There is much more to Nepal than Thamel
It was my sixth visit to Nepal and I was determined to go beyond Kathmandu, the capital city, because I have always sat in conference halls and only ever gone shopping in Thamel and New Road, with the one exception of visiting the monkey temple.
As soon as I finished the media skills workshop thatI was facilitating, I set out to see schools in Sindhu Palsu district. The drive up to this district took three hours. Each minute of that journey was breathtaking. The Himalayan mountain range was such a pretty sight. It shone like crystal hills amidst pristene clouds.
I was with Balmaya, the education officer from Save the Children Nepal and Stephanie Sison from the Philippines programme, not forgetting the charming Ramji who carefully negotiated the bends and the tracks on a winding uphill road. On the way we were joined by two staff members from the partner organization and a resource person from the government department of education.
First we went to Seti Devi Higher Secondary School situated right on top of a mountain. Save the Children has provided furniture to the school and on that day our partner was conducting a workshop on inclusive education.
I had the chance to talk to the children who had come to the workshop about their life, education and aspirations. Balmaya had told me about the marginalised ‘Dalit’ community beforehand, and I met one girl from that community. She was bright and intelligent and kept asking me questions about Sri Lankan children. After the chat, Stephanie and I gave the children a ‘crash -course’ on how to take photographs. They were so excited and kept clicking away. But one thing that Balmaya told me about the situation of the Dalits made me very sad: “A dog can walk freely on the road, but a Dalit can’t,” she said.
Next we visited the Ganesh Pravi Primary School where children sat so obediently and were reading, even when the teacher was not present. A verse on the wall not only caught my eye, but also brought tears to my eyes (it’s posted below).