Why is there a need?
Children in rural Nepal are disadvantaged right from birth. This is due to poor nutrition, immature motherhood and lack of parental awareness of early childhood development. Child-rearing practices in Nepal traditionally do not involve any stimulation or play-based learning. Young children are often left hanging in baskets while their mothers work in the fields. Crawling toddlers are frequently left locked in the house alone. In fact, most children over two years are left by themselves during the day to wander around. Older children may have to stay at home to look after younger siblings or work in the fields. Lack of early childhood education means that children enter school without adequate preparation, and face delayed development.
Further, the majority of schools in rural Nepal are inadequately resourced, and children often have to sit on dirty floors to share books or makeshift games without a teacher present. Teachers are poorly trained, poorly paid, and lack motivation, resulting in a high level of teacher absenteeism. When they are present, this lack of training and motivation is passed on to the children in the form of ineffective education.
The children are left to suffer the consequences of this system, leading to poor ability in class, failed exams and school drop-outs, thus perpetuating a continuous cycle of poverty and a low-level of education. It’s vital that the system is changed, in order to break this cycle.
To improve the quality of early years education in Nepal, we create stimulating learning environments, run by trained and enthusiastic teachers.
Our early childhood centres focus on providing the first steps toward a quality education, which have proven long-lasting benefits for the students. Through play, children develop a love of learning, understand concepts better, learn strategies and gain social and communication skills. Children who attend our early childhood centres tend to learn to read and write more quickly, have longer attention spans and can problem-solve far better than children who have not attended. These are life skills that will benefit them throughout their lives, and that they can pass on to their own children.
Our primary school projects extend the play-based learning concepts into early-years school education. We train teachers in Nepal in child-friendly teaching methods, and equip them with the skills to create their own resources and supplement the existing curriculum with stimulating activities. Our teachers learn to improve classroom management, and how to foster a love of learning in children.
But for these teachers to effectively transfer their newly developed skills from our training programme to the classroom, a quality learning environment is critical. Teacher training and a supportive environment work hand-in-hand; both are needed for learning to thrive.
We refurbish classrooms and provide resources to create a safe and stimulating learning environment, one that is suited to the local culture and that will support high-quality teaching. Classrooms are developed from dirt floors to carpet, from wooden pallets for seats to having desks, from a single chalk board to access to crayons, paper and books.
When a school fully participates in our programme, the results can be remarkable. Classrooms are clean and tidy, resources are cared for, and the children enjoy their lessons. As a result, attendance improves and the school runs much more smoothly.
Our early childhood and school support projects are the first steps to bringing about long-term change for the children of rural Nepal.
Where we work & project selection
Our headquarters are in rural Sindhupalchok District at Sangachok Nursery, three hours north of Kathmandu. We recently expanded to the very needy districts of Syangja and Nuwakot. We are currently working in 75 classrooms, in 26 schools across these three districts.
Schools wishing to join our programme are assessed according to geographic location, attendance, and the school’s commitment to change. We also gauge the community's willingness to participate, as this is vital to the overall outcome, and to improving the standard of education for their children.
Our method promotes child-friendly teaching, a teaching technique based on student participation, individual difference and well-being.