Nepal event promotes #UpForSchool and life of rural students

Up for School or #upforschool campaign

Some of the students’ artwork on display

Global Youth Ambassadors from Nepal – Bhawana Shrestha, Rojee Maharjan, Smriti Bhandari and Sushant Rijal – in co-ordination with Teach for Nepal and Rotract Club of Thamel, organised an exhibition and interaction programme to promote the #UpForSchool Petition on November 17 at Thames International College in Kathmandu.

The purpose was to spread the awareness of students’ life in rural areas and urge youths to join programmes focused on bringing children back to school.

Drawings made by the students of the public schools were exhibited. Students were given themes like “My Daily Life” and “the Importance of Education” a few months earlier and they drew their ideas in groups or individually. Most of the drawings highlighted the difficult circumstances in their villages, where they struggle to get basic infrastructure like water, transportation, qualified teachers and teaching materials. Analysing the drawings, the audience could see some students had psychological or emotional problems. In other drawings, youth illustrated the daily problems students face to get an education.

Some of the attendees at the meeting in Kathmandu

Various videos depicting the sad status of Nepalese education and the importance of education were screened. In the video made by Teach for Nepal, youths got to know statistical data on education in Nepal. It stated that 7% of Nepali children will never attend school and by the time they reach grade 10, about 70% of students leave school. The majority of these dropouts will likely go abroad in search of employment. Another video showed the difficulties of Nepalese labour in Qatar, with a large number of them dying there. The videos made students realise the depth of the problem in Nepalese society.

Teach for Nepal fellows and board members talked about the difficulties of education in Nepal. Global Youth Ambassador Bhawana Shrestha briefed the objective of the A World At School campaign and how ambitiously it is working on lobbying for a good education system around the world. She urged youths to become a part of the mission to bring the students deprived of an education back to school.

Similarly, Teach for Nepal fellow Laxmi KC described the situation of education in rural Nepal. Her students walk three hours from home to school in a difficult geological terrain and some need a “Khor” (ancient hand pulled ropeway) to get to the other side of the river. If the Khor is on the other side of river, then they have to wait for someone to bring it back to their side of river or just return their home. She also described the cultural context of her community where getting married before 16 is common, if not fashionable, and only 40% of girls make it to class 10.

Student  uses hand ropeway to cross river to get to school

Education is not fulfilling its objective and more over, it’s not interesting enough to attract students’ attention. Bhawana urged youths to be a part of campaign to bring students to school, with a note that it’s now our responsibility to take the lead and contribute towards something that they can do.

At the end, Teach for Nepal fellow and GYA Sushant Rijal highlighted the transformative experience of teaching and urged the need of youth to go into the rural areas and motivate students to go back to school. He asked youths to inspire each student to attend school and act as their role model to mould the future of Nepal.

The program was eye-opening to the students to show the realities of education in rural Nepal. The youth showed an interest to work together with GYA-AWAS and Teach for Nepal for ending the hurdles in education and inequality existing in it.

Note: We are thankful to Ms Reshu Aryal Dhungana (Board Member, Teach For Nepal), Thames International College, Old-Baneshowr, Sagar Malla Thakuri(President, Rotract Club of Thamel) and his wonderful team.

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