IYH EDUCATION STRATEGY UPDATE
Hello from the team at In Your Hands,
We just want to keep you updated on how the schools are doing in Nepal.
We started the charity to help children get back to school after the earthquake in areas that were not a priority to the government. We have repaired/rebuilt 5 schools with thanks to so many people and organisations. Gorkha school has gone from government status of "bottom" to "top" of the table. This is our plan for all our schools and we can't do this without your support so THANK YOU!
We have been rebuilding repairing and developing for over 18 months now. We have learnt so much and met and worked with amazing people. However, we now know that building a school is the easy part and even that is not finished yet!
When we started, we invited UK schools to sponsor a school in Nepal and develop life long links via the internet, we had hoped we could make all this happen very quickly. Once you know the reality, it is harder than we thought for many reasons. However, the goal and dreams are very much alive and achievable but it will take more time. Our goals are bigger than ever as now we know that our start point was much lower than we had realised.
The average teacher in our Nepalese school has only had 6 days of teacher training! Our hope of buying computers and having strong links with an English speaking sponsor school was slightly ambitious. However, now we know how to make this happen and below we have outlined our updated strategy. This is based on visits by our directors, volunteers and help from The Mandala Organisation team who are at the coal face in Nepal.
Updated Education Strategy
We have five schools which have been rebuilt/repaired. This means that all the children can now go to school. However, the standard inside the classrooms and the standard of the toilets needs to be upgraded to support our plans for better education and hygiene respectively. They have been built to a safe standard but not to a standard we want them to have. You will be more than aware how much difference a good environment can make to learning. We want the classroom to be painted, carpeted and with lots of resources. We want the toilet areas to have running water and wash basins that are cleaned regularly.
We plan to achieve this by focusing on one school at a time. We are starting with Gorkha school and sending our volunteers there to help us manage the transition of standards. We are also asking our IYH Nepal Manager Shanta Nepali to stay full time at Gorkha until everything is finished to the correct standard. Then, the standard will have been set and we will move on and repeat the process at the next school until we have 5 amazing schools.
We plan to train the teachers and children about hygiene. This includes creating a rota for cleaning the toilets and systems for hand washing before eating. When children get ill, they miss school. It is also a life skill that they will never otherwise be taught.
We want each child to have a uniform that makes them feel good and keeps them warm. They will also feel like they belong to a team and we will have the IYH logo on each hat and fleece. A sense of belonging is a big positive and will encourage attendance.
We have had quotes to buy 600 uniforms. We are getting help for this project from a Rotary Club from Canada. Once this funding is received, we will be able to buy the uniforms and get the discount for bulk buying. Our goal is to have every child with a uniform by the end of September.
As we said, the teaching standards are very poor. Our strategy involves two approaches. First we want at least two teachers from each school to master English. We will be running a two week intensive English course for them in December. They will then be able to take this back to their schools. They will be able to develop these skills with visiting volunteers and annual CPD which we intend to provide. This is when they will be able to communicate on a regular basis with their UK link school. As time goes by, they will improve. Volunteers will also be able to send updates.
We are also in contact with FIRST STEPS CHARITY. They are a charity based in the same area as 4 of our schools. They are starting a teacher training in Nepalese for Early Learning. We intend to send as many of our teachers as possible to their courses. They need to learn how to teach as a priority.
We are now ready to promote volunteer teachers to come in bigger numbers. The volunteers that we have already had have been invaluable at Gorkha school and helped to take it from a government status of "bottom" to "top" of the table. We had our first advert with TEFL UK last week and it looks like we have 3 teachers going already between August and November which is great news. They accelerate learning and help the community to appreciate what education can offer.
Jane and Nicole went out in February to run a two day Teacher Training Course for the IYH teachers to get a gauge of what we are up against and to start the ball rolling. It is probably the reason the Nepalese teachers are so keen to engage with our future plans.
SHANTA NEPALI - IYH NEPAL MANAGER
Shanta Nepali has been involved with IYH right from the beginning. She was part of The Mandala Organisation. Her charm, her enthusiasm and heart felt passion for the projects was obvious. We offered Shanta a full time position with us when Dinesh had to leave us for personal reasons. So although we were very sad to lose Dinesh, we are delighted that Shanta is now a full time member of our team. Read more about Shanta on our ABOUT US page.
We want to celebrate what has been achieved already and we will continue to achieve even more. We just need to adjust the time frame. I have focussed on education in this update but we have other things going on too. I will just mention that we have plans and support for a women's health project and have just started a school lunch program in Gorkha which we hope will make a big difference to the attendance and ability to concentrate at school. .
Please feel free to contact with any questions or make any suggestions.
Many thanks for your continued support. Stick with us and it will be incredibly rewarding.
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