Lumbini is not among the earthquake hit regions and is situated in western Nepal. The program was selected by RMF’s team because of its strong alignment with our motto, “Liberating Human Potential.” Although the region is only 205 km west of the capital city, Kathmandu, the treatment of women in Lumbini is astonishing. The region has the lowest female literacy rate in Nepal, at just 18%. This is a clear indication of gender bias and discouragement of women’s education and growth.
RMF has joined hands with Karuna Girls’ School, which provides education for girls from grades 6–12, as well as vocational training for underprivileged girls and women in Lumbini. The curriculum emphasizes reading, writing, computer literacy, health, hygiene, nutrition, and family planning, while vocational training includes courses in computer literacy and tailoring.
During the course of 2016, the school grew from serving 150 students to 186 students. Karuna Girls’ School is looking to expand further, with the long-term goal of serving a student population of 500 girls. Since this is an all-girls school, parents are more willing to allow their daughters to attend, and Karuna Girls’ School has gained some popularity in the region. The school hopes to receive many more admissions requests, and is in the process of expanding their infrastructure before the May 2017 admission session.
Karuna Girls’ School is currently adding a third floor to their existing building to increase the school’s infrastructure. However, this will not be sufficient to meet the school’s long-term goal of accommodating 500 students. RMF’s initial support to the school is in constructing a 4-classroom building and handing it over to Karuna Girls’ School.
In June 2016, RMF sent a team of architects to survey the area and collect relevant data for the construction. The team came up with a design that is ideally suited to a Nepali school and will have a total area of 1,200 square feet. RMF has also honored the school’s request to have bathrooms in the design. The building will have 4 classrooms and a restroom for the girls. The design was selected from a number of proposed designs.
Quotations were invited and received from 3 construction companies to bid on the design and BOQ (bill of quantities) prepared by RMF architects.
RMF hopes to complete negotiations for land and government approval by the end of January and start construction during the first of week of February. The construction will take about 3 months to complete, and the building is expected to be ready in time for the new admission session, which begins during the month of May in Nepal.
Karuna Girls’ School was founded in 2013 by Global Karuna, a branch of the Nepali organization Lumbini Social Service Foundation (LSSF). The school is Lumbini’s only inclusive all-girls school, where girls can study regardless of religion or caste.
RMF began working with Global Karuna shortly after the April 2015 earthquake, and we are pursuing plans to construct an additional building for Karuna Girls’ School and, in partnership with the school, develop a nursing and midwifery program.