April 25, 2018

"Growing up as a girl in Nepal made me realise the importance of education"

The dropout rate of children in primary education in Nepal is high

Photo credit: Kashya Adhikari

Kashya Adhikari

Global Youth Ambassador from Nepal

On the third anniversary of the Nepal earthquake, a Global Youth Ambassador tells of efforts to provide quality education in a country where many children live in extreme poverty.

Quality of education in Nepal is generally poor, characterised by high dropout rates, lack of child- and girl-friendly facilities and child-centred learning environments. 

Nepal is home to 26.6 million people, with children under 15 making up more than 40% of the population. More than one in three people in Nepal live in extreme poverty, subsisting on less than $1 per day.

Education has given many of us the opportunities to lead a better quality of life and attain our goals. However, for thousands of Nepalese children, education remains a distant dream due to poverty, caste, gender discrimination and lack of access to schools. 

The physical geography of Nepal is an obstacle that makes infrastructure projects such as building schools tough. In addition, villages in Nepal are often remote, which makes hiring and retaining well-trained and dedicated teachers a taxing task. 

Education is one of the fundamental infrastructures of development

Photo credit: Kashya Adhikari

Receiving a quality education remains the most important tool towards the realisation of rights of all children.

Growing up as a girl in Nepal made me realise the importance of education. I am proud to be the first person from my family to graduate from school and this has given me the passion to work towards changing the current education situation. 

It makes me keep going so that I can contribute to provide quality education to those who are not currently attending school.

My journey in the field of education started when I was 16 years old, I volunteered in a secondary school in Birtamod, Jhapa. I initiated a waste management project called "Reuse, Reduce, Recycle" with students from grades four to eight. 

My volunteer work has made me realise that the school education has not changed much in the last decade. The education system is not equipped to cope with the challenges of poverty, armed conflict, and emergencies.

Lack of access to schools means many children in Nepal are missing out

Photo credit: Kashya Adhikari

Solidarity International has reconstructed 20 schools in eight districts that were destroyed during the 2015 earthquake. These schools are now earthquake-resistant and children feel safe to go to school. 

This small effort of ours has created a big impact in such rural areas where government aid still hasn’t reached them.

We have a pilot project - Project HOPE education for Nepal: One child, One sponsor. We want to connect 1000 children with 1000 sponsors. Our sponsors are Nepalese people who are living and working abroad. 

So far, the donations we received from our sponsors have helped us to organise 20 earthquake relief mission projects including medical camps and materials distribution to more than 2500 families and 4000 people in eight districts of Nepal.

I grew up as an aspiring learner with a desire to lead. I joined Solidarity International in 2014 and it is one of the top international youth organisations in Nepal that focuses on education, empowerment, health and social care, community and rural development. 

A earthquake-resistant school is built in Nepal

Photo credit: Kashya Adhikari

Now we are planning a women's entrepreneurship project that involves local women who we will train to produce products that have a high market value in foreign countries. 

There will be challenges such as transportation of goods and ensuring that products are ISO-certified but we are dedicated to making this project successful.

Young people are at the forefront of change and innovation, and many have the spirit to make things happen. They just need to be given the space to excel. 

We truly need young people’s voices. As a society I don’t think we can survive without truly listening to young people and developing their skills.

Education is a key need, along with other basics, in today’s world for anyone, anywhere to have a good quality of life. In developing countries like Nepal, basic education is crucial to alleviating poverty, reducing inequality and driving economic growth.

  • Act
  • Related Stories