We are often asked how we do what we do! So we thought it was about time to share some of the secrets to our success!
Hard working and dedicated team
Our team is totally committed to bringing about change in early years education in rural Nepali communities. The need is enormous and we are currently just scratching the surface! However,hard it may seem, we just keep going. Sometimes it feels like one step forward and four steps back but eventually we get there having learnt so much along the way.
Nepali led and managed
Founding Director, Durga Aran was born in a rural village himself and experienced the rural Nepali education system first hand. This insight and local knowledge allows him to seamlessly navigate the intricacies of overseeing our education projects. This entails project management, donor liaison, logistical support and management of staff (all with a smile on his face!).
Members of the communities in which we work relate to Durga. He develops long lasting relationships educating them on the benefits of change.
We keep it simple, effective and easy to follow
Back in 2008, when First Steps Himalaya was set up, Directors Fionna Heiton and Durga Aran had a very clear vision of clean and tidy classrooms offering child friendly education to young children. Back in those days, we cleaned the classroom, painted, carpeted and furnished and we trained teachers by demonstrating ideas to them. Little has changed over the years but our methods have been somewhat refined.
Train, supervise and monitor
We provide hands on teacher training workshops so that participants learn by doing. Our supervisors go back and support teachers as they implement the new ideas. Then we provide more training which not only acts as a refresher but continues to build on what they have learnt. The First Steps monitoring method which has standardized criteria, shows schools how they are progressing towards being a centre of excellence. This is simple, visual and easy to follow.
We are in it for the long haul
Many other projects support schools for fixed periods of time. This can lead to schools reverting to their old methods when the support runs out. In Nepal, change takes time and we realise that the communities in which we work will need to be supported beyond the first couple of years.
As long as a school remains committed to change, we keep visiting, providing training and resources on a long-term basis. We are able to do this because of the support of our many wonderful donors.
If you would like to help us continue this vital work in rural Nepal, you can become a Friend of First Steps Himalaya. For just over NZ$1 a day you can contribute to the education of thousands of young children, and help them reach their full potential in life.