RMF Nepal Program Manager Ganesh Shrestha (left) with the school’s founder Venerable Metteyya (center) and Principal Shankar Gautam (right) during a construction monitoring visit
Promoting Education for Girls
Lumbini is 205 km west of the capital city, Kathmandu, and has the lowest female literacy rate in Nepal, at just 18%. Issues such as the marriage of girls before age 12, parents’ reluctance to have their girls in school with boys after puberty, the dowry system, and restriction of women’s decision-making all play a role in suppressing the rights and potential of women in the region. On a larger scale, discrimination and lack of education for women contribute to Lumbini’s struggle with severe malnutrition, lack of medical care, and high infant and maternal mortality rates.
Karuna Girls’ School is working to change these statistics by providing education for girls from grades 6–12, as well as vocational training for underprivileged girls and women in Lumbini. 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. During the course of 2016, the school grew from serving 150 students to 186 students. The curriculum emphasizes reading, writing, computer literacy, health, hygiene, nutrition, and family planning, while vocational training includes courses in computer literacy and tailoring.
RMF Nepal Program Manager Ganesh Shrestha (center) in a progress discussion with the school principal
Emergency Relief and Classroom Construction
RMF has been active in Nepal since 2015, when we arrived shortly after the devastating April 25th earthquake to provide emergency relief services and strategize a long-term plan to help strengthen education and healthcare systems in Nepal. We focused on strengthening Kanti Children’s Hospital, the only government referral level children’s hospital in Nepal, supporting orphans and vulnerable children in Kathmandu, and reaching the underserved populations of rural areas, such as Arupokhari and Bhotenamlang. Through our emergency relief work with Venerable Metteyya Sakyaputta, founder of the Nepali organization Global Karuna, we also learned of Karuna Girls’ School in Lumbini, Nepal.
RMF’s current support to the school is in constructing a 4-classroom building and handing it over to Karuna Girls’ School. This is a step in helping the school to meet its long-term goal of accommodating 500 students.
Completed 4-classroom school building at Karuna Girls’ School in Lumbini
Final Stage Complete
The chosen local contractor, Lumbini Sanskritik Associated Pvt. Ltd., has finalized the construction of the school building at Karuna Girls’ School in Lumbini, and phase four of the construction was completed in April 2018. The 2,349.9-square-foot building has a maximum capacity of 200 students. Construction of the building started in August 2017, with a total budget of 4,000,000 NPR, equivalent to $40,000 USD. RMF financed the construction of the building in five separate installments throughout the course of the construction project. The RMF Nepal team made quality assurance visits to Lumbini before each of these installments and also during crucial stages of construction.
- Installation of windows and doors
- Installation of floors
- Electric wiring
- To build capacity at Karuna Girls’ School
- To develop a nursing and midwifery school
- To improve the education, health, and wellbeing of girls and women in Lumbini
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.