New hope for the "outcasts" in Chitwan 

II. Improving the educational situation

1. School education for girls

In the last three years, we enabled about 100 girls from the poorest strata of the Nepalese rural population to attend school in each case, so at the moment we are supporting a total of more than 300 girls. However, learning is not just about reading and writing for these children, but to receive education and to lead a dignified life against the otherwise predestined fate of misery and poverty and to become a respected part of the Nepalese society. Our goal is to encourage and assist the children in completing their education, together with their sponsors.

We help girls from impoverished families who are of school age between 5-7 years - in serious exceptional circumstances we commit to supporting girls of older ages too - who require particular assistance. We put the selected girls to school and take care of all costs such as fees, school uniforms, a school bag, course materials and stationery.

In addition to general school education, we believe that is important to educate the girls through training courses and workshops in hygiene and preventive health care as well as women's and children's rights, drinking water preparation and its clean storage as well as environmental and resource protection.

2. Improvement of school infrastructure

The improvement of school amenities is a necessary prerequisite for a sustained approach to education. We have selected several local schools to accommodate "our" girls. Thanks to inspections and interviews with the school management, we were able to initiate procedures for setting up better school amenities. We support the schools with boards, benches, tables, cabinets and sufficient teaching and learning materials for the different subjects and finance - if necessary - even more lesson units. In addition, we have set up a library in every school and encourage teachers and students to make use of it.

A school was also awarded a new toilet building to improve the previously miserable hygienic situation (more detailed information (in German) can be found HERE).

Furthermore all students of these schools will receive a hot meal every day to improve their nutritional status and thus provide a further incentive to parents to send their child to school.

3. Medical care and awareness

IWe also carry out a basic medical examination in each of the schools we support several times each year, respectively as part of the multi-day "Health Camps". It goes without saying that we do not only restrict ourselves to helping the approx 300 girls we support, but we also include all children that attend the respective schools because it is the case that many of those families are often destitute too, not being able to afford a doctor's visit or drugs in an emergency.

Our project managers are to be assisted by a group of doctors when examining the approx. 2,000 students in five schools. The size and weight of all the students are initially determined with the help of the teaching personnel and then recorded on an individual data sheet, which shall be kept until the next inspection by our project staff in order to document the nutritional status and the development over a longer period.

After the children have been weighed and measured, they shall be individually examined by the doctors. The physical ailments of the children are reported to the doctor after which they are extensively tested for diseases of the eyes, ears, respiratory tract, throat and oral cavity, teeth, arms and legs, as well as chest and abdomen / stomach.

The conditions identified are recorded in the data sheet and, if necessary, the doctor prescribes the appropriate medication and explains their intake as well as the need for any further treatment. Our project staff then provide support and monitor these further measures (for example, the regular and proper intake of medication).

While doctors perform the individual studies, the waiting time of the other children is used to give them educational lessons in matters of health and hygiene. Thus, how often they really have to wash their hands and what hygiene measures they should carry out regularly at home is explained to them again (regular washing of the body and clothing, brushing teeth, paying attention to cleanliness at home, combing hair, cutting nails, etc.) to prevent disease.

The most common ailments determined in these studies are, in addition to generally poor nutrition, diseases of the respiratory tract, skin, ears, eyes, as well as teeth. However, more serious disease cases occur now and then that have to be referred for further examinations and treatments at the expense of "Back to Life" in the hospital in Bharatpur, which is about 40 kms away and would be impossible for the families to reach alone because of transport costs.

One of these serious illnesses concerned Kamala, who was then 15 years...
You can read the whole report about Kamala here (German)

4. Day care centres for children and "Kids Club"

The fate of very young children is extremely important to "Back to Life". Fathers are often away for extended periods to earn money for the family and the mothers have to collect wood, fetch water or do field work during the day. In the meanwhile small children who cannot yet go to school, are either left alone at home without adequate supervision and care or an older sister takes charge, thus preventing her from attending school.

In order to improve the situation for children not yet of school age, we have previously installed a total of four day care centres, where youngsters are supervised in the morning so that their siblings can go to school. Teachers deal with about 120 kids by playing simple games and prepare the young ones for school in a playful manner. In addition, our children are provided with a hot meal, often the only one they'll get of the day.

If possible, these day care centres are connected to the local schools and are supported by us. That wasn't possible in one of the villages so instead we erected an extra small building there.

These small buildings can then act as meeting points for when the "Kids Clubs" become established, in which children of school age can organize and hold regular meetings in order to plan upcoming activities themselves under the supervision of our social workers.

These activities include the organization of smaller informational campaigns (e.g. on schooling, sanitation, drinking water or environmental protection as well as children's rights) through so-called "quiz contests" that are organized in collaboration with the teachers in order to strengthen playful learning up to the organization of football tournaments. This all serves to create a child-friendly environment and to show the children perspectives for their future life. In total, the four previously established "Kids Club" were attended by over 400 young people on a regular basis.

5. Awareness and active involvement of the family

A fast actual improvement of living conditions - as well as the long-term stable development of boys and girls - can only be guaranteed under consideration and promotion of the immediate social environment. While all villagers receive important information for their daily being and training on hygiene and health care, we are committed moreover to the family members of our girls by means of participation in further training sessions.

Of course we have incorporated proven concepts and knowledge from the children's rights programs, which we successfully carried out in hundreds of villages and slums in Benares, India, as of 2008. Our experiences among village communities in Mugu, western Nepal, also provide important information and a decision making basis for efficient project work in the communities. Back to Life e.V. entered into a partnership with the Nepali Association "Paribatan" for the realization of this project.

Initial success

We were able to dramatically improve the living conditions in some villages through our existing support for "casteless persons" (social outcasts). The people there receive medical treatment, have electric light for the first time as well as new stoves, saving them hours of hard work and at the same time protecting their environment. The youngest of the youngest are supervised and progress in agriculture as well as in income generation is already apparent. The people there also have hope for the very first time in independently taking their lives into their own hands and in the long term thanks to the savings groups.

We would like to give other villages and families in the region this hope and help them to stand on their own in future. To make this possible, we need your support!

Please help other families and villages to make this sustainable step towards self-help through a project sponsorship.