Education
 Nepal
Project #15928

The little school that's teaching a whole village.

by The Mountain Fund
Vetted

Our school grew this week as 15 new women and children moved to Her Farm. All were referred to us by an NGO working in another part of Nepal. The NGO had discovered the women and children in the course of work they are doing to rebuild from the quakes. The women of Her Farm are learning photography and videography (see our project Her Farm Films) and sent a short video showing how crowded our classes are becoming with all the new residents of Her Farm. The  video is short but was created 100% by the women of Her Farm and it is a wonderful first for them. 

Our school may soon become even busier, if that's possible. In addition to the many children who come for the morning program, the nearly 20 children in full-time residence at Her Farm and the 60-70 children from the local school who come to the farm each day for lunch, we may soon have to become a temporary school for the entire village. The local school sustained damage in the quakes. There's really no way to repair it and hold classes at the same time. We are working now with an engineer to design a building at Her Farm that can be used as the temporary village school while the current school is repaired. Stay tuned to our updates for more on that soon. 

Links:

One classroom
One classroom

Months following the devasting earthquake(s) in Nepal we are still struggling to deal with the aftermath. For the school program it's meant making some temporary adjustments. For starters, we've had to shrink from 3 classrooms down to one. The other two classrooms are currently occupied by three families who lost their homes in the quakes. That's meant we've had to dismantle the computer-based learning program for a while as there just isn't enough space for it in the already overcrowded single classroom.

We've adjusted the focus to spend more time in one-on-one tutoring and assistance with homework assignments from the government school. Breakfast club has also been discontinued but it's been replaced by a lunch program. As Her Farm is only a ten minute walk away from the government school, we now invite the entire student body to the farm for lunch everyday. That's working out very well since our morning group is typically in the 20-30 student range now that we aren't running the computer classes so not near as many children were getting breakfast as when all three classrooms were up and running. We're getting a large turnout for lunch (40-50) so we know the children are getting at least one full, balanced meal a day. 

With delays in the government's reconstruction program it will most likely be mid-September at the earliest before people start rebuilding homes in the village. Once the families living in the classrooms are able to return homee, we will implement the full programs at the little school again. 

Tutoring Time
Tutoring Time
Children and Photos
Children and Photos

We've partnered with the nonprofit 100Cameras to bring photography to our classroom starting in January 2016. 100Cameras has created a curriculum specifly target for young people to teach them the skills of digital photography. IN the aftermath of the April 2015 earthquakes, many children are traumatized and trying to cope with the destruction and loss all around them. Photography is well recognized as a healing artform. Photographing the world around them and participating in group discussions about the photographs provides a way to facilitate discussion, encourage self-expression and gain understanding and closure on the losses the children have suffered due to the earthquakes. 

The photography course is designed to encourage young people to explore a range of emotions, using the medium of digital photography. It allows for emotions to be expressed through the medium that young people may be struggling to openly talk about. 

The photography course also ties back to our project on Global Giving called "Change the Narrative, Change the Narrator" #21459. Since the majority of students at the little school are girls, we are getting them involved early in expressing their feelings about their lives via photography. 

We've obtained a few used cameras for this and of course have the entire set of classroom materals that 100Cameras has given to us. We are in need of funding to purchase more cameras for this class. 

Photographs taken by the children will be eligible for display on 100cameras web site. 

"Photography is a tool for meditation, mindfulness and creative living. Now the emerging field of phototherapy embraces the power of making and viewing photographs for healing and personal transformation." 

Volunteer teacher at Her Farm
Volunteer teacher at Her Farm

On April 25th an earthquake hit Nepal. Our village, Mankhu, was severly damaged and up to 85% of the homes were destroyed in the initial quake with more damage taking place in the two large aftershocks. As a result all of the classrooms at Her Farm were turned into temporary housing for those in the village who had lost their homes. 

We are happy to report that though the classrooms are still occupied by families who were displaced by the earthquakes, we have been able to restore our classes in the former dining room of our volunteer house at Her Farm. The monsoon season is underway at this time and it is impossible for people to rebuild at this time so they remain living in our classrooms. 

In spite of some space constraints we've gotten our regular sessions back underway. The day begins with homework help, followed by English lessons. Computer lessons remain temporarily suspended until we can reoccupy the classrooms. Breakfast is served all the children and they wash, brush teeth and depart for their regular classes at the local school by 9:30am. 

The new classroom
The new classroom

The number of children coming to our village school everyday keeps growing and growing, which is great. We've had to divide up the day into two sessions, girls come in the morning and boys in the afternoon. Still, we ran out of room to hold classes and we just added a second classroom to the school. The building that houses the school has a total of four rooms, each approx. 18ft by 18ft.  One is the home of our new women's health clinic (see Her Farm project on GlobalGiving) and now two are in use for classrooms. 

One classroom is now the media room. English is taught in that room via the use of a computer connected to a large screen TV for classes or on individually paced learning programs on several laptops. The new classroom is where the homework club meets every morning at 6:30am with English class starting at 7:00am. 

Many of the children walk an hour (or more) to take part in these classes. Keep in mind, these classes are in addition to their normal school program at the local government school. These are very dedicated students who understand how important learning English and how to use computers is for their future. 

The new classroom was added with nearly all volunteer labor. I am adding a link to a short video we made about the building of this class and urge you watch how it came into being. The link is below. 

Links:

 

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Organization Information

The Mountain Fund

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.mountainfund.org
Project Leader:
Scott MacLennan
International Director
Albuquerque, New Mexico United States

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