During our time in Nepal we observed the villages had little support from the Government and if the villages wanted change they had to find solutions themselves. The communities were willing to work together but are limited in what they can achieve due to low funds.
Most parents in Lwang Ghalel are on low incomes and cannot afford to buy their children uniforms. Hand-me-downs are common often in poor condition. Children often go to school wearing inappropriate clothing for the season. It is difficult for some parents to buy textbooks and basic stationery, although the Government does provide textbooks for the lower years.
The Government schools are underfunded with a small staff structure. As the local population grows the schools become crowded and understaffed with classrooms left unattended. Village teachers are recruited with little training and the community is encouraged to raise funds to pay their salary of around £55 per month. Due to such low pay and little training the teaching levels are often substandard. The Marigold Chain does not participate in paying salaries but strives to assist the schools through alternative methods.
The big challenge with the current teaching methods in these schools is the pupils are taught ‘what to think’ parrot fashion, rather than ‘how to think’ for themselves. They are not encouraged to develop the skills how to think independently, nor are they shown how to analyse the problem and derive their own solutions. This can lead to young adults struggling with problem-solving skills, and looking to others to fix an obstacle.
Facilities in schools are functional but basic. Equipment currently used include blackboards, chalk and textbooks. Lessons are unvaried and teaching methods and material are unchanged from one year to the next. The Government Schools don’t have funds for extra resources such as modern equipment, libraries or extra teaching aids. When new teaching aids are donated it is imperative the teachers are taught how to implement them in class. We have observed that some of the schools have basic libraries using books donated from other charities but often the books are not familiar to the teachers and no one is taught how to manage and run the library so the children don’t understand the facility and the books are not utilized. This is something that The Marigold Chain aspires to overcome when donating items to help with the teaching.
Children are encouraged to go to school until Grade 9 age 16 – 17, although they leave earlier if they repeatedly fail a year, get married or leave to work with their parents on the farm. During exam time in Grade 10 pupils are encouraged to study for three months, often living in a hostel near the school so to take on extra classes. This can cost approximately £100 per month which most parents just don’t have. If the students don’t take these extra classes they run the risk of failing and have to drop out. We aim to support all of these students as funds will allow.
Start-up grants for new businesses
The Nepalese economy is weak and there are few jobs and prospects. The main draw is to work abroad. This is mainly in the Middle East but also in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan and India. The jobs offered to Nepalese are often referred to as the three D’s, Dangerous, Dirty or Difficult. Young people are exploited working long hours for little pay. Their passports confiscated on arrival and tied into three-year contracts. The men often work in construction in the soaring heat stopping only when the temperature reaches 38°C/ 95°F. Accommodation is in shared shipment containers with basic conditions, sometimes with poor quality air conditioning and one shared tap between ten to twenty men. The women often work in domestic service and we have heard many stories of young women suffering both sexual and physical abuse from their employers. The average pay for an unskilled worker is £800 per year. It is hard to find a Nepalese family without a member currently working abroad. Most have undergone three year overseas. Many don’t renew their contracts and some never discuss their ordeal.
Keeping young skilled people in the local area is a key objective we are working towards.
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