Initiation Towards Education

With the slogan “ensuring education and learning – an opportunity for every child”, Shiksha Nepal is a non-profit and non- governmental organization which has aims to transform the lives of children and communities in Nepal through upliftment of literacy and education in general.

Established by Prem Bahadur Bohara and Megha Pradhananga Malla in 2012, Shiksha Nepal aspires to see “every child going to school and reading peacefully” byhelping each individual realize his or her inner capacity to reach their potential and opt for improvement and change so that there is a positive differencewithin oneself, families and communities. Even though the organization works in Dolpa, it equally dedicates its time, efforts and support to children residing in the Far-Western remote villages of Nepal. Shiksha Nepal’s primary vision is to ensure that every child in Nepal has equal opportunity to benefit from education and learning to build confidence, aspiration and skills necessary for affecting social and environmental changes. The organization has three main missions which are to ensure an education and learning opportunity to every child by supporting them to step into a school for equal and quality primary and secondary level education, to empower children and young people for social and environmental change by giving opportunity to learn values, behaviors and lifestyle as required for sustainable community development and to enhance the livelihood of local community people through best utilization of natural resources to uplift the socio-economic condition of the region. According to Prem Bahadur Bohara, Managing Director of Shiksha Nepal, children in Nepal are not brought up with the view that one must read or consult books outside of school. “A majority of the students don’t read anything besides text books which hinders their imagination and creativity. Even though students want to read fiction and poetry, the libraries in both villages and cities don’t contain many books”. The inspiration to open Shiksha Nepal comes from Prem Bahadur Bohara’s love for books. He visited his first library at the age of 18 when he was attending college in Pokhara. “I remember spending hours reading one book after another. I wanted to collect books and take them to my village in Majhphal, Dolpa so that I could spread the joy of reading among the local children. Much to my surprise, so many people donated books and it was getting hard to manage them. Then the idea of establishing Shiksha Nepal evoked in my brain, so with the help of Megha Pradhananga Malla, we made a promise to allocate books to the children who need it the most”. Shiksha Nepal works in collaboration with the schools, local communities and partner organizations to achieve their goal of providing quality education to every child by supporting them to step into school for their primary and secondary level education. It believes education is a skill- learning process essential for children and young people to enhance social and environmental change. The organization also promotes livelihood of local communities through utilization of natural resources. “There are so many students who want to read both in Nepali as well as English but they are lacking resources and facilities. Our organization wants to fill the gap between students and obtaining the books they want to read. We want to collect books and distribute them to various schools so that students become well-educated and well-cultured”, explains Bohara.

In order to get book donations from Shiksha Nepal, schools must meet certain requirements. Ethical dilemma comes to play here. If the school administrator is genuine and honest and if they have the facilities to build a library, then it’s a green flag. “It is crucial for follow-up after the distribution of books for the school library. By simply dumping books and leaving isn’t going to bring any changes. We make sure that our partner schools are devoted to keeping the project active. The library can consist only of a room containing book shelves and a few furniture, that’s all”, says Bohara. An agreement is made between the organization and the school. Then Shiksha Nepal offers basic training to teachers and community members on managing a library. They give lessons on how to run a library efficiently, maintain books, keep records and encourage students to read more. “We want to see every child read a book taking his or her own time. Books are meant to be shared, not locked behind cupboards” explains Megha Pradhananga Malla. Among Shiksha Nepal’s list of conducted activities, “Ek Kitab” is an initiative to gift a children’s story book to every child in Nepal. A literacy campaign held annually, it collects books through donations, sponsors and distributes them to schools in remote villages of Nepal. Till date, books have been provided to more than 60,000 children of districts including Dolpa, Dadeldhura, Jajarkot, Baglung, Chitwan, Gorkha, Sindhuli and Kathmandu. Malla further quotes, “Throughout our journey for the pilot program of “Ek Kitab” in 2012, we discovered that children who read regularly performed better in school, have a healthy self-image, and become eager learners. Developing a reading habit is healthy as it helps a student improve in all school subjects be it Social Studies or Science. We also found that students of Dolpo and Jajarkot where a library was maintained have better exam results in comparison to other schools in the districts that don’t.” “I remember spending hours reading one book after another. I wanted to collect books and take them to my village in Majhphal, Dolpa so that I could spread the joy of reading among the local children.” To donate children’s books Contact: Prem Bahadur Bohara Ph: 9851001569 Email: universalprem@gmail.com. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shikshanepal. For more information visit www.shikshanepal.org.

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