Attending school regularly is challenging for children in many rural areas of Nepal. The terrain is often rugged, and the walk can be long for little legs. It’s particularly challenging for girls because they’re expected to stay home to help with household chores. Despite these challenges, education is a priority for many families. It’s a primary reason that families are migrating from rural to urban areas in hopes of a better education for their children.
Through the rural education work MCC supports in Nepal, we accompany our partners to build the capacity of government-run primary schools in rural areas of Morang District. We equip teachers with child-friendly teaching methods and build enthusiasm among students and parents about regularly attending school. Below are a few examples of schools implementing these new ideas in the classroom.
At Shree Bhawani Primary School, in Morang District, Nepal, MCC and its partner, the Brethren in Community Welfare Society (BICWS), have been encouraging girls to stay in school.
In an area where many girls are absent for long periods of time to do housework or drop out altogether after fifth grade, these students feel supported by the provision of notebooks and “tiffin” lunch boxes so they can come to school prepared. Rita Kumari Mandal is the chair of the school’s child club, which BICWS is also supporting to encourage leadership development and make learning more fun. Madal and the club members recently organized a dance competition for their peers.
Despite a lack of resources, students in class four at Shree Bhawani Primary School recently created their own brightly coloured books. This idea stemmed from a training session their teacher attended through the support of MCC and BICWS. Teachers from rural municipality of Jahada had the opportunity to participate in a series of training sessions about child-friendly teaching methods, child protection and child development. While resources are often limited in public school, these training sessions have motivated teachers to develop engaging teaching materials out of locally available materials. Teachers are also beginning to adopt other child-friendly methods like seating students in groups, creating classroom job charts and posting children’s drawings on the walls of the classroom in order to foster a sense of pride in their work.
A simple job chart at Kuikunda Primary School in the rural municipality of Letang Letang encourages students to remain actively engaged in the classroom. The idea for these job charts was sparked through the teacher training supported by MCC and the Hilly Rural Development Organization of Northern Morang (HRDON).
Students at Sarswoti Primary School in Jahada now have a working water pump to wash hands and flush toilets, thanks to the support of MCC and BICWS.
Members of Sagma Secondary School’s child club in Letang work tirelessly to advocate for social issues of importance to their peers, and to encourage students to remain in school. Recently, the child club has been raising awareness about the issues related to early child marriage. It’s increasingly common in their area for teenagers to elope and marry without consulting anyone. Those who marry before the legal age are more likely to drop out of school, experience health issues due to early pregnancy and be unable to register their children’s births appropriately. The chair of the child club, Dina Rai shared how they were recently able to mediate in a recent case and prevent a child marriage from taking place.
Members are also thinking about their club’s ability to sustain itself and have planted coffee seedlings and vegetables near the school in order to earn income for their activities. The school and child club also build capacity through support from MCC and HRDON.
These programs are the beginning seeds of hope for social and structural change in Nepal. Through these programs, MCC and its partners are breaking down barriers for children, especially girls, to attend school on a consistent basis. These school programs display the first steps towards holistic education. While the work is not over, MCC continues to work with partners to find creative solutions to deeply rooted systems of gender imbalance.