Jaubari parents set an example
Lil Kumari, member of School Management Committee of Udaya Lower Primary School in Jaubari VDC of Nawalparasi has only studied up to grade five. The primary school she went was three hours away from her village and since the secondary school was much further away in town, her parents pulled her out of school.
Years later, she is now a mother to two children going to school few minutes away from her home. She is happy for her children but she didn't feel her children were safe there.
"The school was near but not safe. It was run in few rooms with walls that looked like it would fall over anytime, weak tin roof was full of holes, no proper door or windows. I was scared that something would happened to them while at school," says Lil Kumari, "I still remember how scared I was when my children were at school the day of the second earthquake (May 12, 2015). Thank god my children were safe in spite of the poor infrastructure."
To the joy of many parents like Lil Kumari (in yellow dress), the community completely turned Udaya Primary School around in the last two years. The school that serves children from 84 households from the surrounding areas has five new renovated classrooms and is building a two-classroom earthquake resistant building soon. This school was funded through Save the Children's Charity Tours program in which Australian volunteers raised funds for construction and it was completed with full community participation.
According to chairman of School Management Committee, Tul Singh Lungeli- "Save the Children provided us with funds and our community contributed wholeheartedly for their children's future. The three tole education committees contributed their time to work on construction and collected local materials. We can proudly say that we contributed 22% of the total cost to renovate and build the new classrooms.
Lil Kumari has been the part of all the construction work since the beginning. In her absence, someone from her family showed up to work. She contributed cash and worked hard with other community members to make their orange and ginger festival a success.
"We grow lots of oranges and gingers in our field. When our labor and donations were not enough to build the school building, we collected gingers and oranges from each home and sold them to the market." says Lil Kumari, "We earned 1,72,000 this year. We will continue to hold such fundraisers for the school's development."
Lil Kumari is relieved that children including her own are safe in the new classrooms now.
The impacts of community's effort to make their school better has reflected in children's willingness to go to school. 13 years old Manoj Kumar, one of the children from the same school says, "We used to study in very old classrooms but we have new ones now. My parents also contributed to make this new school and I am proud of them. It is because of them that I am not scared of rain or wind".
Parents of Jaubari (former) VDC completed renovation of five classrooms and two new ones just in time for the new academic session in the Udaya Lower Primary School in Nawalparasi district. Parliamentarian Jeevan Kumar Shrestha and Save the Children's Deputy Country Director-Program Quality Development Roger Hodgson inaugurated the new school classrooms on 16th November 2016.
The renovation and construction was possible after parents, Jaubari VDC and Save the Children came came together to collaborate. Save the Children funded Rs. 1,012,464 through its Charity Tours program in which Australian volunteers raised funds for the construction, VDC funded Rs. 100,000 and community invested Rs. 303,912 in the form of labor, local construction materials and donations.