Rebuilding and Long-Term Support to Schools and Model Village in Sindhupalchowk
Afternoon Meals Benefit Children
Real Medicine Foundation has partnered with Seven Summits Women and White Girl In Nepal to reconstruct schools, health posts and other damaged public structures in Bhotenamlang, Sindhupalchowk to provide immediate relief and long-term support to the people of Sindhupalchowk district, one of the areas significantly affected by the earthquake.
- 2,064 students from 8 schools are receiving afternoon meals.
- A visit to Sindhupalchowk, Bhotenamlang VDC was carried out in which afternoon meal supplies were delivered to schools of Bhotenamlang VDC & Thangpaldhap VDC (Kshetrapaleshwari HSS, Bhotenamlang Secondary School, Bachhalamai Primary School, Thangpaldhap HSS). During the visit, the impact of the afternoon meal program was discussed. It was found that the afternoon meal program has been very effective which is aided by the fact that the number of students attending school regularly has been consistent (especially at the primary level) and the number of students has also increased. The teachers remarked that the students were in better health because of the meals provided. They added that the meal support has aided in the rehabilitation of students after the earthquake at such widely affected areas. Teachers remarked that due to the afternoon meal program students were now voluntarily attending school rather than being forced by their parents.
- One of the students, Devaki Danwar from class 10, age 15, from Danwar Gaun shared her experience about the afternoon meal program. Previously she did not have anything for tiffin. She faces lack of nutritious food at home. She is very happy about the afternoon meals and says she likes ‘rice pudding’ the most. When asked about any improvements to make on the meal program, she told that different variety each day would be nice.
Principal Mr. Gopi Krishna Parajuli
Impact of Afternoon Meal Program
According to the Principal Mr. Gopi Krishna Parajuli of Bhotenamlang School, Chiling, some impact of the afternoon meal program are:
- Previously students preferred to go home at lunch break and many of them didn’t return; this tendency has come to an end as students eagerly wait for meals and stay at school for the full period.
- The number of students has increased significantly (unregistered students, especially in primary level).
- Registered students attend school regularly.
- Students are very happy to eat the nutritious food which some can rarely afford to have at home due to their poor economic condition.
- Foods like beaten rice with curry, rice pudding and flour pudding (Semolina or Halwa) are popular among students. Students of the primary level are especially eager to attend school aided by the motivation of having lunch.
- Many unregistered students of a very young age just come to school with spoon and tiffin box with their siblings. They will stay until half time to have tiffin and then return home. This also has aided by improving earthquake-affected children’s habit of attending school even before reaching school age rather than just playing around at home.
When asked for any improvements to be made for the program, some suggested that more varieties of food, such as tea or biscuits, would be a good addition.
- Rebuild, equip and staff six schools
- Create proper administration
- Facilitate running water and sanitary toilets
- Provide school supplies
- Provide counseling and teacher training & support
- Provide afternoon meals for children
- Establish initiatives to build awareness of anti-trafficking for children and adults
Maya Gurung and Shailee Basnet are now respected leaders in their community. They have earned the reputation of being ‘doers’ among villagers who often only see ‘talkers.’ Maya and Shailee have signed an Memorandum of Understanding with the district government to rebuild five schools in Maya’s home village of Bhotenamlang in the district of Sindhupalchok. This district has the greatest death toll after the Nepal earthquake, and in Maya’s village, there is literally not a house standing. As a result, sex-trafficking is more rampant than ever. Keeping kids, especially girls, in school is the most effective way to ensure that they stay away from traffickers. Educating women in remote areas, as well as empowering them by creating choices, is the way to keep them safe and on track.