UWS Nepal founded the Fellowship teaching programme in early 2017. It is a two year graduate placement aimed at Nepali students who want to get experience in teaching, community action, and international development. The scheme aims to tackle the issue of low quality teaching in rural regions. It does this by placing a UWS Fellow in the community on a semi-permanent basis to live, teach, and inspire the community.
Back in June over 100 applications flooded into our UWS Nepal Office for just 6 fellowship positions. These were from graduates all over Nepal, and after a vigorous selection process, our first cohort was announced as Aashish Jung Karki, Dikesh Deshar, Binata Gurung, Rijeesh Uparkoti, Juna Manandhar and Nirupa Kandel. We are delighted to welcome this group to UWS.
All our Fellows received an intensive 40 days of training. These sessions focused on everything from child-centred learning, early years development, outdoor learning, classroom management, and leadership development training led by our wonderful guest team of national and international experts. Speakers included Sanjog Thakurki from Yuwalaya who spoke on child psychology and the importance of strengthening the relationship between the local community and young people, and 2012 CNN Hero of the Year Pushpa Basnet,who offered advice on the challenges of working in rural communities.
In fact, one of the main obstacles our team faces when working with remote communities across the world is child marriage. In Nepal, girls as young as 12 will leave school to begin a family. However, by living and working in such communities, our Nepal fellows are trying to ensure that girls have equal access to education by acting as role models.
Introducing: Binata Gurung
Our fellow in Majhua, Binata Gurung, has been working hard to make healthy living and healthy education a reality. She says “unhygienic behaviour in Majhua is making children connect their health with superstitions. I want to change this through education. Therefore, I am working with children to influence their parents and, in the long run, help the whole family.” To tackle this, Binata has provided children at Majhua with toothbrushes, toothpaste and regularly conducts hand-washing and brushing drills throughout the school week. This is to encourage a healthy morning routine that will help improve the hygiene of Majhua students.
At UWS Majhua we have also seen a big improvement in the literacy and numeracy of our students. As a Fellow, Binata teaches Mathematics and Science, as well as English classes for students (and teachers!). She has also initiated a weekly staff meeting where teachers discuss their lesson plans, as well as regular meetings with Majhua’s community. So far these meetings have generated a lot of interest in the school and increased public involvement in its development. Most recently the people of Majhua came together to make bamboo fence and dustbins for the school. Her presence at the Majhua has already had a huge impact, and she says this is all down to a belief in the power of community engagement: “for a better school, children and teachers are not enough…by education children, we are educating the community too”.
Applications for our 2018 Fellows will open next year.