School built by Dubai Cares changes face of Nepal village

Dubai: Dubai Cares has showcased the transformation of a remote Nepal village as an example of the impact its programmes are having in the lives of people far and wide with the support of the UAE community.

The UAE-based philanthropic organisation highlighted the turnaround achieved by a marginalised village in Nepal — and its people — following the implementation of its education programmes.

Dubai Cares said its efforts in Nepal “reflect the theme of empowerment” that it is promoting during its Ramadan campaign titled ‘We Can Teach Each Other’.

Sukumbasi Tol, deep in rural Nepal, didn’t have much to look up to. The name of the village itself meant the “Settlement of landless people”, a reference to its inhabitants, a discriminated minority group with no land rights.

The community’s adults could not even read basic numerals, let alone letters of the alphabet. The children too were in dire need of an education. Until recently, the community’s only school didn’t even have a roof, making it hard on students during the monsoon rains as it would get too cold, wet and dangerous in the classrooms.

Nepal is one of the least developed countries in the world, with almost a quarter of its population living below the poverty line. Access to education is one of Nepal’s pressing challenges and one that particularly afflicts its smaller villages.

With the support of Dubai Cares, which identified the need to educate and empower the people of Sukumbasi Tol, a new school along with an adult literacy programme was instituted in the village. That led to the villagers gaining the confidence to change the name of their village to reflect their newfound status. Instead of going by a name that suggested their abode as the Settlement of Landless People, they have now named their village Manakamana Tol — “mana” meaning heart and “kamana” meaning wish.

Ever since the construction of the new school, there has been a 43 per cent increase in enrolment at Manakamana Tol. Dubai Cares has also facilitated the appointment of a new teacher as well as a new teacher trainee to be assigned by the District Education Office, with the aim of raising the quality of education by decreasing the student-to-teacher ratio.

The District Education Office was so impressed by the efforts of the community that it decided to allocate resources for the construction of an additional two-room school structure to provide additional space for children to learn.

Also, in response to increasing calls for more Adult Literacy Programme classes, Dubai Cares set up two classes within the village. The programme gave the adults of the village the ability to take ownership of their businesses instead of being dependent on others. Within just five months of its inception, participants have learned the Nepali alphabet and are now able to write their own names, can read simple sentences and do basic mathematics.

More than half the total population of Nepal cannot read and write, with female literacy standing at less than the half of the literacy level of males.

“With education, women, men and children can step up their fight against poverty and instability. As seen in Nepal, building a school or providing education ignites a fire of positive change in developing communities,” said Bahaa Hamade, PR and Events Manager, Dubai Cares.