Informal sessions likely will last until October.
In Nepal, like nearly everywhere else in the world, the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted daily life at home, at work and especially at school. To keep our children engaged in reading while classes are cancelled indefinitely, we started a make home deliveries of children's books.
The book drive is part of our teacher training program that emphasizes reading aloud to students. At the request of local officials, we've also set up 50 hand-washing stations, supplied with 1,000 bars of soap, 500 hand sanitizers and more than 1,000 masks, to promote good hygiene.
Overall, the book drive serves 20 communities and 400 children from 14 schools in Nuwakot district whose teachers have participated in our training program. That's important, because the teachers now understand the value of reading aloud, an activity that is not otherwise a part of a typical classroom routine in government schools that stress teaching to national exams.
Before receiving our training, most teachers perceive reading aloud as unnecessary. Quality children's books, with a compelling story and engaging illustrations, are rare in Nepal, which is why we have begun to produce our own.
Now that schools in Nepal are shut indefinitely, likely until late fall, about 60 teachers have agreed to lead small groups of six or seven students in informal daily read-aloud sessions in the villages where they live.
Parents around the world have all learned the same lesson after the last several months of staying home: the value of teachers and the social and emotional opportunities school provides children. American kids are passing the time with some combination of the Internet, video games, books and other hobbies. The vast majority of children we serve in Nepal do not have books at home, much less Disney Plus or Netflix. There is no distance learning in the way that we think of it in the West.
Thank you for your support during this unprecedented time around the world. As a donor, you can feel confident that together we are making a real, positive impact for children in rural areas of the Kathmandu Valley.