In Nepal, 70% of children start school, but only 7% reach their 10th school year and gain a School Leaving Certificate. PA Nepal recognises the importance of education as a means of breaking the cycle of poverty and thereby, reducing crime. As such, PA Nepal currently assists over 350 individuals, both adults and children, throughout Nepal with schooling. In addition to our specific programs listed below, all children who are residents in our PA Nepal’s Children’s Homes, are enrolled in school full-time and provided with extra tuition in the evenings.
Junkiri (meaning ‘Firefly’) is an alternative learning environment run by PA Nepal for children who have been neglected in the past, or who do not prosper in traditional schools. Many of these children have been exposed to significant trauma and abuse whilst living with their parents in prison. Whilst Junkiri students do focus on learning traditional subjects such as maths, Nepali and English, they also have the opportunity to benefit from tuition in practical and life skills such as cooking, crafts and farming. Additionally, our Junkiri schools actively create libraries that are available to both our students and over 200 children from the local community.
Our vision for Junkiri is a learning environment in which children are encouraged to learn, be creative and reach their individual and unique potential using alternative teaching methods. Learning and teaching styles are based on the individual's current capacity and help them move in a direction which traditional teaching environments have not explored.
- To use creative and flexible teaching methods for children in our home who are not successful in the available educational system.
- To provide alternative learning environments which address their holistic needs and embrace their unique backgrounds.
- To offer a creative and alternative educational system in Nepal, which may be used as a model to address the unique educational needs of different children.
- To empower children to be leaders in their communities, embracing diversity and offering creative solutions to the problems they face.
Girls Education Nepal (GEN) Program
As in many Asian countries, Nepali boys are favoured over girls for continued education. In Nepal, the ratio of males to females in primary and secondary education is around 2:1 in favour of males.
"We believe every child should have the right to go to school and that the whole family benefits when the mother is educated. Research shows that families of literate and educated mothers have higher standards of hygiene, lower birth rates and an increased likelihood of children going to school".
The GEN program was established to provide education for girls to counteract the Nepali culture of favouring boys. The GEN sponsorship covers education-related expenses only, but this may include school supplies, books, uniforms, shoes and meals. This program allows these young girls to live with their families whilst attending school, which would be impossible for many without support.
Birtatnagar Day Care Centre
Whilst PA Nepal seeks to rescue all children from prison, we currently cannot reach every corner of Nepal. However, we are committed to assisting every child in having a better standard of living. It was with this in mind that PA Nepal opened the Birtatnagar Day Care Centre at the Birtatnagar Jail in January 2009. This centre was built next to the prison and allows the children to leave the prison during the day. Whilst it is unfortunate that these children must return to the prison walls at night, during the day the centre ensures that they are provided with a clean environment, food, health care and clean water.