Lets Walk For Kids
June 5, 2019
For Sujata Khatiwada and Nikhil Subedi (2018 Fellows, Ghermu Lamjung), seeing their students actively attending classes, after a tiring two-three hours walk downhill from their villages, was a shocking reality and a task beyond imagination at first when they came to Shree Ganga Milan Secondary School, Ghermu, as a Teach For Nepal Fellows.
Sashi Gurung, from Sanjapu, Lamjung, is one of their students who is appearing for Secondary Education Examination this year. For him, getting up as early as 5 in the morning, finishing up his household chores, revising his lessons, and quickly getting ready and walking down towards his school is a regular thing. After a year of Fellowship, Sujata and Nikhil have realized that ‘students crave for education’ is the core motivation that is making them walk those steep hills every single day, which is beyond imagination for most of us. Half of the students in Shree Ganga Milan school come from villages nearby walking for more than 2-3 hours in the morning and the other 1-2 hours while returning.
“Looking at the heights of the mountains and hills near the school, I sometimes have huge respect for my student’s indefatigable boldness and energy, their strength and resilience to walk from their home and come to attend classes during the worst weather situation, especially during rainy season… it is impossible to make a comparison of my students with those who take a bus ride and still complain about everything.” shares Nikhil. Sujata adds, ‘There is no better way to thank them for their dedication than by giving them their basic need and support in class and beyond.’
‘I walk from my home so that I can study and get good grades, but when I find that there are no subject teachers available, just imagine what happens to our motivation level?’ questions Sashi.
Had it not been Fellows like Nikhil and Sujata’s commitment to work as volunteer teachers in villages like Ghermu, Sashi and his friends would have to return home empty-handed every day because even today, both the Fellows have undertaken the responsibility filling in for teachers during their extra hours after their assigned hours.
Sashi is just one among the thousands of students in Nepal who represent the harsh reality of students in Nepal who have to continually fight with the socio-economic and geographical barriers that persist in education.
Teach For Nepal thus annually organizes a solidarity walk ‘Walkathon’ for students of public school and Fellows who walk for hours to reach school. The Walkathon is a symbolic commitment to ourselves that no children, regardless of socio-economic status, will be left behind. Through Walkathon, participants express commitment that they are committed to walking together with the children to ensure that every single one of them has the same opportunity and choices that children who go to private schools in Nepal have.’