Star graduates of Dolagiri Secondary School.
Since returning to Nepal, one of the lessons I have learned is that when it comes to a task that you can do yourself then you should just do it. Under those circumstances, one is better off not relying on or hoping for — or expecting — help from others, unless they have specifically offered or promised to help!
Two government schools COMMITTED works with are in Kathmandu valley: Dolagiri Secondary School in Changu Narayan, Bhaktapur, and Shanti Nikunj Secondary School in Maru, near Durbar Square in Kathmandu. Since both are secondary schools, they field candidates for the SLC — high school diploma exams. I figured some of their graduates must qualify for UWC scholarships.
Last summer, seeing as some of both current and past Nepalese UWC students were thinking of doing some outreach work as per their post on UWC Family-Nepal Facebook page, I asked if they would volunteer to talk to students at/from government schools.
I didn’t hear from a single person. So, I re-posted the request just four days later.
I still got no response.
My thinking in posting the requests was that if the students at government/community schools hear about the opportunity from other young students like themselves, they might be a little more enthusiastic about the opportunity! It was not to be!
Most government and community schools struggle to get their students to graduate — failure rate was 72% last year. Dolagiri, however, produced 5 first division students, while Shanti Nikunj produced 40, and two more passed with distinction!
The graduates of Dolagiri fare no better either, for instance. Three of them couldn’t afford the cost of their higher secondary (11th grade) education, amounting to all of just Rs. 16000/year, approximately US$150! Tuition and exam fees amounted to Rs. 8500, uniform cost Rs. 4500 and stationary Rs. 3000. Luckily for them, an NGO sponsors their education.
The two highest scoring graduates of Shanti Nikunj too have been able to continue their higher secondary studies only because of financial help from elsewhere.
As far as these children are concerned, Moksh, where the informational social was being held, might as well have been on a different planet. A popular restaurant and bar, Moksh is in one of the poshest areas of the city, where the expats live, in housing costing about US$2500 per month.
So…I have taken upon myself to provide the necessary information to these children and do what I can to possibly help them win a scholarship or two and give them the life-changing experience I had and Iju most likely is having as I write this.