I was very pleased to receive these pictures this morning of our school extension project underway, as implemented by our local partner NGO, the Mithila Wildlife Trust.
The school in question is a Madrasa that serves the Muslim community in Dhanushadham, southeast Nepal. Children and young people from this community face extreme discrimination. In terms of social and educational provision, they are considered to be worse off than the "untouchables" of the Hindu community. See this recent article from the Nepali Times. The Nepal government does not recognize education in Urdu as formal education and this therefore limits young people's potential to find jobs or access higher education. Therefore, we wish to increase the uptake of the formal CDC curriculum for the children in the Mithila Wildlife Trust's home community.
The Madrasa has 124 children - 75 girls and 49 boys - registered for studying in the Urdu education system. Of these, 87 have joined the mainstream CDC curriculum. Unfortunately, their single-story building offers only limited classroom space for teaching and classes have to be conducted in the corridor. This exposes the children to extremes of inclement weather and means that only 66 children attend the school regularly. Through this project, funded principally by our partners Hatemalo and Last Night a DJ Saved My Life, we are building an additional floor onto the building that will accommodate all of the registered children. In this way, we believe that we can offer the full CDC curriculum to around 200 children rather than just 87. This capital project will be an essential first stage in increasing and improving educational provision.
The grant has a wider impact. This will be the first time that this small Muslim community has received any external support. And out of school hours the new space can be opened up to provide skills training for the girls and women from the community. This training will provide further social upliftment.