So Hetauda day – very beautiful area, very easy to navigate. Throughout the whole day we managed to only do two meetings but it was definitely worth it.
The first meeting was with a school in a village near Hetauda. This was really successful as this school is a ‘resource centre’ for 35 schools in the area. What they mean by resource centre is that their building is used for teacher training etc, and are a sort of information centre for the area. There are 1200 children attending this school, 30 teachers. The children are mostly from the lowest castes – Tamang, Chepang and Dalit. Most of the parents are farmers. This school are really happy to work with us on the teacher training programme and also be a point of contact for other underprivileged schools. They have already given us contact details and ideas. They are very enthusiastic!
The next meeting was with a children’s home there called ‘Mama Koghar’ – I have to say, I was so impressed and touched, and this doesn’t happen very often! This home was set up 6 months ago by a uni professor who initially was doing research for his phd on street children. He had a small team of students helping him with the project and after he finished the research, they decided they really wanted to help those street children. So there are two people running the home – Masters students who were doing the research, both volunteers, they live there 24 hours a day and the professor comes there once a day to help with children’s education. They have no income really, all the food and clothes for the children are being donated by the local community. The building where the home is set up – the local government paid the rent for one year. They are not sure what will happen after that, they are talking to government now and trying to extend that. The children are amazing – 17 children, all boys, from 7 to about 16 years old, most of them really clever. We gave them loads of sweets and books, and the torches. It was amazing how excited they got over the books, they all showed me their notebooks from school, their drawings, took out the world map from one of their school books and were very excited to tell me all about different countries etc. Many of them spoke quite good English but not the youngest ones. They have already linked 7 children with their families, they do this through ads in local papers, and then parents come and collect them – they check and monitor the families all the time and speak to their local community. Some children come from the Hetauda area and some from Kathmandu. In times of crisis a DOCF Foundation that are connected to the University helps them slightly. We are going back to that home tomorrow, on the way to Chitwan, to meet the professor. We will ask more questions then.
Today we have had our big meeting in Birgunj so will post a separate blog about that. Again, it was really good and we have managed to meet a lot of high profile people.