School and attendance
KATHMANDU, SEP 06 -
Bhimtar, a village development committee in Sindhupalchowk, populated by members of the Majhi and Danuwar communities, has the highest school dropout rate in the region. Children from these communities, which sustain their lives through fishing in the Indrawati River, are kept busy by household activities as their parents often leave home early for work. This means that these children have little incentive to attend school, and the result is evident in the high drop out rates.
In hopes of encouraging the region’s primary school children to attend classes every day, a group of six young individuals, who were part of the Civic Leadership School ’s 24th batch of attendees, joined hands with Sindhupalchowk’s District Education Office to distribute lunchboxes to children from seven different schools in the area. Formal programmes during which these boxes were handed over to the schools’ representatives took place at the Bhimeshwori and Indrawati schools on Monday.
A team of social workers from Kathmandu comprising of Jimmy Lama—Director of the Mondo Challenge Foundation (Nepal), Shilu Rijal—a member of Nepal’s U-19 cricket team, Sai Laxmi Rai—a lecturer, Rajani Joshi—a government officer, as well as students Prabika Sintakala and Rakschya Acharya, worked together under the supervision of Anita Thapa—the then President of Youth Initiative, to organise a month-long campaign to raise funds for the same.
Speaking at one of the programmes, Gehanath Gautam, the district’s education officer said, “What this group of Nepali youngsters has done reflects the potential of our nation’s youth. They have shown that we do not need to rely solely on foreign aid to help solve our problems.” Gautam also talked about the district administration’s own attempts at helping reduce dropout rates. “We had organised admission campaigns in April this year to raise awareness on the importance of education, and to encourage parents to send their children to schools everyday,” he said. “This youth initiative will encourage the children themselves to go to school and concentrate on their studies.”
“We received immense support from our Nepali donors,” said Lama as he talked of the group’s efforts to collect funds, which have bought 1300 lunchboxes for the district’s school children. The Mondo Challenge Foundation—a charity already supporting various schools in Sindupalchowk—also provided economic support for the installation of drinking water-supply systems in the seven schools. “The schools in Bhimtar don’t have proper drinking water facilities. This means that kids who venture outside the school premises in search of drinking water often don’t come back,” said Lama, explaining the reason behind his organisation’s initiative.
Lama, who was the one to introduce Bhimtar VDC and the state of its school students to the team, said, “It was heartening to see that so many people would walk for hours only to receive one lunchbox for their children. The current programme has only pushed us to work to come up with a bigger, more dedicated project, to help improve education for children here in the near future, which means this is just the beginning. "
Posted on: 2012-09-06 08:49