When nine-year-old Abinash’s parents moved from Nepal to India seeking work, he was almost orphaned and missed his first two years of school.
Fortunately, Abinash now lives with relatives in Bahuliya where he was urged to return to school by community members who were trained by a new education programme.
However, he is one of the lucky ones. The number of out of school (OOSC) children in rural Nepal remains unacceptably high, in spite of efforts to increase access to education locally.
Yet through the Remote Rural Schools Construction partnership project between Educate A Child (EAC) and buildOn, communities are mobilising to ensure that vulnerable children across six different countries claim their seat in a classroom.
Launched in 2015, this project seeks to empower local leaders to develop strategies to enrol OOSC. So far, the programme has enrolled more than 4,500 Nepalese OOSC and over 20,000 in Burkina Faso, Haiti, Malawi, Mali and Senegal.
“I’m so happy,” Abinash says. “My parents are far away, but I’m now in an environment that welcomes me. I go to a school that supported me, even though I was behind.”
Abinash was given the opportunity to catch up on his schooling by a teacher who was also trained by project staff in tailored pedagogy to help students like him. Today, he attends school regularly and hopes to become a policeman when he grows up. In Nepal, the barriers that prevent children from accessing education – poverty, gender discrimination and migratory labour patterns – are widespread and persistent.
A cornerstone of the project’s intervention is to provide the training, workshops and seed funding that empower communities to get children back to school. Community members go door-to-door discussing the importance of education with parents and conduct fundraisers to buy school supplies for needy students.
Balram Chaudhary, principal of the project school in Bahuliya, sees the difference that EAC and buildOn are making in his community. “I’m pleased that nearly all the village children are going to school now,” he says.