When we arrived at the Service for Peace Children’s Centre, we were greeted by dozens of the children bearing fistfuls of flowers. By the time we had reached the front door, both of our arms were overflowing with blossoms! After drinking tea with the program director, Saroj, we pilled into a mini-van that would take us to the surrounding villages where Service for Peace runs library and literacy projects. With a bit of physical pushing from all of the orphans, Saroj got the van started and we began our trip.
Despite the busy rice planting season, the two women’s literacy classes that we visited were filled with students. There was a diverse range of ages in the classes: from young women to community elders. They proudly showed us their notebooks, filled with English and Nepali alphabets, and one women was brave enough to site-read a Nepali song out of a book for us. All the women told us how excited they were for the opportunity to return to their education and learn to read, and they explained how literacy would (and already has) improve their lives.
Next we visited one of Service for Peace’s libraries. The librarian was on-duty and the inside was buzzing with children and teens who were browsing bookshelves or reading on the window ledge. One side of the library was filled with bike boxes for the “Mobile Library” program which circulates books to surrounding villages. Saroj explained that supporting libraries and improving accessibility of books are vital steps in maintaining literacy in a village.
After a long and bumpy trip down the village roads, we returned to the Service for Peace orphanage for the night. We had the wonderful opportunity to spend time with the children, who were excited to practice their English and teach us Nepali songs and games. Everywhere we turned, we were met with smiling faces. The happy children and the dedicated women in the literacy classes were very inspiring. We were sad to leave Sarlahi, but we both have high hopes for the positive changes that Service for Peace Nepal is making in their community!
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Deputy Director, Resource Development