BAJURA, JANUARY 26
Fourteen-year-old Sita Thapa of Himali Rural Municipality, Bajura, is busy grazing sheep instead of going to school. She looks after sheep while some of her friends go to school.
Sita used to reach Achham from the lower areas of Bajura to graze sheep. She even takes her lambs to China border through Humla during the rainy season. She said she wanted to study, but had to look after sheep along with her parents.
She was born on the way to China while her mother was grazing sheep. Sita's father Prem Thapa said there was no option but to take his children with him to look after sheep.
"She knows nothing as she could not go to school," he said. He said that Sita could not read and pronounce even a single word.
Sita said that she was interested in studying, but could not go to school. She added that most of the girls were compelled to look after sheep and other cattle instead of going to school. "I enjoy more as a shepherd than going to the school," she said.
Parbati Thapa, 13, has also reached Achham with sheep along with her parents. She said she had quit school after she was compelled to graze cattle. Parbati said that her younger brothers went to school while she could not.
Sita and Parbati are representative characters. Most of the children in the northern part of Bajura have left school as they have to help their parents look after cattle. The children are deprived of basic education due to this very reason.
The children could not go to schools after their parents migrated from their settlements along with the cattle. There are 400 children in Bajura.
More than 640 families in Bajura migrate to lowlands in winter.
Children from Bhote community hardly attend school for six months. People from the community do not show much interest in sending their children to school even though the governmental and non-governmental organisations spend millions of rupees in the name of quality education.