Our work in Nepal is ongoing, so much so that spare time to update the blog has been sparse. Here is a brief look into one of the projects we have been working on over the past few years!
We have been involved in a school in the village of PremNagar since 2007, with classes from PreK through 8th grade. The school was functioning well, serving 240 students and employing 9 teachers and helpers. We built another school building in 2009 to accommodate for the growing number of students.
However, in June of 2015 a conflict among members of the village school board resulted in PremNagar School having to close its doors in order to maintain the mission and values under which we started the school. The students who were there had to scatter and try to find schooling elsewhere. The PremNagar teachers were sent to Grace School to receive training, as a way to earn their salaries.
At the beginning of the 2016 school year, PremNagar School was given permission to reopen, starting with nursery and PreK classes. As of now, we have 100 students and a staff of 6 teachers and helpers. Our goal is to add more classes as our students age, but getting the licensing to teach higher grade levels is a process far from simple. Although teaching younger children was a learning curve for some of our teachers, they have adapted with grace and still enjoy teaching at PremNagar School.
The true misfortune of the closing of PremNagar School lies not in the inconvenience of starting a school over but in the sad reality that some of our students were forced to end their educational journeys too soon. The older children at PremNagar School who were receiving an education no longer have a school nearby to attend. We do not know what our former students did when the school closed or even if they have access to education at all. Moving forward means using this situation as a learning experience, and we hope to work with the communities surrounding our schools in the future, so conflict does not escalate to the point where closing a school becomes necessary. That way, our students can continue their educations without the fear of the opportunity being taken from them.