Oct 22, 2020

License for Inclusive School at Keshwa Child Welfare Center

Advertising for our "Inclusive school"
Advertising for our "Inclusive school"

Although the corona pandemic in India is still having massive effects and thus also our activities are severely impacted, we have achieved two very positive results in the last few weeks:

1. We were granted a license from the Indian Government to run an “inclusive school”, means a special school where children with and without disabilities learn together. This is the first license for an inclusive school granted to an organization in the Sonbhadra district. We are very proud of this. We now, of course, very much hope that we can start running the school as soon as the Corona situation allows. The breakthrough came in a conversation with Dr Ajaya Kumar, Government Representative for Special Disability Education. We have already collected data from over 120 families in the area close to our center where people with disabilities live. We will offer our classes over time to nursery, pre-school and class I-V. The quality of our Infrasturcture and our lessons are comparable to private schools. However, children from BPL (Below-Poverty-Line) families are free of charge, other children have to pay a very small fee. So this is a great opportunity for children to benefit from an education they would never get in a public school, if they go to school at all.

2. We will purchase a piece of land opposite from our Keshwa Child Welfare Center. We need this property as a playground and sports field for the school and want to keep the option open to possibly build a small additional building at a later date. The plot has a size of approx. 6,800 sqft.

The press reports every now and then about our intention to run an inclusion school. The registration phase for the Inclusive School has started.

As the numbers of infections across India are still very high, we currently only can offer our services to people in the villages. From time to time we are allowed to make some small events in our Center, like on Independence Day with a limited number of children. The same applies to the other programs. We are currently not allowed to run our “Skill Development Program” and other programs.  We do not assume that approval will be given before November 2020. 

Keep your fingers crossed for us that we will be able to offer all our programs for the benefit of children and women again by next year at the latest. 

Children visiting the KCWC on Independence Day
Children visiting the KCWC on Independence Day
Press release about our new school project
Press release about our new school project
Our additional land for school project
Our additional land for school project
Oct 1, 2020

School lessons in times of Corona

Some students in Saldang school wearing masks
Some students in Saldang school wearing masks

The situation in Upper Dolpo during Corona is not always easy. Nepal still has strict rules and infection rate is causing restrictions. Sometimes it also affects the locals of Upper Dolpo when there is another ban that the locals are not allowed to leave their villages. In summary: the Dolpa-pa are trying to deal with the pandemic in the best possible way, however, feel sometimes unsafe. Overall, they can largely go on with their lives “without panic”. We very much hope that there will be no major health problems, but things are currently going quite well. Hygiene is also important in Saldang, which is why schoolchildren are encouraged to wash their hands.

The farming activities of the local villagers are going as planned, as you can see from the wonderful picture with the green field (mind you, we are on 13,000 ft. above sea level).

School in Saldang

 The “summer school” in Saldang started again at the end of July and can also be held with short interruptions. The government distributed masks, but they do not dominate the daily routine. The central government in Nepal has not allowed schools to run, but the local governments want classes to take place again. However, no teachers are sent to the villages by the government, only local and private teachers are in Saldang. Around 80 students are joining pre-school and classes 1-6.

 Nyisal

Unfortunately, we have no news from our school project in Nyisal now, as unlike Saldang, there is no phone contact at all. Next time I will report about the last winter and current summer session and the plan for the upcoming winter session 2020 / 2021.

It is currently not possible to say whether our winter school period in Saldang and Nyisal will start without any problems, however, we are still optimistic. Only our “private” teachers will stay in the villages during the winter period, due to the extremely hard living conditions.

Enjoy a little Tibetan dance performance by some of the children in our Saldang school via the LINK below.

School lesson in Saldang school, summer 2020
School lesson in Saldang school, summer 2020
Farming activities of Saldang locals
Farming activities of Saldang locals
Hygiene measures in Corona times in Saldang
Hygiene measures in Corona times in Saldang

Links:

Jun 23, 2020

How Corona impacts Nepal and our school project

Quarantine in the school of Saldang
Quarantine in the school of Saldang

The winter school periods of our schools in Saldang and Nyisal were largely completed. From the middle of April, however, all schools in the mountain villages were closed. They are used as quarantine stations for returnees from Kathmandu. The lockdown measures in Nepal are carried out very strictly. Many people from Kathmandu went back to their home villages as they did not get any job and thus not enough food in Kathmandu and other areas. As always, we only can provide a more comprehensive report of our winter school sessions later this year once our school coordinators of the winter schools come back to Kathmandu. Right now, the Government of Nepal has announced an easing to the nationwide lockdown on June 15, although the country is still far away from being back to normal.

The overall situation in Nepal is dramatic. After 74 days of lockdown, over 1,200 people have already committed suicide by end of May. This is more than twice as much as in the whole year of 2019. People have mental health problems, have lost their jobs and can no longer repay their debts. The loss of tourism this year will have extreme consequences. There are still over 500,000 Nepalese workers in Qatar, Dubai and other countries that are now to be brought back. Unlike in Germany, in the Himalayan regions there is no state aid, unemployment benefit or any financial aid for the people concerned.

Our friends in Saldang and Nyisal in Upper Dolpo are suffering under Covid-19 as well. Although they are able to seed and do farming, people cannot move as they want or need. Many herdsmen and Yak owners urgently need to move their animals to the lower pasture areas, but they are not allowed to, because they have to be tested on Covid-19 first. This is not as easy and the Government thinks about sending test ampules to Upper Dolpo with helicopters. Another downside of Corona is that the Yartsa Gunbu season has been canceled. This means, that many people miss a necessary income this year because they cannot deliver this medicinal mushroom which is highly demanded from mainly people in Asia.

In addition to our school projects in Saldang and Nyisal, we gave financial support to provide food to the most affected families. This campaign was set up by our local administrative partner Dolpo Tulku Charitable Foundation. It was absolutely necessary to give food to people with no income.

It is still uncertain how the situation will develop in Nepal. After the earthquake in 2015 there is another dramatic year for all guides, cooks, helpers, porters, horse drivers, lodge owners, hotel employees, drivers and travel companies and many other people. We wish the people in Nepal the easing of the situation as quickly as possible and very much hope that we can start school again in November.

In our next report we hope we can give first information about last winter school period from November 2019 to April 2020.

Food distribution to affected people in Kathmandu
Food distribution to affected people in Kathmandu
 
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