Limbu Literacy Class, Yashok, Panchthar
Last week we visited the Limbu project to help out with making reading materials in Limbu and train local teachers to use them in the classroom. This is all part of our multilingual education project we run in partnership with the local education office and our partner Limbu organization in the east of Nepal.
We had time to visit one of the adult literacy classes and have a look at the small business run by Limbu women that are part of our sustainable livelihoods program as well as arrange a public meeting to mark the International Mother Language Day on 20 February.
Two primary schools in Yashok and Aangsarang villages
This is going well, helped that the teachers are Limbu (not always the case in many schools) and the children are all Limbu speakers. The goal is to enable the children to their education in Limbu and then switch to Nepali.
Material Development Workshop and Teacher Training
Four teachers, two literacy class facilitators, a member of staff, one local artist, 13 local indigenous knowledge holders and some of the children’s parents were trained to collect local stories and write them down so they are not forgotten. Our aim is to use them in the classrooms with the Limbu children. The local artist has already started the illustrations.
Adult literacy classes
We visited a Limbu women literacy class in Yashok run by Deshu. She explained how she began with pre-reading and writing activities that gave the participant’s basic reading and writing skills in Limbu. The remaining time for this class will be to make sure these skills stick.
Comments from some of the participants
Kamala (60) I am able to speak Limbu fluently but now I am learning to read and write it as well. This is a great fortune for me because now I am able to recognize, read and write the Limbu alphabet.
Indra Maya (55) I have fear of loosing my language. Now I am feeling happy because this program helps me and my friends us to use our language in reading and writing.
Sangita (24) I am literate in Nepali but not in Limbu. Now I am slowly learning how to read and write in Limbu. I am proud and happy to learn my own language.
Malati (50) I was illiterate in Limbu and Nepali but able to speak both of them. Now I am able to copy Limbu alphabets but cannot read it easily because of the confusion with half letters in Limbu. So we need more simple reading materials in Limbu.
Deshu, the facilitator shared that all the participants were highly motivated but heavy responsibilities at home that make it impossible for them to attend all the classes. This means the classes will has to run longer then planned to make sure they all finish well.
Sustainable Livelihoods (Khesh weaving training)
We are providing training to five women to develop skills to weave Khesh (a special kind of cloth used for shawls) Everyone realizes that it all too easy for their community to lose these skills so Harka Maya is facilitating the training. Her mother taught her how to weave Khesh and she is proud for this opportunity to pass on her skills to the younger women.
International Mother Language Day: 20 February 2014
This was an opportunity to present our programs to wider audience, Our Limbu partner organization invited government officers and members of other organization in Phidim to discus the role of local languages in the community. One strong point was the commitment to support more local primary schools to use Limbu in the classroom.
Listening and reflection is always a feature of any visit. We learnt:
- We need to continue to support local advocacy and networking among the stakeholders to promote and support the use of Limbu in primary schools. This includes continuing to collect and publish local stories and provide additional training to teachers to use them in their classrooms.
- There is a request from Limbu speakers who are literate in Nepali for us hold classes to teach them read and write Limbu.
- Expand the number of basic literacy classes.
- Promote indigenous skills as a basis for income generation to provide sustainable livelihoods
Without your donations none of this would be possible. Thank you.
Limbu Material Development Workshop
Discussion: Language issue and student's interest
Livelihood: Khesh weaving training to Limbu women
Limbu Literacy Class Participants