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child development in rural Nepal (CDS)

Location
Type
From
Nepal
child development support
£2,587 - details below
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The project currently works with 2 schools in rural Nepal - 10 kilometres from Pokhara. The goal is to help to improve the children's learning experience through classroom support. You will live in the famous  Tiger Mountain Lodge.
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Click for larger imageSkillsRequired

We work closely with the local people who manage this project, and they have identified their primary volunteer needs as follow:

  • English literacy teaching methodologies
  • teacher training methodologies for primary and secondary education
  • lesson planning
  • Early Childhood Education methodologies particularly in language development
  • the development of appropriate sustainable and cheap teaching aids
  • these are fundamental areas of modern education in which most  teachers have received no training.
The project

This project’s centre will be the Shree Amar Jyoti Gaun Pharka, a government  Secondary School. This school is situated in the eastern part of the Pokhara Valley, about 10km from Pokhara town, which is some 200km west of Kathmandu. This is the only secondary school in the community, with three ‘feeder’ primaries,  serving a big 'village' comprising various small communities including Rish Danda, Kaphal Ghari and Sillinge.

The skills share programme will work with Shree Amar Jyoti Gaun Pharka Secondary School focusing on the primary (Basic) phase which covers classes up to Grade 8, and with one of the feeder primary schools, Shiva Shakti School

According to the Nepalese curriculum, lessons should be held in English, although teachers’ own lack of skill and confidence in the language make this an ideal rather than a reality. Therefore, broader use of the English language in the schools is the primary goal of this project – English is the single most important educational tool a Nepalese child can have. Without it, they cannot take public exams and the School Leavers' Certificate. 


English offers some children a passport to a future – language can be taught through demonstrating modern teaching methods in classroom lessons, as well as through basic arts and crafts, creative writing, life-skills and associated conversation. 

A long term goal is to enable local staff to gain enough confidence to involve the children in their own learning and replace the current prevalence of  'chalk-and-talk'....another is to build the language skills within the school cluster to such an extent that future volunteers will be able to assist develop other areas of the curriculum - particularly IT.

Read more about how the skills share programme works with Amar Jyoti and Shiva Shakti schools here

Context

The area where the schools lie is known as Jaldhare Danda (after one of the many hilltops in the area). It has its natural beauty, with a fresh and quiet environment. From here one can see four different Himalayan ranges and the Pokhara Valley including Fewa Lake (the biggest lake in the valley).


Amar Jyoti school has a long history for a rural school in Nepal. It was established in 1962 as a primary school (grades 1-5). The number of the students at that time was low - just 12 students - and most of the students were male. The school became a Lower Secondary  School (grades 1-8). For about 35 years no investment was made in the school at all, causing attendance to drop even lower. Students were compelled to study in the open, under a tree during the summer due to the heat. During the monsoon rains school was often disrupted. Students had to bring their own straw mat or they had to find a stone to sit on. Sometimes students used to sit on their sandals too!

"With the establishment of Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge in 1998, prospects gradually became brighter for the school. The local Nature Guides from Tiger Mountain lead walks in the village for tourists and provided much support to introduce the problems of the school to the foreign visitors. Guests, who saw the poor condition of the school, started to contribute funds on an ad hoc basis. The Lodge’s charity account has been able to raise almost three million rupees (approximately USD 39,000) between 2001 and 2009. The construction work of the school was started with the help of other donors and in 2007 the school upgraded to a Secondary School (1-10 grades) with its modern classrooms including desk bench, drinking water, electricity, and toilets – all things not considered ‘routine’  in rural Nepal. A library was also provided with the support of a charity called Room to Read. In 2009  a similar partnership of community, government, charities, and Tiger Mountain began working to establish a computer lab, with workstations, internet access, and full servicing support – a real leap forward for a rural school."
Hari Adhikari  - Tiger Mountain Representative on The School Steering Committee

Restructuring of the education system in 2017 will divide education into two phases – Basic covering nursery to grade 8 and High covering grades 9 to 12, with students now taking their School Leaving Certificate at the end of grade 12.  Amar Jyoti School has plans to expand, providing facilities to cover these two additional years of education.

The local health post is next to the school so students have had the benefit of that since its establishment.

Shiva Shakti School is about 20 minutes away from Amar Jyoti School, in a beautiful valley surrounded by mango trees.  It is one of the oldest schools in the area and has been providing education since the days over 100 years ago when a priest used to teach local children, sitting on a mat outside the Shiva temple.  The school has a good reputation and strong community commitment, with the local community raising money to support teachers’ salaries, transport to school and food for lunches, in their determination to keep their school going and not allow it to be merged with larger schools.

Most of the people who have been living here are semi-subsistence farmers. When parents can afford private education, they send their children to private schools, but when the cash runs out, they send the children back to the government school. Parents send their children to the private school because of the perceived quality of education and English medium teaching. Parents are very proud of their children’s ability to use English, which often can only be effectively achieved in private school. They see no value in the government school’s secondary education curriculum delivered in Nepalese. It should be noted here that Nepalese has a small vocabulary that cannot easily accommodate technical and modern concepts.
 
If students can get quality education, particularly English language skills, from government schools, then economically poor parents are not compelled to send their children to private school, with all the costs incurred, or feel further social exclusion. 
 
Different ethnic and caste groups live in this area so volunteers will experience a rich cultural diversity whilst enjoying the welcome of the Pokhara Tiger Mountain team who will be your hosts during your stay.

"The kindnesses of everyone never faltered the whole time we were there and even increased (if that were possible) during the few days I was feeling unwell. Their friendly faces and attentive ways, coupled with such beautiful scenery and comfortable accommodation, was something Margaret and I looked forward to so much at the end of our school day.  How fortunate we were to be given an assignment by people and places that gave us the best of everything! Please would you pass on my heartfelt thanks to everybody – We were made to feel safe and secure and when it was time to return to Kathmandu I felt as though I was leaving a family behind
My thanks also extend to the delightful Tiger Mountain representative who looked after us in Kathmandu.
The project itself is very exciting and both Margaret and I not only enjoyed it very much but we are also so pleased to have been in at the start. We will always feel we have ownership of it – so don't be surprised if we closely follow how it progresses!I have copied this e-mail to Kate and will be telephoning her soon to let her know what a magical experience this has all been. I know Paddy and Julie will have a wonderful time and I will speak to them shortly too so that they know how much they can look forward to their trip."  Val 
 
Whether you are a professional teacher or classroom assistant, retired or in work and looking for a career break, you can share your skills and experience with local teaching staff in this education development project. Other skills and experience will be welcomed too – take a look at the list of needs, as identified by the project, near the top of this page. 

Minimum Duration
4 weeks minimum
Living Conditions
As part of its contribution to this skills share programme, Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge offers a substantial discount  to volunteers to cover their accommodation and meals (full board including a packed lunch on work days).

Tiger Mountain  is committed to Community Support and Conservation - read more here

Accommodation is a single room with en suite facilities in the stunning Tiger Mountain Lodge. The lodge benefits from stunning views of the Himalayas and a glorious swimming pool!

The lodge is a pleasant 30-minute walk from the school through the local community.However if you are tired at the end of a tough day - or the weather is a challenge - transport will be provided.
Project Costs

£2587 for 4 weeks based on full board in the luxury Tiger Mountain Lodge 

read about our costs and pricing policy here 
watch an explanatory interview with programme director Sallie Grayson 

Sterling price based on dollar exchange rate of 1.30

Additional weeks  are costed at a sliding reducing rate
Please note these costs are correct to the best of our knowledge but can only be confirmed at time of booking due to changes in internal flight costs and taxes outside our control.

Included:
Full board accommodation at Tiger Mountain, ,airport transfers in Kathmandu and Pokhara, return flight Kathmandu-Pokhara, full local orientation,Nepali Cooking lesson,wildlife walks with local guides local SIM card, project & placement liaison

Your project contribution will be used for the purchase of essential equipment for the school.

How your money is spent based on 4 weeks

$2725 direct costs in Nepal (transfers, accommodation, orientation, information packs, liaison & supervision)
$0 -   PMT fee - Tiger Mountain are donating their time as part of their community  commitment
$150 - project 
contribution in Nepal
£260 - matching preparation & project development in UK

Not included:
International flights, insurance, visa costs, personal expenses such as phone calls, medical expenses, sightseeing  

If you or your friends and family wish to make further donations to this project CLICK HERE

Recommended Reading

Registered volunteers can learn about the local Team for this project - log on to learn more about this project and the local team we work with

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