Communal Learning Zone of Terse

“मलाई मेराे गाउँका सबै बच्चाहरुले राम्रोसँग पढुन जस्तो लाग्छ। मैले पढ्न पाइनँ। नपढेर धेरै दु:ख पाएँ। त्यहीँ भएर गाउँका सबै बच्चाहरुलाई पढ्नु पर्छ भन्छु। ” says Nirmala Tamang, parent of my students, Chhap.

Chhap is a beautiful tamang community. There are more than 60 families living in this community comprising mostly of Syangten, Waiba and Ghale castes. It is 2.5 km and about 30-45 minutes away from Talamarang. People here are very welcoming and warm hearted. What is more amazing is that they are aware and hopeful about the role of education in life.

Despite having such hope in education, the students from here,who bear the responsibility for the uplifts of themselves and their community, haven’t been able to perform well academically. Upon close observation, we felt that absence of proper revision of lessons and guidance at home are to blame. Generally, a student spends 6 hour a day at school studying 8 subjects per day. In those hours, a student’s mind tries to learn the maximum. And, retention increases only when he/she tries to revise or relearn what he/she learns in school either with friends/siblings or self at home within the remaining 18 hours a day, which he/she spends at home. According to our research, 80% of students don’t get such environment at their home which drastically impacts learning achievement. Among other factors, constant failure, lack of constant motivation, lack of confidence also impact students’ learning. This results in school dropouts and child marriage. Recently, a student eloped from this village and a few dropped out of school.

On 10th Bhadra, 2074 , our principal, Krishna Dhungana sir, held a meeting here to form a communal learning zone to help students learn in groups to increase learning outcome.The parents were very happy and satisfied with this idea. They immediately agreed to manage a place for the classroom in their commnity. According to our school’s data, 63 students from this community study in our school from ECD- Grade 10. These 63 students, “लिछाला छाप साेसेलाकते (The Future Creators of Chhap )”come together in a classroom from 6-9 pm , where they revise and relearn among friends. They study in their class groups. Everyone in the classroom help each other. They have their own values, norms and cultures. They have also started meditating early at 6.

We are not only focusing on their academics but also their non-academics. We recently organized an event on “Gaura Parwa” in the community to understand the culture of Western Nepal and be familiar to it. While organizing events, they were learning skills like planning event, fundraising, managing people and resources, financing, brainstorming and analyzing, problem solving, hosting programs, dancing, singing and much more. Although we are in the initial phase, it is already helping them build confidence, believe in themselves, understand the importance of teamwork and education and get a sense of their roles and responsibilities in their community. So, to further enhance their skills and help them familiarize with other cultures, we have planned to celebrate every festival as far as possible. Our next event is “Dashain Program”. This event will be a profit making event. All the fund collected in event will be used for the improvement and enhancement of the above mentioned classroom. We are planning to set up a mini library in the community and initiate a reading club and we hope that the raised funds will help us do that too. We are also planning to run some campaign on child marriage. One of our goals is to make Chhap a “Child marriage free zone”. We see possibilities of both academic and non academic achievements in students of this community. We feel that we can unleash their true capabilities and make them believe in themselves .

Thank you Ratan Darshan, TFN fellow 2016, for sharing your experiences of your project with us. You have been a true inspiration to us.

Astha Khatri, TFN fellow 2016, Talamarang
12th September,2017

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