Breaking the cycle of poverty with education in the most remote parts of the world


We all know how difficult the past year has been for schoolchildren here but for children in some of the most remote and marginalised communities abroad who have no access to technology it has been nearly impossible.

Even before the pandemic struck, 258 million children were out of school. The UN has estimated that 24 million children may never return to school after the pandemic. Concerns are that vital progress made in access to education will be pushed back by a decade.

Photographer Navesh Chitraker travelled for two days, from Kathmandu to the extremely remote and rural region of Sankhuwasabha to document this community where there has been little access to education for centuries. Even today in Sankhuwasabha and other rural areas of Nepal, only a third of the population completes primary education. The culture of education is new and fragile; there is little understanding of the importance of education, families are dependent on children’s help in the fields and at home and for many it’s just too far or dangerous to get to school.

Surya Karki, country director of United World Schools, Nepal, says: “Two-thirds of children that attend state schools drop out of the educational system before they finish secondary school.

“For children that are out of school in these remote areas, especially the girls, the future is precarious. They are more likely to be exploited for child labour and as many as 10 per cent of young girls are married by the age of 15.

“Our aim at UWS is to try to break the cycle of poverty by giving these children a life-changing education. We’ve already reached 6,800 children in Nepal – and 43,000 across all our programme countries – by developing schools, investing in local communities and innovating our programmes.

“There is 90 per cent chance that children at UWS schools succeed because we work with the community to make sure the investment is worth it. Our aim is that they become critical thinkers, that they continue to dream and explore. I wouldn’t say that every child is going to become a professional but I would say that none of these children will be exploited.”

Award-winning charity UWS has launched Happily Ever Smarter, a campaign to get thousands more children in remote parts of Asia into school for the very first time. It aims to raise £2m to build, resource and equip 70 new schools, train 375 local people as community teachers and reach 10,000 more children – to give them a chance to escape a cycle of poverty and transform their lives.

Donate to help children live Happily Ever Smarter before 29 July and the UK government will double your donations, to reach even more children in remote areas across Asia with a life-changing education. www.unitedworldschools.org

Anish Poudel, 6 (right), with fellow pupils at a United World School in Majjuwa, Nepal, where maths, English, Nepali, science and social studies are compulsory

(Arete/Navesh Chitrakar/UWS)

Anish at home with his mother Anjana Poudel, 25, and sister Puja, 4, as they sit in the sun in Majjuwa, Nepal. Apart from foreign labour and tourism, people rely upon farming. The pandemic has meant reduced access to markets and families are having to farm more and need their children’s labour even more

(Navesh Chitrakar/UWS)

Anjana dresses Anish for school. She says: “We believe through education he can have a future away from simply living without dreams. We are investing in him in the hope that a life out of poverty can become real.”

(Navesh Chitrakar/UWS)

Menuka Tamang, 10, sits near her grandmother’s shop in Mabir, Nepal

(Navesh Chitrakar/UWS)

Dhana Laxmi Rai, 72, says: “Life has been very hard. I’ve had to use these 10 fingers to the fullest in order to live. I never went to a school. Back in my times, there was no concept of school. Schools started to emerge and I thought about going but then I got married and didn’t have time.”

(Navesh Chitrakar/UWS)

Farmer Indra Rai, 34, didn’t finish primary school but wishes for her two young daughters to train to become either teachers or nurses

(Navesh Chitrakar/UWS)

Dhana Laxmi Rai and her granddaughter Kanchi, 10, live together. Until 4 years ago there was no school in the village an hour’s walk away through the foothills

(Navesh Chitrakar/UWS)

Schools are now open but as a second wave of Covid-19 hits Nepal there are fears they may have to shut again. Once the habit of going to school is lost, it is the girls who are most vulnerable to dropping out as families need their daughters to help at home or in the fields. Some are married as young as 14 or 15

(Navesh Chitrakar/UWS)

Apsara Tamang, 10, with her sister Anusha, 7, study on their bed while a cockerel struts in their home in Heluwabesi, Nepal

(Navesh Chitrakar/UWS)

Apsara attends United World Schools, Heluwabesi

(Navesh Chitrakar/UWS)

Sankar Narayan Shrestha, 94, takes care of his cattle in Heluwabesi. He has never been to school but now understands the importance of education. He does not have any children and has donated a piece of land for the UWS to build the school. He has poor eyesight. He says: “Education is a must in life.”

(Navesh Chitrakar/UWS)

Kopila Tamang, 9, and her sister Muna, 11, in their room in Mabir, Nepal

(Navesh Chitrakar/UWS)

Kopila carrying a basket full of grass for the cattle

(Navesh Chitrakar/UWS)

Barsha Rai, 10, at home after harvesting in Heluwabesi, Nepal

(Navesh Chitrakar/UWS)

Menuka washes utensils as she helps her grandmother Nirmaya Tamang, 58, at her shop

(Navesh Chitrakar/UWS)

Kopila looks through the kitchen window

(Navesh Chitrakar/UWS)

Anish on a rocky path on his way to school in Majjuwa

(Navesh Chitrakar/UWS)

Boys play football during a break. UWS builds schools in some of the most remote, impoverished villages and champions inclusive, innovative and sustainable education, including remote learning during the Covid-19 pandemic

(Navesh Chitrakar/UWS)



Source link

Related posts