Why support the children of Nepal?
Nepal is a landlocked developing country with a population of approximately 28 million. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, with an average GDP per capita of 367 USD. Nepal is ranked 144th out of 189 countries on the Human Development Index, placing it just above Kenya and Haiti. Over 55% of the population lives under the poverty line, with an income of about $1.25/day; 77.6% of the country lives on less than $2/day. More than 80% of the population is involved in the agricultural profession and almost half of the working-age population is either unemployed or severely underemployed. As a result, a large number of people have left the country in search of employment opportunities.
During the Maoist insurgency, thousands of women, children, and elderly people were displaced from their homes. They were forced to migrate to urban areas, where their situations became more helpless. Children were orphaned and abandoned in the streets. Today, while great political change has ushered in a new era in Nepal, the condition of the vast majority of conflict-affected women and children remains dire.
Too many children in Nepal are orphaned or destitute. They need a home that serves them hot meals each day. They need access to a good education. They need someone to care for them when they become sick or injured. They need a helping hand and an opportunity to shine. The Bal Sewa Griha Children's Center of Nepal provides just that, and has been supporting children in need since 1995. Please consider supporting BSG and help us save the children of Nepal.
Education in Nepal
Education for all children is paramount in Nepal. It is a key to success and instrumental in lifting people out of poverty. Experts agree that education must be the number one investment priority in developing countries like Nepal. Studies have shown, specifically in Nepal, that education vastly improves efficiency, modernization, and productivity in the agricultural sector.
As Nepal is a developing country, so is its education system. Established only to serve the wealth ruling class, the system has expanded dramatically across the country. In the past five decades, literacy has risen considerably, from just five percent to over 57% for adults and as high as 89% in young people. In addition, 90% of age-appropriate children are now enrolled in primary school, a significant improvement from just ten years ago.
Students attend school year-round, and receive one day off per week, Saturdays. Government schools provide most facilities free of charge, while private schools require tuition and other fees. The quality of education in private schools, however, is markedly better. Instruction in all schools is given in English, and as a result the Nepali population is becoming increasingly trilingual (Nepali, English, Hindi).
Children begin education in nursery school, lower kindergarten, and upper kindergarten. Primary school, grades 1-5, begins typically at age six, followed by lower secondary (6-8) and secondary (9-10). After grade ten, students take the national “SLC” (School Leaving Certificate), the single most important exam for those who want to continue their education or seek employment. Based on their percent correct score, students can pass the SLC “with distinction,” or in the first, second, or third division. The SLC is notorious for its difficulty, and over half of students in poor, rural areas of Nepal do not pass. After the SLC, some students apply to attend college, or grades 11-12. Following college, some students attend university, where a bachelor’s degree can be earned in three years. Acceptance to these schools are based on scores of entrance examinations. Nepal also has many medical schools, which students can attend after college, usually for five years.
Women in Nepal
The socioeconomic status of women in Nepal has been described as poor. Women face discrimination from the moment of conception--it is illegal to disclose the sex of an unborn child to the parents for fear of girls being aborted or abandoned. When they are born, girls begin a life under subjugation by men. As reported by the New York Times, the situation for women has worsened since the country’s first free elections in 1991. In fact, suicide has emerged as the leading cause of death for women of reproductive age.
Progress is slowly being made in Nepal, but many problems have arisen from this systemic discrimination. As the result of women being denied access to education or vocational training, many families are reliant on fathers as the sole source of income. When the father dies, abandons the family, or becomes an alcoholic, it is the mother and children who are hurt the most. BSG has staffed many widowed or abandoned mothers as caregivers, thus giving both the child residence and the mother liveable wage.