more aware of rural life and motivated them to take action. 

One of my greatest achievement during my time as a Global Youth Ambassador was collecting #UpForSchool petition signatures, despite the fact that only three minutes before the scheduled time of our first meeting a devastating earthquake hit Nepal. 

Kathmandu shook for many months, causing large-scale devastation. 

However, despite the many challenges we faced, we collected signatures and sent them to to A World at School to show our support in the lead-up to the United Nations General Assembly and to add voices from Nepal to the call for all children’s right to education to be honoured. 

Campaigning for education as a GYA is something I will value for the rest of my life.

Being an A World At School Global Youth Ambassador has been a great opportunity for me to learn in the field of education. 

I have developed humility, the courage to act, networking skills and the confidence to work for a cause I believe in. In the process, I met many friends and learned collaboration skills. 

I have been attached to the GYA network emotionally and leaving it is definitely an emotional thing. However, leaving is a part of movement and without moving one foot you cannot take another step ahead.

I know that I was one brick in the wall and more layers of brick will be added above me. But, I am happy to have been that one brick, somewhere in the foundation. 

Thank you everyone from A World At School and best of luck to all present and future Global Youth Ambassadors!

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