Nepali Times
Teaching teaching



It was December 2008 and the SLC exams were right around the corner. The students at Koshi Higher Secondary School in Sunsari, however, had only covered 25 per cent of the syllabus.

They were massively unlucky. After their coursebooks arrived three months late, floods swamped the school. As a result, only a handful of the 110 students were expected to pass.
In short, they needed help.

The parent-teacher association at Rato Bangala got busy straight away, initiating a project called 'Prayas'. A group of A-level students from the Kathmandu school were sent to Sunsari to prepare the students there for the upcoming SLC send-up exams. But with only 17 days at hand, the plan seemed absurd.

One month later came the news that that seventy per cent of the students had passed the examinations. For students who had hardly attended school that year or even flipped through a coursebook prior to the 'Prayas' project, it was a miracle.

Volunteers like Saugat Ghimire were so thrilled by the results, they immediately set their sights on other impoverished parts of the country. "I literally went up to the principal's office one morning and said, 'Miss, let's go to Dailekh,'" says Saugat.

Just like that, the 'Youth to Youth to Child' project was born, with the aim of training young people in Dailekh to teach children in schools across the district. When I first heard about it, I knew I wanted in. For three weeks, we studied education philosophy and child-centred learning in Kathmandu. We then set off to train 1800-odd youth participants in Dailekh.

Every morning we wrote up a lesson plan for the day before heading to the training centres at 10AM. It was arduous work, since we had to plan enough activities - math and vocab activities, or shared reading and book-based activities - to keep our trainees occupied until classes ended at 4PM. But it was engrossing work. Although many of us were away from home for the first time, calls home were rare and rushed.

It did take time to settle into our roles however, and we never really got used to being called 'Miss' or 'Sir'. Indeed, we ran the sessions like a typical classroom, hoping to give the youth-in-training a model to replicate back home. For instance, we were constantly reminding them to raise their hands before they addressed us or the rest of the class.

After work, we would meet up for tea at the bajar and share our experiences, complaining about how difficult it was to stay on our toes all day. But for all our griping, we would eagerly begin making lesson plans for the next day.

Our key message to our traineeswas that they needn't come to Kathmandu for the good life; they were talented enough to create such a life right where they were, in Dailekh. Volunteer Bibhusha Dangol put it best: "If we can go all the way to Dailekh to help, why can't they stay right where they are and do good things?"

In that sense, the experience taught us all something, trainees and teachers alike. You don't need a PhD to change Nepal. All you need is initiative and a little bit of patience.

1. Sneha Shakya
Great work.. Great example to show that we can change nepal if we work hand in hand.. Im really really proud of all the volunteers!!!

2. haha
lmao.... ppl from rato bangla changing this country .. why don't dixits declare themselves the rulers ?

3. LaliGurash
I am just overwhelmed to know that people are still their how are not greedy and honestly think about the people of NEPAL.

4. ae_eye_are
I am really impressed with whatever you've done guys, keep it up. And as for you mr haha.... who the hell do you think you are?? cant u learn to show a little bit of appreciation.... do u even know where dailekh is?? its 800 kilometers away from kathmandu... takes almost a day to reach there... these kids from what ive read have tried their level best and are really proud of their achievement.... what they need is motivation.. to keep doing projects such as this one... but how would you know.... i bet that in your whole life... u havent even thought of doing something for someone other than yourself... how can i be so stupid to expect you to understand what these guys did... these guys tried their best ... and are really proud of what they've achieved.... Let me give u an english lesson... for you, my friend... the word of the day is: APPRECIATION jot it down... ull need it!!!

5. seraph
I think people are just jealous of the amount of remarkable things that Rato Bangala is doing. Not everything has to be associated to the name. Just because you can't acheive or imagine the amount of impact Rato Bangala and its students has made to the people, doesn't mean you withheld your name and snicker. They weren't trying to be politicians and leaders who plan to change the world. They were average teenagers with an ordinary lifestyle, who could have easily stayed back at Ktm and enjoyed watching Kentucky Fried Chicken launch its branch. Instead they chose to go 800km away from their luxuries and give what they've gained all these years. SO if that seems to whoever as Dixits trying to be rulers, then you really need a reality check. ps- Great work RBS graduates. If only there were more kids like you in Nepal. :)

6. haha
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

7. halfnelson
"I think people are just jealous of the amount of remarkable things that Rato Bangala is doing." & " the amount of impact Rato Bangala and its students has made to the people" - these are serious overstatements.

8. tiffanylovesnepal
I am an American living in TExas and am extremely amazed at the vast project u have accomplished. Be strong, and keep at it Nepal. What a beautiful people.

9. May
Amazing story, just look at what a lot can be accomplished by a few committed people. And what a contrast to the cynical and negative netas we have.

10. Devi Maya
WOW!! very nice , god gifted peoples are rare in this world.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)