By Geeta Thapa
In the Year 2008, I took one semester off from my regular Bachelor’s Degree program to re-visit Nepal and I utilized part of this time as a volunteer at Janata Higher Secondary School. As it happens by pure coincidence, there I meet a five year old girl, Ashmita Chhetri. To have grown up in Kathmandu, I had many apprehensions and unknowns in my mind and I had no expectation that I would have a lasting impression from a five year old child. However, a brief conversation with this little girl left a new impression and outlook about people in me. There was something about Ashmita; we developed an instant bond and time after that became different.
Ashmita would hold my hands and take me to the school from my temporary residence at Madi, every morning, at 9am. During the one hour walk uphill in the mornings, I learned that, despite her young age, she has taken on many responsibilities of her household. She woke up before 5am and swept her house while her parents left for field work. Her mother would bring morning meal to start and Ashmita would look after it, controlling the fire in wood burning kitchen, until the food is cooked. The meal would be ready when her parents came back. Such sincerity and the burden of so complex responsibilities at such young age!
Having gone to Sarkuwa, Baglung for himself, Tom came back with unparalled hospitality and admiration of the people of Sarkuwa. Once in Illinois, Donna and Tom worked relentlessly to connect to local people and inspiring them for volunteerism. And there were David Campbell and Zachary Zaydos, two recent university graduates who rose up to the occasion and decided to volunteer at Sarkuwa. Continue reading
I assume the English teachers of rural Nepal are quite busy these days as the so called iron gate of the academic career of Nepalese students is closing on them. Not different from past years, English teachers must be happy to see a huge crowd of students, especially those from the government schools, hurrying to take tuition class of English. Everyone preparing for SLC takes English tuition at least for one month and most commonly for two months before the exam. Every student preparing for the SLC examination must be hurrying for the tuition. They must be busy the whole day attending the tuition classes of English, math, and optional-math. This season is in fact a golden one for the English and Math teachers to earn money, the best to harvest the fruit of their business.
The towering hills, smiling rhododendrons, amiable villagers of Sarkuwa have become the remarkable footprints in my heart to always remain within me as landmarks. Look left, look right, up or down, everywhere was this hill and I was relishing in the beautiful nirvana of Sarkuwa, Baglung. Even greater than this for me was an ecstasy of being a part of a team to reach Sarkuwa and making contributions that carry meanings for me. Continue reading
It was a matter of immense pleasure to me to turn a chapter in addressing the digital divide in Nepal. Let me start by thanking all known and unknown people whose contributions in the past at Sarkuwa inspired me to plunge into this mission, and boosted my spirits and morale to perform well. Continue reading
Being a conscious member of a society, it is every person’s dream to be able to make meaningful contributions to the society. I have also been among those who aspire to do something for the people in the remote areas of Nepal. Luckily, an opportunity came upon me to serve as a volunteer in a project for establishing a laboratory to share an Internet based communication link in rural Nepal through Canada Forum for Nepal. And, despite different dilemmas that arose in my mind, we (Rajan Pandey, Gyandera Suwal and I) set out for the Janata HS School of Sarkuwa, Baglung District, Nepal on 16th March 2008. Continue reading
Canada Forum for Nepal started Project: Rural Nepal in late 2007. Three volunteers from USA were sent to provide technical solutions for establishing Internet based communication such that schools in rural Nepal could communicate with the rest of the world with low bandwidth (8kb/s) dialup telephone lines that had just arrived in the villages. By January 2008, they had successfully established capabilities for Internet based communication over these telephone lines known for their unreliable connectivity in four separate locations. Now, we were faced with a situation where the school staff and students needed to be taught on how to use these great systems. And, we were in search of technology teachers who could do this job. So I took up this challenge and went from Ottawa, Canada to the remote village of Sarkuwa, Baglung District, Nepal along with another volunteer, Smita Khatiwada, (who had just happened to be my relative – Bhauju – through marriage) from Kathmandu. Continue reading
After walking one and half hour, we can see the Khurkot – 7 of Parvat. There is dwelling of Pariyar caste in northern hilly area. We may feel that this is the ancient place of Dalit community, for which, we are doing struggle against the Brahminism. The oldest of Bhatkekhaldo Mr. Dadhiram Pariyar 75, is leading the community. He is president of forest user groups too. The 24 houses of Dalit have to tolerate a kind of trouble daily by the 7/8 houses of elite castes. If youth do object them, they are abused as Maoists, if women do as so, they are named as bitch and if Dalit children don’t respect their order, they are beaten or bruised mentally, if not physically. Continue reading
How many Nepalese are currently working in Qatar now? Neither the Nepalese government nor the Qatari government has the fixed answer to this question as there are thousands of people who come to work here in Qatar illegally without following the government’s normal legal procedures. It is unofficially estimated that more than 260,000 Nepalese have been working here in Qatar. With no doubt, Qatar has emerged as a rapidly growing economy in recent years and, for some rare and lucky Nepalese jobseekers, a prospective destination for earning good money.
Geeta and I went to Janata Higher Secondary Sarkuwa in Baglung District of Nepal as CFFN volunteers. Although planned for weeks ahead, we were stuck in Kathmandu due to Tarai blockade and fuel crisis that hit Nepal. Leaving Kathmandu at 9AM of February 27, 2008, an express micro-bus took us to Baglung Bazaar at around 5PM. There we were received by Krishna Thapa, the President of the School Management Council. We stayed at Baglung Bazaar for the night and, in the morning, Krishna Thapa arranged a jeep for us to go from baglung to the place called Kusmi-Sera and his daughter Bihani was our travel guide. She was very friendly and frank and we became good friends.
Teaching English to the high school students in rural Nepal did not prove to be as easy as I thought when I began my career as a formal English teacher in a village in Nawalparasi district. My school was named Canal Centre High School for being located between two canals. The school attracted students from two quarreling communities: a Tharu community on the one side of the canal and a Brahmin community on the other.
My time in Sarkuwa is finished. I’ve had a lovely time there, and all of the people I’ve met have been great. I regret not having more time there, as there is much more to be done, but my time is limited. The computers are working now and we hope that they will stay that way for some time to come.