April 22 2021

Action for Karuna – A joyful learning environment for kids in Nepal

Action for Karuna is a is a project of solidarity initiatives whose main week will take place this year from 24 to 31 May. Anyone can propose a charity initiative or project and collect funds for one of Karuna’s programs. This year’s edition is focused on our new Early Childhood Development program (ECD) – Promoting Quality Life with Quality Education.

Improving Early Childhood Development in Nepal

Globally, it has been recognized that early childhood – from age 0 to 6 – is the foundation for cognitive, social, physical, and emotional development of the children. Studies show that when provided with age appropriate learning facilities in early stages of life, children develop and show great learning abilities at all stages of their life. Oddly, pre-primary education seems to be the forgotten one in Nepal, since it was only in 2016 that Nepal formally recognized it as part of Nepal’s free and compulsory basic education.

The growth of Early Childhood Development centers over the years in terms of numbers have been remarkable but the quality of education lacks to meet the minimum standards. Just like any other level of education, there is a gap in quality between private and government public ECD centers. The cost of the first is a major barrier for attending and the quality of the latter is questionable due to limited adequate infrastructure and facilities such as educational materials, toilet and drinking water facilities.

Moreover, it is also the qualified and fully present teaching staff that is missing: the lack of training and monitoring by the Nepalese National Education, their low salaries and the fact that most teachers are in charge of multiple classes at the same time leaves them unable to supervise the children.

Empowering teachers, parents & children

Karuna-Shechen has introduced its new ECD program in 2021 in Sindhuli and Kavre districts of Nepal. It is composed of three main areas of intervention : the training and monitoring of teachers, the renovation and equipment of the infrastructures and finally the awareness-raising of parents. These three components will convey a joyful and compassionate environment for each child’s development.

As mentioned above, a major challenge in ECD education is regular technical support, training and monitoring for the teachers. In March 2021, 17 ECD teachers from Sindhuli and Kavre districts were provided 12-days basic ECD training, covering various topics such as child rights, child development, national minimum standard, the six learning areas, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation, etc. They also learned to prepare various teaching and play materials from the locally available resources that would help in gross and motor skills development of the kids.

Parents are the first and foremost education provider to the children but they lack awareness on how to be helpful and create an environment at home for children to thrive. The teachers will be provided 5-days parenting education training to make them capable of empowering parents and encouraging them to provide a learning environment at home.

In order to ensure that the children receive productive and quality education, the program aims to establish library corners with books in the classrooms that most rural schools in Nepal lack. It is also an opportunity for students to have supplementary books and materials for them to receive more well rounded education.

Discover one of these schools !

Bhedikhor’s ECD center is located in the district of Sindhuli. Isolated high in the mountains, it is located in a sloppy area too steep for the children to really benefit from an outdoor space to play freely.  Until a few years ago, this school did not exist: it was created on the initiative of the villagers, who decided to build it when they realized that the children had to walk for hours to get to the nearest school! At first, it was just a shed made of steel sheets. Without basic facilities, drinking water, toilets and equipment, Bhedikhor will be one of the ECD centers equipped and renovated this year by Karuna. In the meantime, the new teacher, Bhim Maya Sunuwar, brings cushions and bottles of drinking water for the children from her home.

Bhim Maya Sunuwar is the new teacher in Bhedikhor ECD center. After completing her 10th grade in 2011, she stopped school to take care of her three children. Ten years later, she got an opportunity to participate in the 12-days basic ECD training organized by Karuna-Shechen. This was my first time participating in such training. I am happy that I was able to learn even the things that our mothers have forgotten to teach us about child development , Bhim Maya shares.

You can support this program and make a change for the children, teachers and parents in Nepal.

Join the Action for Karuna movement !

Or make a donation.