Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, March 25:

More than 3,000 children have benefited from the Education Support Programme (ESP) of Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Centre (CWIN) this year. "In the educational year 2003/04, CWIN supported 3,131 children from 38 districts. Out of them, 1,997 children were from the conflict-affected districts, where the school-going children suffer from both of the sides,"

said chairman of CWIN, Gauri Pradhan.

Under this programme, CWIN provides financial support, specially on dress material, tuition fee and educational material to children from economically backward families.

Among others, 1,018 children from Rolpa, 567 from Kathmandu, 549 from Rukum, 363 from Salyan and 106 from Kaski benefited from the CWIN programme: out of them, 782 were Janajatis and 527 Dalits.

According to the CWIN data, 227 children were domestic servants, 114 porters, 91 beggars, 75 rag-pickers, 75 carpet weavers and 58 hotel workers. Thirty-five among them were disabled.

Pradhan said the candidates were chosen on recommendations of local communities and child clubs.

This leaves little chance of misuse of the fund, he said but admitted that at times, people exaggerate the facts about the facility the children were provided with.

"Though this number of students sounds big, it is nominal in comparison to the total number of students who are deprived of the basic right to education.

Our small effort will be meaningful only when it inspires the government to take more efficient step," he said.

Programme coordinator of CWIN, Tarak Dhital, who has worked with children in conflict-affected areas, said the Maoists did not directly oppose any of their programmes.

"Instead of forming new committees, we emphasise reactivating the existing bodies and make them work. Therefore, we did not have to face much problem," he said.