As part of the Rosie May Foundation’s summer research internship programme in Nepal, ourselves and four other students stayed in a remote mountain village called Bhadure, where a partnership is being set up with the school through a local NGO SAHAS Nepal to support the community. Over the period of a much enlightening and humbling week, we were hosted by a number of very welcoming families. This was a fantastic way of getting to speak to the local people and understand their way of life. An interesting fact they shared with us was that the name of their village literally translates to ‘brave’, since the majority of male residents join the Gurkha army in order to provide for their household. However, this also pointed to the more depressing reality that there are only a limited number of opportunities for generating financial income, therefore meaning that the village remains impoverished and underdeveloped.
The Rosie May interns with the female villagers in their traditional cultural outfits.
We were tasked with researching their local public school, as this is a crucial area where the Rosie May Foundation can have a positive impact. We carried out observation through participation in classes, and did a series of interviews with school teachers, pupils and parents. Most strikingly, this revealed that the children are only taught theory in lessons due to the lack of resources. In particular, the headteacher commented that the addition of a science lab and computers would be very beneficial to the school, as it would allow children to participate in practical sessions to improve their understanding. Furthermore, the need for a sanitation room was raised by parents and the headteacher. This would cover both medical issues at the school, and the need to support girls during their menstrual cycle, as this is currently prevents some girls from attending school.
Their current medical area at the back of a classroom.
Two teachers at the school highlighted the impact that volunteers can make, stating that they create engaging activities that are not currently used as teaching methods. The children interviewed also stated that they enjoyed volunteers coming to the school and thought it helped them to learn more, which the teachers also confirmed. There are currently some after-school sessions to help children who are struggling, but this is only during exam periods. Therefore, it was raised as an area where volunteers could possibly help. This could be done by putting on additional english and sports lessons after the current school hours, to continue to help students develop their skills year-round.
The school’s playground, with a view of the mountains.
During our visit to the school, the children had exams everyday. This was our biggest challenge as it made it difficult to arrange interviews and teach classes. Therefore, although we were able to gather some information, more contact with the school will be needed to understand how the RMF and other volunteers will be able to help them in the future. Overall, our week in Bhadaure is one that we will not forget. It was inspirational to see how the locals were so resourceful and the school students were so full of life, despite not having much. We hope that the help that the Rosie May Foundation provides will further each child’s education and brighten their families’ future.
Katie Gardner, third year Geography undergraduate at the University of Nottingham
Megan Mckinnon, third year Politics and International Relations undergraduate at the University of Nottingham