ETC staff members distributing school supplies
In each previous project report, we have told you - our kind friends and supporters - about the ways in which we had recently been physically improving dozens of schools in rural Nepal.
This time, we'd like to do something just a little bit different.
We'll still tell you about the physical improvements, of course, because that's what this project is all about. Since our last report, we have been able to:
- Construct permanent and semi-permanent, quake-resistant buildings at 19 schools, including Saptamai Primary School (pictured below). These are typically two-classroom, one-story buildings which can be built relatively economically and quickly. We're on track to finish these before the monsoon season begins later in June;
- Provide furniture - desks, benches, shelving units, etc. - at 10 schools; and
- Provide carpeting, low tables, and play materials at early childhood education classrooms at 17 schools.
Although the obvious importance of having school buildings to go to cannot be overstated, it is equally important that children can actually attend, and that their experience is enriching. With that in mind, we'd like to tell you about some of the "soft" programs that complement the physical infrastructure work, and that make ETC so effective in improving education in rural Nepal.
- In February, ETC provided important basic support to 670 children from impoverished families, who might otherwise have to be kept home from school. We do this every year, covering relatively low-cost necessities that are nevertheless beyond the reach of some families. Pictured at the top of this report, ETC-Nepal Director Mira Rana and Education Director Laxmi Basukala present a child with her new backpack full of useful supplies.
- We also hold regular open meetings with parents – attended by hundreds annually – at which parents gain information and learn strategies to give their children the best chance to succeed at school. Topics include the importance of regular school attendance and of reading at home, behavioral issues and how best to cope, and health issues.
- Rural teachers in Nepal are very unlikely to have access to professional development opportunities. ETC provides training every year to dozens of teachers of varying grade levels and subjects. Most recently, 34 teachers from 30 schools participated enthusiastically in a three-day music therapy training workshop, led by a well-known Nepali singer/musician. Incorporating music and dance into young children’s school activities offers an outlet for energy, fosters a positive learning environment, enables the use of skills and thought processes not typically engaged through desk work, and in this case provides children with a way to work through any ongoing post-quake stress. Pictured below are some of the training participants dancing to a lively song, and young children at Guranse Primary School dancing and singing in their classroom.
- Finally, enriching extracurricular activities are an important component of any child's education. ETC supports volleyball tournaments, art competitions, and club activities such as our Agriculture in Schools program. Participants learn about the dignity and importance of agricultural work, gain practical experience through planning and cultivating their school gardens, and pass on their newfound skills and knowledge to their farming families. Pictured below are program participants at Milijuli Lower Secondary School, led by ETC staff agricultural specialist Chock Badahur Thami.
All of this "hard" and "soft" work is crucial to the success of our educational programming. We are delighted to report that GlobalGiving is still matching gifts at 100% to quake-related projects, including ours! Some of you have already taken advantage of that opportunity, for which we are very grateful. You can click here to read more about this terrific opportunity, which will continue while matching funds remain.
As always, we thank you very much for your interest in and support of our work with children in rural Nepal.
Quake-resistant construction at Saptamai P.S.
Teachers in music therapy training workshop
Guranse P.S. children singing and dancing in class
Agriculture in Schools kids, Milijuli L.S.S.