In many remote villages of Nepal children are not able to attend school because they are forced to stay home and work on the farms while their parents forage looking for edible food to cover the time between food supply running out and the next harvest. Global Action Coalition saw an immediate opportunity to help.
In 2008 GAC started its first lunch program feeding the students in the Kirantar School. The meal is called SATU, and is made out of roasted wheat, corn, barley and soy flower mix. The school experienced an immediate increase in attendance and an increase in the ability of the students to focus on their studies.
Because of the success at Kirantar, GAC decided to expand the program and ultimately was able to implement in eleven schools in the Chitwan province and three schools in the Bharse Valley in the Gulmi province.
The people of the hills and mountains live a precarious life. They have no safety net and when their food runs out before the next harvest the father and mother head into the forests or jungles to search out edible roots and vegetables. Normally the older sibling would stay home with his brother and sister, but since the food programs began, little brothers or sisters are often times seen sitting quietly next to their older sibling in school in order to receive that important meal. This impresses on the children that school is something exciting that they get to do when they are older.
The GAC lunch program has not only increased attendance in school, but it has also helped improve the health of the children. Another way GAC has worked to better the health of the school. children is by providing sweaters to over 700 children and shoes to over 100 children. This program will continue until all of lunch program schools and children who attend have sweaters.
Our partners, Books for Nepal, Nourish Nepal and the Bharse Community Group, have been instrumental in making these programs so successful. We have also provided supplies such as pens, pencils, notebooks, and school backpacks to over 600 children for Surkhandi, Gadi, and Tanahu schools.
Another GAC effort is to provide the opportunity for the elementary school children to continue their education beyond 5th grade into middle and high GAC has helped Chandibhanjang school add grades each year and now runs as a junior high school, up to 10th grade. Since the expansion, 41 students have completed their junior high school education and are continuing onto high school.
GAC has partnered with the Antodhaya high school and made it possible to them to continue their education as well.
Other GAC projects include a partnership with a local not for profit organization from Chitwan, the Miteri Foundation. The Foundation is run by Dr. Krishna Bhattrai who organizes mini health care clinics and seminars in the remote villages once a month. The program provides much needed basic health care services to many villagers.
The GAC Board Members travel once a year to the villages of Chitwan and other program sites to witness firsthand progress and look for new opportunities to expand the projects. The feedback from villagers, teachers and students is positive and very encouraging. The lunch program has been very successful at increasing the number of children in the schools and, in some situations, doubled the number of children attending.
The Global Action Coalition Goals Include:
1. Continue lunch programs in 6 elementary schools in Chitwan;
- Surkhandi elementary school
- Pokhari elementary school
- Kolahar elementary school
- Kandha elementary school
- Dahakhani elementary school
- Uperdang Gadi elementary school
2. Continue our lunch program in two schools in Tanahu;
- Kota elementary school
- Shree Mahakali primary school
3. Continue our support of lunch program in Bharse Valley primary schools in Gulmi Province
4. Provide school supplies and sweaters to Pokhari, Kolahar and Kandha school students
5. Continue our support to fund Chandibhanjang’s high school teacher salary for a year
6. Provide health care services and education through Miteri Foundation to Kandha and Dahakhani villages in Chitwan and Kota in Tanahu.
7. Make senior high school possible to the students at Chandibhanjang completing junior high this year. This requires lodging and school supplies and we have our first two groups attending.
8. Make college education available to those who like to continue higher education after the Antodhaya high school.