Skip to main content

In Nepali Village No Money? Beat 'em and Chase Them Away...

July 17, 2009
Braving monsoon rain, slippery muddy road, we went to Bulaki Chaur yesterday. It had been a while since we had actually visited the village. Min Bahadur dai, a villager, had sought our help with local school, which only has class upto 2nd grade. He and several other villagers had told us that the teacher at the school never shows up. So, the children don’t get education.

We had found teacher’s, who lives in the city, phone number from District Education office, contacted the teacher. And, we requested that we go up to village together. Teachers agreed, with some reservations.

We had never been to the village during monsoon. On slipper muddy road with Shafia, my friend from Madison, riding on her first real bike ride as an adult, we left for two hours of bike ride and almost an hour of hike. Rain had slipped some parts of the trail to the village, at times, making it more narrower than I had seen in the past. Most of the green hills were covered in clouds, cloaking everything. Half way into our trek, downpour began. We took shelter at a house nearby. When the rain stopped, after almost half an hour, and the clouds cleared, beautiful green hills emerged, more greener than I have ever seen, beautiful …splendid. In the distance between the rising clouds villages emerged. We continued to Bulaki Chaur.

After our shramadana back in February, I was often asked, whether the trail we constructed would survive the monsoon. I approached the village worrying whether it did survive. I was relieved to see our sweat had not gone in vain. Trail remained intact and I walked into the village much more comfortably than I had ever done in the past.

We had arrived late in the village, so Min Bahadur dai asked whether we would walk all the way to the top of the village and walk down, getting to each house and asking people to come for the meeting.

Meeting began with us as a mediator, the teacher and villagers sitting in a circle. Villagers complained that teachers don’t come every day and the children aren’t learning. The teacher said that the students never show up to class. Why should he come all the way from the city if no student shows up? Villagers challenged if he came everyday, children would come. Teacher mentioned that the children don’t even have enough to eat and come to school hungry. So, no one is interested in learning.

After hours of discussion it became a chicken and egg issue, with the teacher saying that no one comes to the school and the villagers insisting that if teacher came to the school everything would be alright. They would often agree that not every parent in the village was keen on sending their children to the school. In government run schools, teachers are appointed by the Education Department and there is very little that either the villagers themselves or we could do.

At points, they would come to discussions about what Sarvodaya might do. Will Sarvodaya feed children so no one goes to school hungry? Will Sarvodaya pay to hire another teacher? That’s the solution the teacher would continue to point to the villagers and villagers would often agree with him. Expecting us pay for one or the other thing.

We continued to insist on finding more sustainable solutions. I would ask if there really was a problem of hunger ? Were there people in the village who couldn’t really afford feed the children? Would villagers contribute, if infact we needed to hire another teacher? And, I would also point out that Sarvodaya doesn’t have money nor were we there to provide meal or teacher’s salary without really feeling the need.

My personal position was that the teacher who would only come to school 3 days (of 6 working days) and still take full teacher’s salary and the lack of motivation in parents part to send their children to school or use some of their limited rights to make sure that teacher came to school (most adults have very limited or no education, so they are easily manipulated) were the main problem.

When we continued to insist that we had no money that Min Bahadur dai began:
He said, “We have been told by a person at another NGO, which is active in the village, that how can there be an organization with no money? It sounds fishy.” Min Bahadur continued, “people who are asking you to do shramadana but give nothing must be beaten up and chased away from the village. They must be crooks, who will take picture of your work and rack billions of rupees for their personal benefit.”

Unfortunately, NGOs have gotten pretty bad rapport in Nepal. There are organizations, and many of them, which are solely been establish to enrich the founders. However, I felt that I just needed to be straight and I flatly said, “if you really think that’s what we are doing or believe that our presence is not needed, please feel free to say so. We will never come back.”

After trying and not really finding a common ground between the villagers and the teacher, we decided that we will meet again to consider our options when the school reopens after summer vacation in 3 weeks.

It was getting late and we still had a treacherous walk and rough ride home.
Back on the trail, I wondered whether what we are trying to do with Sarvodaya, without being project driven and volunteering our time and spending personal money will ever find its own ways in Nepal.
Photos here: http://picasaweb.google.com/skhanal/Monsson_BulakiChaur#
Shramadana Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38Fd1g2PXLE

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

विद्यार्थी भर्ना मात्र गर्ने कि टिकाउने पनि !

नेपालमा नयाँ बर्षसँगै नयाँ शैक्षिक वर्ष पनि सुरु हुन्छ। यसैको मौकामा २०७५  साल सुरुवातमै प्रधानमन्त्री केपी शर्मा ओलीले  एक जना विद्यार्थी स्कुल भर्ना गर्नुभयो। अभियान सुरु गर्दै सबैलाई नेताहरुलाई ‍कम्तिमा एक जना विद्यार्थी भर्ना गर्न अाव्हान पनि गर्नुभयो। अहिले शिक्षामन्त्री, प्रदेश मुख्यमन्त्रीहरु, वरिष्ठ नेताहरु, सांसदहरु लगायतले विद्यार्थी भर्ना गराइरहेको समाचारले प्रमुखता पाइरहेको छ।संविधानले सबै बालबालिकासम्म शिक्षाको पहुँच ‍निर्दिष्टता गरेको ‍परिवेशमा देशको नेतृत्वले गरेको यो प्रयास सरहानीय ‍हो। तर नीतिनिर्माण तहमा रहेको नेतृत्वलाई यति कदममै रमाउने छुट भने छैन। शिक्षा मन्त्रलाय तथा अन्य अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय संस्थाको तथ्यांक अाधार मान्दा, भर्नाभन्दा पनि स्कुलसम्म पुगेका केटाकेटी त्यहाँ कसरी टिकाउने र गुणस्तरीय शिक्षा कसरी दिने भन्ने अबको धेय हुनु पर्ने देखिन्छ। अब पहुँचमा भन्दा गुणस्तरमा समय र परिश्रम धेरै गर्नु पर्ने देखिन्छ। शिक्षा मन्त्रालय, युनिसेफ, तथा विश्व बैंकका तथ्यांक अाधार मान्ने हो भने, नेपालमा ५-९ वर्ष उमेर समूहका झण्डै ९७ प्रतिशत केटाकेटी स्कुल भर्ना हुन्छन्। यो द

मधेस अान्दोलन मुद्दा: - के जनसंख्या मात्रको अाधारमा प्रतिनिधित्व ठिक हो?

मधेश अान्दोलनमा सहभागि अान्दोलनरत दल, समर्थक विचार निर्माताहरु, सहभागिहरुले नयंा संविधान  मधेस विरोधि भयो भनेर उ्ठाइएका विभिन्न मुद्दा मध्ये नयां संविधानमा जनसंख्याको अाधारमा प्रतिनिधित्व भएन भन्ने पनि छ। अधिवक्ता दिपेन्द्र झा ले लेख्नु भएका विभिन्न लेख र फेसबुक पोस्टहरु मा, " धारा ८४(१)(क)प्रतिनिधिसभाको प्रत्यक्ष तर्फ रहेका १६५ सिटको लागि जनसंख्याको आधारमा निर्वाचन क्षेत्र कायम गर्ने प्रावधान राख्नु पर्छ । हाल भूगोल र जनसंख्याको आधारमा राखिएको छ । बरु कर्णाली, मनाङ जस्ता भौगोलिक विकटता भएको क्षेत्रको लागि विशेष प्रावधान राख्न सकिन्छ ।‍  "  यो मुद्दा प्रमुख रुपमा उ्ठाईको देखिन्छ ।  सामान्यतया प्रजातान्त्रिक व्यवस्थाहरुमा, जनसंख्या नै प्रतिनिधित्वको मुल अाधार हो । एक व्यक्ति, एक भोट र त्यसैको अाधारमा हुने प्रतिनिधित्वको व्यवस्था । यसअर्थमा मधेसबाट उ्ठाईको मुद्दा ठिक लागे पनि, नेपाल जस्तो भौगोलिक  जटिलता र दुर्गमता भएको जिल्ला भएको देशको लागि एकांकि ढंगले सोच्नु कत्तिको सार्थक छ?  नेपालको परिवेशमा जनसंख्यलाई मात्र हैन, भुगोललाई पनि प्रतिनिधित्वको हुनु पर्ने अाधार देखि्न्छ । 

Local solutions for education

  To ensure children continue to learn, federal, provincial, and local governments have to find locally adaptable solutions to support the learning opportunity for children.   According to UNESCO, globally about 1.6 billion children, which account for 91 percent of all learners, are currently affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Nepal’s over 7 million school-going children and additional university students have also been severely affected by the closure of educational institutions. When the government started lockdown on March 24, Nepal was already on the tail end of the school year, thus the first three weeks of the closure didn’t have a significant impact on students’ learning activities. However, since the academic year in Nepal starts in mid-April, the continued shutdown of academic institutions are now likely to put most children out of educational activities for several weeks. While children from higher-income families might have the opportunity to engage in a plethora of digital