Returning to their happy place: The importance of safe school reopening after Covid-19 to #BuildBackEducation This blog shows the power of education to enhance a child's wellbeing as well as giving them the chance to follow their dreams. School is Binsa's happy place, and it's vital that children like Binsa are able to safely return to school after Covid-19. Education can improve their opportunities for the future, give them healthy and supportive friendships, and the chance to be in a happy learning environment. This blog is the second in our series to support the launch of Education Above All Foundation's #BuildBackEducation campaign. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us have seen our worlds shrinking before us. We’re confined to our bedrooms, kitchens, houses, and villages. We’ve spent more time inside, away from family and community members, than we may have ever before in our lives. Like millions of children around the world, Binsa was confined to her home when lockdown was enforced. Where she once spent her days at UWS Kalleri school in Nepal, with her Grade 7 classmates, during lockdown she barely saw anyone in her village. All of a sudden, her community felt as though it shrunk to include just her family. With lockdown came the fear that she would lose the opportunity for quality, accessible education, something which had only recently become an option for her because of the building on UWS Kalleri. Binsa is 12 years old, and school is her happy place. She is the youngest of five children, and in recent years her family have been through a lot. Her brother travels to Malaysia to work and support the family, and her mother has recently had to undergo serious medical treatment for her kidney failure. Worrying about her brother and her mother is a lot to deal with, so Bhawana loves going to school where she can immerse herself in learning and stop worrying about her family. The outbreak of Covid-19 was an enormous threat to us all, but Binsa’s community were particularly vulnerable. The village doesn’t benefit from good quality sanitation or medical facilities, so it was of the utmost importance that the community could avoid the spread of the disease, and keep each other safe. Lockdown was essential to keep Binsa and her family safe, but it didn’t make being away from school any easier. She says, “I want to go to school soon and want to read more library books’’. Adamant to continue her learning, she requested one of her friends who lives nearby, to lend her books of grade 8 so that she can continue her education. Alongside this, she’s been able to continue learning new things through the UWS distance learning radio programme. Distance learning provisions have proved an inclusive and effective way to offer remote education in rural areas, and have been vital to keep children’s love of learning, and ability to learn, alive throughout lockdown. Through local radio stations, teachers have been broadcasting concise lessons for different grade levels, to keep children engaged with their learning, and keen to continue their education once they can return to school. She says, “I listen to the radio program every day and the poem I had written was broadcasted in the program. I am so happy about that’’. Binsa is grateful to UWS Nepal for helping students like her to continue learning from home during lockdown, and for having an even wider reach than anticipated. She stated, “I am really happy with the radio program because I am learning new things every day. Not only me but other brothers and sisters from my neighborhood also listen to the program”. Radio broadcasts have also proven to be a fantastic way to share public health messages. Binsa says with a smile, “I wash hands for 20 seconds, follow social distancing, and wear masks while going to market or outside.” Despite having the distance learning provision, nothing compares to being back at school. All our schools in Nepal have now been safely reopened, and Binsa has been able to return to her happy place. She can once again work on her poetry skills, learn with her friends, and make the most of an education that was once a distant dream. Together, we can #BuildBackEducation with safe school reopening so that children like Binsa can look forward to going to school everyday. Thanks to UWS, Binsa is back in her happy place.