School to be built in Nepal

Sarah Young / 4 July 2013

Tariq Al Gurg and Badr Jafar signing the pact. — Supplied photo
Construction on a school for impoverished children in Nepal — many of whom have to walk kilometres to be educated each day if they are able go at all — will soon begin, thanks to a new UAE partnership.

Crescent Enterprises, a UAE-based conglomerate of companies, recently signed an agreement with philanthropic organisation Dubai Cares to construct a new school as part of Dubai Care’s ‘Adopt a School’ initiative in the Far Western region of Nepal, where many children do not have access to education,

The school will provide primary education to 150 children aged between five and 12, and also be used for adult education and literacy classes accommodating up to 60 women.

The three-year agreement will see Crescent Enterprises funding the construction of the new school, which is estimated to take one year, as well as teacher training initiatives.

Employees will also spend week-long volunteer visits in the region to help build the school, and live with and contribute to the community, including teaching.

Crescent Enterprises investment manager Tushar Singhvi said the company chose this project because of the need in the area, and they wanted to make an impact in a country where they were not already present.

“There’s a significant need for education in that particular region of Nepal as it is highly impoverished, with 60 per cent living below the poverty line, and literacy levels are very low.”

This was the first initiative at the primary school level, with the conglomerate already involved in a number of tertiary education initiatives and 50 graduate programmes.

Dubai Cares fundraising specialist Amal Al Redha said Nepal was chosen after various on-the-ground needs assessments showed a serious need for something to be done.

“It’s unsafe for children to walk those long distances so many parents keep them at home.”

Many of the existing schools were “in bad shape”, without access to clean water, and were not safe to study in, she said.

Community leaders they had spoken to were desperate for something to be done, saying ‘without education, our kids cannot be doctors, teachers or engineers’, she said.

“We’re focusing on bringing schools closer to them … it becomes a centre of the community, and children become agents for change, and can transfer their education to their family the community.”

The Adopt a School initiative is aiming to build 10 schools in different countries, including a number of schools in Palestine, to help achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Crescent Enterprises chief executive officer Badr Jafar said the conglomerate was very proud to be involved in the initiative.