Many Nepali children do not attend school because their families cannot afford the uniform and small fees. Furthermore, many parents expect their children to work on the family farm or do housework all day.
In 2011-2012, the Nepal Youth Foundation’s village scholarships provided education to 74 children in impoverished rural families – 33 girls and 41 boys. Many are the first members of their families to attend school.
Only 70% of Nepali children enroll in primary school, and many of them drop out before the fifth grade. In the rural areas where the Nepal Youth Foundation works, the dropout rate is very high. Often, a family simply cannot afford the cost of the school uniform and school supplies, or even the very small school fee.
In several rural districts in Nepal, the Nepal Youth Foundation grants scholarships to children to cover their school expenses. This is the first generation in most of these areas to receive an education. An education is the best way to prepare these youngsters for the very difficult future that awaits them, since an increasing number of the next generation in Nepal's overpopulated hills will inherit no land and will have no choice but to find their fortunes competing for jobs in the cities.
The impact of the program ripples throughout communities. The scholarships motivate parents other than those whose children NYF supports to send their kids to school, because there is social pressure in the village when some kids go to school and others do not. Some parents hope that their children will also be sponsored if they start school. Headmasters report that there are noticeable rises in general attendance after NYF brings its scholarship program to their schools.
NYF’s field workers visit the schools regularly to check on the children and to observe how the schools are functioning. They walk the mountain paths of isolated rural areas, stopping at various village schools to survey the situation and discuss any problems with the headmasters and students.
The Nepal Youth Foundation supports children until they can support themselves. After they graduate from high school, the organization provides them with college scholarships or vocational training. 273 children have received life-changing opportunities thanks to this program since NYF began.
My name is Sushmita--Now I Am Not Hopeless. I am now twelve years old. I have my father, mother and three brothers in my family and I am the only daughter. I am studying in grade 5. I feel so lucky because of the support I have been receiving from NYF. If I hadn't got support, going to school would have been a dream to me because my family is so poor.
Our condition is very miserable. The roof of our house is made of straw. During the rainy season the rain water leaks through the roof and the house is also vulnerable to the wind. My father has no job and we have a very small plot of land. The cultivation from that land is insufficient for us even to feed ourselves. We don't even have enough blankets to protect ourselves from the winter. My only clothes are the school uniform provided by NYF.
My aim in life is to become a nurse and take care of the poor. That is why I have been studying so hard. But my father scolds me when he gets drunk. He even beats my mother. Last time she had to be taken to hospital because of my father's physical torture. Despite these adversities, I am not hopeless.