The Nepal School Project provides a free elementary education to Nepalese children in order to promote education as an alternative to child labor. To enable children to attend school regularly, the project also provides one free meal per day to each child.
In Sankhu, a village located about one hour by bus from the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, more than 50% of the village's 10,000 residents are unemployed. Because public schools in Nepal require tuition, many parents cannot afford to send their children to school. As a result of the high rate of unemployment and the lack of free education in their village, an estimated 20% of children between age nine and fourteen leave Sankhu and their families to enter into child labor in Kathmandu.
Run jointly by The Advocates for Human Rights and its Nepali partner, Hoste Hainse, the Sankhu-Palubari Community School opened in September 1999 for all disadvantaged children in the area, including girls. (In Nepal, girls are normally expected to give up school in favor of domestic work.) In addition to their lessons in reading, writing, and arithmetic, the children receive a free meal—a very important and popular part of the program. In addition, the teachers have been trained in human rights awareness and are incorporating human rights into the curriculum. The school also currently provides immunizations for all of its students.
The school began with 50 students the first year and has added additional students each year. Now beginning its tenth year of operation in 2008, the school has approximately 241 enrolled students.
The school has made a positive impact on the community, as a Sankhu village police inspector noted to The Advocates. He reported that many of the community members, who are illiterate, used to request his help in reading their letters. Now, however, they no longer need his assistance because their children can read to them. The children can read because they are enrolled in the Sankhu School.
An important aspect of The Sankhu-Palubari Community School Project is the partnership with the Sankhu Village Development Committee, a group of local leaders who can help ensure community support for the school. Because local community leaders are involved in the school's progress, the project has increased the degree of collaboration and support among community members.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The Advocates for Human Rights works to raise funds to support the school. Click here to donate money to Sankhu School or other The Advocates' projects (direct your payment to "Nepal School Project").
Schools, businesses, and community organizations can collaborate with The Advocates for Human Rights to raise awareness about the plight of child laborers in other ways as well: through collection boxes, educational programming, workshops, etc. To become involved, or for more information, please contact Jennifer Prestholdt.
The Advocates for Human Rights completely funds the education of 241 children in Nepal. To help us support the Sankhu-Palubari Community School, please send your donation here (direct your payment to "Nepal School Project"). For more information, please contact Jennifer Prestholdt.
My father encouraged me to join the school. I like my school very much. I have many friends at school. We study and play together. My father is a farmer and my mother died when I was very small. My sisters go to work in others' fields to earn money. I want to study and be a doctor. -- a 10-year-old girl student at Sankhu-Palubari Community School.
As parents we now have realized that we should send our children to school, we now feel the importance of education. Being illiterate we are now facing hardship and hurdles, we could not even earn to provide the basic needs. So now we will educate our children for their better future. – A parent of children at