Out of every 1000 children born in Nepal each year, on average 700 (70%) enter school in Class 1 (nursery school, age 5 to 6). This falls to only 7% completing Class 10 (age 12 to 13), and 1.4% pass the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) at age 16.
Although an encouraging number of children are starting school, few of them manage to complete their studies. There are a number reasons for this. There is pressure from home for children to help on the subsistence plot or work to keep the family supported. The cost of uniforms and books get higher as the children progress, causing parents to show less support for their child’s education. There are also fewer junior and senior schools and so travel time increases as children have to walk further to reach the nearest school. With the lack of sanitation, puberty is tough for girls and they are often literally teased out of school.
We have had up to 121 children enrolled on this scheme; and currently 25 children in our bursary programme. The recipients are deprived families, single parents, and orphans who due to poverty are at risk of child exploitation, trafficking, child neglect or child displacement. We provide educational support to help keep the family unit together, which includes a package to cover expenses for school fees, uniforms, stationary and in some cases household costs.
We have learnt much from managing this programme over a 9 year period and are no longer setting up new bursaries. The children in our scheme will continue to be supported until there education is completed.
With the introduction of our CHANCE for Life programme, we hope that schools can be self-sufficient and help support children in the communities through income generation schemes. We are constantly evolving and reaching for sustainable solutions, and are now moving emphasis to personal development for children and young people. This enables them to access quality developmental opportunities which will help shape their life, give them skills and broaden their horizons. By offering a programme which is inclusive to all school-goers it will reach further than the current bursary system. Our aim is to set up a network countrywide where children can access the International Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
If you are interested in supporting this programme you can donate £25 to help make the award accessible to a child at risk of exploitation in Nepal.